Hunter takes over Team Canada . . . Ex-Hitmen coach lands in Denver . . . Everett adds Backus, Fraser to front office


MacBeth

F Kaspars Saulietis (Kelowna, Regina, 2006-08) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 25 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga, and was pointless in three games while on loan to Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). . . .

F Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in one game with the Florida Panthers (NHL), and had 20 goals and 42 assists in 73 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL). He led the Thunderbirds in assists and points.


ThisThat

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, has taken over as head coach of Canada’s national junior team. Hunter, 57, was an assistant with Canada each of the past Canadatwo seasons. . . . Hunter, who is preparing for his fifth season in Moose Jaw, replaces Dominique Ducharme, Canada’s head coach for each of the last two seasons. Ducharme has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . With Hunter moving up from assistant coach, Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been added to Canada’s staff. The other assistant coaches are Marc-Andre Dumont of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Jim Hulton of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders. . . .

Mike Burnstein of the Vancouver Giants and Khore Elliott of the Victoria Royals have been named Team Canada’s athletic therapists. . . . Canada won the gold medal at the 2018 tournament in Buffalo, and will attempt to defend the title at the 2019 tournament that is scheduled to open in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26. . . . While Canada will play its round-robin games in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, it will hold its selection camp in Victoria. . . .

Group A comprises Canada, Czech Repulic, Denmark, Russia and
Switzerland, with Finland, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden and Team USA in Group B, which will play out of Victoria’s Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.


Dallas Ferguson, who left the Calgary Hitmen last month, is joining the U of Denver Pioneers as an assistant coach. He will work under first-year head coach Matt Carle, 28. . . . Carle has taken over from Jim Montgomery, who now is the head coach of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Ferguson, 45, left the U of Alaska-Fairbanks to join the Hitmen as head coach prior to last season. He had been on the Nanook’ coaching staff for 13 seasons, the last nine as head coach. . . . In announcing Ferguson’s resignation on June 26, Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth explained in a news release: ““Dallas approached me last week, stating his wife is unable to continue to work her current job in Alaska while moving to Calgary as originally planned. As a father to two young girls he does not want to live apart from his family again this year.”


The Everett Silvertips firmed up the top end of their scouting department on Tuesday as Everettthey named Alvin Backus their director of player personnel and Mike Fraser as their head scout. . . . Backus spent the past seven seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. His contract with Montreal expired on Saturday and wasn’t renewed. . . . Backus lives in Salmon Arm, B.C. Garry Davidson, who is heading into his seventh season as the Silvertips’ general manager, was the owner, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks for seven seasons (2001-08). . . . Fraser, a WHL scout since 2005, lives in Edmonton. . . . He started scouting with the Swift Current Broncos in 2005 and spent seven seasons with them. Fraser has been working with the Brandon Wheat Kings since 2012-13. . . . The Silvertips lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel for four seasons, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who named him general manager on June 6.


Bob Jones has signed on as an assistant coach with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Jones had been the head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals for three seasons, although he missed the 2017-18 season due to a serious health problem. Jones, 48, and the Generals then went their separate ways in April. . . . Derek Laxdal, a former head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, is the head coach with Texas.


Nathan Oystrick, a native of Regina, has been named the general manager and head HumboldtBroncoscoach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Oystick, 35, replaces Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the April 6 bus crash that also claimed 15 other lives. . . . Oystrick spent last season coaching a high school team in Colorado. In 2016-17, he was an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. . . . A defenceman, he played two seasons (2000-02) with the BCHL’s South Surrey Eagles before going on to four seasons at Northern Michigan U. His pro career included stints with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


Brayden Pettinger was a 20-year-old defenceman with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers when he suffered a devastating back injury during a game against the host Winnipeg Blues on Nov. 12, 2015. Pettinger, who is from Elgin, Man., now is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. . . . These days, he and his father, Rick, are in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is undergoing a medical procedure. Brayden’s uncle, Larry, updated things with steinbachonline.com, and that piece is right here.


