No surprises from Bettman in front of MPs. . . . Fix-Wolansky turns into Monster. . . . Nyren to undergo psychiatric assessment


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D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had eight goals and 12 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Brandon Kozun (Calgary, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia, KHL), he had 19 goals and 22 assists in 52 games. He led his team in goals, and was tied for the team lead in points. . . .

F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract with Sochi (Russia, KHL). This season, with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga), he had 30 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. He led the league in goals and points. . . .

G Patrik Bartošák (Red Deer, 2011-14) has signed a two-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 26-21-0, 2.17, .935, with one shutout and one assist in 47 games. He led the league in save percentage. . . .

D Vojtěch Budík (Prince Albert, 2015-18) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two assists in 34 games. On loan to Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and one assist in three games. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL), he had eight goals and 20 assists in 57 games.


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Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, appeared on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday to appear before a committee of Members of Parliament who are studying sports-related concussions. . . . “Sure, Bettman has been on the job more than 26 years,” writes Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. “He’s been an honoured member of the hockey hall since he was inducted last fall. But Wednesday confirmed they didn’t put him there because he benevolently served the good of the sport, its players and its future. They gave him the blue blazer and the ring because he profitably grew the business of his employers. And the business of his employers is clearly still served best by concussion denial.” . . . Feschuk’s column is right here.


The WHL announced its individual award winners, all-stars teams and more on Wednesday in Red Deer. You will find all of that information on the WHL’s website at whl.ca.

The annual bantam draft is scheduled to begin bright and early today (Thursday) in Red Deer. You won’t find much draft coverage here because it’s something that I just don’t spend a lot of time following.



F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings will finish his season with the Cleveland EdmontonOilKingsMonsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . Fix-Wolansky, an Edmonton native, will turn 20 on May 26. The Blue Jackets selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . This season, his third with the Oil Kings, he had 37 goals and 65 assists in 65 regular-season games. In 206 career regular-season games, he has 245 points, including 93 goals. . . . He wasn’t in Cleveland’s roster last night as it dropped a 5-2 decision to the Marlies in Toronto in Game 1 of a playoff series.


Giffen Nyren, the former WHL defenceman who is facing charges after a youngster was taken from his mother on Sunday at a Kelowna beach, appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment. . . . Nyren, 30, is facing one count of assault and one count of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer. . . . He remains in custody and is to be back in court on May 15. Nyren’s mother was in court when he made his appearance yesterday. . . . Doyle Potenteau of Global TV has more right here.


Taking Note has been told that veteran coach Barry Wolff will be joining the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials as their general manager and head coach. . . . After spending five seasons (2013-18) with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, one as head coach and four as general manager/head coach, Wolff spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. They lost Game 7 of the championship final to the Portage Terriers. . . . Wolff has had previous BCHL stints with the Quesnel Millionaires, Langley Hornets and Langley Chiefs. He also has coached the junior B Fernie Ghostriders, the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard and the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . In Merritt, Wolff will replace Joe Martin, who left to take over as GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


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Aaron Schulze of northeastnow.com reported Wednesday that the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League have decided not to renew the contract of Darrell Mann, their general manager and head coach. . . . Mann had been with the Trojans, in one position or another, for 16 years. . . . Schulze wrote that team president Greg McShannock “confirmed to northeastNOW that Mann’s contract was up for renewal and the team decided to move in a different direction.” . . . Mann spent 10 seasons with the Trojans before singing on as head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs. He returned to the Trojans for 2013-14. This season, the Trojans finished second in the regular season, at 32-7-5, before losing a best-of-five semi-final series, 3-1, to the Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Trojans then won the Western Regional as host team and went on to finish third at the Telus Cup. . . . Schulze’s story is right here.


Marty Murray, the general manager and head coach of the Minot Minotauros, has been honoured as the NAHL’s GM of the year. Murray, 44, is from Deloraine, Man., and played four seasons (1991-95) with the Brandon Wheat Kings before going on to a pro career that included 261 regular-season NHL games. . . . The Minotauros went 36-21-3 to finish second in the Central Division this season, and are presently involved in a second-round playoff series. They finished ninth in the NAHL in attendance, drawing more than 1,400 fans per game.


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Protas leads Raiders into final. . . . Belarusian sniper has six goals in two games. . . . Will open against visiting Giants on Friday


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The WHL final will feature the Vancouver Giants and Prince Albert Raiders. The series, whlwith the winner taking home the Ed Chynoweth Cup, is to follow a 2-3-2 format, with Games 1 and 2 in Prince Albert on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . The Raiders won the Eastern Conference title on Sunday, beating the Oil Kings, 4-2, in Edmonton to take the series, 4-2. . . . The Giants took out the Spokane Chiefs in five games, finishing that series in Langley, B.C., on Friday night with a 3-2 victory. . . .

The teams will travel via the friendly skies during the WHL final, so the Giants will fly east for the games in Prince Albert. The two teams, along with various league officials, will share a flight to Vancouver for the middle part of the series. . . . The Giants’ three home games are scheduled to be played in Langley on May 7, 8 and, if necessary, 10. If the series goes long enough, Games 6 and 7 would be played in Prince Albert on May 12 and 13. . . .

The Raiders finished atop the regular-season’s overall standings, at 54-10-4. . . . The Giants went 48-15-5 for the best record in the Western Conference. . . . The last time conference champions met in the WHL final was in 2015 when the Brandon Wheat Kings (53-11-8) went up against the Kelowna Rockets (53-13-6). The Rockets swept the final series. . . . The Raiders and Giants met once during the regular season. The Giants beat the visiting Raiders, 3-1, on Jan. 24 behind two goals from F Davis Koch and 31 stops by G Trent Miner.


