Trials and tribulations of WHL scout . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark Portland win . . . Some Saturday highlights, too


ThisThat

With four weeks left in the WHL’s regular season, four teams have clinched playoff spots — the Prince Albert Raiders, Everett Silvertips, Vancouver Giants and Portland whlWinterhawks.

However, not one of the eight first-round playoff matchups has been set in stone.

The Raiders, for example, will finish atop the Eastern Conference, so will draw the second wild-card team. That slot will go to any one of seven teams.

The winner of the Central Division will get the first wild-card team, which obviously has yet to be decided. As for the division pennant winner, well, all five teams remain in the chase.

Although it’s not official, at least not mathematically, the Saskatoon Blades will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades are headed for a second-place finish in the East Division, with the Warriors in third.

In the Western Conference, only one team is assured of where it will finish — when it’s over, the Giants will be atop the B.C. Division.

Vancouver also is tied with Everett atop the conference standings, and the Giants hold a game in hand.

The Victoria Royals almost certainly will finish second in the B.C. Division — they are 20 points behind Vancouver and 10 points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets — but other than that it’s a roll of the dice.

Portland is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Silvertips and 10 ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

The Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Seattle Thunderbirds, Kelowna, and the Kamloops Blazers don’t yet know in which spots they will wind up.

The Prince George Cougars aren’t officially out of it, but they are 12 points from a playoff spot, riding a 15-game losing skid (0-11-4) and have only 12 games remaining.


So . . . you think you’d like to scout for a WHL team, do you?

Here’s an early Sunday evening posting on Facebook from Mike Fraser, the Everett EverettSilvertips’ head scout . . .

“The 10 things I’ve learned in my 12 hours (so far) at Saskatoon airport:

“1. Travelling in winter isn’t always made easier by flying instead of driving.

“2. When you are accommodating and agree to a 6:15 pm flight to help appease people going to Puerto Vallarta, the Flying Gods don’t necessarily have to make your 6:15 flight on time either (I’m now delayed two more hours).

“3. If your flight starts getting delayed in 5- or 10-minute increments starting 3-or-so hours before departure time, that’s a bad sign and start looking at other options.

“4. Trying to cancel a hotel room in Red Deer because you’re stuck in Saskatoon doesn’t mean the hotel in Red Deer won’t charge you.

“5. Guys need to stop texting while standing at a urinal….that’s just weird, and gross.

“6. I’ve now had 12 of my last 13 trips delayed, a dynasty not even Tom Brady can touch.

“7. Starbucks closes very early at Saskatoon airport.

“8. No matter how many times I see the Jets highlights from last night, they still lost.

“9. I’ve learned that one woman likes to tell her boyfriend when they can sleep together based on her “cycles.” No I didn’t ask, she told an entire section of us while on a very loud and apparently open phone call.

“10. I still refuse to drink Pilsner.

“Cheers my friends, here’s to hoping I get home tonight.”

Later Sunday, Fraser posted: “And we’re now cancelled . . . let’s try again tomorrow?”

To be continued . . .


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

Behind three goals and an assist from F Joachim Blichfeld, the Portland Winterhawks Portlandclinched a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (35-16-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips, who have a game in hand. . . . The Winterhawks, who will be in the playoffs for a 10th straight season, have 11 games remaining, but only three of them are at home. . . . Seattle (23-28-6) had won its previous two games. It is in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . The Thunderbirds went 2-1-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . With three games remaining, Portland leads the season series (6-2-0); Seattle is (2-5-1). . . . F Josh Paterson (21) broke a 1-1 tie at 16:26 of the first period, and Blichfeld took it from there, scoring Portland’s last three goals. . . . Blichfeld, who recorded his fourth career hat trick, leads the WHL in goals (48) and points (98), in 57 games. His third goal of the game was the 100th regular-season goal. . . . F Cody Glass, playing his second game in two nights after missing eight games with a knee injury, had the primary assist on each of Blichfeld’s goals. Glass has 68 points, including 54 assists, in 36 games. . . . Blichfeld scored once on the PP, once while shorthanded and once at even strength. . . . The Winterhawks were 2-3 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 1-2. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman scored his 32nd goal, on a PP, to run his goal-scoring streak to six games. . . . The Winterhawks had a 52-36 edge in shots. . . . G Josh Hofer stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius turned aside 47 shots. . . . Portland head coach Mike Johnston posted his 350th regular-season coaching victory. He is 19th on the WHL’s all-time list. . . . The Winterhawks will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours this afternoon when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan had a goal and four assists, and F Stelio Mattheos had three goals and an assist, as the host Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 6-3. . . . Brandon (26-22-7) has won three in a row and now is four points from the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot that is held by the Red Deer Rebels. . . . That second spot will mean a first-round clash with Prince Albert (46-8-3), which had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Raiders have lost two in a row for the first time this season. . . . On Friday, the Wheat Kings went into Prince Albert and won, 5-4 in OT. . . . G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason remain out of the Raiders’ lineup. . . . Brandon was 3-9 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-4. . . . Brandon got a goal and two assists from F Cole Reinhardt, while F Justin Nachbaur scored twice for the Raiders.


F Tate Popple scored twice, and F Brayden Tracey had a goal and two assists, helping the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (31-15-8) had lost its previous two games. The Warriors are second in the East Division and headed for a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (16-38-3) hasn’t lost 40 games in regulation-time since 2004-05 when it finished 12-50-10. . . . Regina F Austin Pratt was credited with his 22nd goal when the Warriors scored an own goal with a delayed penalty about to be called on the Pats. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft. He has 62 points, including 25 goals, in 54 games. . . . The Warriors were credited with a 47-19 edge in faceoffs. . . . It was Hall of Fame weekend in Moose Jaw as F Shawn Limpright and F Brian Sutherby, both of whom played four seasons (1998-2002) there, were inducted into the Warriors’ shrine.


