Great Scott! Leafs sign goaltender . . . Hitmen run win streak to five . . . Silvertips win battle of division leaders

On the third day of our annual Christmas countdown, here’s two classics from the great Darlene Love. . . . From David Letterman’s show in 2014, Christmas (Baby Please Come) is right here. . . . Another favourite, All Alone for Christmas, is right here.


MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) after Severstal bought his rights from Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). With Tyumen, he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. . . . Babenko was pointless in a three-game trial with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) earlier this season. Dynamo offered him a contract after the trial but Babenko didn’t like the role Dynamo had planned for him and rejected the offer. . . .

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) for financial reasons. He had two goals and four assists in 24 games. . . . Medveščak also released five other players for the same reason on Friday. Medveščak is in financial difficulties since losing its main sponsor last week. It has had to release 12 players as a result. The Austrian-based Erste Bank Liga has granted the club permission to replace these players but the replacements must have Croatian citizenship. . . . The Croatian Ice Hockey Federation and the City of Zagreb have promised support for the club so it may complete the season.


ThisThat

G Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Torontothe Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . The announcement was made with Scott in Victoria in the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott, from Calgary, is 23-2-1, 1.61, .943 with the Raiders this season. He has put up four shutouts. . . . Scott’s season also includes a goal, as he fired the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Nov. 16. . . . In 152 regular-season appearances, all with the Raiders, Scott is 72-58-12, 3.03, .903.


The Prince Albert Raiders are without D Brayden Pachal, their captain, as they conclude whlthe pre-Christmas part of their schedule by going home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The WHL revealed on Friday that it has suspended Pachal for two games “under supplemental discipline” for something that happened in a 6-5 OT victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. . . . The WHL didn’t reveal what happened to warrant the suspension; however, Pachal was hit with a triple minor at 17:02 of the first period (double high-sticking and roughing) after a hit on Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky, so perhaps it had something to do with it. . . . Pachal sat out last night’s game in Swift Current and won’t play in tonight’s rematch in Prince Albert. . . . He will be eligible to return on Dec. 27 when the Raiders visit the Saskatoon Blades.


F Kent Johnson of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters has committed to attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2020-21. . . . Johnson, a 16-year-old from North Vancouver, was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 11 goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Trail.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Steven Zonneveld broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the host Regina Pats went on Patsto a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (9-23-1) snapped a nine-game losing skid (0-8-1). . . . Moose Jaw (16-8-5) has dropped two in a row. . . . The game’s three goals all came in the second period. . . . F Kaeden Taphorn (3) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:00, and Regina F Riley Krane (6) tied it at 13:48. . . . Zonneveld, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, scored his first career goal at 18:47. It came in his 15th game. . . . The Warriors held a 27-18 edge in shots. . . . Regina G Dean McNabb stopped 26 shots. . . . F Eric Alarie, who was picked in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his debut with the Warriors. Alarie, 15, plays for the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter of the Warriors and D Josh Brook are at the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Victoria. . . . Regina is without F Sebastian Streu, who is with Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany.


