Scott, Leason lead Raiders to win. . . . P.A. can wrap up WHL title Friday. . . . All quiet on the Cranbrook front


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D Taylor Aronson (Portland, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract with Cologne (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had one goal and 14 assists in 43 games. . . .

F Jason Bast (Moose Jaw, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract with Cologne (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Brody Sutter (Saskatoon, Lethbridge, 2008-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga), he had nine goals and 12 assists in 45 games. . . .

F Semyon Krasheninnikov (Tri-City, 2014-15) has signed a one-year contract with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Zvezda Moscow (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he was pointless in one game, and had eight assists in 30 games with Tambov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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With their WHL franchise having packed up and moved to Winnipeg, hockey fans in Cranbrook, B.C., are wondering: What’s next? Well, as Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman points out, we’re already into May and there isn’t another team in town, so it is likely too late for the 2019-20 season. In this piece right here, Crawley also wonders what’s happening on negotiations between the WHL franchise’s owners and the City of Cranbrook on a lease that is to run through 2022-23.


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In the OHL, F Alexey Toropchenko scored two goals for a third straight game in leading the host Guelph Storm to a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa 67’s on Wednesday night. The best-of-seven championship final is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Ottawa on Friday night. Game 6 is to be played in Guelph on Sunday afternoon. . . . Ottawa won the first two games of the final, at which point the 67’s were 14-0 in these playoffs. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies also are tied, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda tonight, with Game 6 in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. . . . Both teams will appear in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. The four-team tournament is to run from May 17-26.


The AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm has signed head coach Matt Keillor to a two-year extension that will run through the 2020-21 season. Keillor has been with the Storm since the middle of the 2015-16 season. He had been coaching the midget AAA Storm when the AJHL club chose to fire head coach Kevin Higo in December. . . . This season, the Storm finished 30-26-4 before losing a best-of-five first-round playoff series, 3-1, to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.


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NOTES: It is often dangerous to take the WHL’s online summaries as gospel immediately after games end, even once the word FINAL appears at the top. Such was the case on Tuesday following the Prince Albert Raiders’ 8-2 victory over the host Vancouver Giants in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . At some point following the game, F Brett Leason of the Raiders was credited with another assist, leaving him with two goals and two assists. . . . Raiders F Parker Kelly had an assist taken away, so he finished with two goals. . . . Raiders forwards Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor each lost an assist, so wound up with a goal and an assist apiece. . . . When the changes were applied, Vancouver D Bowen Byram was left alone atop the scoring race, with 23 points, one ahead of Hannoun and Leason. . . .

That brings us to Game 4, which was played last night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders, who scored seven goals in the first period of Game 3 one night earlier, didn’t score until the third period of Game 4, but that was enough for a 1-0 victory over the Giants. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Langley on Friday, with the Raiders having their first crack at winning their first championship since 1985. . . .

When was the last 1-0 game in a WHL final? Last spring, G Stuart Skinner and the Swift Current Broncos beat the host Everett Silvertips, 1-0, on May 9. Skinner stopped 32 shots and D Colby Sissons scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second period as the Broncos took a 3-1 lead in the series. . . . Everett came back to win Game 5, 6-3, on home ice two nights later, but Skinner put up another shutout, his sixth of those playoffs, as the Broncos won, 3-0, on May 13 to take the series, 4-2. . . .

Last night, Leason scored the game’s only goal, so he now has 23 points, tying him with Byram for the playoff scoring lead. Hannoun remains one point back, while two other Prince Albert forwards — Aliaksei Protas and Noah Gregor — are three back.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott stopped 36 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 1-0 victory over the PrinceAlbertVancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-1, and get their first chance to wrap it up on Friday in Langley. . . . This was Scott’s fifth shutout of these playoffs, one shy of the WHL’s single-season record that is shared by Dustin Slade (Vancouver, 2006, 18 games) and Stuart Skinner, who did it in 26 games with the Swift Current Broncos a year ago. . . . Scott blanked the Giants, 4-0, in Game 2 on Saturday in Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders have outscored the Giants, 13-2, over the past three games. . . . F Brett Leason scored the game’s lone goal, going in alone to beat Vancouver G David Tendeck at 4:21 of the third period. . . . Just moments earlier, the Giants had hit a post behind Scott. . . . Vancouver had two earlier breakaways — F Davis Koch late in the first period and F Milos Roman early in the second period — but couldn’t solve Scott. . . . D Sergei Sapego had a breakaway for the Raiders late in the second period but wasn’t able to score. . . . Tendeck finished with 25 saves. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Giants held a 15-9 edge in first-period shots and 11-5 in the third. . . . The Raiders scratched D Max Martin for a second straight game. Unlike Tuesday night, Martin didn’t take the pregame warmup before being scratch from Game 4. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Mark Pearce. Nick Bilko and Brett Mackey worked the lines.