The first two teams that will play in the Memorial Cup have been decided. The Halifax qmjhlMooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who are to play for the QMJHL championship, both will play in the four-team tournament. The Mooseheads are in as the host team, so the QMJHL’s other finalist gets an automatic berth. . . . Halifax scored a 2-1 OT decision over the Drummondville Voltigeurs to win that series, 4-2, and get to its first final since 2013. . . . The QMJHL final opens with Games 1 and 2 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday and Friday nights. . . . The Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from May 17-26 in Halifax.


The Ottawa 67’s have one of the spots in the OHL’s championship final, while the other ohlwill go to either the Guelph Storm or Saginaw Spirit. . . . The 67’s are 12-0 in the playoffs, having swept the Hamilton Bulldogs, Sudbury Wolves and Oshawa Generals, having outscored the opposition to the tune of 82-29. . . . The Spirit won three of the first four games in the other semifinal, only to have the Storm roar back with 4-0 and 5-1 victories to tie it, 3-3. . . . They’ll play Game 7 in Saginaw tonight (Monday). The Storm won, 4-0, in Saginaw on Friday, then skated to a 5-1 victory on home-ice on Sunday.


F Lucas Raymond scored his third goal of the game in OT to give Sweden, the host team, a IIHF4-3 victory over Russia in the championship game at the IIHF’s U-18 World Championship on Sunday before 5,602 fans in Ornskoldsvik. . . . It’s the first time that Sweden has won the tournament that started in 1999. Russia won silver for the fourth time. . . . Raymond won it with a wrist shot from just above the hash marks, beating G Yaroslav Askarov at 5:44 of the extra period. . . . Sweden had taken a 2-0 lead, only to have Russia come back and take a 3-2 lead. Raymond, who finished the tournament with four goals, tied the game, 3-3, at 10:47 of the third period, just 25 seconds after F Maxim Groshev gave Russia its only lead. . . .

In the third-place game, Team USA scored four times on the PP and beat Team Canada, 5-2, behind a goal and two assists from F Jack Hughes. That gave Hughes 32 points in his two tournament appearances, breaking Russian F Alex Ovechkin’s career points record of 31. . . . Hughes won the tournament scoring title with 20 points. . . . “In 2016,” writes Lucas Aykroyd of the IIHF, “the last time these archrivals met for bronze, the U.S. thrashed Canada 10-3 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was the most lopsided score in U18 bronze history. This wasn’t that bad, but America still left no doubt who was in control.” . . . F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) had one of Canada’s goals. G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 36 shots. . . . The Americans have won a medal in each of the past 16 tournaments. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013 and last won a medal (bronze) in 2015. . . . The 2020 tournament is to be held in Plymouth, Mich. . . . Aykroyd, who does a terrific job covering IIHF events, has a story right here.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Aliaksei Protas scored three times for a second straight game as the Prince Albert PrinceAlbertRaiders beat the Oil Kings, 4-2, in Edmonton. . . . The Raiders won the Eastern Conference final, 4-2, and advanced to the WHL’s championship series for the first time since 1985 when they won the franchise’s only Memorial Cup title. . . . The Raiders will open the WHL final at home against the Vancouver Giants with games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (5) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead on Sunday, at 11:49 of the first period. . . . Protas, a freshman from Belarus, tied it with his ninth goal of the playoffs, on a PP, at 14:05. . . . The visitors went ahead just 16 seconds later when Protas got his 10th goal. . . . F Noah Gregor (7) upped the lead to 3-1, on a PP, at 17:58. . . . Fix-Wolansky (6) cut into the lead, shorthanded, at 10:41 of the second period, only to have Protas complete his hat trick with his 11th goal at 16:40. . . . The teams played a scoreless third period. . . . Protas, who turned 18 on Jan. 6, had 11 goals in 61 regular-season games. He now leads the WHL playoffs with 11 goals in 16 games. He holds a two-goal lead over teammate Dante Hannoun, who didn’t score in the six games with Edmonton after finishing the second-round series with three goals in the sixth game with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Sean Montgomery drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . F Quinn Benjafield had two assists for Edmonton. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 32 shots for the Raiders. In these playoffs, he now is 12-4, 1.84, .930. . . . The Oil Kings got 20 stops from G Dylan Myskiw, who finished 7-6, 2.15, .914. . . . The Raiders were 2-5 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-4. . . . On Saturday night, the WHL had revealed that Edmonton head coach Brad Lauer had been fined $1,500 for comments he made about the Game 5 officiating in a post-game scrum with reporters.


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Ex-Blazers head coach has new gig. . . . Loschiavo sparks Oil Kings’ win. . . . McGrew’s OT goal puts Chiefs in front


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F Dwight King (Lethbridge, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 10 goals and 32 assists in 54 games.


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Well . . . that didn’t take long.

Serge Lajoie wasn’t out of work for two weeks after he and the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers made what both parties contend was a mutual decision to go their separate ways on April 11.

On Tuesday, Lajoie, who spent one season as the Blazers’ head coach, was named head coach of OHA Edmonton’s midget prep team.

Before signing on with the Blazers, Lajoie spent three seasons as the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears and five years with the NAIT Ooks.

With OHA Edmonton, Lajoie will take over from Randall Weber, who spent one season as the midget prep team’s head coach and now is the program’s general manager.

The Blazers, meanwhile, have yet to name a new head coach.


Team Canada completed round-robin play at the IIHF U-18 World Championship on Tuesday, erasing a 2-0 deficit and beating Czech Republic, 6-2, at Umea, Sweden. . . . CanadaCanada (4-0) finished on top of Group A and will meet Latvia, the fourth-place team in Group B, in a quarter-final game on Thursday. . . .