The Saskatoon Blades solidified their hold on second place in the East Division with a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Saskatoon (37-13-8) has points in 13 straight games (11-0-2). It is second in the division, 13 points behind the Prince Albert Raiders and 12 up on the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold four games in hand. . . . Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are headed for a first-round playoff meeting. They will meet twice more this regular season — on March 5 in Moose Jaw and March 10 in Saskatoon. The Blades lead the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Lethbridge (29-16-10) had won its previous two games. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Four of Lethbridge’s last four games will be against Medicine Hat, starting with a home-and-home on Friday (Lethbridge) and Saturday (Medicine Hat).


F Mark Kastelic scored three goals to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (30-21-5) has won two in a row. . . . The Hitmen beat the visiting Tigers, 3-1, on Friday night. . . . Calgary is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Medicine Hat and three behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen continued to hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat (31-21-5) has lost three straight. . . . On Saturday, the Hitmen erased a 3-2 third-period deficit with the game’s last three goals. Kastelic had opened the game’s scoring with his 40th goal of the season in the first period. He added a pair of third-period PP goals, equalizing at 9:06 and adding insurance at 16:18. . . . In between, D Vladilsav Yeryomenko’s third goal, at 12:02, turned into the winner.


G David Tendeck stopped 22 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (39-13-3) has won seven in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals, who have 13 games remaining. . . . The Giants haven’t enjoyed a 40-victory regular season since 2011-12 when they finished 40-26-6. . . . Vancouver also is tied with the Everett Silvertips (39-14-3) for top spot in the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (23-28-5) has lost two in a row. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, 10 points behind Victoria and four ahead of the Kelowna Blazers, who hold two games in hand. . . . The Rockets left Sunday on their final multi-game road trip of the season; they’ll play a doubleheader in Victoria this afternoon and Tuesday night, then meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. . . . The Rockets have three games left with Vancouver, two of them in Langley, B.C., and two with the Portland Winterhawks, both in Kelowna. . . . Tendeck has three shutouts this season, matching his total from last season.


G Joel Hofer turned aside 25 shots as his Portland Winterhawks blanked the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 2-0. . . . Portland (34-16-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). After beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2, on Sunday, the Winterhawks, who are second in the U.S. Division, are five points behind the Everett Silvertips. Portland and Everett only have one game remaining with each other. . . . Red Deer (29-21-5) has lost two in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels are 1-2-1 on a U.S. Division swing that ends Tuesday night with a visit to the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich (10) scored the game’s first goal, just 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Portland’s second goal was an empty-netter off the stick of F Cody Glass (14). Glass was playing in his first game after suffering a knee injury on Jan. 26. He missed eight games. . . . Hofer has four career shutouts, two with the Swift Current Broncos and two since his trade to Portland.


F Kody McDonald scored two goals in regulation time and one in a shootout as the Victoria Royals beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. . . . One night earlier, the Royals won, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . Victoria (29-23-3) has won two in a row. It is second in the B.C. Division, 20 points behind the Vancouver Giants and 10 in front of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (16-33-7) has lost 15 in a row (0-11-4). The Cougars are 12 points from a playoff spot with 12 games remaining. They are fifth in the B.C. Division, 12 points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Prince George also is 13 points from a wild-cardspot. . . . McDonald, 20, played the first 232 games of his WHL career with the Cougars, who dealt him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him from the Raiders earlier this season. . . . McDonald, who has 15 goals, gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 0:51 of the third period, then forced OT with a goal at 17:03. . . . He won the game when he closed out the third round of the shootout with a goal. . . . F Carson Miller, who was part of the Prince Albert-Victoria deal that included McDonald, also had two goals for the Royals, with F Josh Maser scoring twice for the Cougars. Those were Miller’s first goals with Victoria since the trade.


G Roddy Ross stopped 46 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . If you’re new here, Seattle plays its home games in Kent. . . . Seattle (23-27-6) is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . Everett (39-14-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett also is tied with the Vancouver Giants for top spot in the Western Conference. The Giants (39-13-3) have a game in hand. . . . Everett and Seattle combined for 110 penalty minutes, 96 of them in the game’s final 13 seconds. . . . You’re right. These teams don’t like each other, and they still have to play each other three more times. . . . This also could be a first-round playoff matchup. Everett leads the season series, 6-1-0; Seattle is 1-5-1. . . . F Matthew Wedman had a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds on Saturday. He’s got 62 points, 31 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . This was Everett’s third game in fewer than 48 hours. They dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Thursday night, in a game that was rescheduled from Wednesday, then beat the Rockets, 3-1, in Kelowna on Friday. . . . The Silvertips will make it five games in six days by playing a doubleheader in Prince George on Monday afternoon and Tuesday night.


F Kyle Olson scored three times and added an assist to help the Tri-City Americans to a 7-5 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (31-20-3) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane and with a game in hand. . . . Spokane (30-19-6) has lost two straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, eight points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each had a goal and two assists for Tri-City. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and and assist from freshman F Adam Beckman. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, Beckman has 48 points, 25 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm may have been five times, but he still came up with 45 saves.


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Wheat Kings beat Raiders in OT . . . Elmer glues loss on Broncos with hat trick . . . Blades run point streak to 12 games


MacBeth

F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kristianstad (Sweden, Division 1) after Tyringe (Sweden, Division 1) received monetary compensation from Kristianstad. In 20 games, he had a team-high 12 goals, along with 12 assists. . . . Coulter had a clause in his contract with Tyringe that allowed him to move to another Division 1 club if the new club was in the playoffs. With two games left in the regular season, Tyringe cannot make the playoffs. Kristianstad has qualified for the playoffs for promotion to Allsvenskan for 2019-20.


