Comings, goings and happenings . . . and now back to baseball and The Border

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well, I’ve been right here. I am taking some time away from writing, just taking a break. . . . I also have cracked open The Border, the third book in author Don Winslow’s terrific trilogy about, yes, the U.S.-Mexico border and a whole lot more. So I have been spending some time with Art Keller (hey, Google is your friend). . . . If you haven’t read the trilogy, start with The Dogs of War, then move on to The Cartel. After that you’ll be ready for The Border. . . . A warning though — this stuff is gritty. . . .

Some stuff has happened over the last few days, so what follows is a summary. No, I’m not back on a daily basis. Not yet. . . . You see, I’m only halfway through The Border. . . .


MacBeth

F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Csíkszereda Miercurea Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he put up 42 goals and 43 assists in 61 games. He was tied for the league lead in goals and was second in points. . . .

D Brenden Kichton (Spokane, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga), he had eight goals and 15 assists in 46 games. . . .

F Lukáš Králík (Victoria, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Nový Jičín (Czech Republic, 2. Liga). Last season, in 28 games with Draci Šumperk (Czech Republic, 2. Liga), he had seven goals and four assists. . . .

D Matt Pufahl (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Everett, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), he had one assist in six games. He also had one goal and one assist in 26 games with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . . The Glasgow press release states that Pufahl will enrol in the MBA program at Glasgow Caledonian University while playing for the Clan. . . .

F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), he had 29 goals and 31 assists in 70 games. He led the team in goals and points, and was tied for the lead in assists. . . .

F Michael Burns (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-12) has signed a try-out contract with the Hannover Indians (Germany, Oberliga Nord). He didn’t play last season. In summer 2018, with the Sydney Bears (Australia, AIHL), he had five goals and five assists in nine games. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Cortina (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, in 45 games with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had five goals and 13 assists. . . .

F Austin Carroll (Victoria, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 45 games. On loan to the Manitoba Moose (AHL), he had one goal in seven games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a one-year contract with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games; he was an alternate captain. . . . He was traded to Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL) on Dec. 26, and had five goals and four assists in 19 games. . . .

F Jim O’Brien (Seattle, 2007-09) has signed a one-year contract with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Belleville Senators (AHL), he had one goal and two assists in 11 games. . . .

F R.J. Reed (Vancouver, Prince Albert, 2010-11) has signed a one-year contract with Diez-Limburg (Germany, Regionalliga West). Last season, with the Nijmegen Devils (Netherlands, BeNeLiga), he had 33 goals and 17 assists in 19 games. He led the team in goals and was second in points. He was third in the league in goals. . . .

D Brendan Mikkelson (Portland, Vancouver, 2003-07) has signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 47 games with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he had six goals and eight assists in 47 games.


ThisThat

The Kamloops Blazers have signed Shaun Clouston as their head coach, replacing Serge Lajoie who was one-and-done. Clouston arrives in Kamloops after spending 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He was dismissed as general manager and head coach on Kamloops1May 30 so that the Tigers could bring back Willie Desjardins to fill both roles. . . . The Blazers also named co-owner Darryl Sydor an associate coach. He was named an assistant coach on Feb. 12. . . .

A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Clouston for not ducking questions about what happened in Medicine Hat. The Tigers announced his departure in a three-paragraph news release in which the team said they and Clouston “have parted ways.” . . . Clouston told reporters in Kamloops on Wednesday that he was in shock — he likened it to a “punch in the stomach” — when the Tigers dumped him. . . .

The Blazers didn’t announce any terms of their contract with Clouston, but you have to think it is at least four years in length. After all, they originally offered Kyle Gustafson a four-year deal, only to have him choose to remain with the Portland Winterhawks as associate coach and assistant GM. The offer to Gustafson was made before Clouston’s time ran out in The Hat. . . .

What makes things interesting in Kamloops is Sydor’s presence as associate coach. He also is one of the team’s five co-owners and hasn’t hidden his desire to be a WHL head coach. Sydor has never been a head coach, but has ample experience as an NHL assistant coach, having worked with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. . . .

With the Blazers having hired Clouston, it leaves the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs as the only WHL teams still searching for head coaches. . . . The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers have a announced the hiring of Jim Playfair as an associate coach under head coach Dave Tippett. There continues to be speculation that Mark Lamb, presently the Cougars’ general manager, could be joining the Oilers as an assistant coach. He has a long history with Tippett.


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A couple of notes from Postmedia’s Jim Matheson:

“Connor McDavid’s junior coach Kris Knoblauch lost out for the Columbus farm team head job in Cleveland to Mike Eaves. . . . Hearing Los Angeles head coach Todd McLellan would have hired his other Oilers assistant Manny Viveiros, but there’s only room for two assistants for budgetary reasons. Viveiros is very much in running for an assistant’s job in Ottawa, though. No surprise Trent Yawney, who’ll look after L.A.’s defence, is joining McLellan again.”



I watched most of the Minnesota Twins’ 17-inning victory over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. One night later, Dick Bremer, the TV play-by-play voice of the Twins, passed along some interesting numbers. In a nine-inning game, he said, MLB teams will go through between six and 18 dozen baseballs. On Tuesday, in a game that included 487 pitches, they used up 27 dozen baseballs. . . . That’s a lot of souvenirs!


Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos for the past nine seasons, will be the new play-by-play voice of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, according to Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner. . . . According to Davies, Mullin will replace Rob Snoek of Extra 90.5FM. Snoek told Davies that he won’t be back and that “it wasn’t my decision.” . . . Davies’ story is right here.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F D-Jay Jerome, 20, from the Victoria Royals Lethbridgefor a pair of unspecified conditional bantam draft picks, one in 2021 and the other in 2022. Jerome is from Lethbridge. . . . Other 20-year-olds on Lethbridge’s roster include D Koletrane Wilson, D Ty Prefontaine, F Scott Mahovlich and F Zach Cox. F Jake Leschyshyn, F Jordy Bellerive and F Nick Henry also are 1999-born players, but are likely to begin their pro careers in the fall. . . .

The Royals also lost D Jake Kustra, 20, on waivers to the Swift Current Broncos. Kustra played under Broncos head coach Dean Brockman when both were with the Saskatoon VictoriaRoyalsBlades. . . . With Kustra, the Broncos have three 20-year-olds on their roster, the others being F Ian Briscoe and F Ethan O’Rourke. . . .

Having trade away Jerome and placed Kustra on waivers, Victoria has six 20s on its roster — D Will Warm, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on June 13, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, who is from Victoria, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford and G Shane Farkas, an offseason acquisition from the Portland Winterhawks. . . .

Meanwhile, the Broncos have signed F Mat Ward to a WHL contract. From Kamloops, he was the 14th overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have waived F Zach Russell, 20. He got into 36 games with them last season. Earlier, the Oil Kings had dealt D Will Warm, 20, to the Victoria Royals. . . . The Oil Kings are left with four 20s on their roster — F Riley Sawchuk, who was acquired from the Tri-City Americans on May 16, G Dylan Myskiw, D Conner McDonald and D Parker Gavlas. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky also is 20, but is likely to begin his pro career in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ organization.


Bart


An interesting note from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot: “Bob Molinaro in the Hampton-Roads Virginian-Pilot: “Forbes has put out another list of the highest-paid athletes. It’s the usual dull cluster of dollar signs and numbers, but with one amusing twist. Strictly by salary, Tom Brady ranks fifth on the list — among Boston athletes alone. The top paid Beantown jock is Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, followed by teammates Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Red Sox left-hander David Price slips into fourth place. Not taken into account is the cash value of six Super Bowl rings.”


The Kamloops Blazers are down to three 20-year-olds with F Travis Walton having cleared WHL waivers and signed with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. . . . Walton had nine goals and nine assists in 48 regular-season games over three seasons with the Blazers. . . . The 20s remaining on the Blazers’ roster are F Zane Franklin, F Kobe Mohr and D Jackson Caller. . . .

Meanwhile, the Blazers announced Thursday that they have signed Colin (Toledo) Robinson, their trainer, to a contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. . . . Robinson has been with the Blazers since then GM/head coach Dean Clark signed him in 2005. Robinson is prepping for his 25th WHL season, having also worked for the Swift Current Broncos and Vancouver Giants.


The Prince Albert Raiders named Curt Brownlee as their director of player personnel. He has been with the Raiders since 2011 when he signed on as a scout. He takes over from the late Ron Gunville, who died in December.


There is zero chance of the Tampa Bay Rays splitting their American League seasons between the Florida city and Montreal. None. Zilch. Nada. . . . This is simply a cheap way for the Rays to try and pressure their way to a new ballpark in Tampa.


If you’re wondering about the costs of operating a junior A hockey team, consider this from Michael Reeve of radio station Q101.1 from the AGM of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials:

“Beth Nadeau, the team’s treasurer, provided an update on last (season’s) financials. While the team’s expenses came in at approximately the same amount as last (season), this (season’s) revenue was down close to $23,000. All of that resulted in the team losing $95,644.68 last (season), up from a loss of $75,329.99 the season before.”

Meanwhile, the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders held their AGM on Wednesday night and reported a deficit of $6,402.95. The Stampeders had a long playoff run or it would have been a lot worse. . . . For more, check out Benny Walchuk’s blog right here.


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Clouston in Blazers’ coaching hunt. . . . Mikhalchuk signs with KHL team. . . . Czech U-20 team into summer camp

MacBeth

F Tanner Eberle (Moose Jaw, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). This season, in 57 games, he had nine goals and 17 assists. . . .

D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had two goals and eight assists in 36 games. . . .

F Reid Petryk (Medicine Hat, Everett, Edmonton, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen). This season, with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), he had 19 goals and 25 assists in 52 games. On loan to the Chicago Wolves (AHL), he had one goal in seven games. . . .

D Aaron Irving (Edmonton, Everett, 2012-17) has signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). This season, in 47 games with Storhamar Hamar (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 12 goals and 26 assists. He led the league in goals by a defenceman. . . .

D Ben Betker (Portland, Everett, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), he had one goal and four assists in 15 games, and he had three goals and four assists in 22 games with Detva (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . . Zvolen’s head coach is Andrej Podkonický (Portland, 1996-98). . . .

F Cody Fowlie (Everett, Kelowna, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). This season, with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 71 games. . . .

F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (Prince George, 2017-19) has signed a one-year, two-way contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). This season, with the Prince George Cougars (WHL), he had 25 goals and 25 assists in 68 games. He led the team in points.