Geoff Grimwood has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors as assistant general manager and associate coach. Grimwood, 37, spent the past three seasons as the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. . . . In the past, he has worked with the WHL’s Victoria Royals and the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. . . . With the Warriors, he’ll work alongside GM/head coach Rylan Ferster.


Jesse Dorrans is back as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces Bill Rotheisler, who was dismissed after two seasons on the job. . . . Rotheisler was hired prior to the 2016-17 season, taking over from Dorrans, who left to become GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. He resigned after one season due to what the team said ws “personal reasons.”


F Skyler McKenzie of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year entry-level deal Portlandwith the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He was a seventh-round selection by the Jets in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, McKenzie, 20, had 47 goals and 40 assists in 72 games. In 282 regular-season games with Portland, the Sherwood Park, Alta., native has 101 goals and 111 assist. He was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . He is eligible to return to the WHL for one more season, but likely will start the season with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets’ AHL affiliate.


Two WHLers have been selected to the roster of USA Hockey’s representative for the U-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. It will feature teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Spokane Chiefs and G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips were named to the roster. Toporowski is from Bettendorf, Iowa, while Wolf is from Tustin, Calif. . . . The complete Team USA roster is right here.


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Lazaruk, no Phantom, sings for charity . . . Everett, Seattle gets hot, hot, hot . . . Blazers, Rockets ends in kerfuffle

MacBeth

F Brandon Segal (Calgary, 1999-2004) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has 12 goals and 14 assists in 49 games this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, a member of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew, is in Pyeong Chang, where he has been working at men’s hockey games in the Olympic Winter Games. Yes, he Olylogowas part of the off-ice crew that handled Team OAR’s 4-3 OT victory over Germany. He also has been letting us know how things are going. On Saturday, he sent this . . .

“Well, after plenty of heartbreaking plays, it was truly sad to see the end results of both Team Canada’s meaningful games. Both teams worked hard but got away from the true Canadian style of physical crash and bang play. They tried to play that finesse style, which led to their defeat.

“We Canadians don’t play that way!

“There won’t be any North American on-ice officials doing the gold medal game.

“Both referee Brett Iverson and linesman Nathan Van Oosten will be working the Blazers game on Wednesday.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, took his game to a different level on Friday night.

With the Blades at home to the Regina Pats, Lazaruk got things started by singing O Canada. Yes, he did.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too much video of it kicking around the Internet, other than the link that is supplied in the above tweet.

Lazaruk did this as a fund-raiser in support of Pink Day for the Saskatchewan Red Cross.

If you aren interested in donating, you are able to do so right here.

Mike Priestner, the Blades’ owner, has agreed to match every penny that is donated.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post takes time out of his busy schedule to interview sporting personalities in a light and personal fashion. His most recent subject was John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. Paddock, as always, is worth listening to as he recounts a lot about his NHL days. . . . It’s all right here.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Kent, Wash., the Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Everett (41-17-5) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Seattle (28-24-9) has lost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, by six points over Kamloops. . . . Everett is 4-2-2 in the season series; Seattle is 4-3-1. . . . F Nolan Volcan (26) put Seattle ahead 1-0 at 14:18 of the first period. . . . F Connor Dewar (32) tied it at 11:35 of the second period. . . . G Garrett Pilon (31) broke the tie at 2:44 of the third period. . . . Dewar also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 0-1 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 23 saves. . . . Seattle got 37 stops from G Liam Hughes. . . . Announced attendance: 5,452.


At Red Deer, the Rebels overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . Red Deer (22-28-13) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Red DeerCentral Division, six points behind Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (43-14-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, two points behind Moose Jaw, which holds two games in hand. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:28 of the second period. . . . The Broncos responded with three goals. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (27) scored at 2:39 of the second period, and F Matteo Gennaro (37) put the visitors ahead at 15:26. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (52) ran his point streak to 21 games, giving the Broncos a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. . . . The Rebels then tied it on two goals from F Grayson Pawlenchuk, who has 18, at 9:05 and 15:53. . . . F Chris Douglas (7) broke the tie at 16:50, and F Kristian Reichel (29) got the empty-netter, at 19:18. . . . The Rebels got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel adding one. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Gawdin has 20 goals and 20 assists in his 21-game point streak. . . . Swift Current was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 28 shots for the Rebels, one more than Swift Current’s Joel Hofer. . . . Announced attendance: 4,735.