The tournament, which is being played in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden, concludes on Sunday. . . .

In yesterday’s victory, G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 23 shots in his second straight start for Canada. . . . .F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) scored once, and F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) had an assist. . . . There were three WHLers in Czech Republic’s lineup — D Simon Kubicek (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Martin Lang (Kamloops Blazers) and F Matej Taman (Prince George Cougars). . . .

In other games on Tuesday, Team USA dumped Latvia, 7-1; Finland dropped Switzerland, 12-0; and Sweden blanked Russia, 3-0. . . .

F Cole Caufield scored two goals for the Americans, giving him a tournament-leading 11. That is three shy of the tournament record set by Russian F Alex Ovechkin in 2002. . . . Caufield leads the tournament with 13 points, while teammate Jack Hughes, who had two assists yesterday, has 12. The tournament record is held by Russian F Nikita Kucherov, who put up 21 in 2011. . . .

Where do things go from here?

For starters, Switzerland finished the round-robin at 1-3 — the victory came in OT — and will meet Slovakia (0-4) in the best-of-three relegation round that opens on Thursday. Slovakia is the only one of the 10 teams not have won a round-robin game.

As mentioned, Canada and Latvia will meet in one quarter-final in Umea, with the winner playing the winner of a game between Sweden (3-1) and Czech Republic (2-2) in Ornskoldsvik. Sweden wound up second in Group B, while Czech Republic was third in Group A. . . On the other side of the draw, it’ll be Team USA (4-0), first in Group B, against Finland (1-3), fourth in Group B, in Ornskoldsvik, and Belarus (3-1), second in Group A, versus Russia (2-2), third in Group B, in Umea. . . .

Interestingly, Team USA and Finland met in the tournament’s championship game in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — the Americans won the first two, with Finland winning last year.


The Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, CHLQuebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate, has never employed a full-time president.

That is about to change.

The CHL, which encompasses 60 teams, announced on Tuesday that it has hired “an outside firm” to search for its first president. David Branch, the OHL commissioner, has been the CHL’s president since 1996, but it’s a part-time gig for him.

The late Ed Chynoweth was the CHL president from 1975-95, while also filling the role of WHL president.

A new president will report to Branch, Gilles Courteau, the president of the QMJHL, and Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner.

The CHL hopes to have a new president in place before the start of the 2019-20 season.


The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have signed F Ty Mueller, 16, to a letter of intent for 2019-20. Mueller, from Cochrane, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. As a 15-year-old, he put up 10 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. . . . He has committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for 2022-23. . . . The Prince George Cougars selected Mueller in the third round of the 2018 WHL bantam draft.


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NOTES: The WHL’s conference finals both will go at least five games. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won at home on Tuesday night, beating the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-1, to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Game 4 will be played in Edmonton tonight, with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, and now trail 2-1 in the Western Conference final. They’ll play again tonight in Spokane. with Game 5 scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Friday night.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored two goals and set up another to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to EdmontonOilKingsa 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Edmonton tonight. . . . This was the Raiders’ worst loss of the season. They suffered 10 regulation-time losses in the regular season — four by one goal, three by two and three by three. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (6) opened the scoring as he got loose off the left wing and went in alone to score at 1:27. . . . D Conner McDonald (2) made it 2-0 at 9:48, scoring shortly after Raiders F Zack Hayes had hit a post at the other end. . . . Loschiavo (7) wired a shot from the left dot, on a PP, at 14:48 for a 3-0 lead. . . . Loschiavo’s linemates combined for five assists — F Trey Fix-Wolansky drew an assist on each of the first three goals, with F Quinn Benjafield in on two of them. . . . D Matthew Robertson (4) made it 4-0 when he scored through a screen from high in the slot at 18:54. . . . The Raiders’ goal came from F Sean Montgomery (8), on a PP, with 0.3 seconds left in the period. . . . Edmonton F Josh Williams (2) completed the scoring, on a PP, at 16:05 of the third period. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves. In these playoffs, he now is 7-3, 1.79, .927. . . . The Raiders got 34 stops from G Ian Scott.

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F Jake McGrew’s goal in OT gave the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the visiting SpokaneChiefsVancouver Giants. . . . Vancouver leads the Western Conference final, 2-1, with Game 4 in Spokane tonight. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Eli Zummack (4) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead when he scored off a rebound at 17:40 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif (1) tied it when he broke in off the right wing and scored at 2:22 of the third period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (6) put Spokane out front 2-1 when he scored off the rush at 10:51. . . . The Giants forced OT when F Jared Dmytriw (7) scored on a PP at 17:01. He actually put the puck off a skate belonging to Chiefs D Filip Kral and into the net. . . . McGrew won it with his second goal of these playoffs, at 8:51 of extra time, taking a centring pass from D Bobby Russell and whacking home the winning goal. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Bailey Brkin blocked 27 shots for the Chiefs, while David Tendeck turned aside 35 at the other end. . . . Kral missed some time in the first period and into the second after taking a hit from Sourdif behind the Chiefs’ net. He returned in the second period and finished the game. . . . The Chiefs again were without F Luc Smith, 20, who hasn’t played since leaving Game 1 after suffering an apparent ankle injury early in the first period.


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It’s a big day in Allan, Sask. . . . No playoffs for Wheaties. . . . Blazers, Rockets all even in third. . . . Giants clinch conference flag

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This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the HumboldtBroncosmiddle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.


There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.

This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured Kamloops1during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.

The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.