ThisThat

If you are a follower of the Kamloops Blazers and you are wondering who will be their next head coach . . . well . . . you can move Shaun Clouston up near the top of the list, Kamloops1maybe even into the top slot.

Clouston, 51, was dumped by the Medicine Hat Tigers on May 30 after spending 16 years in the organization, the last seven as general manager and head coach. He was the head coach for two seasons before that, and also worked as associate coach and assistant coach.

One day after Clouston was moved out, the Tigers announced the hiring of Willie Desjardins as GM/head coach. Clouston actually worked under Desjardins before succeeding him as the Tigers’ head coach.

Taking Note has been told that Clouston, who is from Viking, Alta., will be in Kamloops to meet with Blazers general manager Matt Bardsley at some point over the next day or two.

The Blazers have been without a head coach since parting company with Serge Lajoie on April 16 after just one season. He now is the head coach of the midget prep team at OHA Edmonton.

Clouston is the winningest head coach in Medicine Hat history, with 375 regular-season victories. He broke Desjardins’ record (323) on Dec. 30, 2017. Clouston also spent time as the head coach of the Tri-City Americans and finished this season with a total of 391 regular-season victories, leaving him 18th on the WHL’s all-time list.

With Clouston as the head coach, the Tigers made the playoffs in eight of nine seasons. They twice reached the Eastern Conference final (2011 and 2014). The only time Clouston missed the playoffs with the Tigers was in 2016 when they lost a tiebreaker game to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

When Clouston left the Tigers, he is believed to have had some time left on his contract — perhaps as much as two seasons.


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F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who led the Prince George Cougars in points this season, won’t PrinceGeorgebe returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. As you will have seen in The MacBeth Report, Mikhalchuk, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 16, has signed with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). . . . From Minsk, Belarus, Mikhalchuk played two seasons with the Cougars. He had 14 goals and 19 assists as a freshman, then added 25 of each this season. . . . Last season, the Cougars also had Czech F Matéj Toman on their roster. Toman, 18, had nine goals and 11 assists in his freshman season.


Dusty Imoo, a former WHL goaltender, is leaving the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings to work for Kunlun Red Star Beijing (KHL). Imoo worked in goaltending development with the Kings for four seasons. . . . Imoo had replaced Kim Dillabaugh, when he left the Kings to join the Philadelphia Flyers prior to the 2015-16 season. Dillabough had worked with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets before going to the NHL. . . . Former NHLer Curt Fraser, who is a family friend of Imoo’s, is Kunlun’s head coach. . . . Imoo played for the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats (1987-91). He went on to play nine seasons with the Seibu Bears Tokyo and four wit the Oji Eagles. Imoo played for Japan in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, and also played for Japan in three world championships.


Václav Varaďa is back for a second season as head coach of the Czech Republic’s U-20 team. Varada is a former WHL and NHL player. He skated with the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets for two seasons (1994-96), before going on to a pro career that included 493 NHL games. He has been coaching in Czech Republic since 2013-14. . . . Former NHLer Patrik Eliáš is back as an assistant coach, also for a second season. He played 1,240 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils. . . . The Czech U-20 team gathered in Jihlava on Monday to begin a summer training camp. Included on the camp roster are D Libor Zabransky, who began this season with the Kelowna Rockets and finished with the USHL’s Fargo Force, D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds, F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers and F Matéj Toman of the Prince George Cougars. . . . All told, four goaltenders, 16 defencemen and 24 forwards are on the camp roster. . . . It doesn’t include F Michal Kvasnica, 19. He played with the Portland Winterhawks in 2018-19, but spent this weekend in a camp being held by the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede.


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Cranbrook says ‘no’ to KIJHL team. . . . It’s official! Willie’s back in The Hat. . . . Scooter scoots into retirement. . . . Ice, Wheaties sign first-round picks


MacBeth

D Linden Springer (Prince George, Portland, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite), he had four goals and nine assists in 51 games. . . .

D Jason Fram (Spokane, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, in 28 games with the U of Alberta (USports, Canada West), he had nine goals and 21 assists. . . .

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had two goals and three assists in seven games. He didn’t sign with Villach until Feb. 9. . . .

F Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and five assists in 36 games.


ThisThat

A hearty welcome to all the new readers who have found us here over the past day or two. . . . Hope you enjoy what you find here and that you will spread the word. . . . Enjoy!


It would seem that the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League won’t be setting up kijhlshop in Cranbrook, at least not in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Taking Note was told on Thursday that a group of 10 investors had reached a deal in principle to purchase the junior B Kelowna Chiefs and move the franchise to Cranbrook. . . . The team would have played out of Western Financial Place, which had been home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice until that franchise moved to Winnipeg after its 2018-19 season ended. . . . The Ice’s lease with the City of Cranbrook runs through the 2022-23 season and a settlement hasn’t yet been negotiated. So the group had cut a deal with the Ice to sublease and, according to a source, the deal “guaranteed the city WHL rent for the next four years.” . . . However, the city rejected the sublease proposal late Thursday night, meaning the arena is one step close to not having a primary tenant for the 2019-20 season. . . .

“Our deadline for any relocation is May 31,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Jeff Johnson of The Drive FM in Cranbrook. “Because of the medical situation in Kelowna, we’re still looking at a possibility, but we need to get our scheduling done so the league is moving on as of (Friday).”