At Moose Jaw, the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (45-12-3) has tied its franchise record for victories in a MooseJawWarriorsseason that was set in 2011-12. It leads the overall standings, by two points over Swift Current. . . . Regina (33-25-6) had won its previous four games. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw is 6-2-0 in the season series; Regina is 2-5-1. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter posted the 138th regular-season victory, moving to No. 1 on the Warriors’ career list. He had been sharing the record with Al Tuer. . . . F Tristin Langan (14) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 6:50 of the first period, with F Justin Almeida (34) adding another, on a PP, at 14:25. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 3-0 with his WHL-leading 58th goal, at 12:15 of the second period. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (11) got Regina on the scoreboard at 17:39. . . . F Robbie Holmes (15) pulled the Pats to within one at 7:28 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 28 stops. . . . The Pats got 23 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . D Jett Woo served the second of a three-game suspension, while D Dmitri Zaitsev (ill) also was among the scratches. . . . The Warriors have added D Daemon Hunt, 15, to their roster for the weekend. He was a first-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Hunt has 40 points, including 36 assists, in 40 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 4,701.


At Edmonton, F Parker Kelly scored the only goal of the third period to give the Prince Albert Raiders a 5-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (26-25-11) has won three PrinceAlbertin a row. It is two points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Each team has 10 games remaining. . . . Edmonton (18-35-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Oil Kings had an early 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (26), at 1:44, and D Conner McDonald (6), on a PP, at 5:47. . . . The Raiders took a 3-2 second-period lead on goals from D Vojtech Budik (10), on a PP, at 5:18; F Curtis Miske (21), at 5:52; and F Brett Leason, at 6:39. . . . Edmonton got back into a tie when D Wyatt McLeod scored his first WHL goal at 7:07. . . . Leason, who has goals in six straight games, broke that tie with his 16th goal at 12:04. . . . F David Kope (11) pulled the Oil Kings into a 4-4 tie at 18:34. . . . Kelly, playing in his 200th regular-season game, won it with his 26th goal, at 8:35 of the third period. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Regan Nagy each had two assists for the winners, with Kelly and Miske adding one each. . . . Fix-Wolansky had two assists and Kope one for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were 2-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 1-7. . . . Prince Albert got 25 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . G Josh Dechaine made 26 saves for Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 9,723.


At Spokane, F Kailer (Yammi) Yamamoto had a goal and two assists and F Jaret (JAD) Anderson-Dolan had three assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay SpokaneChiefsIce. . . . Spokane (35-21-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kootenay (25-36-3) has lost five straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind Red Deer. . . . As part of the night’s promotion, the Chiefs had nicknames on the backs of their jerseys. Those nicknames are included in the lineup in the above tweet. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 4:55 of the first period on a goal from F Milos (Fafs) Fafrak. . . . F Gillian Kohler (6) tied it for the Ice, at 9:10. . . . The Chiefs went out front 3-1 before the period ended, on goals from F Ethan (Dewey) McIndoe (20) and Yamamoto (18), shorthanded, at 19:06. . . . F Colton Veloso scored for the Ice at 2:10 of the second period, but the home team went up 5-2 on goals from F Jake (McGruber) McGrew (16), at 8:25 of the second, and D Ty (Smitty) Smith (13), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Veloso (23) got the Ice’s final goal, at 14:25. . . . The Chiefs also got two assists from F Riley (Woodsy) Woods, with McGrew and Fafrak each getting one. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 12 stops from G Dawson (Weatherman) Weatherill. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 31 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 8,352.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored three first-period goals in the span of 2:34 and went on to a 6-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Tri-City (32-21-8) TriCity30has won three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane. . . . Prince George (20-33-8) has lost three straight. . . . The Americans took control with three goals in the span of 2:34 early in the first period. . . . F Jordan Topping (35) got it started at 4:11, with D Juuso Valimaki making it 2-0 at 4:51 and F Paycen Bjorklund (2) adding another at 6:45. . . . The Americans went ahead 5-0 before the period ended, as Valimaki scored at 11:41 and F Parker AuCoin (17) counted at 19:20. . . . Valimaki completed his second career hat trick with his 11th goal at 10:18 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got their goal from D Ryan Schoettler (6) at 17:42. . . . D Anthony Bishop drew three assists for Tri-City, with F Isaac Johnson and F Nolan Yaremko each getting two. . . . Each team was 0-3 on the PP. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 19 shots for the Americans. . . . The Cougars started G Isaiah DiLaura, who gave up five goals on 14 shots in the first period. Tavin Grant played the last two periods, stopping 15 of 16 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,406.