In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.

Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.


Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .

Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.


If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.


The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday TWUnight, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.


Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, Pats5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.


F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.


F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory Lethbridgeover the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.


The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a MooseJawWarriors6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.


Shivers
After being open for 690 Kootenay Ice games, Shivers concession stand will end its run when the team leaves for Winnipeg after Sunday’s game. “Thank you Kootenay Ice and hockey fans,” reads the sign. “Shivers opened on Sept 12, 2001. Since opening we have served you for 690 Kootenay Ice hockey games.” It is signed: “Ramona and Staff.”

F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.


The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat VictoriaRoyalsthe visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.


F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.


D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).


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Broncos, Pats: Was it worth it? . . . Oil Kings back on top of Central. . . . Blazers close to within two points of Rockets. . . . Giants move ahead of Silvertips

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The Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos both participated in the 2018 Memorial Cup MemCuptournament. You will recall that Regina was the host team and Swift Current was in as the WHL champion. . . . The price they paid in order to build those teams was steep, though, and those teams now have two of the three poorest records in the WHL. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has written an interesting story about whether the price was worth it. That story is right here.


After saying that it didn’t want to pay the full tab on new boards and glass for the CN Centre, Prince George city council has changed its mind. The bill for the changes, which have been mandated by the WHL, will be $578,000. In February, it was suggested that the Cougars would be the only group to benefit so should pay for half of the package. Kyle Sampson, a city councillor, said Monday that he has learned that other groups will benefit, too, so the city should pay the whole shot. . . . There is more right here.


Nathan Dempsey, a defenceman in his playing days, spent three seasons (1991-94) with the WHL’s Regina Pats before going on to a pro career that included 260 games in the NHL. It was while in the NHL that tremors in his left hand led him to discover that he has Parkinson’s disease. . . . Dempsey, now 44, works out of the Vimy Ridge Sports Academy in Edmonton these days and, yes, he still is on the ice. . . . Stephanie Tobin of CBC News has more on Dempsey’s story right here.


I have a friend who has a problem. I met Vic Morin a few months ago through the Kamloops Kidney Support Group of which my wife, Dorothy, is a co-founder. Vic has chronic kidney disease and, as I wrote about here a while ago, there isn’t a cure. Medication doesn’t make it go away; neither does dialysis. . . . So there’s no way around the fact that Vic needs a kidney via transplant. . . . If you would like to help, if you even think you might consider it, call 1-877-922-9822 or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca. . . . That will get you in touch with the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. . . . In the meantime, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week has more on Vic Morin’s story right here.

Meanwhile, Sullivan also filed a sidebar about having a daughter who was born with one kidney. It is definitely worth reading, and it’s right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored a pair of third-period goals to beat the Rebels, 3-2, in Red EdmontonOilKingsDeer. . . . Edmonton (40-18-8) has won nine straight games. It is back atop the Central Division, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Each team has two games remaining. . . . Red Deer (33-26-6) had won its previous two games. It remains tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, each with three games remaining. They are four points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who also have three games left. . . . Red Deer is to play in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-1-1; Red Deer was 2-6-0. . . . The Oil Kings won the last four games in the series. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (37) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 12:00 of the first period. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (7) tied it, on a PP, at 16:15. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-1 on third-period goals from F Vladimir Alistrov (12), at 4:12, and F Vince Loschiavo (34), on a PP, at 7:28. . . . F Jeff de Wit (26) got the Rebels to within a goal, on a PP, at 12:27. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel picked up a first-period assist, giving him 275 regular-season points and tying him for second in franchise history with F Justin Mapletoft (1996-2001), who played 281 games. The record is held by F Aaron Asham, who put up 292 points in 266 games (1994-98). . . . Red Deer was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-2. . . . Edmonton had a 37-21 edge in shots, including 17-3 in the second period. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 19 shots for Edmonton. . . . Red Deer got 34 stops from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Rebels remain without D Alex Alexeyev, who suffered a knee injury on March 8. According to NBC Sports Washington, Alexeyev is out week-to-week. He now has missed two games. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozov served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . Prior to the game, the Rebels added F Ethan Rowland, 16, to their roster. The 22nd-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he had five goals and 10 assists in 42 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks this season.


F Orrin Centazzo scored two goals and added an assist to lead the host Kamloops Blazers Kamloops1to a 5-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (26-32-7) has won three in a row. Kamloops is fourth in the B.C. Division, two points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Each team has three games remaining. Kamloops is to entertain the Victoria Royals tonight, while the Rockets are at home to the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (37-21-7) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. Spokane has three games remaining. . . . Kamloops and Spokane split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . The Blazers opened a 3-0 lead with goals from Centazzo, at 15:20 of the first period; F Connor Zary, on a PP, at 16:46; and F Ryley Appelt (3), at 4:40 of the second period. At that point, the Blazers had outshot the Chiefs, 27-7. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) got Spokane’s goal, on a PP, at 10:16. . . . Anderson-Dolan ran his goal streak to eight straight games, the second-longest in the WHL this season. F Jake Elmer of the Lethbridge Hurricanes had a 13-game run end earlier this month. . . . Centazzo (19) got that one back at 19:52. . . . Zary concluded the scoring with his 21st goal, at 18:15 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a season-high 51 shots on goal, including 20 in the first period and 18 in the second. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 27 shots in his third straight start for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops scratched G Dylan Ferguson, with an undisclosed injury, and D Joonas Sillanpää. . . . This was the third game Ferguson has missed since being injured on March 6. The Blazers still have G Rayce Ramsay with them. He was added from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who begin their playoffs on Friday. . . . The Chiefs got 46 saves from G Reece Klassen. . . . With the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League having had their season come to an end, the Chiefs have added G Campbell Arnold to their roster. Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Portland Winterhawks broke a 1-1 tie with three third-period goals, two into an Portlandempty net, as they dumped the visiting Everett Silvertips, 4-1. . . . Portland (40-15-4) is second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have three games remaining. . . . Everett (46-16-4) has lost two in a row. It will finish atop the U.S. Division, but now is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Giants, each with two games left to play. . . . Everett won the season series with Portland, 6-4-0; Portland was 4-5-1). . . . Portland went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Reece Newkirk (22), at 4:50 of the second period, and F Jake Gricius (26), at 5:28 of the third. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (39) scored for Everett at 17:30. . . . The Winterhawks got empty-netters from D Jared Freadrich (13) and F Lane Gilliss (15). . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL scoring race with 112 points, had two assists. . . . G Joel Hofer record the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips were without F Max Patterson for a second straight game. They also scratched F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has returned to Slovakia in order to write a mandatory exam. . . . The Winterhawks again scratched F Cody Glass, D John Ludvig and D Matt Quigley, but F Seth Jarvis was back on the ice. . . . Glass has played four games since Jan. 26 and hasn’t dressed for a game since Feb. 23.