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Byram chasing WHL history. . . . Scott is in select company, too. . . . Final series to resume Tuesday in Langley

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D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants is attempting to skate where no other player has gone since the WHL started play in the autumn of 1966.

Byram leads all playoff scorers with 22 points, two more than F Dante Hannoun of the VancouverPrince Albert Raiders.

The Giants and Raiders are tied, 1-1, in the WHL’s best-of-seven final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Langley, B.C.

The record for most points by a defenceman in one playoff season is 34 and belongs to John Miner, a hard-shooter who put up nine goals and 25 assists in 23 games with the Regina Pats in 1984.

Second on that list is Keith Brown of the Portland Winterhawks, who had 33 points, 30 of them assists, in 25 games in 1979.

Derrick Pouliot of Portland is third, having recorded 32 points, including 27 assists, in 21 games in 2014.

Tied for fourth, each with 31 points, are Darren Veitch of the 1980 Pats and Greg Hawgood of the 1986 Kamloops Blazers. Veitch did it in 18 games; Hawgood managed to do it in 16 outings.

But none of those five led the playoffs in scoring.

Byram, who had 71 points in 67 regular-season games, has played in 17 playoff games, with at least three more to come.

Will he be able to hold off Hannoun? Might Raiders forwards Noah Gregor and/or Brett Leason, who are four points back, make a late run? Or what of Giants F Davis Koch, who also has 18 points?

Stay tuned.


Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders stopped 15 shots in earning the shutout Saturday in PrinceAlberta 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 2 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . Scott now is one of 13 goaltenders to have put up at least four shutouts in one playoff season. The record of six is shared by Dustin Slade of Vancouver, who did it in only 18 games in 2006, and Stuart Skinner, who managed to do that in 26 games with the Swift Current Broncos last season.


Judging by the WHL website, it would seem that the official name of the Ed Chynoweth Cup final series is the 2019 Rogers #WHLChampionship Series. Even though there hasn’t been a WHL game on Rogers since the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . As Game 1 of the WHL final began in Prince Albert on Friday evening, Sportsnet had the same NHL game on five of the six channels, with the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers on the other. . . . If you are a WHL fan, feel free to slam palm of hand on forehead.


If you don’t like the WHL’s present playoff format, Ray Marcham, who has a blog he calls The Outlet, will take you back, back, back . . . to the days when round-robins were a part of our spring. . . . If you’re a long-time fan and lived through a few of those series, reading his piece, which is right here, just may give you nightmares.

If you’re wondering why the WHL went away from any kind of round-robin format, you may get a bit of a hint from this story right here.


JUST NOTES: How important is the first goal of a game to the Raiders. They are 11-0 when scoring first in these playoffs. Combine the regular season and playoffs, and they are 55-0. . . . Marc Habscheid of the Raiders now has 71 playoff victories as a WHL head coach. He is seventh on the WHL’s all-time list, behind Don Hay (108), Ken Hodge (101), Ernie McLean (87), Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell, each 80, and Brent Sutter, 79. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, went into this spring with 18 playoff victories, all with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He now is up to 31. . . .

Steve Ewen, who covers the Giants for Postmedia, reports right here that in Vancouver’s camp it’s all about the forecheck.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a piece right here on Vancouver D Bowen Byram and his tie to Prince Albert and the Raiders.


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The junior B Summerland, B.C., Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has had to make a coaching change after John DePourcq chose to step aside after seven seasons. According to a news release from the Steam, DePourcq cited “increasing work and family obligations” as the reasons for his decison. . . . Ken Karpuk is the Steam’s new head coach. Karpuk, 57, is from Penticton. . . . The Steam made the playoffs in each of DePourcq’s seven seasons and advanced past the first round on five occasions. . . . As well, Steve Hogg has been named full-time general manager after working in an interim capacity since April 28 when the club announced that, by mutual agreement, Mike Rigby’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. . . . . DePourcq will remain with the organization in an advisory capacity.


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Great Scott! Raiders goalie turns sniper as mates run win streak to 12 . . . Blichfeld, Glass (again) lead ‘Hawks . . . Giants romp past Pats

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Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders became the eighth goaltender in WHL history to score a goal when he notched an empty-netter in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night.

On Wednesday, in a 2-0 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, Scott had taken a shot at an empty net, only to have the puck hit the scoreclock in the Art Hauser Centre.

Given another opportunity two nights later, Scott made no mistake.

“He made a liar out of me. I thought it’d be tough in this building,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “He got good wood on that one, he hammered it and it went in. Last time it was a two-goal lead, and that time it was one, so I’m glad he hit the net or it would have been a faceoff in our end again. Good for him.”

Scott told D’Andrea: “I mentioned to Habby, maybe I not go so high, just kind of a bullet down the middle. I guess it worked out. I thought it was going to get picked off. It was a pretty congested middle . . . got lucky.”