At Victoria, F Cody Glass, who also had two assists, broke a 2-2 tie at 16:56 of the third period to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (37-Portland20-4) has won two in a row, having beaten the host Royals, 2-1, on Friday. The Winterhawks have clinched a playoff spot. They are second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Everett. . . . Victoria (35-23-5) has lost two straight. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Kelowna and five ahead of Vancouver. . . . The Winterhawks went ahead 1-0 at 3:50 of the first period when F Kieffer Bellows scored on a PP. . . . Victoria F Noah Gregor got that one back, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Bellows (32) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead 54 seconds into the second period, only to have Gregor (25) tie it, on a PP, at 6:28. . . . Glass got the winner, his 29th goal this season, on a PP. . . . The Winterhawks got three assists from D Dennis Cholowski. . . . Glass now has 200 career points in 190 regular-season games. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for Victoria. . . . F Matthew Phillips of the Royals had his point streak snapped at 22 games. . . . Victoria was 2-4 on the PP; Portland was 2-6. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 21 saves. He also went the distance for Portland on Friday. . . . The Royals got 39 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-5. . . . Kelowna (38-18-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Western KelownaRocketsConference, five points behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (27-31-5) has lost two in a row. It is six points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kelowna is 6-0-0) in the season series; Kamloops is 0-5-1. . . . The Rockets actually led this one 3-0, before giving up four goals in a span of 5:57 in the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube, who has 31 goals, scored for Kelowna at 10:51 and 18:46 of the first period, the latter coming via a PP. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (17) made it 3-0, on another PP, at 5:36 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (32) got the Blazers’ comeback started at 11:04. F Luc Smith (17), back after a two-week absence, made it 3-2 at 11:25, and F Nick Chyzowski (19) tied it, on a PP, at 14:25. D Nolan Kneen (5) gave Kamloops the lead, at 17:01. . . . The Rockets tied it at 12:50 of the third period as F Leif Mattson scored while shorthanded. . . . Kamloops F Orrin Centazzo (10) gave Kamloops a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 13:11. . . . The Rockets tied it at 13:40 as F Carsen Twarynski (38) struck, on a PP, then took the lead at 17:47 on Mattson’s 21st goal of the season. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of D Gordie Ballhorn and F Kole Lind, with Dube and Brutten-Cate adding one apiece. . . . Loewen had two assists for Kamloops, as did Kneen and F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Loewen went into this season with 14 goals and 18 assists in 170 games. This season, he has developed into one of the WHL’s top power forwards, with 32 goals and 24 assists in 57 games. . . . Kelowna was 3-6 on the PP; Kamloops was 2-6. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots at the other end. . . . The Rockets took 62 of the game’s 120 penalty minutes. Eight game misconducts, including one to Salmond, were handed out following a kerfuffle at the final buzzer. . . . Announced attendance: 5,324.


