In a move that could have implications in the WHL, the Winnipeg Jets have signed F Chaz Lucius to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next season. . . . Lucius, who turns 19 on May 2, is from Lawrence, Kan. This season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games with the NCAA’s Minnesota Golden Gophers. Before that, he played two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program. . . . The Jets selected him with the 18th overall pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Portland Winterhawks grabbed his major junior rights in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Next season, assuming he doesn’t crack the Jets’ roster, Lucius will be eligible to play in the AHL, with the Manitoba Moose, or the Winterhawks. . . . Eric Vegoe, a freelance writer who follows the Gophers, tweeted: “I’d be absolutely shocked if Lucius went to the AHL. He’d be a phenomenal fit in Portland and be one of the league’s top scorers for a franchise that knows what (it’s) doing with prospects.” . . . Lucius’s brother, Cruz, 18, has committed to playing at Minnesota next season after spending the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. With his brother no longer at Minnesota, you wonder if the younger Lucius might be rethinking his immediate future, too?
WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:
There were six playoff games with four of the teams staring elimination squarely in the face. Three of those teams lived to fight another day, with only the Prince George Cougars having their season come to an end. . . . You should know, too, that only two teams in WHL history have come back from trailing 3-0 to win a series. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7 at home. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets did the same thing against the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning Game 7 at home. . . . In tonight’s only game, the Edmonton Oil Kings take a 3-0 lead into Lethbridge against the Hurricanes. . . . Here’s a brief look at what happened last night. . . .
In Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips took a 2-1 series lead over the Vancouver Giants with a 6-2 victory. . . . They’ll play again Friday in Langley, then head for Everett and Game 5 on Saturday. . . . Everett, which got two goals from each of Ryan Hofer (3), Niko Huuhtanen (5) and Matthew Ng (2), held period leads of 3-0 and 5-2. . . . Huuhtanen has nine points in the three games. . . . G Braden Holt stopped 32 shots to earn the win. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman returned after missing Game 2 and blocked 18 shots. . . . Everett was without F Alex Swetlikoff, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major in Game 2 on Saturday. . . . Swetlikoff and F Jackson Berezowski, who is out with an undisclosed injury, were the Silvertips’ top two scorers in the regular season. . . . Vancouver F Tom Cadieux was tossed with an interference major at 12:50 of the third period. Then, at 19:00, F Matthew Edwards of the Giants left after taking a headshot major. . . . The Silvertips had Vancouver’s own Dave Sheldon handle the play-by-play “with Casey Bryant unavailable to travel.” Sheldon was part of the Everett broadcast crew back in the day (2003-06). These days, Sheldon is the team operations manager for the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors. . . .
In Prince George, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks scored two first-period goals and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks swept the series, 4-0, and now go home to await and as-yet undecided second-round opponent. . . . F James Stefan (2) put the visitors out front at 8:22 of the first period and F Luke Schelter (1) made it 2-0 at 11:51. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal when F Jonny Hooker (1) scored at 6:55 of the third period. . . . Portland’s took the game’s only three minor penalties, the last one to D Cross Hanas for delay of game at 18:59 of the third period. With G Tyler Brennan on the bench, the Cougars held a 6-on-4 advantage but weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots for Portland, including 12 in the third period. He finished the series 4-0, 1.00, .965. . . . Brennan turned aside 40 shots. He got into all four games, going 0-2, 1.86, .954. . . . The Cougars had to scratch F Riley Heidt as he served a one-game suspension for the kneeing major and game misconduct he took in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . .
In Kelowna, F Adam Kydd scored in OT to give the Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle holds a 3-1 lead as the series returns to Kent, Wash., for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . The Rockets erased a 2-0 second-period deficit to get the game into extra time. . . . F Lucas Ciona (3) scored both Seattle goals, at 19:41 of the first period and 3:16 of the second. . . . G Gabriel Szturc (1) got the Rockets to within a goal, on a PP, at 6:28 of the second and D Noah Dorey (1) tied it at 12:45 as he ended a 43-game goal drought. . . . Kydd won it with his second goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:55 of OT. . . . F Andrew Cristall drew the primary assist on each of Kelowna’s last two goals. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Talyn Boyko, who had watched Game 3 from the bench. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Seattle, which went into the game 10-for-19, was 0-for-3. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who was suspended for two games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . . F Matthew Rempe (undisclosed) was among Seattle’s scratches. . . .
In Prince Albert, G Tikhon Chaika stopped 25 shots to help the No. 8 Raiders to a 3-1 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice now holds a 3-1 edge in the series, with Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . D Remy Aquilon (1), on a PP, at 1:53 of the second period, and D Eric Johnston (1), at 1:06 of the third, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne got his fourth of the series, on a PP, at 18:51, but F Sloan Stanick (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-3 on the PP and now is 9-for-18 in the series. The Raiders are 2-for-19. . . .
In Brandon, the No. 6 Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals to earn a 3-1 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Red Deer on Friday. Then they’ll return to Brandon for Game 6 on Sunday. . . . F Jace Isley (2) gave the Rebels the lead at 7:44 of the first period. . . . F Trae Johnson (1) tied it at 13:01. . . . The Wheat Kings won it on two PP goals from F Marcus Kallionkieli, at 18:24 of the second period and 19:22 of the third. The second one was an empty-netter. . . . Kallionkieli, a Finn who turned 21 on March 20, also drew an assist on Johnson’s goal.
In Saskatoon, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the No. 5 Blades to a 5-3 victory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw leads the series 3-1 and can win it at home on Friday night. . . . The Blades actually coughed up 2-0 and 3-1 leads with Warriors F Ryder Korczak (2) getting his guys even, at 3-3, at 2:54 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon D Rhett Rhinehart (1) broke the tie at 8:37 and Crnkovic’s second goal of the game and series, an empty-netter, iced it at 19:31. . . . D Maximus Wanner (3) scored twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Blades got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans have named D Marc Lajoie as the 33rd captain in franchise history. The Americans went without a captain this season as they didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Lajoie, the 14th pick in the 2018 WHL draft, has played three seasons with the Americans. . . .
Neil Pilon, who played 263 games over five seasons in the WHL, was named head coach of the Kamloops-based U-18 AAA Thompson Blazers on Wednesday. Pilon played with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds (1983-88). . . . Pilon also is the greens superintendent at the Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, which is located near Merritt, B.C. . . .
Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder, is leaving after four seasons with the organization. In a news release, the Thunder said it “regrets to announce” that Thurston is leaving. . . . The news release didn’t indicate any reason for Thurston’s departure. . . . This season, the Thunder was 33-17-10, good for fourth in the North Division, before being swept from a first-round series by the Spruce Grove Saints. . . .
Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “Brad Patterson is out as head coach of the (USHL’s) Youngstown Phantoms.” . . . Their season ended with first-round playoff loss on Tuesday night. . . . Patterson had been on the Phantoms’ coaching staff since 2009-10, and was the head coach since 2016-17. . . .
The OHL’s Peterborough Petes and general manager Michael Oke have agreed on a two-year contract that will take them through the 2023-24 season. Oke has been the Petes’ GM since Feb. 14, 2013. He joined the organization as the director of player personnel in July 2010.
My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.
A note involving Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, from Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 32 Thoughts:
“During the second week of April, five Canadians lived atop five 40-foot flagpoles for 100 hours. The significance of that length is 100 years ago, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin to help manage diabetes. One of those five was Wilson Gaglardi, the 16-year-old son of Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. To donate toward a cure, please go to canadacuresdiabetes.ca.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.