The Vancouver Giants scored three times in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory Vancouverover the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Vancouver (47-15-4) has won two in a row. It leads the Western Conference by two points over the Everett Silvertips. Each team has two games remaining — Vancouver will go home-and-home with the Kelowna Rockets; Everett will do the same with the Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (28-29-8) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games remaining. Seattle is to meet the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., tonight. . . . Vancouver and Seattle split their season series, 2-2-0. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) got the Giants started at 14:45 of the first period. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky made it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:29 of the second, and D Alex Kannok Leipert (4) upped it to 3-0 at 7:12. . . . Seattle got its goal from Henri Rybinski (8), at 16:33. . . . Svejkovsky (9) got that one back just 23 seconds later. . . . Vancouver D Dylan Plouffe (7) added more insurance, on a PP, at 0:43 of the third period. . . . F Davis Koch had three assists for the Giants. . . . Vancouver got a big game from G David Tendeck, who stopped 38 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . Each team was missing a player who has returned home to Slovakia to write a mandatory exam. Seattle was without F Andrej Kukuca, while Vancouver scratched F Milos Roman. . . . Both players are expected back before the playoffs begin.


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Broncos prospect has committed to Michigan. . . . Scott, Raiders blank Swift Current, again. . . . Blades win playoff preview


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F Fin Williams, who will turn 16 on April 21, announced via Twitter on Sunday that he michiganhas committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. In fact, he was the the Broncos’ only selection in the draft’s first five rounds. You will recall that the Broncos sold the farm and everything on it in order to make what was a successful run to the WHL championship. . . . This season, with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team, Williams has 12 goals and 30 assists in 32 games. He was pointless in four games with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers won the B.C. Major Midget thompsonblazersLeague scoring title. He finished with 103 points, including a record 49 goals, in 38 games. . . . F Tyler Cristall of the Vancouver North West Hawks was second, with 63 points in 39 games. . . . Stankoven had a goal and three assists on Sunday as the Blazers closed out their regular season with an 8-4 victory over the Vancouver North East Chiefs. . . . The only other 15-year-olds to have surpassed 100 points in the BCMML were F Mat Barzal, who had 103 points in 34 games with the Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal, who had 100 points in 40 games with the Hawks in 2007-08. . . . The BCMML’s previous goal record was held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times in 36 games with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14.


Some members of the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks spent Saturday night inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., after weather conditions meant their bus couldn’t hit the highway and head for home. Because of the hockey game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Mavericks, along with a Dierks Bentley concert, hotel rooms were scarce. So at least some of the Mavericks had to make do. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has more in a neat story right here.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott and the visiting Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Swift Current Broncos for PrinceAlbertthe third time in a week, this time winning 6-0. . . . Prince Albert (53-9-4) has won three in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s overall standings. . . . Swift Current (10-49-6) has lost 18 straight games (0-15-3). . . . The Raiders won the season series, 7-0-1; the Broncos were 1-7-0. . . . The Raiders had a 44-15 edge on the scoreboard. . . . Earlier in the week, Scott and Raiders beat the Broncos, 6-0 and 8-0, in Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos were outscored 20-1 as they went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They were beaten 6-1 by the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday night. . . . With three games remaining, the Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending championship, still have won only four times in regulation time. . . . On Sunday, the Raiders held period leads of 1-0 and 5-0. . . . They got two goals and an assist from F Parker Kelly, who has 34, and one score each from F Brett Leason (36), F Noah Gregor (40), D Sergei Sapego (10) and F Sean Montgomery (28). . . . Leason also had two assists. . . . Scott has a franchise-record eight shutouts this season — he leads the league — and 11 in his career. . . . This season, he now is 37-7-3, 1.82, .932. . . . G Riley Lamb blocked 51 shots for the Broncos. He has a .906 save percentage in 13 appearances. . . . The visitors held a 57-14 edge in shots, including 22-2 in the second period and 16-3 in the third. . . . The Broncos lost F Tanner Nagel to a charging major and game misconduct at 1:24 of the third period. F Dante Hannoun, who took the hit, wasn’t injured on the play. . . . F Cole Fonstad was scratched by the Raiders.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Moose Jaw SaskatoonWarriors, 5-3. . . . Saskatoon (44-14-8) has won seven straight. . . . Moose Jaw (37-20-8) had won its past two games. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Warriors went 2-1-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Blades and Warriors will finish second and third, respectively, in the East Division. They will open a best-of-seven series in Saskatoon with games on March 22 and 23. These will be the Blades’ first playoff games since the spring of 2013. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Daemon Hunt (5), at 6:36, and F Tristin Langan (49), at 18:07. . . . F Max Gerlach got the Blades on the scoreboard at 12:03 of the second period, but Langan got that one back when he scored No. 50 just 20 seconds later. . . . D Dawson Davidson (13) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:29. . . . F Gary Haden tied the score at 1:51 of the third period and Gerlach gave the Blades the lead with his 40th goal at 5:24. . . . Haden scored his 31st goal into an empty net at 19:04. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . The Blades held a 50-24 edge in shots, including 18-7 in the second period and 17-9 in the third. . . . Gerlach and Haden added an assist each so had three-point outings. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic came up shot on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Saskatoon scratched D Nolan Kneen for a second straight game. . . . The Warriors now have had a 50-goal man in four straight seasons. F Dryden Hunt, who scored his first NHL goal for the Florida Panthers on Sunday, did it in 2015-16, and F Jayden Halbgewachs got there in each of the past two seasons.