D’Andrea’s complete story is right here.

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Here’s a look at the other seven goaltenders who have WHL goals to their credit, in chronological order . . .

Nov. 29, 1989 — Olaf Kolzig, Tri-City Americans 5, Seattle Thunderbirds 2, at Kennewick, Wash. He grabbed a Seattle clearance behind his net and lofted a wrist shot the length of the ice and just inside the left post.

“That was the coolest thing, for sure,” Kolzig, who also had an assist, told Annie Fowler when she looked back six years ago.“Ron Hextall was my idol. He was the first to score. Up to that point, I hadn’t been having a good season. I got back from Washington (Capitals training camp) with a bad attitude. My save percentage and goals against weren’t worth anything at that point.

“They had pulled their goalie, and we were up 4-2. The puck went behind the net. I went back to get it, and I want to say I lifted it 20 feet in the air, but it was about three feet. By the time it was halfway down the ice, it started to curl, and it just went inside the post.”

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Jan. 3, 1991 — Chris Osgood of the host Medicine Hat Tigers scored in a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. Like Kolzig before him, Osgood fired the puck the length of the ice for his goal.
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Dec. 29, 1992 — Jeff Calvert came on in relief for the Tacoma Rockets and scored a goal and added an assist as they erased a 4-0 deficit to beat the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-4.

Calvert, who is from Moose Jaw, had taken over for starter Todd MacDonald at 9:30 of the first period with Tacoma trailing, 3-0.

Former Tacoma defenceman Dallas Thompson once told me: “I would bet he was the only goalie in history to score in a game he never started.”

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March 28, 1994 — Jason Clague of the Red Deer Rebels was credited with the winning goal in a 4-2 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is the only WHL goaltender to have scored a goal during a playoff game.

“It will likely get more humorous every time I tell the story, but I think the main thing for us tonight was winning the game,” Clague told Cameron Yoos of the Lethbridge Herald.

Yoos described the goal:

Clague’s historic marker came in the third period with Red Deer clinging to a 2-1 lead, its first lead in the series. On a delayed penalty call, Hurricanes goaltender Slan Matwijiw began skating to the bench for an extra attacker while teammate Dominic Pittis handled the puck behind the Rebels’ goal. Pittis spoiled Ivan Vologjaninov cruising through the slot and fed a pass lo the middle. Vologjaninov wound up for a one-time slapshot, but fanned on the puck, which then slid the length of the ice into the open goal.”

Matwijiw told Yoos: “It was kind of a sick feeling.”

——

March 5, 2004 — Jordan McLaughlin of the Prince George Cougars scored at 19:05 of the third period in a 4-1 victory over the host Vancouver Giants.

“This is definitely a career highlight for me,” McLaughlin said. “Every time a team pulls their goalie, the possibility of scoring is in the back of your mind. We had a two-goal lead and the puck was dumped perfectly into me, so I saw it as a perfect opportunity.”

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Feb. 1, 2014 — Chris Driedger of the Calgary Hitmen was credited with a goal in a 5-2 loss to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C.

Driedger was awarded the game’s first goal, at 5:45 of the first period, when, during a delayed penalty against Calgary F Jake Virtanen, Ice G Mackenzie Skapski headed to the bench for the extra attacker. Kootenay D Jagger Dirk whipped the puck around the boards to F Zach Franko, who attempted a pass to the point. However, the puck zipped past F Jaedon Descheneau, who had come of the bench as the extra attacker, and into the vacated net. Dreidger had made the save that led to Dirk getting the rebound. As the last Calgary player to touch the puck, Driedger was given the goal.

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March 19, 2016 — Stuart Skinner of the Lethbridge Hurricanes gave his side an 8-3 lead in what would be a 9-3 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers.

“It was funny because before the period I (said) ‘If they pull their goalie, give me the puck,’ ” Skinner told Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald. “Surprisingly enough, they dumped it in and I had an open chance. I got it over everyone and somehow it went it. So I’m pretty excited. I definitely felt good when it was in the air and when it went in it was a feeling I can’t really describe right now. It was a really exciting moment. I have shivers going through my whole body, so it’s really cool.”


“In moving on Thursday to free owners of the OHL from treating their employees as such ohlunder law,” writes Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail, “Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government congratulated itself on ‘protecting the long-term sustainability of local junior teams.’

“The government’s news release on the matter referred to its support of ‘the People Protecting Amateur Hockey,’ which would be a pretty good name for a secessionist group of Saskatchewan freedom fighters.

“The upshot here is that Ontario Hockey League players are excluded from the Employment Standards Act. They exist legally under the slippery formulation of ‘student athletics.’ ”

Kelly’s complete column is right here.


Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has joined the club advocating the death of the loser point, at least in the WHL. . . . The column that gained him admittance into the club is right here.