At Medicine Hat, F Cole Reinhardt’s overtime goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victor over the Tigers. . . . Brandon (32-24-5) had lost its previous two games. It is fourth BrandonWKregularin the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points up on Saskatoon. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-8) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . The Wheat Kings got off to a 1-0 lead at 8:44 on a goal by F Stelio Mattheos (37). . . . F Ryan Jevne (17) tied it for the Tigers, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Wheat Kings went ahead 3-1 on goals from Reinhardt, at 4:43, and F Evan Weinger (26), shorthanded, at 11:19. . . . D David Quenneville (26) scored at 15:02 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . The home team tied it with 38.2 seconds left and the extra attacker on the ice when F Mark Rassell (46) scored the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . .  Reinhardt scored his 15th goal of the season to win it at 1:06 of OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal. . . . Quenneville also had two assists, with Rassell and Jevne adding one each. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-1. . . . The Wheat Kings got 31 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . With G Michael Bullion ill, the Tigers gave Kaeden Lane his first WHL start, and he responded with 10 saves. Lane, 16, is from Burnaby, B.C. He plays for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team in the CSSHL. . . . Announced attendance: 3,226.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 2:05 p.m.

Brandon at Calgary, 4 p.m.

Swift Current at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Spokane at Everett, 4:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Wheat Kings end Blades’ run . . . Heponiemi returns in big way . . . Silvertips back on top in U.S.

A LITTLE OF THIS …

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, wasn’t back with the team in time to work the bench on Saturday night as they beat the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-2.

Hunter spent most of the past month as an assistant coach with the Canadian national MooseJawWarriorsjunior team that won the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He is expected back on the bench Wednesday when the Warriors are scheduled to play host to the Hitmen.

In his absence, assistant coach Mark O’Leary served as head coach.

With O’Leary in charge, the Warriors went 8-1-1, losing 5-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 15 and dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to the host Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 27.

Since that loss, the Warriors have posted six straight regulation-time victories. They now lead the WHL’s overall standings by eight points over Swift Current.

Of course, Hunter also worked as an assistant coach with Team Canada last season. While he was away, O’Leary took over and the Warriors were 7-3-2 with him in charge.

In two stints as acting head coach, then, O’Leary is 15-4-3, which is rather good in any league.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added D Trevor Longo, 17, to their roster. From North Vancouver, B.C., Longo was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. He was pointless in four games with the Tigers earlier this season, and has three assists in 17 games with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Meanwhile, the Kootenay Ice has returned F Holden Kodak, 16, to the Yale Hockey Academy where is plays for the midget prep team in the CSSHL. From Cloverdale, B.C., he was an 11th-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. Kodak was pointless in two games with the Ice.