G Todd Scott recorded the first shutout of his WHL career as the Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdumped the visiting Kootenay Ice, 4-0. . . . Edmonton (39-18-8) has won eight in a row. The Oil Kings are tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton has three games remaining; Lethbridge has two. No, they aren’t scheduled to play each other. . . . The Oil Kings are to play in Red Deer on Tuesday, then go home-and-home with Calgary in a pair of afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. . . . Lethbridge is to play in Red Deer on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Kootenay (12-44-10) has lost five straight. . . . This was the final road game in the history of the Kootenay Ice. The Ice has two games left, both in Cranbrook, before the franchise turns into the Winnipeg Ice. . . . This season, the Ice was 4-23-7 on the road, including 0-13-2 in the Central Division. Each of the other five Central Division teams won at least 15 road games. . . . Edmonton went 5-0-1 in the season series; Kootenay was 1-5-0. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (15) scored Edmonton’s first goal, shorthanded, at 8:00 of the second period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (36) made it 2-0 at 14:01, and F Scott Atkinson (13) upped it to 3-0 at 17:43. . . . D Conner McDonald (18) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 10:02 of the third period. . . . McDonald set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record had been set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . Fix-Wolansky became the fourth WHLer this season with 100 points — he also has 64 assists. He is the second player in franchise history to get to 100; F Michael St. Croix finished 2011-12 with 105. . . . Scott finished with 18 saves. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern, in his first appearance since Jan. 6, blocked 24 shots. This was his 24th appearance this season, with 21 of them coming prior to Dec. 3. . . . McGovern stopped 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Jan. 6. Between then and Sunday, he dressed once as the backup (Feb. 18). . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo had a five-game goal streak come to an end.


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Pearson goes home to coach. . . . Scott sets Raiders’ shutout record. . . . Rebels win, may have lost key d-man . . . . Thunderbirds near playoff spot

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F Shane Wright of the minor midget AAA Don Mills, Ont., Flyers has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada so will be eligible for the OHL’s 2019 draft, which Canadanormally is for players who have completed their 15-year-old seasons.

With exceptional status, Wright, who turned 15 on Jan. 5, also will be eligible to play full-time in the OHL in 2019-20.

Wright has 150 points, including 66 goals, in 72 games with Don Mills, which plays in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He also had six goals and six assists in six games with Ontario as it won silver at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

The OHL draft is scheduled for April 6. Wright is the fifth player in OHL history to have received exceptional status, after John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day.

Hockey Canada has yet to rule on the application by the family of F Matt Savoie, who has applied for exceptional status in order to have the option of playing in the WHL at 15.

Savoie, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, is from St. Albert, Alta. He is eligible for the WHL’s bantam draft, which is for players who have completed their 14-year-old seasons, but will be limited to five games next season unless brought in under emergency conditions.

This season, Savoie has 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. He played for Alberta at the Canada Winter Games, putting up six goals and seven assists in 13 games.

Last season, Savoie was named the MVP in the Canadian Sport School Bantam Hockey League. This season, he was selected the midget league’s MVP.

The WHL’s 2019 bantam draft is set for May 2 in Red Deer.

The WHL will hold its draft lottery later this month, with the six non-playoff teams entered. We already know four of those teams — the Swift Current Broncos, Kootenay Ice, Regina Pats and Prince George Cougars.

In the draft lottery, a team may only move up two positions.

At the moment, the Broncos have the WHL’s poorest record, followed by the Ice and the Pats. However, Prince George holds Swift Current’s first-round selection and the Saskatoon Blades have Regina’s.

There is little doubt that Savoie, if he is granted exceptional status, will be the first pick in the bantam draft should he and his family decide they want to be part of whichever organization is making that selection.

Should Savoie be drafted and choose not to play in the WHL, he would have to return to midget next season. The granting of exceptional status applies only to major junior hockey and doesn’t allow a player to join a junior A team.

His brother, Carter, 17, plays for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders and has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2020-21 season.

The WHL has never had to deal with a player who has been given exceptional status. It has happened once in the QMJHL, with F Joe Veleno. In his fourth season in the QMJHL, he has 100 points, including 41 goals, in 55 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Veleno, now 19, has 262 points, including 173 assists, in 226 career regular-season QMJHL games. He was a first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2018 draft, but has yet to sign with them.