Grant Sheridan, the Chiefs’ president and general manager, was admitted to hospital late in March after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

As for a KIJHL team moving into Cranbrook, Martel said that isn’t likely to happen in the near future.

“There’s an existing rink deal with the former team, the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice,” he said. “So until that’s been negotiated and cleared up, no other junior team will be moving into Cranbrook as far as I’ve been told. But I have not been involved with any talk with the City of Cranbrook or anybody involved with that.”

Johnson’s story, along with a statement from The Chiefs, is all right here.


As expected, the Medicine Hat Tigers introduced Willie Desjardins as their new general manager and head coach on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing that Tigers Logo Officialthey had parted company with Shaun Clouston. . . . Clouston, 51, had been with the Tigers since 2003-04, working as an assistant coach and associate coach before succeeding Desjardins as head coach prior to the 2010-11 season. Clouston had been GM and head coach since 2012-13. . . . Desjardins’ contract terms weren’t revealed but you get the feeling that he has the job for as long as he wants. . . .

Desjardins, 62, spent three seasons (2002-05) as the Tigers’ head coach and five (2005-10) as GM/head coach. With Desjardins running things, the Tigers won WHL championships in 2004 and 2007. They also won four straight Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference championships and one Scotty Munro Trophy as the top regular-season team. . . . After leaving the Tigers, Desjardins spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, two as head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars, three as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, and one with Team Canada. This season, he took over as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in November, but was released at season’s end. . . .

One of Desjardins’ responsibilities may be to stop the bleeding at the gate. When the Tigers played in The Arena, regular-season games were sold out (4,006) for a number of seasons. The Tigers moved into the 7,100-seat Canalta Centre in time for the 2015-16 season. They average 4,248 fans for that season, but in subsequent seasons the attendance declined to 3,586, 3,295 and 3,121.

This season, the Tigers had announced attendances of fewer than 3,000 for 16 of their 34 homes games.

The Tigers finished 35-27-6 in what turned out to be Clouston’s final season as head coach. They made the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card team and lost a first-round series, 4-2, to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

In the previous three seasons in the Canalta Centre, the Tigers went 30-37-5, 51-20-1 and 36-28-8. They missed the playoffs in 2015-16, lost in the second round in 2016-17, and were ousted in the first round in 2017-18.


Dean (Scooter) Vrooman ended his 32-year career with the Portland Winterhawks on Friday by strolling off into retirement. . . . Vrooman joined the team in 1982 as its play-Portlandby-play voice and primary sponsorship salesperson, roles he held for 25 years. He left the organization briefly in 2007 to work in the banking industry. He returned to the Winterhawks in 2012 as the director of corporate sponsorships. . . . As the voice of the Winterhawks, Vrooman handled more than 2,000 games, including the 1982-83 and 1997-98 Memorial Cup championship seasons. . . . Of course, retirement doesn’t mean Vrooman won’t be somewhere near the Winterhawks at times. As he put it in a news release: “Overall, I have been a part of the organization for 32 years and I am going to be 66 years old in December so I thought this was the right time to move out of the realm of working full time in corporate sponsorships. I absolutely love the team and the WHL and will still be coming to a lot of games, perhaps helping out with some broadcasting occasionally, and working with the Winterhawks alumni and other isolated projects as they arise. I am so fortunate to have worked with so many great people, players, sponsors and fans for so many years.  It has been a lot of work, but it has also been a lot of fun.”


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers released two assistant coaches on Friday, both of them former WHL players and coaches. . . . Manny Viveiros spent one season with the Oilers Oilersafter working for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos director of player personnel and head coach. He helped lead the Broncos the WHL championship a year ago. Viveiros played four seasons (1982-86) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Trent Yawney, a veteran coach, also spent just one season with the Oilers, after working as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons. There is speculation that he could be joining the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Todd McLellan, who was fired by the Oilers early this season, is the Kings’ new head coach. . . . Yawney played three seasons (1982-85) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Glen Gulutzan will be staying with the Oilers as an assistant under new head coach Dave Tippett. Gulutzan has completed one season with the Oilers and working as the Calgary Flames’ head coach for two seasons. As a player, he skated for two seasons (1989-91) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1991-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . There is speculation that Jim Playfair will be joining the Oilers’ staff as an assistant coach. Playfair worked with Tippett for six seasons (2011-17) when the latter was the head coach of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.


The Regina Pats have signed Dale McMullin, their director of scouting, to an extension. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed, other than to report that it is a “multi-year extension.” . . . McMullin has been the Pats’ director of scouting for eight seasons. . . . Before joining the Pats, McMullin was part of the Red Deer Rebels’ scouting staff for nine seasons. . . . McMullin is a former WHL player, having put up 418 points, including 168 goals, in 309 games (1971-76) with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed F Conor Geekie to a WHL contract. Geekie, from Strathclair, Man., was the second-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had 49 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Yellowhead Chiefs. . . . His older brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans and now is in the AHL’s Calder Cup final with the Charlotte Checkers. Their father, Craig, played two seasons (1991-93) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1993-94) with the Spokane Chiefs.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings owned three first-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that was held in Red Deer on May 2. On Friday, the Wheat Kings announced the signings of all three players — F Nate Danielson, who was the fifth-overall pick, F Tyson Zimmer, who went sixth, and F Rylen Roersma, who was No. 16. . . . Danielson, from Red Deer, had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels and was named the Alberta league’s top forward and MVP. . . . Zimmer, from Russell, Man., played for the OHA bantam prep team in Penticton, putting up 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games. . . . Roersma, from Raymond, Alta., had 23 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Lethbridge Golden Hawks.