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FRIDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ridley Greig had a goal and two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Brandon (10-4-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Medicine Hat (9-11-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . The home team took control with two first-period goals, from Greig (3) and F Linden McCorrister (4). . . . F Baxter Anderson (1) scored for the Tigers at 1:34 of the second period. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney, who has four goals, put it away with a pair of third-period scores, Greig assisting on both of them. . . . Greig was playing his first game since returning from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Greig, 16, is from Lethbridge. He was the eighth-overall pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. This season, he has three goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 34 shots to earn the victory in his fourth appearance of the season. He is 2-0-2, 2.69, .915. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 53-35 edge in shots, including 26-7 in the first period. . . . G Jordan Hollett went the distance for the Tigers. . . . D Schael Higson, who hasn’t played for Brandon since Oct. 16, is back skating so could be nearing a return. He had 12 points, nine of them assists, in eight games when he went out.


G Ian Scott scored a goal and stopped 24 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . The Raiders (19-1-0) have won 12 in a row. . . . The Americans (12-7-0) are 7-3-0 on an 11-game road trip. They are 2-3-0 in the East Division. . . . On Wednesday night, Scott had taken a shot at an empty net, only to have the puck strike the scoreboard (see above tweet). In a similar play last night, Scott reached the promised land for goaltenders. . . . F Krystof Hrabik (6) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 1:11 of the third period. . . . D Sergei Sapego (6) tied it, on a PP, at 5:44. The Raiders claimed Sapego, who is from Belarus, on waivers from the Americans last season. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason drew an assist on Sapego’s goal to run his point streak to 20 games. . . . D Brayden Pachal (2) broke the tie at 7:06 and Scott added the insurance at 19:44. . . . This season, Scott is 16-1-0, 1.47, .947.


G Ethan Anders stopped 28 shots to lead the host Red Deer Rebels to a 7-0 victory over Red Deerthe Kelowna Rockets. . . . Red Deer (14-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . The Rockets (8-13-1) have lost four in a row (0-3-1) and are 1-3-1 on a six-game road trip. This was the third time they have been blanked this season and the second time in four games. . . . Anders has two shutouts this season and three in his career. This season, he is 12-4-1, 2.80, .922. . . . F Brandon Hagel (14) got the Rebels started with a shorthanded goal at 11:03 of the first period. Hagel also had two assists. . . . The Rebels got goals from seven different players, including F Dallon Melin (1) and F Jeff de Wit (13). . . . Red Deer was 2-4 on the PP and also scored twice while shorthanded.


G Jack McNaughton turned aside 19 shots as the Calgary Hitmen skated to a 5-0 victory Calgaryover the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Hitmen (7-12-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice is 7-13-3. . . . This was the Ice’s first home game since the Green Bay Committee, which had been struck in an attempt to sell tickets and sponsorships to aid the team, ceased operations on Tuesday. The committee cited a lack of engagement by the Ice’s ownership for the decision. . . . The announced attendance was 2,395 as they honoured the Cranbrook Colts, a team that started out in junior B and moved to junior A before folding when the Ice arrived in 1998. . . . McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, posted his first WHL shutout in his 10th appearance. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who went into the game with two goals, scored twice for Calgary, opening the scoring at 6:26 of the first period and closing it at 19:49 of the third. . . . F Jake Kryski had a goal, his 10th, and an assist in his 299th regular-season game. . . . Calgary had a 42-19 edge in shots, including 19-5 in the third period.


F Taylor Ross scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give the host Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 9-6-4. . . . Edmonton (13-7-3) has points in 10 straight (8-0-2). . . . The Oil Kings thought they had won it at 1:38 of OT when they believed that F Trey Fix-Wolansky had scored. In fact, the Oil Kings left the Ice in celebration, but had to return when it was ruled no goal. . . . Edmonton took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Vince Loschiavo (11), on a PP, and F Jalen Luypen (3). . . . F Jake Elmer got Lethbridge to within a goal at 4:32 of the third period, and Ross tied it at 18:52, with G Reece Klassen on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Klassen finished with 35 saves. . . . The Oil Kings gave G Dylan Myskiw his sixth straight start and he responded with 29 saves. They also have returned G Sebastian Cossa, who turns 16 on Nov. 21, to the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.


F Joachim Blickheld struck for three goals and added an assist to help the Portland PortlandWinterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the visiting Winterhawks, 3-2 in a shootout, on Wednesday night. . . . Portland (13-6-2) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . Everett (15-7-0) had won its previous five games. . . . F Jake Gricius (10) scored, on a PP, to give the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 3:40 of the first period. . . . F Jalen Price (3) tied it at 8:04. . . . Blichfeld scored the game’s next three goals, giving him a WHL-leading 20 snipes. He scored once in each period — at 10:09 of the first, 18:58 of the second and 3:05 of the third. . . . Blichfeld now has 43 points in 21 games and trails only Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky in the scoring race. Fix-Wolansky has 46 points. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists for Portland. He has 38 points, 31 of them assists, in 18 games. . . . Glass is on an eight-game point streak, with 18 points, including 15 assists, in that stretch. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar had an 11-game point streak snapped. He put up 12 goals and nine assists over that time.