F Gary Haden scored in the dying seconds to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-3) has won four straight. . . . Brandon (14-10-6) has lost three in a row. . . . This was the first of six meetings between these teams. . . . The Blades took a 2-1 lead into the second period, goals by F Brandon Machado (2) and F Josh Paterson (10) following one by Brandon F Ridly Greig (7). . . . F Linden McCorrister (11) scored, shorthanded, to get the Wheat Kings into a 2-2 tie at 17:19 of the second period. . . . Haden scored his 13th goal of the season with 4.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . The Blades got 33 saves from G Nolan Maier, 18 of them in the third period. . . . With G Jiri Patera having left to attend the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team, the Wheat Kings started Ethan Kruger, who stopped 19 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were without five injured players — F Jonny Hooker, D Vinny Iorio, D Jonny Lambos, F Lynden McCallum and D Braden Schneider. . . . D Jack Zayat, who signed a WHL deal on Thursday, made his Brandon debut. . . . Saskatoon is without F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, who is with Norway at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home for this one and posted his piece right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders opened up a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Broncos PrinceAlbertin Swift Current. . . . The Raiders (30-2-1) have won two in a row, and are the first team in the CHL this season to reach 30 victories. . . . Swift Current slipped to 6-24-2. . . . These teams will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Prince Albert took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Carson Miller (10), F Noah Gregor (17) and F Eric Pearce (4). . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (8) got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 12:41 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Sean Montgomery made it 4-1, shorthanded, at 17:32, and F Spence Moe (6) added another shorthanded score, at 9:46 of the third. . . . The Broncos made it interesting with late goals from F Alec Zawatsky (10), F Connor Horning (3) and F Matthew Culling (3), with Montgomery (15) adding an empty-netter for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders now have scored 17 shorthanded goals; they have allowed only 16 PP goals. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are second with eight shorthanded snipes. . . . Montgomery also had an assist for a three-point night. He has career highs in goals, assists (19) and points (34), all in 33 games. . . . The Raiders were 2-7 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-2. . . . The Broncos lost D Garrett Sambrook at 10:59 of the second period after he took a high hit from Raiders F Parker Kelly, who was given a headshot minor. Sambrook left and didn’t return. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are in camp with Canada’s national junior team; F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany; and D Brayden Pachal, who served Game 1 of a two-game suspension. . . . Leason left in the third period of a game between Canada and a USports side after taking a shot on one hand. After the game, Mark Masters (@markhmasters) of TSN tweeted that Team Canada head coach “Tim Hunter says he just shook hands with Leason and Brett is a little sore but it didn’t seem overly serious.”


F Jake Kryski snapped a 1-1 tie at 17:26 of the first period and the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarywent on to a 5-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Hitmen (15-14-3) have won five in a row. . . . The Rockets (15-17-2) have lost two straight. . . . Kelowna is 1-2-0 on a Central Division trip that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Egor Zamula (8) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:51 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Crosbie (5) got Kelowna into a 1-1 tie at 8:00. . . . Kryski broke the tie at 17:26. . . . F Riley Stotts (9) made it 3-1 at 2:01. . . . Kryski added his 16th goal, on a PP, at 13:30 and F Ryder Korczak (5), who was playing against his brother Kaedan, wrapped up the scoring at 19:23. . . . Kryski has tied his single-season career high in goals in 32 games; he had 16 in 71 games last season. . . . Zamula also had two assists. A Russian sophomore, he has eight goals and 19 assists in 32 games. Last season, in 70 games — 38 with Regina and 31 with Calgary — he totalled two goals and 16 assists. . . . Calgary won 35 of 58 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen are missing D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who also is with Belarus in Fussen.


The Kootenay Ice erased an early 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 Kootenaynewvictory over the Kamloops Blazers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (8-21-6) had lost its previous 12 games (0-9-3). . . . The Blazers (12-15-3) have dropped five in a row (0-4-1), all on a six-game trek through the Central Division that concludes tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Connor Zary (8) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead 43 seconds into the first period. . . . Kootenay snapped right back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by F Davis Murray (5) at 2:23 — it was a Teddy Bear goal — and F Peyton Krebs (13), on a PP, at 4:37. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (3), on a PP, and F Jaeger White (13) added second-period goals for the Ice for a 4-1 lead. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal on two scores from D Quinn Schmiemann, at 11:37 of the second and 3:57 of the third. He’s got five goals. . . . F River Fahey (1) iced it for the Ice at 17:04. . . . Kootenay got 37 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen completed a three-game WHL suspension by sitting out this one.


F Josh Williams scored two goals and drew two assists, while G Mads Søgaard blocked 49 Tigers Logo Officialshots as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Rebels, 4-1, in Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat (17-14-3) has won four straight. . . . Red Deer (20-10-2) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . The Tigers now are 4-0-0 versus the Rebels this season. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division, and are five points ahead of the fourth-place Tigers. . . . Williams enjoyed the first four-point night of his WHL career. . . . The Tigers erased a 1-0 deficit with the game’s last four goals, the first three on the PP. D Linus Nassen earned an assist on each of the PP scores. . . . F Chris Douglas (10) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period. . . . Williams tied it at 14:28, and F James Hamblin (16) put the visitors ahead at 10:00 of the second period. . . . Williams (8) added insurance at 16:22 and F Bryan Lockner (9) iced it at 19:17 of the third. . . . Medicine Hat is 8-15 on the PP in the four victories over Red Deer. . . . The Rebels held a 50-38 edge in shots, including 19-10 in the third period. . . . Søgaard and Williams were named to the Top Prospects Game on Thursday. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev was in the lineup after visiting hospital following a hit in a Tuesday night game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. He leaves today to join the Russian national junior team in Victoria.