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With the signings announced Friday by the Winnipeg Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL teams have signed 12 of the 22 first-round selections from the 2019 bantam draft. Here’s a look at who has signed and who hasn’t . . .

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


The Kelowna Rockets have signed D Elias Carmichael to a WHL contract. From Langley, B.C., Carmichael was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 27 regular-season games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


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Tigers are moving on from Clouston after 16 seasons in organization. . . . Desjardins on way back to Medicine Hat bench

Shaun Clouston had been with the Medicine Hat Tigers for 16 seasons and was the winningest head coach in franchise history.

It all ended Thursday with a terse three-paragraph news release, saying only that the two Tigers Logo Officialparties had “parted ways.”

Shortly after the announcement was made, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Taking Note that Willie Desjardins would be returning to the Tigers, who have a news conference scheduled for this (Friday) morning.

Desjardins, 62, spent eight seasons (2002-10) with the Tigers, the first three as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach, before leaving to join the NHL’s Dallas Stars as an assistant coach.

He spent two seasons with Dallas, then worked for two seasons as the head coach of the Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars.

The Vancouver Canucks hired him as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season and he spent three seasons with them. In 2017-18, he worked as the head coach of Canada’s national team, including at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Desjardins finished this season as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, having been hired on Nov. 4 following the firing of head coach John Stevens just 13 games into the season. The Kings went 27-34-8 under Desjardins and missed the playoffs.

Desjardins also is involved with the South Alberta Hockey Academy that has partnered with the Prairie Rose School Division in Dunmore, just east of Medicine Hat.

When Desjardins left the Tigers, he was the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, with 323 regular-season victories. He also won 10 games as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in 1997-98, so his career regular-season total is at 333.

Clouston took over from Desjardins as head coach for 2010-11, then posted his 324th regular-season victory on Dec. 30, 2017. When this season ended, Clouston had 391 victories.

On Thursday, according to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Tigers media services manager Adam Jones told a news conference: “I think it really is a case of going a different direction. We’ve been doing the same thing for a lot of years and it’s time to try something new. As far as I know, everything was very mutual both ways.”

Clouston, now 51, played three seasons (1986-89) with the Portland Winterhawks, and was the team captain for the last two of those seasons. He returned to the Winterhawks as an assistant coach for 2001-02, then took over as the Tri-City Americans’ head coach for 2002-03, only to be replaced by general manager Bob Tory in midseason.

Clouston spent the next two seasons as an assistant coach under Desjardins with the Tigers, then was promoted to associate coach. When Desjardins left for Dallas, Clouston took over as head coach. He had been the general manager and head coach since 2012-13.

With Clouston in charge, the Tigers qualified for the playoffs in eight of nine seasons, twice reaching the Eastern Conference final. The one time they missed the postseason (2015-16), they lost a tiebreaker to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

——

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2018-19):

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) 509

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 500

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 391

19. Mike Johnston (Portland) 355

20. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


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Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

ThisThat

It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


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Habscheid, Sutter approach No. 500 . . . Almeida sinks Cougars in OT . . . Raiders post 40th victory


MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has signed a one-year contract extension with ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he is pointless in nine games with ZSC. On loan to the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B), he had five goals and 11 assists in 18 games, and on loan to the GCK Lions U20 Zurich (Switzerland, Elite Junior A), he had seven goals and five assists in five games.


ThisThat

Two long-time WHLers are running almost neck-and-neck as they move closer to becoming only the eighth and ninth head coaches with 500 regular-season victories.

Just one victory separates Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders and Brent Sutter whlof the Red Deer Rebels as they close in on the milestone.

Habscheid, whose Raiders are into their 14th consecutive week as the top-ranked team in the CHL, has 495 victories. He wasn’t in Victoria on Tuesday night as the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, because he is in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game.

Habscheid, 55, has coached the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria and Prince Albert.

Sutter, 56, is at 494 victories. He is the owner, general manager and head coach in Red Deer and has spent his entire coaching career with the Rebels. Sutter missed one victory earlier this season because he was on a fathers’ junket with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. His son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the career record for victories (750), having passed Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland, 742) last season while the head coach of the Blazers.

After Habscheid and Sutter, the current head coaches with the most regular-season victories are Shaun Clouston of the Medicine Hat Tigers, at 382, and Portland’s Mike Johnston, with 342.


The Prince George Cougars were without F Josh Maser on Tuesday as they dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Maser was serving the first of a three-PrinceGeorgegame suspension handed down earlier in the day. He was suspended under supplemental discipline for an unpenalized hit on Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann during the Blazers’ 3-2 OT victory in Prince George on Sunday. On the WHL’s weekly roster report, Schmiemann is listed as being out for a week. . . . Why did the Blazers file for supplemental discipline? . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV that “it was a situation and a play that should’ve been called on the ice, should’ve been penalized. To what extent in the heat of the battle, you never know, but upon watching video I think it’s something we want to make sure we’re continuing to educate our players that that’s a dangerous play.” . . . As for the length of the suspension, Lajoie also told Klassen: “Three games. I’m not going to judge on that, but I’ve seen our players, for similar players, get more games.” . . . The Blazers have had two players suspended for more than three games for high hits this season. F Jermaine Loewen got four games after hitting D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 5 in Kamloops. Quigley missed three games. F/D Jeff Faith drew a five-game suspension under supplemental for an unpenalized hit on D Remy Aquilon of the host Victoria Royals on Jan. 9. Aquilon hasn’t played since absorbing that hit.