If you are wondering what Wright had to go through, here’s Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News:

“Being granted ‘exceptional status’ isn’t easy. Submissions are due by Dec. 1, which is pretty early in the hockey season. On top of looking at a player’s on-ice skills, the governing bodies (in this case the Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada) send out questionnaires to school teachers and coaches, while the player has to write an essay. The player also meets with a psychologist for a ‘life interview,’ to determine if the kid has the maturity to move away from home and compete against much older competition at age 15. OHF executive director Phil McKee said that both Wright and his family were ‘excellent to work with’ throughout the process.”

Kennedy’s entire piece is right here.


The QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies’ 25-game winning streak ended on Friday night as they were beat by the Voltigeurs at the Centre Marcel Dionne in Drummondville. . . . The Huskies fell behind 2-0 after two periods, and cut the deficit in half at 5:05 of the third period. But they weren’t able to equalize. . . . Rouyn-Noranda tied the CHL record that was set by the QMJHL’s 1973-74 Sorel Éperviers and equalled by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers. The 1995-96 Hull Olympiques and the 2012-13 London Knights won 24 in a row. . . . The WHL record (22) is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins.


Ken Pearson is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Pearson, who is from Neepawa, replaces Dustin Howden, who left after five seasons with the Natives — two as assistant coach, two as head coach and one as GM/head coach. . . . Pearson, 45, is a veteran junior A coach, who spent seven seasons as the GM/head coach with the Winkler Flyers. He stepped aside as head coach prior to this season, but kept the GM’s title until he and the Flyers parted company last month. . . . Pearson began his coaching career with the Natives as an assistant coach for two seasons (1994-96). . . . This season, the Natives finished out of the playoffs, at 9-43-8, the poorest record in the 11-team league.


The Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings Athletic Club has named Fran Gow head coach of the midget AAA Ennis Kings. Now has extensive AJHL coaching experience, have worked more than 1,000 games, split among the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Grande Prairie Storm and Drayton Valley Thunder. He helped the Oil Barons to a national championship in 1999-2000. . . . Of late, Gow has been the AJHL’s vice-president of hockey operations and a coach mentor for Hockey Alberta.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott set a single-season shutout record as the Prince Albert Raiders skated to an 8-PrinceAlbert0 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Prince Albert (52-9-4) has won two in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s regular-season standings. . . . Swift Current (10-47-6) has lost 16 in a row (0-13-3). . . . Prince Albert, with Scott in goal, beat the visiting Broncos, 6-0, on Tuesday, and they’ll play again Sunday, this time in Swift Current. . . . The Raiders are off tonight, while the Broncos will meet the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . The Raiders lead the season series, 6-0-1; the Broncos are 1-6-0. . . . Scott stopped 14 shots in posting his seventh shutout of the season, breaking the record that he was sharing with Luke Siemens (2012-13) and Rejean Beauchemin (2003-04). Scott, who has 10 career shutouts, also will set franchise single-season records for GAA and save percentage. He is 36-7-3, 1.86, .932. . . . D Brayden Pachal (15) got the Raiders started at 3:33 of the first period, and B Brett Leason, who had gone seven games without a goal, made it 2-0 with No. 34 at 4:59. . . . F Noah Gregor (39) and Leason (35) scored before the period ended for a 4-0 lead. . . . Before it was over, F Parker Kelly had scored twice, giving him 32, and F Cole Fonstad (29), who also had two assists, and F Spencer Moe (9) added one each. . . . The Raiders had a 48-14 edge in shots.


The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Regina Pats, MooseJawWarriors3-1. . . . Moose Jaw (36-19-8) has clinched third place in the East Division and will face the second-place Saskatoon Blades in the first round of playoffs. . . . Regina (18-43-3) has lost five in a row. . . . The Warriors lead the season series with Regina, 6-1-0, with the final game in Moose Jaw tonight. . . . F Ty Kolle (14) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 3:53 of the first period. . . . F Justin Almeida (28) tied it, on a PP, at 9:08. . . . Moose Jaw took the lead at 9:51 when F Carson Denomie (6) scored. . . . F Brayden Tracey (33) got the empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 19 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Regina G Max Paddock stopped 29 shots.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the visiting LethbridgeMedicine Hat Tigers, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (37-18-10) has won five in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings atop the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (32-26-6) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . With one game remaining, Lethbridge leads the season series, 6-1-2; the Tigers are 3-6-0. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (30) gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period, with the Tigers tying it at 10:39 when D Baxter Anderson (4) scored. . . . F Zachary Cox (11) put the home side ahead at 3:57 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 18:22 as F Brett Kemp (28) scored on a PP. . . . Lethbridge F Taylor Ross (32) broke the tie, on a PP, at 2:06 of the third period. . . . F Dylan Cozens (33) made it 4-2 at 3:16, and F Nick Henry (27) wrapped it up with an empty-netter at 19:17. . . . Henry’s goal was his 200th regular-season point. He’s got 76 goals and 124 assists in 191 games. This season, he has 90 points in 66 games. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer had his goal streak halted at 13 games. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 28 shots for Lethbridge, two more than Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett.