F Jake McGrew scored three times and added an assist to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (18-11-4) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle slipped to 11-15-3. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 10:40 of the first period. . . . McGrew gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead with goals, the first on the PP, at 19:00 of the first and 1:35 of the second. . . . Volcan (12) tied it at 8:15. . . . F Adam Beckman (15) put the Chiefs back in front at 9:36. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals. . . . F Payton Mount (3) pulled Seattle back into a tie at 17:32. . . . F Eli Zummack (10) broke the tie at 19:45. . . . McGrew, who has 11 goals, completed his second career hat trick into an empty net at 19:31 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs are without D Ty Smith, who is with Canada’s national junior team, and D Filip Kral, who is with the Czech Republic’s team. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who hasn’t played since Oct. 27 because of a broken wrist, also is with Canada but has yet to take part in a full practice. He has been skating and lightly shooting but hasn’t been cleared for contact.


F Bryce Kindopp scored twice and the penalty-killers were perfect in leading the Everett EverettSilvertips to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Everett (26-7-2) has points in each of its past 13 games (11-0-2). . . . Vancouver (21-7-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Divison; Vancouver is atop the B.C. Division. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 10 points over the Giants. Everett also leads the U.S. Division, by 14 points over the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Silvertips broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . Kindopp got it started, while shorthanded, at 10:36. . . . F Dawson Butt (6) made it 2-0 at 12:50, and F Reece Vitelli (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:32. . . . Kindopp, who has 16 goals, seven of them over his past six games, made it 4-0 at 17:23. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots for Everett, losing his shutout bit at 17:44 of the third period when F Owen Hardy (6) scored. . . . Vancouver, which was 0-5 on the PP, held a 13-3 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Wolf also picked up an assist, his fourth of the season, on Everett’s third goal. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas was back in Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, a 15-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., made his debut with the Giants. Ostapchuk, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Prince George VictoriaRoyalsCougars, 5-1. . . . Victoria improved to 15-13-1. . . . Prince George (11-18-3) has lost four in a row. . . . The Cougars are four games into an 11-game road trip that will continue Sunday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants, and then pick up after Christmas. The Cougars won’t play at home again until Jan. 11. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:27 of the first period. . . . That lead held up until F Dino Kambeitz (5) tied it at 14:25 of the second, and F Tarun Fizer (8) put the Royals ahead, on a PP, just 1:14 later. . . . The Royals put it away with third-period goals from F Kaid Oliver (15), F Brandon Cutler (7) and F Phillip Schultz (6). . . . Victoria got 34 saves from freshman G Brock Gould, making a rare start in place of Griffen Outhouse. In nine appearances, Gould is 3-4-0, 3.35, .865.


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OHL adjusts rule on trading of draft picks . . . Seattle adds d-man from Kootenay . . . Kitchener’s profit tops $400G


MacBeth

F Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 60 games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL). Ewanyk holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Konstantin Panov (Kamloops, 1998-2001) signed a one-year contract with SC Csíkszereda Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had two goals and one assist in 43 games with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia, KHL). He was the team captain. . . .

F Tomáš Slovák (Kelowna, 2001-03) signed a one-year contract with DVTK Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and eight assists in 48 games. . . . Jegesmedvék’ head coach is Glen Hanlon (Brandon, 1974-77; assistant coach Vancouver 2011-13; GM Vancouver 2016-18). . . . Slovák, in the Jegesmedvék news release: “I’ve been working with Glen Hanlon earlier on the Slovakian team, knowing each other, knowing what to expect.” Hanlon was the head coach of the Slovakian national team when Slovák played for the team in 2009-10.


ThisThat

The OHL issued a news release on Wednesday, passing along information from the board of governors’ annual meeting.