F Dylan James, 15, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he has committed to the U of North Dakota where he will play for the Fighting Hawks. He is the first player born in 2003 to commit to UND. . . . From Calgary, he was a second-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. James, who won’t turn 16 until Oct. 12, has 14 goals and 12 assists with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Last season, he put up 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Jacob Wright to a WHL contract. Wright, 16, is a list player from Langley, B.C. He has 11 goals and 23 assists in 24 games with the B.C. Major Midget League’s Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed G Brett Mirwald to a WHL contract. Mirwald, 15, is from Saskatoon. He was selected in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, with the midget AAA Saskaton Blazers, he is 14-2-0, 2.11, .910, with three shutouts in 17 appearances.


The junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has named Mike Wilson as its head coach, replacing Cam Basarab. . . . Wilson is familiar with Campbell River, having been the associate coach for two seasons (2015-17). . . . Basarab had been the head coach — he moved up from assistant coach — since early November following the departure of GM/head coach Lee Stone. Assistant coach Bill Brett took over as the GM. . . . The Storm is 27-9-3 and leads the North Division by 23 points over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Justin Almeida scored 30 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Moose Jaw (25-11-8) has points in five straight games (4-0-1), all on a trip through the B.C. Division. The Warriors are third in the East Division, four points behind Saskatoon with three games in hand. . . . Prince George (16-24-5) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is two points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ilijah Collins (6), at 18:07 of the first period, and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (16), at 3:51 of the second. . . . F Tristin Langan (37) pulled the visitors to within a goal at 7:12, and D Jett Woo (10) tied it at 6:14 of the third period. . . . Almeida won it with his 15th goal, off assists from Langan and D Josh Brook, who finished with two helpers. Almeida, from Kitimat, B.C., began his WHL career by playing 87 games with the Cougars, who had selected him fifth overall in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The Cougars had a 25-16 edge in shots, and won 31 of 50 faceoffs. . . . The game featured one minor penalty, that to Moose Jaw D Drae Gardiner for slashing at 9:59 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 23 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, from the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg on the bench in support of starter Isaiah DiLaura. Brennan was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Taylor Gauthier, the Cougars’ other goaltender, is at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.


F Nolan Volcan broke a 1-1 tie just 24 seconds into the second period as the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 2-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (17-21-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and Prince George. . . . Spokane has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland and two ahead of Tri-City. . . . F Matthew Wedman (18) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 4:07 of the first period. . . . Spokane tied it at 19:44 when F Jake McGrew (19) scored on a PP. . . . Volcan’s 18th goal, with Wedman drawing the lone assist, stood up as the winner. . . . G Roddy Ross blocked 34 shots in his first home start for Seattle, two more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . Ross was making his sixth appearance with Seattle since joining the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. He is 4-0-1, 2.11, .926. . . . The Chiefs were without F Luc Smith, who left the club following a death in his family. He is expected back in time to play Friday in Kamloops. . . . F Cordel Larson, who left the ice on a stretcher the last time the Chiefs played, on Saturday night, made the trip to Kent with his teammates but won’t play for at least a week. He’s fine, but needs time to recover from the trauma and some soreness. . . . Seattle F Jake Lee missed this game as he is in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game.


The Prince Albert Raiders got out to a 2-0 first-period lead and never looked back as they PrinceAlbertskated to a 4-1 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Prince Albert (40-5-2) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is 3-0-1 in the B.C. Division swing that wraps up Thursday against the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. That game is to be televised by Sportsnet. . . . The Raiders, who last won 40 games in one season in 1998-99, lead the overall standings by 14 points over Everett. . . . Victoria (23-20-1) is second in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kelowna. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (13) got the Raiders started, on a PP, at 15:02, with F Sean Montgomery adding his 20th goal just 47 seconds later. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (18) scored for Victoria at 1:00 of the second period only to have F Cole Fonstad (18) get that one back at 4:27. . . . D Max Martin (6) finished the scoring, on a PP, at 8:52 of the third period. . . . The Raiders were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 0-5. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots for Prince Albert, seven fewer than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . Outhouse’s night included a right-pad stop on a third-period penalty shot by F Parker Kelly. . . . The Raiders were without head coach Marc Habscheid and F Brett Leason, both of whom are in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game. . . . In Habscheid’s absence, associate coach Jeff Truitt ran the bench and recorded his 136th victory as a head coach. That includes stints with the Kelowna Rockets and Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Loeden Schaufler, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 10, played his first game with the Raiders.


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Scattershooting on a doink-doink NFL Sunday . . . ‘Canes move to top of division . . . Miner digging second shutout

Scattershooting


Thanks to friend Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) for passing along the link to Gene Collier’s annual Trite Trophy-related column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. . . . This is the 35th annual and Collier starts it with this:

“Some in our cherished audience might find it unfathomable that the Trite Trophy has been around for 35 years, but all I need for confirmation is to Look In The Mirror, where the ravages delivered by three-and-half decades of cliché wrangling are mercilessly evident.

“It’s Not A Good Look.”