ThisThat

There is an interesting scenario unfolding in Prince Albert where the Raiders are nearing the end of a glorious regular season.

On Friday night, they dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. The PrinceAlbertRaiders (46-7-3) lead the WHL’s overall standings by 14 points over the Everett Silvertips.

Trevor Redden, writing for panow.com, points out that as rosy things are with the Raiders right now, the future is more than a little hazy.

“As for what lies ahead beyond this season, we still don’t have any answers,” Redden writes. “When the subject of staffing for next season was brought up post-deadline with GM Curtis Hunt, he declined comment on his own status or that of the coaching staff, with all contracts set to expire at the end of this (season).

“As for (head coach Marc) Habscheid, he wasn’t able to provide any further illumination when asked for an update this week on his status beyond this season.

“ ‘No, nothing. Haven’t heard anything so I really don’t know what’s going on. That’s all I can say,’ Habscheid said.”

The staff includes associate coach Jeff Truitt and assistant coach Dan Gendur.

The Raiders, of course, are community-owned, as opposed to having private ownership, something that may, or not, be having an impact on the situation.

Habscheid took over as the Raiders’ head coach on Nov. 1, 2014, replacing the fired Cory Clouston. At the time, the Raiders hired Habscheid to finish the 2014-15 season. On April 21, 2015, the Raiders announced that they had signed Habscheid to a four-year deal running through the end of this season.

As for Hunt, he took over as general manager on June 8, 2015, after the Raiders and Bruno Campese chose to go their separate ways. Interestingly, the Raiders hired Hunt more than six weeks after signing Habscheid. That, of course, goes against the hockey adage about a GM wanting his own coach. And, as the standing show, Hunt and Habscheid appear to be making it work.

Time will tell if they’ll be together again next season.


The OHL has fined the Niagara IceDogs a total of $250,000 and taken away 2019 and 2021 ohlfirst-round draft choices after they were found to have “violated certain league player recruitment policies.” . . . In a Friday afternoon news release, the OHL said that it had the law firm of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottleib LLP handle the investigation.

“The league takes our commitment to our players and their player experience very seriously, which includes ensuring a fair and competitive on-ice experience among all teams,” David Branch, the OHL commissioner, said in a news release. “In order to maintain the integrity of this player experience and competitiveness within the league, it is critical that all clubs operate within the league recruitment guidelines. When a club ignores these guidelines, significant sanctions are required.”

Later Friday, the IceDogs released this statement: “All current Niagara IceDogs players and hockey operations staff have no involvement in the sanctions assed today by the Ontario Hockey League. An appeal will be filed. Therefore, no comment will be made.”


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Zach Wytinck’s OT goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the Raiders in BrandonWKregularPrince Albert. . . . Brandon (25-22-7) has won two in a row and is six points from a wild-card playoff spot. . . . Prince Albert (46-7-3) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and has a 14-point lead atop the overall standings. . . . The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . F Sean Montgomery (23) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 10:35 of the first period. . . . Brandon took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Ben McCartney (17), at 13:46, and F Cole Reinhardt (17), at 3:27 of the second period. . . . F Parker Kelly got the Raiders into a tie at 14:10, and F Aliaksei Protas (10) provided them with a 3-2 lead at 2:48 of the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (5) tied it at 8:43, but Kelly (29) put the Raiders back out front, on a PP, at 13:25. . . . The Wheat Kings scored the last two goals to win it. F Luka Burzan (32) tied it at 13:40, and Wytinck’s fourth goal of the season won it at 3:06 of OT. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 28 shots for Brandon, five more than the Raiders’ Boston Bilous. . . . With G Ian Scott still sidelined, Bilous made his third straight start. . . . Montgomery was back in Prince Albert’s lineup after a one-game absence, but Scott and F Brett Leason remain sidelined. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and posted his story right here.


G Max Paddock stopped 32 shots to lead the Regina Pats to a 4-0 victory over the visiting PatsEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (16-37-3) won’t be in the playoffs this season. . . . Edmonton (31-18-8) leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours and they also have had a flu bug in their dressing room. The Oil Kings have had illness in their room of late. This time, F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield joined F Zach Russell in being unable to play. . . . Paddock record his second shutout of the season. . . . The Oil Kings were blanked for the first time this season. . . . F Austin Pratt (21) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 11:22 of the first period. . . . F Riley Krane (12) added insurance, on a PP, at 10:24 of the second period, and F Carter Massier (2) upped it to 3-0, while shorthanded, at 14:55. . . . Regina’s final goal came from F Garrett Wright (4) at 10:22 of the third period. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 3-1-0. The Oil Kings had been looking for the second sweep of the Pats in franchise history; the first was in 2010-11.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes got three goals from F Jake Elmer en route to a 7-2 victory Lethbridgeover the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (29-16-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-40-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). The Broncos have lost 40 games in regulation-time for the first time since 2010-11 (26-44-2). That (44) is the most single-season losses for the Broncos since they moved back to Swift Current from Lethbridge for the 1986-87 season. . . . Elmer gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with first-period goals at 1:47 and 4:41 of the first period. The second of those came while shorthanded. . . . Elmer completed his second career hat trick with a PP goal at 12:43 of the third period. That was the game’s final goal. . . . The Hurricanes got two goals from F Noah Boyko, who has seven, and singles from F Logan Barlage (12) and F Nick Henry (21). . . . F Carter Chorney (12) and D Connor Horning (6) replied for the Broncos, who were 0-8 on the PP. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-3 on the PP. . . . Lethbridge unleashed a season-high 56 shots at G Riley Lamb. . . . G Bryan Thomson stopped 26 shots for Lethbrige.