For starters, the league is instituting a rule that will limit the trading of draft choices in ohlwhat it calls the OHL Priority Selection. Whereas this used to be wide open, the OHL wants to get to where teams are able to trade draft picks a maximum of four years away.

Starting on Sept. 1, according to the news release, “teams will be allowed to trade draft choices a maximum of six years into the future, transitioning to five years prior to the commencement of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection and four years prior to the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. At the conclusion of the phase-in period, league policy will stipulate that OHL teams may only trade a draft choice four years into the future.”

The OHL news release is right here.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Payton McIsaac from the Kootenay Ice for a Seattleninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . He had one assist in 10 games with the Blades in 2015-16, then was pointless in one game with Saskatoon in each of the past two seasons. . . . It’s believed that the Blades dropped McIsaac from their list sometime after Christmas and the Ice added him. . . . On July 13, his Canadian junior A rights were dealt by the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds signed F Matthew Rempe, who had been added to their protected list on May 11, 2017. From Calgary, Rempe, 16, spent last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s, putting up six goals and seven assists in 35 games. . . . According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, Rempe’s “older twin sisters, Steph and Alley, both play at Brown University in the NCAA.” As Seattle GM Bil La Forge said: “It is exciting he chose us to develop as a hockey player and to take advantage of the WHL scholarship program.”


A flash from the past . . . Dan Weaver of the Spokane Spokesman-Review on the retirement of Kerry Toporowski:


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Tyson Kozak, 15, who was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Kozan, who will turn 16 on Dec. 29, is from Souris, Man. Last season, he had 10 goals and 25 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars. . . . Kozak is expected to make his WHL debut this weekend at an exhibition tournament in Everett.


The Victoria Royals have signed D Carson Golder, who is from Terrace, B.C., and was added to the team’s protected list in June. Golder, who will turn 16 on Oct. 29, played last season with the Pursuit of Excellence Elite 15s, putting up eight goals and nine assists in 34 games. He added one goal and two assists in eight games with POE’s midget prep team.



The Regina Pats have signed F Cale Sanders, 16, and D Steven Zonneveld, 17, both of Patswhom were free-agent invitees to training camp, to WHL contracts. . . . Sanders, from Claresholm, Alta., played last season with the Calgary-based Edge School Elite 15s, putting up 19 goals and 29 assists in 36 games. . . . Zonneveld, from Calgary, had seven goals and 11 assists in 35 games with the midget AAA Calgary Flames. . . . Both players are with the Pats and could see action during an exhibition tournament in Regina this weekend.



The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers got to Game 7 of a conference final before being eliminated from last season’s playoffs. While they didn’t win a championship, they won big at the bank, as they showed a profit of $432,080 for their 2018 fiscal year. It was the 23rd straight season that the franchise has shown a profit, but, as Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record writes, “the club hasn’t seen a profit this high since it made about $550K in 2011-12.” . . . Brown’s story is right here and it’s definitely worth a read, just to see where the profits are going.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have KamStormshaken things up a bit, what with Ed Patterson choosing not to return after five seasons as head coach. . . . All told, Patterson worked as the Storm’s head coach for seven seasons, as he also ran the bench from 2007-09. . . . Former Storm F Jassi Sangha is the new head coach, while majority owner Barry Dewar, who had been the general manager, has stepped back, allowing assistant GM Matt Kolle to take over as GM. . . . Sangha, 30, played two seasons (2006-08) for the Storm and also spent three seasons (2009-12) with the now-defunct Thompson Rivers U Wolfpack. . . . Andrew Fisher, who also played at TRU with Sangha, is the assistant coach, with another one yet to be named, while former WHL G Lucas Gore (Chilliwack Bruins, 2008-11) will handle the goaltenders. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the complete Storm story right here. . . . And if you’re like me, you’re wondering how it is that Patterson didn’t end up with a WHL job.


Murray Nystrom has signed on as the 10th head coach in the history of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns program. . . . Nystrom was the head coach of the St. Catharines, Ont.,-based Brock Badgers for 18 years, going 191-227-18-39 and making the playoffs on 14 occasions. . . . Nystrom left the Brock program in July 2017. . . . In Lethbridge, he will take over from Spiros Anastas, who left the Pronghorns earlier this month to sign on as head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays.


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