It seems that Collier isn’t much of a hockey guy, so “good stick,” “compete level” and “200-foot player” didn’t make the cut.

What did make it is all right here. Enjoy!


“I’m not saying Houston Rockets star James Harden travels a lot,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “He just plays basketball like it’s a good walk spoiled.”

——

One more from Currie: “World Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is reportedly a major celebrity at home in Norway. And good news ladies, he isn’t married — although he has been mated.



When the Kootenay Ice visits Brandon on Jan. 18, the Wheat Kings are holding a promotion involving the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Surely it’s only a coincidence that the Ice, who appear headed to Winnipeg after this season, will provide the opposition on that particular night. . . . World-class marketing, or trolling?


If you haven’t already done it, you need to make Patti Dawn Swansson’s blog — The River City Renegade — a regular part of your Sunday morning.

Here’s a snippet from the latest posting:

“The Lord of Loud, Donald S. Cherry, weighed in on Canada’s demise at the world junior tourney during the Coachless Corner segment of HNIC, suggesting that our guys were beaten as payback for running up the score (14-zip) vs. Denmark. ‘You don’t beat them down like that or you pay the price,’ he said. ‘I’ve said it before, the hockey gods will get you or karma will get you.’ If karma has anything to say about it, Grapes will be wearing nothing but a loin cloth in his next life as punishment for those gawdawful suits he exposes us to on Saturday nights.”

It’s all right here.



A note from Brad Dickson on the topic of social media: “If Albert Einstein posted his brand new Theory of Relativity on Facebook it’d probably receive about 3 or 4 ‘likes’. If he then posted a photo of the Einsteins with the family dog it’d get 400 ‘likes’.”



When I worked at the Winnipeg Tribune in the mid-1970s, Bob Picken was The Voice. . . . These days, writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, “The Voice remains unmistakable, if a little weaker than it was in its prime.” . . . Picken was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September. “I will live out my days as best they are and I will be very grateful for what God has given me,” the man we all know as Pick says. . . . Friesen’s piece is right here. If you read one thing on the Internet today, this should be it. . . . Farewell, Pick!


“Los Angeles Chargers guard Forrest Lamp gave each of his teammates — drum roll, please — lamps for Christmas,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, teammate Davon House didn’t think of it first.”


shoes


After some people noticed that Kendall Jenner was missing from the Kardashian Christmas photo, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg noted: “And we thought things couldn’t get worse than with the government shutdown.”


If you didn’t notice, things were a big soap opera-ish with the Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch. As tight end Jesse James told Penn Live: “Ah man, we are — Kardashians.”



ThisThat

There’s nothing like a good sporting rivalry and it seems that things are very much alive with the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

The Raiders, the top-ranked team in the 60-team CHL, beat the visiting Blades, 5-2, on whlSaturday night.

After the game, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, gave Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner an assist.

Habscheid said that Priestner, according to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, “has gone around saying that the Blades are the superior team over the Raiders, after the Blades’ recent trades.”

Habscheid told D’Andrea: “They added a little bit of motivation to us. It got back to us that their general manager . . . they’ve added some players and now he thinks they’re better than us. That added to our motivation, so thanks for that.”

When contacted by Taking Note, Priestner issued a blanket denial, and said he was shocked when he first heard Habscheid’s comments on the pregame show on Saskatoon radio station 98 COOL FM.

“I have no idea what the hell he is talking about,” the Blades’ GM said. “I’ve never once thought that let alone uttered it. I’ve also never heard a head coach mock another team’s GM on their own radio station out of the blue. It was kind of bizarre when I heard it driving to the game in PA. With the incredible roster his GM (Curtis Hunt) has given him, he really shouldn’t need to make up fake statements from me to get any wins.”

The Raiders (35-4-1) have the WHL’s best record. The Blades (24-12-5) are second in the East Division, 18 points behind the Raiders.

Prince Albert leads the eight-game season series, 5-1-0; the Blades are 1-4-1.

Unfortunately, these teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until March 15 and 16, the final weekend of the regular season, when they will play a home-and-home series.


Shaun Clouston, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, added Tigers Logo Officialsome clarity to the injury situation involving a couple of his forwards on Sunday.

Clouston told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that F Ryan Chyzowski suffered a skate cut near on knee on will be see a doctor today. Chyzowski was injured during a 4-3 loss to the host Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.

Clouston also told McCracken that F Hayden Ostir, who suffered a knee injury during a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Friday, is likely to be gone longer than Chyzowski.

The Tigers have two home games scheduled for the weekend — Friday against the Regina Pats and Saturday against the Edmonton Oil Kings.


If you enjoy what you see here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes moved into first place in the Central Division with a 5-2 Lethbridgevictory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Lethbridge (21-10-8) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Edmonton (21-14-7) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes have a one-point lead over the second-place Oil Kings, with the Red Deer Rebels and Medicine Hat Tigers three points off the pace. . . . Lethbridge won 47 of 69 faceoffs while being outshot, 41-26. . . . F Jalen Luypen (5) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes responded with three goals before the period ended, from F Dylan Cozens (23), on a PP, at 5:57; F Logan Barlage (10), at 8:23; and F Taylor Ross (23), at 16:06. . . . D Conner McDonald (9) pulled the home side to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:10 of the third. . . . Lethbridge responded with two more goals, from F Noah Boyko (4), on a PP, at 12:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (20), at 18:04. . . . Cozens also had two assists. . . . The Hurricanes got a big game out of G Liam Hughes, who finished with 39 stops.