G Carl Stankowski stopped 29 shots to help the host Calgary Hitmen to a 3-1 victory over Calgarythe Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary (29-21-5) is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. They also are fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat (31-20-5) has lost two in a row. They are third in the Central Division, one point behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . F Mark Kastelic (39) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 1:40 of the second period. . . . D Egor Zamula (10) made it 2-0 at 7:41. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal at 19:13 as F Elijah Brown scored his 11th goal. . . . F Carson Focht (16) iced it for Calgary at 18:59 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat got 27 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . The Tigers had D Linus Nassen back in their lineup. . . . The Hitmen had Zamula and D Dakota Krebs back from injuries, but remain without F Jake Kryski and G Jack McNaughton.


Ice1
At least one Kootenay Ice fan wasn’t impressed with a Valentine’s Day promotion the team ran on Thursday. The Ice, of course, is leaving Cranbrook for Winnipeg at the conclusion of this season.
Ice2
On Friday night in Cranbrook, they were thanking the families who have billeted players through the Ice’s 21 seasons in the community.

F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice and added two assists to help the Saskatoon Blades to an 8-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Saskatoon (36-13-8) has points in 12 straight games (10-0-2). It also has won one more game than it won all of last season. The Blades are second in the East Division, 12 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Kootenay (11-36-8) has lost four in a row. . . . The Blades, in their last appearance in Cranbrook, scored the game’s first four goals to take a 4-0 lead early in the second period. . . . F Max Gerlach (36), Crnkovic and F Eric Florchuk, with two, accounted for those goals. Florchuk now has 20 goals. . . . F Peyton Krebs (19) got the Ice on the scoreboard at 11:22 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon responded with the next four goals, from F Chase Wouters (14), F Ryan Hughes, with two, and Crnkovic, who now has nine goals. Hughes has 23. . . . D Martin Bodak (10) and F Jaeger White (22) had the Ice’s last two goals. . . . Crnkovic enjoyed his first career four-point game. . . . Florchuk also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson had two assists, running his point streak to 15 games; he has two goals and 26 assists in that stretch. He also has at least one assist in 15 straight games. In his past five games, he has 12 points, including 11 assists. . . . Gerlach had a goal and an assist in running his point streak to 14 games. He has 23 points, including 12 goals, in that stretch. . . . Saskatoon had F Kirby Dach back in the lineup. He had missed two games after being struck on the throat by a puck.


G Max Palaga, in his first start since Jan. 20, stopped 31 shots as the Everett Silvertips Everettbeat the Rockets, 3-1, in Kelowna. . . . Everett (39-13-3) has points in three straight games (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by nine points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna (23-27-5) had won its previous two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett took a 2-1 lead into the third period; it now is 31-0-1 when leading after two. . . . F Kyle Topping (20) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:26 of the first period. . . . Everett tied it at 12:18 as D Gianni Fairbrother (9) scored, on a PP. . . . Silvertips F Bryce Kindopp broke the tie at 8:18 of the second period, then added his 32nd goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:43 of the third period. . . . G Roman Basran stopped 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . Rockets D Lassi Thomson left the game late in the first period, after being high-sticked by Kindopp, then returned in the second wearing a full cage. . . . That may, or may not, have had something to do with the two head coaches — Everett’s Dennis Williams and Kelowna’s Adam Foote — exchanging greetings late in the first period. . . . Everett headed for home after the game as it has to be in Kent, Wash., to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight. Then it’s off to Prince George for the Silvertips who will play the Cougars on Monday (2 p.m.) and again on Tuesday night.


F Tanner Sidaway scored the game’s first two goals to get the Victoria Royals started to a VictoriaRoyals4-1 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Victoria (28-23-3) is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (16-33-6) has lost 14 in a row (0-11-3) and is 10 points from a playoff spot. The Cougars are 0-3-0 since firing head coach Richard Matvichuk and replacing him with general manager Mark Lamb. . . . Sidaway, who has seven goals, scored at 3:50 of the first period and seven seconds into the second, while shorthanded. His second goal set a franchise record as the fastest goal to start a period. The previous record of nine seconds had been done on four occasions. . . . This also was Sidaway’s first multi-goal game. . . . The Cougars cut the deficit in half when F Josh Curtis (12) scored at 6:22. . . . F Kaid Oliver (24) restored the two-goal lead at 16:32, and F Logan Doust (4) added another goal, at 6:46 of the third period. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse posted his 109th regular-season victory, and moved into seventh on the WHL’s all-time list. The record (120) for most career victories is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Victoria F Ty Yoder returned to play after being out since Jan. 4.


The Seattle Thunderbirds built up a 5-1 second-period lead and hung on for a 6-4 victory Seattleover the Red Deer Rebels in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (22-27-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazes. . . . Red Deer (29-20-5) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with the Calgary Hitmen for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . F Noah Philp gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 7:45 of the first period, only to have F Zak Smith (10) tie it for Red Deer 37 seconds later. . . . The Thunderbirds responded with four second-period goals, from F Matthew Wedman, Philp (22), on a PP, F Andrej Kukuca (20) and F Henri Rybinski (4). . . . The Rebels got back in it with third-period goals from D Alexander Alexeyev (8), F Oleg Zaytsev (11) and F Reese Johnson (21), the latter scoring at 18:34. . . . Wedman wrapped it up with his 30th goal at 19:03. . . . With his two goals, Wedman, who also had an assist, ran his goal streak to five straight games. . . . F Brandon Hagel had three assists for Red Deer. . . . F Jeff de Wit, a Red Deer native who is on his second go-round with the Rebels, played in his 300th regular-season game. He also has played with Regina, Victoria and Kootenay. He has 54 goals and 55 assists in the 300 games. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Nolan Volcan, their captain, back in the lineup after missing nine games. He hadn’t played since Jan. 26.