The Red Deer Rebels overcame a 3-0 deficit and beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, Red Deer5-3. . . . Red Deer (32-25-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card berths, two points ahead of Brandon. . . . Brandon (31-25-8) has lost two in a row. With the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship —  being played in Westoba Place, the Wheat Kings are on a six-game trip through the Central Division that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. Through the first five games, Brandon is 1-3-1. . . . The teams split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Ben McCartney (20), at 3:48 of the first period; F Stelio Mattheos (42), at 1:36 of the second; and D Chad Nychuk (2), at 2:40. . . . F Brandon Hagel (39) started the Red Deer comeback at 9:03. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (18) got the Rebels to within a goal at 10:45 of the third period, and F Josh Tarzwell (9) tied it at 12:30. . . . Red Deer went out front when F Zak Smith (11) scored at 16:33. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (13) added insurance at 19:51. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev appeared to suffer a knee injury after colliding in open ice with McCartney in the third period. Alexeyev was placed on a stretcher before being taken off the ice. “We’ll have to wait and see how he is in the next 48 hours, 72 hours. I don’t know any more than that right now,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored two goals and set a franchise record in leading the EdmontonOilKingsEdmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (38-18-8) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton holds one game in hand. . . . Calgary (36-23-6), which has clinched a playoff spot, had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is headed for a third-place finish in the Central Division. . . . With two games left, Edmonton is 5-0-1 in the season series; Calgary is 1-4-1. They’ll finish the regular season with a home-and-home, playing March 16 in Edmonton and the next day in Calgary. . . . Edmonton went ahead 3-0 on goals from F Quinn Benjafield (14), at 9:19 of the first period; Fix-Wolansky, at 18:30; and F Vince Loschiavo, on a PP, at 4:07 of the second. . . . F Mark Kastelic (46) scored for Calgary, on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Edmonton put it away with third-period goals from Fix Wolansky (35) and Loschiavo (33), the latter on a PP. . . . Fix-Wolansky set the franchise’s single-season assist record when he set up Loschiavo’s first goal. That was Fix-Wolansky’s 64th assist of the season, one more than D Dylan Wruck had in 2012-13. . . . Loschiavo also had an assist, to give him three points, while D Conner McDonald had three helpers. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 24 saves.


The Kamloops Blazers scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the visiting Kamloops1Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . Kamloops (24-32-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind Kelowna. Kamloops, which has five games left, also is seven points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna (27-30-7) has points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . Kamloops is 5-3-1 in the season series; Kelowna is 4-3-2. They’ll finish it tonight in Kelowna. . . . F Martin Lang (11) put the Blazers ahead at 16:13 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Foote (34) got the Rockets even, on a PP, at 4:08 of the third period. . . . F Connor Zary and F Orrin Centazzo both scored as Kamloops won the shootout, 2-0. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 26 shots for Kamloops, which had Rayce Ramsay, in from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, backing up. Dylan Ferguson was injured in Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants and is out day-to-day. . . . The Rockets got 32 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who began serving a three-game suspension for a boarding major and game misconduct he incurred against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Sunday.


F Joachim Blichfeld had a goal and two assists, all via the PP, as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks got past the Cougars, 3-2, in Prince George. . . . Portland (39-19-6) is second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Prince George (17-40-8) has lost five straight (0-4-1). . . . The Winterhawks are 3-0-0 in the season series that will be completed tonight in Prince George. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 on goals from D Cole Moberg (12), on a PP, at 13:55 of the first period, and F Matej Taman (9), at 2:29 of the second. . . . F Jake Gricius (25) pulled the visitors to within a goal at 16:38. . . . F Josh Paterson (23) tied the score at 2:36 of the third period, and Blichfeld (53) got the winner, at 14:51. . . . Blichfeld leads the WHL in goals and points (110). . . . Portland was 3-7 on the PP; Prince George was 1-5. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 40 shots for the Winterhawks. . . . D Ryan Miley, 18, made his WHL debut with the Winterhawks. From Brookings, S.D., he played this season with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . . F Cody Glass, F Seth  Jarvis, D Matt Quigley and D John Ludvig were Portland’s scratches, all out with injuries.


F Noah Philp scored twice for Seattle as the Thunderbirds beat the Victoria Royals, 2-1, in SeattleKent, Wash. . . . Seattle (27-28-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (33-27-4) has lost two in a row. It will finish second in the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Philp, who has 24 goals, got the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 4:40 of the first period. . . . He made it 2-0 at 17:47 of the second. . . . F Igor Martynov (11) scored a PP goal for Victoria at 19:59 of the second. . . . Seattle G Roddy Ross blocked 19 shots, 11 more than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . D Scott Walford, D Matthew Smith, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver, all veterans and all injured, were among Victoria’s scratches.


G Bailey Brkin turned aside 37 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Spokane (36-20-7) is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Vancouver (45-15-4) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips with each team having four games remaining. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 3-2-0; Spokane was 2-2-1. . . . Spokane took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from D Filip Kral (8), at 7:56; F Jake McGrew, at 11:39; and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (16), at 19:39. The latter two came via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (21) scored for Vancouver, on a PP, at 17:52 of the second period, only to have McGrew (27) get that one back at 18:56. . . . Anderson-Dolan has goals in six straight games. . . . Spokane was 2-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-5. . . . Brkin is 24-11-3, 2.78, .914.


Goaltenders Dustin Wolf and Max Palaga shared the shutout as the Everett Silvertips Everettbeat the Tri-City Americans, 3-0, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Everett (46-14-4) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). It leads the Western Conference standings by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Tri-City (34-26-4) is likely to finish in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Palaga started and stopped one shot in 4:47. Wolf came on to turn aside 25 shots in 55:13. . . . Sorry, but I don’t have any idea why Palaga left. Presumably there was an injury of some sort. . . . F Reece Vitelli (11) opened the scoring at 3:29 of the second period, with D Wyatt Wylie (11) making it 2-0 at 16:14. . . . F Connor Dewar (35) rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter at 19:07 of the third period. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots, setting a franchise record for most saves in one season in the process. In 59 appearances this season, Warm has stopped 1,860 shots. G Eric Comrie stopped 1,849 shots in 2013-14. . . . The Silvertips had F Martin Fasko-Rudas back in the lineup. He last played on Feb. 22.


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