F Wyatt Sloboshan, who spent the past three-plus seasons in the WHL, has been added the roster of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Sloboshan, 20, didn’t return to the Regina Pats after the Christmas break. . . . Sloboshan, from Vanscoy, Sask., had four goals and 11 assists in 36 games with Regina this season. . . . He also has played with the Saskatoon Blades — he was their captain when last season started — and the Spokane Chiefs. The Swift Current Broncos selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft, although he never played for them. . . . in 219 regular-season WHL games, he has 44 goals and 77 assists.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the last two minutes of the third period to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-3. . . . Brandon (27-12-1) has won two in a row. It is third in BrandonWKregularthe East Division, and the overall standings, six points behind Swift Current. . . . Saskatoon (21-18-3) had won its previous seven games and 10 of 11. It is tied with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff spots. . . . Brandon went out front 1-0 when F Ty Lewis scored, while shorthanded, at 9:58 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (21) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 17:56. . . . However, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the period’s last 90 seconds to take a 3-1 lead. F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored at 18:30 and F Tanner Kaspick (12) followed at 19:13. . . . The Blades fought back and tied it on two goals from F Chase Wouters, at 15:42 of the second and 11:12 of the third. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Lewis broke the tie with his 23rd goal of the season at 18:04, and F Stelio Mattheos (29) got the empty-netter at 18:51. . . . The Wheat Kings got two assists from F Evan Weinger and one each from Mattheos, Lewis and Kaspick. . . . D Jackson Caller had three assists for Saskatoon and Shmyr had one. . . . Saskatoon was 0-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-5. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 15 shots to earn the victory over Ryan Kubic, who turned aside 25 shots. . . . Kubic was making his first appearance since Dec. 16. . . . The Blades, who were outshot 12-3 in the third period, were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, including a 4-2 victory over visiting Kootenay on Saturday. The Wheat Kings didn’t play on Saturday. . . . Saskatoon D Libor Hajek didn’t make the trek to Brandon, the coaching staff no doubt deciding to give him some rest. He played for Czech Republic at the WJC and was back in Saskatoon in time to play in Saturday’s victory over Kootenay. . . . Announced attendance: 3,051.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi had four points, all via the PP, as the Broncos beat the Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . Swift Current (29-10-3) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It SCBroncosremains second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (10-22-9) has lost eight in a row (0-4-4). . . . The Broncos didn’t have F Tyler Steenbergen, the hero of Canada’s victory at the World Junior Championship, back in their lineup, but Heponiemi returned from his stint with Finland to score once and set up three otyhers. . . . He opened the scoring at 5:14 of the first period. . . . F Kristian Reichel (15), in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, scored for Red Deer, on a PP, at 7:55. . . . F Matteo Gennaro broke the tie, scoring twice, at 8:21 and 15:07. He’s got 28 goals and has scored twice in three straight games. He has 14 goals and 15 assists in 17 games since moving over from Calgary. . . . Broncos D Artyom Minulin scored his club’s other two goals, at 18:56 of the first period and 6:11 of the third. He’s got seven goals. . . . D Colby Sissons drew three assists for the winners, with F Glenn Gawdin getting two and Gennaro one. . . . The Broncos were 4-6 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-5. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 19 shots for the Broncos. . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb surrendered four goals on 17 shots in the first period. Ethan Anders played the final two periods, stopping 13 of 14 shots. . . . The Rebels were playing their third game in three cities in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1. . . . The Broncos went 2-0-1 in their three-game weekend, with the first game on the road and the last two at home. . . . Announced attendance: 2,557.


At Regina, the Pats scored 37 seconds into the game and then added three third-period goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Regina (21-19-3) and Saskatoon are tied ReginaPats100for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . Prince Albert (15-18-8) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Raiders are seven points behind Regina and Saskatoon. . . . F Robbie Holmes (10) scored Regina’s first goal. . . . In the third period, the Pats opened up a 4-0 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn, at 3:12; F Bryan Lockner (7), at 9:56; and Leschychyn (14), into an empty net, at 13:32. Yes, 13:32. . . . F Parker Kelly (18) scored Prince Albert’s goal, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Leschyshyn added an assist to his two goals. . . . Prince Albert was 1-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-6. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 28 shots for the winners, seven fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The first two games were played at home. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle, acquired by Regina from Prince George on Friday, officially has been assigned to the Pats by the NHL’s Boston Bruins, but he didn’t play on Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 6,310.


At Calgary, F Marek Skvrne broke a 1-1 tie at 10:42 of the third period as the Kelowna Rockets beat the Hitmen, 3-1. . . . Kelowna (25-12-3) leads the Western Conference by two KelownaRocketspoints over Vancouver. . . . Calgary now is 13-22-6. . . . F Mark Kastelic (14) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:54 of the first period. . . . D James Hilsendager (6), on a PP, got the Rockets into a 1-1 tie at 16:32 of the second period. . . . Skvrne, a freshman from Czech Republic, scored his second goal of the season and it proved to be the winner. He now has two goals and an assist in 37 games. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate (9) got the empty-netter, at 19:45. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-8. . . . The Rockets got 21 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots at the other end. . . . The Hitmen went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Carson Focht and F Dakota Krebs, who were part of a Saturday trade in which D Jake Bean went to the Tri-City Americans, both were in Calgary’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,687.