G Beck Warm turned aside 42 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-3 victory over tri-citythe Kamloops Blazers in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (30-20-3) has won two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (21-28-5) is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers also are three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds in the race for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Tri-City took a 1-0 lead as F Sasha Mutala (14) scored at 1:45 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it at 5:08 as D Montana Onyebuchi (5) scored. . . . The Americans took a 3-1 lead on second-period goals from F Connor Bouchard (6), at 11:08, and F Nolan Yaremko (20), at 18:17. . . . F Kobe Mohr (6) got Kamloops to within a goal at 3:42 of the third period. . . . D Wil Kushniryk (3) restored the two-goal lead at 6:59. . . . F Brodi Stuart (16) again got the Blazers to within a goal, at 17:51. . . . F Parker AuCoin (32) put it away for the Americans at 19:15. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Americans were without D Dom Schmiemann, who completed a two-game suspension.


The Vancouver Giants scored three straight PP goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the VancouverSpokane Chiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (38-13-3) has won six straight games. It leads the B.C. Division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Spokane (30-18-6) had points in each of its previous seven (6-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 3:13 of the first period on a PP goal by F Luc Smith. . . . The lead lasted 15 seconds until D Kaleb Bulych (2) scored for Vancouver. . . . Then came the three PP goals, from F Justin Sourdif (16), at 13:28 of the first period; F Milos Roman (21), at 18:38 of the second period; and F Jared Dmytriw (13), at 19:08. . . . The Chiefs got to within a goal, at 4-3, as Smith (25) and F Eli Zummack (13) scored at 3:47 and 11:51 of the third period, respectively. . . . After the Chiefs had a goal disallowed — it was ruled to have been kicked in from the crease — F Jadon Joseph (16) scored for Vancouver at 15:46. . . . F Riley Woods (27) scored for Spokane at 18:50. . . . Zummack also had two assists. . . . The Giants were 3-4 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-7.


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Three organ donor games this weekend . . . Giants’ Byram won’t face discipline . . . Hitmen make four roster moves


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There are still 12 WHL teams yet to hold their second annual Organ Donation Awareness games.

Actually, the official name of the promotion — deep breath — is RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

All 17 of the WHL’s Canadian teams play host to one game a night to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There are three of these games scheduled for this weekend, with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants playing host to their games on Friday and the Brandon Wheat Kings holding their game on Saturday.

Teams wear Don Cherry-themed uniforms, with the sweaters available via auction at some point.

Games still to come:

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


According to a tweet from Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Vancouver Giants “have been Vancouvertold by the WHL that D Bowen Byram won’t receive an additional suspension for his checking-to-the-head major on Sunday.” . . . Byram was hit with the major and game misconduct at 13:48 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner. . . . The Giants won the game, 4-1, to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. . . . The Giants also lost F Brayden Watts with an undisclosed injury in that game. Ewen reports that Watts already has been ruled out for a game on Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen have made four roster moves, adding F Orca Wiesblatt and D CalgaryAndrew Viggars to their roster, while returning D Tyson Galloway and F Sean Tschigerl to their club teams. . . . Wiesblatt, 18, is from Calgary. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has earned one assist in six earlier games with Calgary this season. Last season, Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assist in 49 games with the Hitmen. . . . Viggars, 19, also is from Calgary. This season, he had one goal and nine assists in 40 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He played with the Hitmen last season, earning five assists in 39 games. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, was a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He is on his way back to the Kamloops-based major midget Thompson Blazers after getting into three games with the Hitmen. . . . Tschigerl was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Whitecourt, Alta., he has gone back to the OHA Edmonton prep team. This season, he has played in six games with the Hitmen.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Brendan Williamson, 16, to a WHL contract. SeattleWilliamson, from Abbotsford, B.C., visited Seattle over the weekend and the signing was announced Monday morning. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired Williamson’s rights in a Jan. 1 deal in which they also got F Sean Richards, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 from the Everett Silvertips for F Zack Andrusiak. . . . This season, Williamson has 12 goals and 28 assists in 29 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


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Saturday night in the Dub . . . Evanoff sharp for Warriors . . . D-Jay spins hits for Royals . . . Wolf blanks Winterhawks


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, and beat Saskatoonthe host Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . Saskatoon (33-13-8) has points in nine straight (7-0-2). It leads the season series, 6-1-0. . . . The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Swift Current (10-38-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). . . . While the Blades enjoyed Friday off, the Broncos played in Brandon and didn’t get home until 4 a.m. Because the Saturday game was part of a Hockey Day in Canada celebration in Swift Current, it started at 5 p.m. CT. . . . After a scoreless first period, F Gary Haden (26) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 9:29 of the second. . . . F Tyler Lees (2) tied it for the Broncos at 10:12. That was his first goal in nine games since the Broncos acquired him from the Victoria Royals with whom he had one goal in 27 games. . . . Saskatoon F Riley McKay broke the tie at 8:34 of the third period. He has nine goals in 54 games with the Blades, after totalling seven in 113 over two seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Blades got insurance from F Max Gerlach (33), at 17:46, and F Cyle McNabb (6), into an empty net, at 19:41. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 24 shots for Saskatoon, 10 fewer than the Broncos’ Isaac Poulter. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley didn’t play after the first period, while Saskatoon F Kirby Dach, who will be a first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, left late in the second period after being struck by a puck in the throat area. A Blades official told Taking Note last night that Dach “will be fine” and that taking him out of the game was “precautionary.”