D Nolan Reid scored twice as the Spokane Chiefs doubled the visiting Seattle SpokaneChiefsThunderbirds, 4-2. . . . The Chiefs (11-7-3) have won three in a row. . . . The Thunderbirds ((7-9-2) have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . F Carter Chorney (8) got the Chiefs started at 11:13 of the first period, with F Zack Andrusiak (9) scoring shorthanded at 2:52 of the second for Seattle. . . . Reid, who has five goals, broke the tie at 1:26 of the third period and F Adam Beckman (9) provided the Chiefs with a 3-1 lead at 10:50. . . . Seattle F Tyler Carpendale (1) and Reid, with an empty-netter, traded goals down the stretch. . . . The Chiefs remain without injured F Jake McGrew.


F Milos Roman scored twice and added an assist, while F Davis Koch had three assists, Vancouverhelping the Vancouver Giants to a 10-4 victory over the Regina Pats in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver improved to 14-4-2, while the Pats (7-14-0) lost their second in a row. . . . The Giants took control with the game’s first four goals, all in the first 15 minutes. . . . Roman now has 10 goals. . . . F Tristen Nielsen scored twice for Vancouver his first goals since coming over from the Calgary Hitmen in a deal that had F James Malm go the other way. . . . F Yannik Valenti also had two Vancouver goals, giving him four. . . . F Nick Henry had three goals and an assist for Regina, with F Jake Leschyshyn getting a goal and two assists. Henry has 11 goals; Leschyshyn has 14. . . . Vancouver outshot Regina, 45-28, including 19-10 in the first period and 17-8 in the second. . . . The Pats were without F Logan Nijhoff, who served a one-game suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the host Kootenay Ice on Tuesday.


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Hanlon leaving Giants . . . Blazers’ top pick gives them the word . . . Thunderbirds’ import will stay home

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F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) a signed one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the U of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and eight assists in 28 games. . . .

F Dominik Uher (Spokane, 2009-12) signed a two-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 48 games. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). He had three goals and seven assists in 19 games. . . .

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), he had two goals and 11 assists in 53 games. . . .

D Zack Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) signed a one-year two-way contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He had two goals and one assist in 21 games this season. He also was pointless in eight games with KRS Heilongjiang Harbin (China, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


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The Vancouver Giants became the third B.C. Division team searching for a general manager when they revealed on Monday that Glen Hanlon is leaving after two seasons in that role. . . . The Prince George Cougars, who didn’t bring back Todd Harkins, and Kamloops Blazers, who dumped Stu MacGregor, also are looking to hire general managers. . . . According to a Giants news release, Hanlon “has decided to pursue other opportunities.” . . . Hanlon, 61, spent two seasons (2011-13) with the Giants as an assistant coach under Don Hay before spending a couple of seasons coaching in Belarus and Switzerland. . . . Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach, may be the leading candidate to replace Hanlon. Chynoweth, 49, spent five seasons (2004-09) as the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos. He just completed his first season with the Giants, working alongside head coach Jason McKee.


The Hamilton Bulldogs won the OHL championship on Sunday night. Here are a few paragraphs written earlier in the week by Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator:

When the Canadian Hockey League awarded the Memorial Cup to Regina, it cited the failings of FirstOntario Centre as the main reason why.

“At the end of the day, it was the facility that would not allow Hamilton to stay in the race,” CHL president David Branch said back then.

That may be true. Then again, the yellow-T-shirt-wearing, noise-making, atmosphere-creating, lower-bowl-filling crowd — which was 2,100 people bigger than will be at any of the Memorial Cup games at the Brandt Centre (capacity 6,500) — sure looked good and suggested the tournament really should’ve been here.

Not to mention the fact that Hamilton has a championship-calibre team that’s playing the country’s best outfit to a standstill right now. The host Regina Pats? They were eliminated from their playoffs 40 days ago.”


Here’s more from Radley:

Sure, most teams’ TV and radio announcers are homers to one degree or another. Many are employees of the team, so it’s hardly a surprise. Most keep it reasonably in check, however.

That said, is there any call in sports more finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard grating than Buck Martinez yelling “Get up, ball!” every time a Blue Jay hits a home run? It’s just one step short of running onto the field and hugging the guy as he rounds third base.


It seems that Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, didn’t give us all of the organization’s bad news when he announced the departure of four people from Kamloops1the front office on Thursday.

Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, reported Tuesday that the Blazers were told before the May 3 bantam draft that F Massimo Rizzo is “pursuing an NCAA scholarship and will not be coming to training camp in the fall.”

The Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall selection of the 2016 bantam draft. This season, Rizzo had 13 goals and 25 assists in 50 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He will be back with the Vees in 2018-19.

On Thursday, Gaglardi announced the departures of general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi.


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers signed G Stuart Skinner of the Swift Current Broncos to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday. Skinner, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . He posted a record-tying six shutouts in helping the Broncos to the WHL championship.


So . . . if you’re Eli Manning, the New York Giants’ starting quarterback, what’s it like playing in Philadelphia?

“Philly, you just gotta get used to,” Manning tells Steiner Sports. “. . . because you’re not used to seeing a nine-year-old cursing at you and talking about my mom and stuff. Once you get used to it, it’s fine. It just takes a year or two. Now (15 years later) he’s 24 and training his four-year-old to curse at me.”


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed D Nolan Allan, the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Allan, from Davidson, Sask., had 12 goals and 32 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times notes that Kiyaunta Goodwin of Louisville, Ky., “is six-feet-seven, weighs 370 pounds, wears size-18 shoes, leg presses 1,000 pounds, bench presses 315, displays uncanny agility, likes art music and robotics, and has a football offer from Georgia in his pocket, according to Bleacher Report.” . . . Perry then adds: “Oh and did we mention that he’s only 14 years old and an eighth-grader?”


It appears that F Sami Moilanen won’t be back with the Seattle Thunderbirds for what Seattlewould have been his 19-year-old season. From Sipoo, Finland, Moilanen played two seasons with Seattle. He had 43 points, including 21 goals, in 70 games as a freshman, adding 16 points, seven of them goals, in 20 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. This season, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games as he was hampered by injuries. . . . Seattle’s second import, Russian F Nikita Malukhin, had five goals and four assists in 52 games as a freshman this season.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, is a hockey fan, and as he writes: “A difference between Canadian and U.S. hockey fans — at least Canadian fans can find Winnipeg on a map?”


“Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning should both do well with playoff ticket sales,” Hough notes. “As we get into mid- May, I’m guessing people in both cities will pay well for a chance to spend three hours inside out of 30-plus degree weather.”


“So the Leafs are bounced in the first round,” pens Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette, “the Raptors pull an epic choke after Drake makes an ass of himself, and the Jays get no-hit the night Stroman pitches. This Toronto 24/7 thing is entertaining.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Reuters reports a Paris museum is offering special viewing hours to ‘naturists.’ Nudes taking in nudes? Busts before busts? Art-wise I’m not sure how to frame it.”


Currie, again: “The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey two days after he was named NBA coach of the year.  It’s the fastest fall from grace for a Casey since the Mudville nine.”

Broncos win first WHL title since ’93 . . . Take out Silvertips in six games . . . Skinner ties shutout record; Gawdin is MVP

MacBeth

D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the University of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and six assists in 19 gams. He was the team captain. . . .

F Alexander Chirva (Moose Jaw, Kootenay, 2013-15) signed a two-year contract extension with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, he had two assists in eight games. . . .

F Vitali Karamnov (Everett, 2007-08) signed a one-year contract extension with Dynamo St. Petersburg (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). The team captain, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 38 games. . . .

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) signed a one-year contract extension with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, Oberliga). He signed with Rosenheim on Jan. 22, and put up six goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . This season, prior to signing with Rosenheim, he had three goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL); was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL); and was pointless in two games with Zilina (Slovakia, Extraliga).


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The Swift Current Broncos scored two first-period goals, the second one with 0.6 seconds remaining, en route to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Sunday night. SCBroncosThe Broncos won the best-of-seven WHL final, for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2. . . . This was the third championship in Swift Current’s history. The Broncos won it all in 1989, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, beating the Blades in the final 29 years ago. In 1993, they won their second WHL title, but didn’t fare as well at the Memorial Cup in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. This also was the first time since 1993 that a Saskatchewan-based team has won the WHL championship. . . . This was Everett’s second trip to the WHL final. It first got that far in 2004, which was its first season — yes, it’s first season — in the WHL. That time, it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Last night, F Giorgio Estephan (13) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:41 of the first period. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi, who drew the primary assist on Estephan’s goal, made it 2-0 with his fifth goal at 19:59. . . . F Beck Malenstyn added the empty-netter with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots as he recorded his sixth shutout of these playoffs and his second in the last three games of the final. He now shares the WHL record for shutouts in one playoff with Dustin Slade (Vancouver, 2006). . . . Everett got 22 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin, the team captain, was named the playoff MVP. He finished with 32 points, including 14 goals. . . . F Brad Morrison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes led all playoff scorers with 37 points. F Morgan Geekie of the Tri-City Americans was No. 1 in goals (17) and Heponiemi was tops in assists (25). . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Reagan Vetter. . . . The attendance was 2,890.


Two of the men who coached in the WHL final may be on the move shortly.