At Everett, F Patrick Bajkov had a goal and four assists to lead the Silvertips to a 9-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Everett (24-16-2) had lost its previous two games. It Everettmoved back into first place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland and Tri-City. . . . Victoria (23-16-4) had won its past two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, a point behind Vancouver. . . . Everett got out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Connor Dewar at 0:24 and F Bryce Kindopp at 11:40. . . . The Royals tied it as D Jared Freadrich (10) scored, on a PP, at 12:30, and D Chaz Reddekopp (6) counted 52 seconds into the second period. . . . F Kyle Walker’s first goal, at 7:10, put Everett back out front, but Victoria F tyler Soy (19) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:12. . . . The Silvertips then scored the next six goals, with Kindopp (13), F Sean Richards (16) and Dewar (16) making it 6-3 before the second period ended. . . . F Matt Fonteyne added two third-period goals — he’s got 22 — and Bakjov got No. 21. All three of those goals came via the PP. . . . F Andrei Grishakov (13) scored Victoria’s last goal, on a PP. . . . Bajkov’s goal was the 100th of his career. He is in his fifth season with Everett; the goal came in game No. 312. . . . Everett got three assists from D Kevin Davis, two each from Fonteyne and D Wyatte Wylie, and one from Richards. . . . Reddekopp, Freadrich and Soy had an assist each for Victoria. . . . Soy’s assist was the 151st of his career, tying the Victoria/Chilliwack record that had been set by F Brandon Magee. . . . The Royals took 91 of the game’s 136 penalty minutes. . . . Everett was 5-9 on the PP; Victoria was 2-6. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . The Victoria duo of starter Dean McNabb and Griffen Outhouse combined to stop 50 of 59 shots. . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The Royals played at home Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday, while the Silvertips were in Victoria and then at home. The Royals, who beat visiting Everett 5-0 on Friday, went 2-0-0, while the Silvertips were 1-2-0. . . . Announced attendance: 3,958.


At Kamloops, F Parker AuCoin had a goal and two assists as the Tri-City Americans skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Tri-City (22-12-5) has won two in a row. It is TriCity30tied with Portland for second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (17-20-3) is 1-1-1 in its last three and now is eight points out of a playoff spot. The Blazers were playing their first game without F Garrett Pilon, their leading scorer, who was traded, along with D Ondrej Vala, to Everett earlier in the day. . . . The Americans got out to a 3-0 lead. . . . AuCoin (11) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:42 of the first period. . . . D Tyler Jette, playing in his first WHL game, made it 2-0 at 5:03 of the second period, and F Jordan Topping (21) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 14:56. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (11) scored for Kamloops at 18:22. . . . F Sasha Mutala (6) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Tri-City F Max James, 20, had two assists and was the game’s second star. He is from Kamloops and this likely was the last WHL game he will play in his hometown as the Americans aren’t scheduled there again this season. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 32 shots for the Americans, while the Blazers got 23 stops from Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Americans completed a three-game weekend that began with two games in Prince George. They wound up 2-1-0. . . . The Americans were without F Kyle Olson (hamstring), F Morgan Geekie, who took a high hit on Saturday in Prince George, D Juuso Valimaki (undisclosed injury), F Michael Rasmussen (wrist) and D Jake Bean, who was acquired Saturday from Calgary, so brought in D Tom Cadieux, 15, and Jette, 19. . . . Cadieux, from Saskatoon, was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He has three goals and eight assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Jette, from Farmington, Minn., was with the Americans in training camp prior to 2016-17 but suffered a concussion and sat out the season. He recently returned to playing, now with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders with whom he has one assist in four games. . . . Announced attendance: 3,215.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TWEET OF THE DAY

They celebrated memories in Vernon, B.C., on Saturday night as the BCHL’s Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings played the final hockey game in the Civic Centre. The 80-year-old facility is scheduled for demolition. . . . That’s old friend Mark Ferner, the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach, looking every bit the part of Toe Blake in the tweet below.