F Cole Fonstad broke a 5-5 tie at 13:32 of the third period as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertbeat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge. . . . Prince Albert (45-7-2) has won four in a row. It leads the Eastern Conference by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Lethbridge (27-16-10) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The victory provided Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid with the 500th regular-season victory of his WHL career. . . . For someone who played the game with offensive flair, it was only fitting that Habscheid’s milestone victory should come in a game with 11 goals. . . . F Jake Elmer (22) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 5:42 of the first period. . . . The Raiders responded with three straight goals, from F Eric Pearce (6), at 12:40; F Parker Kelly (25), on a PP, at 1:48 of the second period; and Fonstad, again, at 7:25. . . . Lethbridge roared back with three goals of its own, from D Ty Prefontaine (2), at 8:59; D Igor Merezhko (4), at 13:53; and F Jake Leschyshyn, at 16:24. . . . F Sean Montgomery (22) got the Raiders into a 4-4 tie at 18:50. . . . Leschyshyn broke the tie with his 31st goal, shorthanded, at 5:57 of the third period. . . . The Raiders tied it at 6:05 as F Ozzy Wiesblatt (22) scored, on a PP. . . . Fonstad won it with his 26th goal of the season. . . . One night earlier, Fonstad had two goals and three assists in an 8-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. He now has 60 points, including 26 goals, in 54 games. . . . F Nick Henry had three assists for Lethbridge. . . . With G Ian Scott given the night off, Boston Bilous started for the Raiders and made 29 stops, two fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . The Raiders also had F Tyson Laventure in their lineup. Laventure, who turned 16 on Jan. 28, is from Lloydminster, Alta., and plays for the OHA Edmonton prep team. He played in three games with the Raiders right before the Christmas break. Laventure was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders completed a three-game suspension by missing this one.


G Adam Evanoff stopped 47 shots to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Moose Jaw (30-13-8) has won two straight. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Red Deer (28-19-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. Red Deer also is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors have been outshot 98-46 in their last two games, and have won both games. They beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3 in OT on Friday night, despite being outshot, 50-25. . . . F Brayden Tracey (24) got Moose Jaw’s first goal, at 13:03 of the second period. . . . F Tristin Langan (39) made it 2-0 at 16:44. . . . F Brett Davis (17) got Red Deer’s goal, but it didn’t come until 19:19 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was credited with winning 46 of the game’s 71 faceoffs. . . . Evanoff now is 15-8-3, 2.54, .919. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel broke the franchise’s career record for assists when he earned No. 162 on Davis’s goal. The previous record had been held by F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Warriors D Jett Woo missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension.


D Lassi Thomson scored twice and added an assist to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-1 KelownaRocketsvictory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kelowna (23-26-5) has won two straight. It is third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and six ahead of Kamloops. . . . Kamloops (20-27-5) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kamloops is 4-2-1 in the season series; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . F Mark Liwiski gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 9:18 of the first period but he needed video review to do it. It looked like the puck went off his leg as he kicked at it, which is legal in the WHL if the player is outside the crease. The call on the ice was ‘no goal,’ but that was overturned on review, giving Liwiski his fifth goal in 10 games. . . . One night earlier, Liwiski’s appeared to make contact with Prince George G Taylor Gauthier’s head in the third period of a 3-3 game in Kelowna. Gauthier had to leave the game, with Tyler Brennan, 15, coming on to make his WHL debut. Shortly after, Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie, at 12:10, and that goal stood up as the winner. . . . Thomson made it 2-0 at 1:21 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Leif Mattson (19) upped it to 3-0, on another PP, at 9:38. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (20) got the Blazers’ goal, on a PP, with 0.9 showing on the clock. . . . Thomson put it away with an empty-netter at 19:58 of the third period. . . . An 18-year-old freshman from Finland, Thomson has 15 goals and 20 assists in 53 games. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-4. . . . The Rockets got 25 saves from G Roman Basran, while G Dylan Ferguson turned aside 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 draft, played in his seventh game of the season with Kamloops because F Ryley Appelt (finger) isn’t yet ready to return. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi sat out as he completed a two-game suspension.


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F Matthew Wedman scored at 3:18 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory Seattleover the Medicine Hat Tigers in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (21-26-6) had lost its previous two games. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-5) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers, who opened a U.S. Division swing with a 1-0 victory over the Everett Silvertips on Friday, held a 3-1 lead in this one. . . . They got their first goal from F James Hamblin (30), on a PP, at 8:15 of the first period. . . . F Andrej Kukuca tied it at 11:58 of the second. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Tyler Preziuso (19), at 18:18 of the second, and F Ryan Chyzowski (19), at 4:51 of the third. . . . Kukuca (18) pulled Seattle to within a goal at 10:18, and D Jake Lee (4) tied it at 13:15. . . . Wedman won it with his 27th goal of the season. . . . Kukuca also had two assists, meaning he was in on all four Seattle goals. . . . The 19-year-old Slovakian freshman has 43 points in 47 games. . . . F Ryan Jevne had three assists for the Tigers. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 27 shots for Seattle, with Medicine Hat getting 36 stops from Jordan Hollett. . . . Seattle was without D Simon Kubicek, who left in the first period of Friday’s game, and remains without F Nolan Volcan, the team captain.


F Jack Finley scored twice to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the visiting SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice. . . . Spokane (29-17-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Chiefs swept the season series, 5-0-0; Kootenay was 0-4-1. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (8) and Finley gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead, with goals at 3:08 and 5:47 of the first period. . . . D Martin Bodak got the Ice on the scoreboard at 7:03. . . . Spokane got the next two goals, from F Riley Woods (26), on a PP, at 9:04, and Finley (8), at 4:34 of the second period. . . . Bodak (8) scored again at 8:52. . . . D Bobby Russell (4) rounded out the scoring for the Chiefs, at 18:03. . . . Russell, who played last season with Kootenay, has scored three of his four goals against the Ice.