There is speculation in NHL circles that the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks all have at least some interest in Manny Viveiros, the Broncos’ director of player personnel and head coach. All three NHL teams are, or will be, looking to fill assistant coach vacancies.

Viveiros is the WHL’s reigning coach of the year. His situation is certain to be a big story during the Memorial Cup in Regina.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that Mitch Love, who has been on Everett’s coaching staff since 2011-12, has been interviewed by the Saskatoon Blades, who are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when their season ended.

The Blades also have shown interest in Serge Lajoie, who spent the past three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears. This season, Lajoie guided the Golden Bears to the Canadian university championship.

Lajoie is looking now because Ian Herbers has returned to the U of A after being dropped by the Oilers. Herbers had been on sabbatical while with the Oilers.

Lajoie’s son, Marc, a defenceman, was selected by the Tri-City Americans with the 14th overall selection of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The four teams are set for the 100th running of the Memorial Cup tournament that opens Friday in Regina. Interestingly, none of the four teams won its league’s regular-season title.

The Regina Pats, of course, are the host team. They finished seventh in the WHL’s overall standings. The Moose Jaw Warriors were first overall, then lost out to the Swift Current Broncos in the second round. The Broncos, who were second overall, six points behind the Warriors, won the WHL title at home on Sunday night.

In the OHL, the Hamilton Bulldogs, who were second overall, beat out the No. 1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday, winning Game 6, 5-4, on Sunday. In the 68-game regular season, the Greyhounds finished 13 points ahead of the Bulldogs.

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan beat the visiting Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada, 2-1, in Game 6 on Sunday night. In the regular season, the Armada finished first overall, with 107 points, 11 more than the second-place Titan.

——

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Hamilton vs. Regina, 8 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday – Swift Current vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Sunday – Regina vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 5 p.m.

Game 4, Monday, May 21 – Swift Current vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Game 5, Tuesday, May 22 – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday, May 23 – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, May 24, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


The legendary Clare Drake, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, died on Sunday morning. He was 89. Drake was a long-time coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, and his coaching tree is as large as anyone who has ever been involved in hockey. . . . Jim Matheson, the hall-of-fame hockey writer, has more right here.


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Skinner, Sissons get Broncos to within one victory of title. . . . Can end it all on Friday . . . VIJHL to give three points for regulation win

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F Marcin Kolusz (Vancouver, 2003-04) signed a one-year contract extension with Podhale Nowy Targ (Poland, PHL). The team captain, he had 11 goals and 20 assists in 38 games. . . .

D Max Ross (Lethbridge, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Poprad (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had five goals and 12 assists in 36 games. He was the team captain.


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The Swift Current Broncos are one victory away from their third WHL championship after beating the host Everett Silvertips, 1-0, on Wednesday night. . . . The Broncos lead SCBroncosthe best-of-seven championship final, 3-1, and can wrap up the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Friday night in Everett. . . . If the Silvertips win on Friday, they’ll head back to Swift Current for games on Sunday and, if necessary, Monday. . . . Last night, G Stuart Skinner stopped 32 shots to record the shutout, while D Colby Sissons scored the game’s only goal. . . . Sissons scored his fifth goal of the playoffs, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second period, beating G Carter Hart from the left side of the high slot. . . . Hart finished with 18 saves. . . . Skinner has faced 139 shots in four games, and has stopped 132 of them, for a .950 save percentage. . . . Referees Mike Campbell and Chris Crich gave the Broncos six of the game’s 11 minor penalties. Swift Current was 1-4 on the PP; Everett was 0-5. . . . Everett scored on its first PP of this series, but is 0-13 since then. . . . The announced attendance was 5,081. . . . The Broncos also won the WHL championship in 1989, when they went on to win the Memorial Cup, and 1993.


In his second season as the head coach of the Swift Current Broncos, Manny Viveiros has his club one victory away from winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions. The Broncos hold a 3-1 lead over the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . Robert Tychowski of Postmedia takes a look at Viveiros and his career right here.


Meanwhile, back in Swift Current, fans have gathered in the pews at the Credit Union iPlex to watch the game on the big screen. The fans were there for Game 3 on Tuesday night and again for Game 4 on Wednesday night. Of course, it wouldn’t be game without having fresh ice for each period. As you can see from the above tweet, the Zamboni driver has been taking care of that, and you can bet he and the fans will be back on Friday night.


The Young Stars Classic, the annual preseason tournament that takes place in Penticton, B.C., each September, will have a markedly different look this year. In the past, it has included prospect teams from four NHL teams. This time around, it will feature two games between prospects from the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, along with a two-game series between the UBC Thunderbirds and U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . . The Classic is scheduled to run Sept. 7-9 at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the home of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . The collegians are scheduled to meet on Sept. 7 (4 p.m.) and Sept. 8 (6 p.m.), with the Canucks and Jets facing each other on Sept. 7 (7:30 p.m.) and Sept. 9 (2 p.m.).