F Andrej Kukuca and F Noah Philp each had two goals as the Seattle Thunderbirds Seattledoubled the host Regina Pats, 6-3. . . . Seattle (12-20-4) had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1), and now is 1-1-0 on a six-game East Division swing. It is five points away from a playoff spot now. . . . Regina (12-27-2) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Thunderbirds outshot the Pats, 47-22, including 20-4 in the first period and 16-6 in the third. . . . Kukuca, in his first game since playing for Slovakia at the WJC, opened the scoring at 7:34 of the second period. . . . F Robbie Holmes (9) tied it, on a PP, at 9:04. . . . F Matt Wedman (12) put Seattle back in front at 12:09. . . . Regina tied it, again, when F Sebastian Streu (2) scored, on a PP, at 18:30. . . . Seattle then outscored its hosts 4-1 in the third period. . . . Philp, who also had an assist, made it 3-2 at 1:54, only to have Regina F Riley Krane (8) tie it, on another PP, at 4:16. . . . The Thunderbirds then got two PP goals — from D Jarret Tyszka, at 8:59, and Kukuca (9), at 13:12. . . . Philp, who has 15 goals, completed the scoring at 17:52. . . . Regina got 41 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . The Pats were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having lost 2-1 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday and 1-0 in Swift Current on Saturday. . . . G Roddy Ross, 18, made his first start for Seattle and earned the victory with 19 saves. He had signed with Seattle on Tuesday after playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . F Henry Rybinski, who had an assist, and F Michael Horon, both 17, made their Seattle debuts. Rybinski was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, while Horon joined the Thunderbirds last week from the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. Seattle acquired him from the WHL’s Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . Among Seattle’s scratches were D Cade McNelly (suspended), F Sean Richards (suspended), F Dillon Hamaliuk, who won’t play again this season, and D Loeden Schaufler.


The host Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Brandon SaskatoonWheat Kings, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (25-12-5) is second in the East Division, seven points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Brandon (16-15-6) now is four points from a playoff spot. . . . The Blades were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They beat the visiting Regina Pats 2-1 in OT on Friday, then were beaten 5-2 by the Raiders in Prince Albert on Saturday. . . . F Ben McCartney (9) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Max Gerlach (24), at 3:52, and D Reece Harsch (3), at 7:30. That was Harsch’s first goal since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. This was his third game with the Blades. . . . F Luka Burzan (23) tied it, on a PP, at 19:16. . . . Saskatoon F Josh Paterson (13) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:27 of the second period. . . . The Blades iced it with two third-period goals from F Zach Huber (8), at 7:45, and D Emil Malysjev (2), into an empty net, at 19:26. . . . The Blades were credited with winning 39 of 55 faceoffs. . . . Brandon lost F Baron Thompson to a headshot major and game misconduct at 13:59 of the second period. Saskatoon D Majid Kaddoura, who took the head, left for repairs but returned to finish the game. . . . Brandon scratched  F Linden McCorrister, meaning the Wheat Kings were without any 20-year-olds. . . . The Blades again were without F Kiby Dach and D Nolan Kneen, both out with undisclosed injuries.


G Trent Miner stopped 24 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory over the VancouverKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Vancouver (24-12-2) had lost its previous four games. It finished a six-game Central Division trip at 2-4-0, and leads the B.C. Division by nine points over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kootenay (8-27-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Ice went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Milos Roman (17) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 4:11 of the first period and that’s all the visitors would need. . . . They also got goals from F Brayden Watts (9), F Jadon Joseph (13), F Dawson Holt (6), F Lukas Svejkovsky (4) and D Dallas Hines (5). . . . Hines, who was acquired from the Ice on Friday, scored the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:37 of the third period. . . . Trent posted his second career shutout, both of them coming this season. He is 11-3-1, 1.84, .933, in 16 appearances.


G Max Palaga turned aside 37 shots as the Everett Silvertips defeated the visiting EverettKamloops Blazers, 5-1. . . . Everett (31-8-2) has won two in a row; it also has won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (15-19-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers hold down the Western Conference’s second-wild card spot, four points ahead of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, who released him prior to this season and later dealt him to Everett for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. In seven appearances with the Silvertips, Palaga, 18, is 4-0-1, 1.56, .950. . . . The Silvertips scored the game’s first five goals, getting snipes from F Zack Andrusiak (29), D Wyatte Wylie (7), F Connor Dewar (28), F Conrad Mitchell (1) and D Gianni Fairbrother (5). . . . Mitchell’s first WHL goal came in his 26th game. He is a 17-year-old freshman from Thorsby, Alta. . . . F Max Patterson, who also is from Kamloops, had two assists. . . . F Brodi Stuart (12) scored for Kamloops at 13:48 of the third period. . . . The Blazers lost 4-1 to the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday, then beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets 4-1 on Saturday, Kamloops was back on its bus right after that game in order to get to Everett for this game, which started at 4 p.m. . . . Everett also was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours, having split a home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans on Friday and Saturday nights, losing the first one 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and then winning 4-1 at home. . . . Everett swept the season series with Kamloops, outscoring the Blazers, 23-6 in the process. In the four games, Everett was 11-20 on the PP and 11-12 on the penalty kill. . . . The way things are shaping up, these teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs.


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