The Victoria Royals broke a 1-1 with five straight goals, four of them in the second VictoriaRoyalsperiod, en route to a 7-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Victoria (27-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets with two games in hand. . . . Tri-City (28-20-3) had won its previous three games. It is safely ensconced in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Igor Martynov (9) put the visitors out front at 3:21 of the first period. . . . F Connor Bouchard (5) tied it, on a PP at 9:23. . . . D Scott Walford (9) gave Victoria the lead back, at 11:41 of the first. . . . The Royals then took control on second period goals from F Phillip Schultz (12), at 5:06; F D-Jay Jerome, at 5:06 and again at 6:19; and F Kaid Oliver (23), at 17:06. The last two goals were via the PP. . . . Jerome now has 21 goals. Last season, he finished with one assist in 44 games — 31 with the Prince Albert Raiders and 13 with Victoria. This season, he has 37 points in 52 games. . . . In the third period, the Americans got goals from F Will Kushniryk (2), F Riley Sawchuk (6), while shorthanded, and F Samuel Huo (5). . . . F Kody McDonald (13) had Victoria’s other goal, on a PP. . . . Victoria was 3-6 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-2. . . . The Royals got three assists from D Jameson Murray, with Schultz adding two to his goal, and Jerome picking up one for a three-point night. . . . The Americans lost D Dom Schmiemann at 7:30 of the third period when he was given a major and game misconduct for becoming involved in a one-man fight. Chances are he will get a two-game suspension from the WHL.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to record his sixth shutout of the season as the host EverettEverett Silvertips beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-0. . . . Everett (38-13-2) leads the U.S Division by seven points over Portland. . . . With the victory, Everett clinched a playoff spot for the 16th straight season, meaning it has been in the playoffs in every season that it has been in the WHL. . . . The Winterhawks (33-16-5) are seven points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett leads the season series, 6-3-0; Portland is 3-5-1. . . . After a scoreless first period, the Silvertips struck four times in the second, including twice on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . D Jake Christensen got it started, on a PP, at 5:31. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (30) scored while shorthanded at 14:27, and F Max Patterson (13) made it 3-0 on a PP at 18:49. . . . Christensen scored Everett’s last two goals, at 19:26 of the second and 8:08 of the third, the latter coming via a PP. He’s got 12 goals. . . . Not only did Christensen score his first career hat trick, it was the first three-goal game by a defenceman in franchise history. . . . F Zack Andrusiak helped out with three assists. . . . Wolf now has 10 career shutouts. This season, he leads the WHL in victories (34), GAA (1.77), save percentage (.933) and shutouts (6). . . . Portland was shut out for the first time this season. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 48 shots for Portland, which remains without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . The Winterhawks lost D Brendan De Jong to an apparent left knee injury in the first period. He wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice following a hit into the end boards in Portland’s zone.

Habscheid eighth WHL coach to 500 wins . . . Celebrates with chocolate sundae . . . Sutter should be next to milestone

MacBeth

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a contract for the rest of this season with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and 31 assists in 44 games with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2).


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Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth coach in WHL history with 500 regular-season victories as his club beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge PrinceAlberton Saturday night.

Habscheid, a 55-year-old native of Swift Current, went into this season with 456 victories. The Raiders, who have the WHL’s best record, now are 45-7-2. Habscheid missed a Jan. 22 game — the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, in Victoria — while at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.

How did Habscheid celebrate last night? The Hurricanes stopped at a Dairy Queen. “I had a large chocolate sundae,” Habscheid told Taking Note. “The boys got whatever they wanted. Best $180 I ever spent.”

As for the picture in the above tweet, Habscheid said: “The picture with my boys will be with me forever.” If you look at the photo, that’s Habscheid wearing the top hat that is awarded to the team’s player of the game.

Habscheid coached in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins and Victoria Royals before signing on with the Raiders as a midseason replacement for Cory Clouston in 2014-15.

On Saturday, Habscheid coached in his 995th regular-season game. He is en route to becoming the eighth head coach in WHL history to reach the 1,000-game mark.

The Raiders next are to play on Wednesday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos.

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, is No. 1 in victories (750), while former Portland head coach Ken Hodge is tops in games coached (1,364).

This season, on his way to No. 500, Habscheid has passed Dean Clark, Kelly McCrimmon, Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt, all former coaches, as well as Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels.

Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Rebels, will be the next to 500. With the Rebels at 28-19-4, Sutter now has 495 regular-season victories.

——

THE WHL’S 500 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500


With G Jack McNaughton having been injured on Friday night, the Calgary Hitmen have Calgaryagain added G Brayden Peters to their roster. . . . McNaughton was hurt when he ventured out to the hashmarks after a loose puck and was involved in a first-period collision with F Brett Leason of the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. Both players left the game, which the Raiders won, 8-2, and didn’t return. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes and had been up with the Hitmen previously to backup McNaughton with Carl Stankowski injured. . . . Stankowski is back now and will carry the load with McNaughton out, starting today against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

——

Meanwhile, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who was involved in that collision with Calgary Hitmen G Jack McNaughton, sat out Saturday night’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes.

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told play-by-play man Trevor Redden that Leason is “nicked up . . . but it’s nothing earth-shattering and we’ll provide him with a bit of rest.”

The Raiders also scratched G Ian Scott, giving him a night off, and had Brett Balas up from the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks to back up Boston Bilous. . . . Balas, who turned 18 on Jan. 31, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Raiders earlier in the season, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871.

This may have been the first time in WHL history that a team had a B.B. in goal and a B.B. on the bench.


F Conner Bruggen-Cate was welcomed with open mouths, as opposed to open arms, on Saturday night when his Kelowna Rockets met the Blazers in Kamloops.

These two teams played in Kelowna on Feb. 2 and, yes, something happened. Whatever it was it resulted in two-game suspensions to Bruggen-Cate and Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL said were his “actions.” Those “actions” appeared to set off Oyebuchi, who tried to get at Bruggen-Cate, who chose not to engage. Onyebuchi was suspended for a one-man fight.

Had the WHL suspended each player for three games, neither would have been eligible to play on Saturday night.

As it was, Onyebuchi completed his sentence, while Bruggen-Cate was in the Rockets’ lineup.