A tip of the Taking Note cap to the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Starting in 2018-19, it will award three points for a regulation-time victory. An overtime victory will be worth two points with a loss in overtime garnering one point. . . . The nine-team VIJHL plays two OT periods and now will go back to using a shootout if there isn’t a decision.

Broncos, Silvertips to meet for WHL title . . . Estephan keys Swift Current win . . . Davis caps Everett’s amazing comeback

The Swift Current Broncos and Everett Silvertips will meet in the WHL’s championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The best-of-seven series will be played in a 2-3-2 format, opening in Swift Current with games on Friday and Saturday nights. They’ll play in Everett on May 8, May 9 and, if necessary, May 11. If needed, Games 6 and 7 would be played in Swift Current on May 13 and May 14.

The Broncos haven’t been in the WHL final since 1993 when they got past the Portland Winter Hawks — yes, the nickname was two words back in the day — in seven games.

The Broncos beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-1, on Monday night to win the best-SCBroncosof-seven Eastern Conference final, 4-2. . . . The Hurricanes went into the game with an 8-0 record at home in these playoffs. They also had scored at least five goals in seven of those victories. . . . The Broncos now are 5-5 on the road. . . . Last night, the Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals in a span of 96 seconds. F Matteo Gennaro tied it 1-1 at 6:33; F Alexi Heponiemi made it 2-1 at 7:02 and F Beck Malenstyn upped it to 3-1 at 8:09. . . . Former Hurricanes captain Giorgio Estephan gave Lethbridge fans something to remember him by with a PP goal for a 4-1 lead at 2:12 of the third period. . . . Broncos G Stuart Skinner finished with 33 saves, 19 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot, 20-2.

In Kennewick, Wash., the Silvertips erased a 5-2 third-period deficit to beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-5 in OT. Everett won the Western Conference final, 4-2. . . . Everett last Everettreached the championship final in 2004, its first season in the WHL, when it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Kevin Davis (3) won it with his second goal of the game, at 5:58 of OT. Davis, who turned 21 on March 14, was playing in his 401st game with the Silvertips — 347 regular-season games and 54 in the playoffs. Yes, he went into the game with two goals in his previous 53 playoff games. . . . Everett is 7-0 on the road in these playoffs. . . . Tri-City had trailed 2-1 before scoring four straight goals, the last one, by F Jordan Topping (4) at 8:52 of the third period. . . . F Connor Dewar (9) started the Everett comeback at 9:52. Davis (2) pulled his guys to within one at 13:53, and F Garrett Pilon (11) tied it at 14:29. . . . Pilon had left the game at 17:30 of the first period after taking a hit from behind from Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen. However, Pilon returned for the second period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki, who had two goals in a 5-2 victory in Game 5 on Saturday, had four assists in Game 6 as he figured in each of his club’s first four scores. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 18 shots for Everett. . . . Tri-City G Patrick Dea made 31 saves, 18 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot 20-4. . . . Announced attendance was 3,033.


The OHL announced Monday that it had suspended F Givani Smith of the Kitchener Rangers for two games after he made an “inappropriate gesture” at the end of Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. . . . Kitchener won the game in OT to tie the best-of-seven series, 3-3. Smith had a goal and two assists in the victory. . . . The teams played Game 7 on Monday night in the Soo, with the Greyhounds winning, 4-3 in double OT, to advance to the championship final against the Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . Smith, who turned 20 on Feb. 27, sat out last night. He was a second-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . The OHL final is scheduled to open Thursday in the Soo.


With Ian Herbers officially having returned to his post as head coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, it means that Serge Lajoie is looking for work. Herbers spent the last three years on sabbatical as he worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. With him gone, Lajoie took over as the Golden Bears’ head coach and won the 2018 USports championship. . . . It’s an open secret that Lajoie has talked with the Saskatoon Blades about their head-coaching vacancy. The Blades are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired at season’s end. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia reports that Lajoie also has talked with the Red Deer Rebels, who have an opening after they and associate coach Jeff Truitt chose to part company.


Erik Largen is the new head coach at the U of Alaska-Fairbanks. Largen, 31, spent the previous two seasons with the Nanooks as an assistant coach. He now is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I hockey ranks. . . . Largen takes over from Lance West, who had been the interim head coach for the 2017-18 season after Dallas Ferguson left to take over as head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. . . . College Hockey News has more on this story right here.


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D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) signed a one-year extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had three goals and seven assists in 49 games. . . .

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in five games with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), and 14 goals and 11 assists in 43 games with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL). . . .

D Jim Vandermeer (Red Deer, 1997-2001) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). As a player/assistant coach, he had seven goals and 16 assists in 33 games this season. . . .

F Spencer Edwards (Red Deer, Seattle, Moose Jaw, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 44 games with Bordeaux (France, Ligue Magnus).


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