A few Twitter tidbits from Sunday’s lone WHL playoff game in which the host Prince George Cougars scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Tri-City Americans to move into the second round for the first time since 2007 . . .
Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow): “Riley Heidt doubles point output in series after recording a goal and 2 assists. 12th game of at least three points this season, 7th this side of 2023. Ty Young stops series high 34 of 38, becomes first Cougars goalie with 3+ wins in playoffs since Real Cyr in 2007 (8).” . . .
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
The stage now is set for the second round of the playoffs, with all four series scheduled to open on Friday. There weren’t any upsets in the first round, as each of the top four seeds in each conference advanced for the first time since 2015. . . .
In the Eastern Conference, the pennant-winning Winnipeg Ice, which swept the Medicine Hat Tigers, will be at home to the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, while the No. 2 Saskatoon Blades entertain the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . .
In the Western Conference, the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds and No. 4 Prince George Cougars will open in Kent, Wash., with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers entertaining the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks. . . .
Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Radio NL on Monday that F Fraser Minten should be back in the lineup for Friday’s opener against Portland. Minten, a 31-goal man in the regular season, hasn’t played since March 22. . . . At the same time, F Daylan Kuefler, who missed the last game of the four-game sweep of the Vancouver Giants, is day-to-day. He also scored 31 times in the regular season.
MONDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
THE BEDARD REPORT — F Connor Bedard ran out of miracles for the Regina Pats last night in Saskatoon as the Blades posted a 4-1 victory in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . Yes, he drew an assist on Regina’s lone goal. . . . Bedard finished the series with 10 goals and 10 assists; he was in on 20 of his side’s 26 goals in the seven games. . . . BTW, at some point on Monday there was a scoring change made that impacted Bedard. Prior to Game 7, Bedard was shown with 11 goals and eight assists. He picked up an assist in Game 7, and after the game was shown with 10 goals and 10 assists. . . . On Monday, Bedard was named the WHL’s player of the week for a second straight week. . . . Most points in a WHL playoff series? Who knows? But Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun pointed out earlier that F Jamie Black of the Tacoma Rockets had 22 points, including 15 assists, in a seven-game first-round loss to the Spokane Chiefs in 1993. . . . Bedard was blanked in five of 57 regular-season games; he had at least one point in each of the seven playoff games. . . . In 64 regular-season and playoff games this season, Bedard had 163 points, including 81 goals. . . . Including his performance at the World Junior Championship, he had 186 points, including 90 goals, in 71 games. . . . In his WHL career, he totalled 291 points, including 144 goals, in 141 regular-season and playoff games. . . . What’s next for Bedard? Well, Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ well-connected play-by-play voice, said last night that he has heard that Bedard won’t play for Canada at the IIHF World Championship that is scheduled for Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia, from May 12-28. . . . Bedard almost certainly will be the first overall selection in the NHL draft that is to run in Nashville on June 28 and 29. . . . All this and he won’t turn 18 until July 17. Amazing!
Regina (6) at Saskatoon (3) — The Saskatoon Blades scored three third-period goals as they beat the Regina Pats, 4-1, in Game 7 of their first round series. . . . The Blades will open the second round at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night. . . . This game was goalless until Saskatoon D Spencer Shugrue scored on a redirection off a 3-on-2 break with 13.3 seconds left in the second period. The 19-year-old Vancouver native had one goal and six assists in 55 regular-season games. He was pointless in the first six games of the series. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-0 at 7:56 of the third period when F Jake Chiasson (2) scored. . . . F Stanislav Svozil (4) got the Pats to within a goal at 13:10. . . . The Blades put it away on goals from F Vaughn Watterodt (3), at 17:50, and F Trevor Wong (3), into an empty net, at 18:11. . . . Wong finished the series with 10 points, as did Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov, who had five goals. . . . Saskatoon got 25 stops from G Austin Elliott, while Regina’s Drew Sim blocked 36. . . . Saskatoon was 0-for-2 on the PP to finish 5-for-18. Regina’s PP didn’t get on the ice in Game 7 and finished 5-for-14. . . . If you were wondering who was the WHL Supervisor for this game, it was Kevin Muench, the league’s veteran senior director of officiating. . . . The announced attendance at Monday’s game was 14,768. The four playoff games in Saskatoon drew 47,729 fans. The seven-game series finished with a total attendance of 67,226. . . . The Pats’ last six trips to Saskatoon drew 77,265 fans to SaskTel Centre.
G Jesper Vikman of the Vancouver Giants has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and has joined their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, on an ATO. . . . From Stockholm, Sweden, Vikman, 21, was 19-21-1, 3.29, .903 with the Giants this season. . . . Vegas selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .
D Dru Krebs of the Medicine Hat Tigers has joined the AHL’s Hershey Bears on an ATO. Krebs, who turned 20 on Feb. 16, had eight goals and 33 assists in 67 regular-season games this season. He was a sixth-round selection by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ parent club, in the 2021 NHL draft. . . .
F Jett Jones of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has joined the ECHL’s Savannah Ghost Pirates. He is coming off a regular season in which he finished with 50 points, 21 of them goals, in 67 games. . . . Jones, 20, is an NHL free agent. . . .
The NHL’s New York Rangers have assigned G Talyn Boyko of the Kelowna Rockets to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Boyko, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was 13-24-1, 3.55, .898 with Kelowna this season. . . . The Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .
The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have signed Clayton Jardine as their general manager and head coach. He spent the past four seasons as head coach of the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Jardine, 32, was the Klippers’ head coach in 2018-19 when he was honoured as the SJHL’s coach of the year. . . . When the 2022-23 season began, Ken Plaquin was the Klippers’ GM/head coach. He was fired on Feb. 22 with assistant coach Tyler Traptow finishing up on an interim basis. . . . The Klippers went 13-34-9 this season and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . .
F Justin Sommer scored in OT to give the Kimberley Dynamiters a 3-2 victory over the host Princeton Posse in Game 7 of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s championship final. . . . Sommer, who is from Kimberley, had three goals and three assists in 37 regular-season games. He scored his third goal of these playoffs at 14:36 of OT. . . . Princeton F Brayden Bablitz scored his 12th goal of the playoffs to tie the score at 18:42 of the third period. G Peyton Trzaska was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . The Posse had been playing with heavy hearts since assistant coach Mort Johnston was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident on March 26.
THINKING OUT LOUD — Whenever I listen to Les Lazaruk call a Saskatoon Blades games, I get bothered. Why? Because someone like Jack Edwards gets to call NHL games and Les doesn’t. It’s true that there are times when life just isn’t fair. . . . A quick note to WHL head coaches . . . Kevin Dudley of the Mankato, Minn., News reports that Minnesota State men’s hockey coach Luke Strand, who just signed a five-year deal, will be paid US$340,000 annually. . . . The Mavericks played 39 games this season.
With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.
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.