The announced crowd of 3,365 didn’t seem too aware of Bruggen-Cate’s presence until early in the second period when he was booed while on an early power play. The boos turned to cheers less than two minutes later when he was penalized for interference.

From that point on, he was booed most times he touched the puck, but he turned the boos to cheers, again with another interference penalty late in the period.

The 19-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., got the last laugh, however, as the Rockets won the game, 4-1.

As for what happened on the ice on Feb. 2, well, no one’s talking. It’s almost as though the WHL implemented a gag rule.

On Friday night, Jo Hendricks, a frequent anthem singer at Blazers games, performed while wearing an Onyebuchi sweater. Without the rugged defenceman, the Blazers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants.


The visiting WHL teams at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will notice a new look in their dressing room next season. The KeyArena in Seattle will be undergoing huge renovations in anticipation of the arrival of an NHL expansion team, so the Seattle University Redhawks men’s basketball team is expected to play a handful of games in Kent. University officials have asked that the visitors’ dressing room be painted in the team colours, and the arena operators have agreed. . . . Meanwhile, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, which also plays in KeyArena, will play five home games in Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, the home of the Silvertips. But the Storm season doesn’t begin until May, so the Silvertips shouldn’t be affected. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has those tidbits and more in a story detailing the ShoWare Center’s 2018 finances, and it’s all right here.


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Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third

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If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.


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The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.


The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.


The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.


G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.


G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.


The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.


G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


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Report: WHL looking at Kamloops-Kelowna incident . . . Discipline handed out from Saturday games . . . Stankowski ready to play again


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CFJC-TV in Kamloops reported late Monday afternoon that the WHL “is looking into an incident in the third period of Saturday night’s game in Kelowna between the Rockets whland Kamloops Blazers.”

The Rockets won the game, 2-1 in OT.

At 2:09 of the third period, D Montana Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct after he went after F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Rockets, who wasn’t penalized.

According to CFJC-TV, the WHL “is trying to find out what set off Onyebuchi that led to the one-sided fight.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Onyebuchi, whose father is from Nigeria, is from Dugald, Man. The 18-year-old is in his third WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 8, 2018. The Silvertips had selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bruggen-Cate, 19, is from Langley, B.C. He is in his third full season with the Rockets after being a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had a busy Monday as three players were suspended and one coach was fined, all the result of incidents in games played on Saturday night.

F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings will sit for four games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:33 of the third period of their 4-3 OT victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Neighbours was playing his first game after having missed a dozen with an undisclosed injury.

F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders drew a three-game suspension after he became embroiled in a fracas at the final buzzer of their 4-3 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Nachbaur ended up with a fighting major and game misconduct after becoming involved with F Tristin Langan of the Warriors.

Langan was suspended for one game for his game misconduct. According to the online scoresheet, Langan was given a minor penalty for checking from behind at 18:53 of the third period. Shortly after, he was hit with a minor for leaving the penalty box, a fighting major and a game misconduct.

Neighbours and Nachbaur began serving their suspensions on Monday night as the Raiders played in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, even though there isn’t anything on the online scoresheet to indicate it, it seems that Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, was given a game misconduct at the conclusion of their 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. He now has been fined $750 for that transgression.


The Calgary Hitmen have activated G Carl Stankowski, so have returned G Brayden CalgaryPeters to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879, but has been out since Nov. 23 with an ankle injury. He missed all of last season while with the Seattle Thunderbirds, due to injury and health issues. The Hitmen acquired him from Seattle on Aug. 7. . . . In 2016-17, Stankowski, then 16, stepped in as the playoffs began and backstopped the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Peters got into one game during his stint with the Hitmen, going the distance in a 6-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Jan. 30. . . .

The Hitmen also have added D Tyson Galloway, 16, to their roster. From Kamloops, Galloway has 12 assists in 32 games with the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s Thompson Blazers. The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

The Hitmen are next scheduled to play on Wednesday when they entertain the Regina Pats.


Representatives of the Grant MacEwan U Griffins and Trinity Western U Spartans men’s hockey teams will present their cases today in the hopes of being admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

Canada West is an eight-team conference that features eight teams from schools in Canada’s four western-most provinces.

Both schools are members of U Sports, the governing body for university athletics in Canada, but the men’s hockey teams have played in other leagues, the Spartans in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and the Griffins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

The Griffins, who are based in Edmonton, have won the ACAC’s last two playoff titles. The Spartans are the BCIHL’s defending champions.

Adding the two schools would bring Canada West men’s hockey to 10 teams, the others being the Alberta Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos, Lethbridge Pronghorns, Manitoba Bisons, Mount Royal Cougars, Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds.


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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Prince Albert (43-7-2) has won two in a row. The PrinceAlbertRaiders lead the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Edmonton (29-16-8) had won its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Raiders, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert won the season series, 3-1-0; Edmonton was 1-2-1. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (11) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:00 of the first period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (23) tied it, on a PP, 37 seconds into the second period. . . . The Raiders responded with two goals in the second period and two in the third. . . . F Parker Kelly (24) broke the tie, on another PP, at 4:04 of the second, with Leason (33) making it 3-1 at 9:13. . . . F Jakob Brook (5) upped it to 4-1 at 5:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (22) rounded out the scoring at 10:53. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-3. . . . The Raiders got 25 saves from G Ian Scott, while Todd Scott turned aside 41 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert F Sean Montgomery, who had one assist, played in his 330th regular-season game, all with the Raiders. That ties the franchise record (F Brett Novak, 2000-06) for franchise’s career games played mark, at 330. . . . Montgomery has 133 points, including 64 goals, in those 330 games. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who was acquired by the Raiders from the Victoria Royals at the trade deadline, played in his 300th regular-season game and drew two assists. Hannoun has played 14 games with the Raiders after getting into 286 with the Royals. He has 262 points, including 103 goals, in his career.


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