The Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets have had so much fun this WHL regular season that they’re going to take it to one more game.
On Saturday night, the Blazers scored a 4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George, to finish at 28-32-8, good for 64 points.
Meanwhile, in Kelowna, the Rockets went to overtime to beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2. That left Kelowna at 28-32-8, with 64 points.
The results left the Blazers and Rockets tied for third place in the B.C. Division. The WHL’s rules call for a tiebreaker game whenever teams tie for a final playoff spot. In this instance, the Tri-City Americans and Seattle Thunderbirds have wrapped up the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. So the B.C. Division’s third playoff spot is the last one up for grabs.
The Blazers and Rockets will decide it on Tuesday in Kamloops, starting at 7 p.m.
Why Kamloops? The first tiebreaker in deciding is regular-season victories. Each team has 28 of those. The second tiebreaker is most points in the season series between the teams. The Blazers won that, 13-10. They were 6-3-1; the Rockets were 4-4-2.
It’s worth noting that the tiebreaker game will played as though it is a playoff game. That means if the teams are tied after three periods, there will be a 15-minute intermission, followed by 20-minute sudden-death overtime periods until a winner is decided.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will meet the Victoria Royals in the first round. That series is to open with games in Victoria on Friday and Saturday.
This will be the seventh tiebreaker in WHL history. Here’s a look at the first six, courtesy of whl.ca (you will note that the visiting team won five of the six):
2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.
2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.
2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).
1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.
1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).
1980-81: Spokane Flyers 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9 (OT).
Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s Dean of Discipline, will be watching some video and talking to people after a brouhaha at the end of the Moose Jaw Warriors’ 6-0 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Saturday night.
With a 5-0 lead late and time winding down on the third period, Tim Hunter, the Warriors’ head coach, had his top guns on the ice, presumably in an attempt to get a scoring title for F Tristin Langan.
Langan already had two goals and an assist, moving him into a tie with F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks atop the WHL’s scoring race, each with 113 points.
The Warriors scored their sixth goal — it went to D Daemon Hunt after video review — at 19:59 of the third period.
A brouhaha broke out at the final buzzer, and Langan ended up with a fighting major and game misconduct, while D Josh Brook was hit with a double spearing minor and a misconduct.
Langan and Brook both are repeat offenders in the eyes of the WHL. Brook served a one-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in October. Langan sat out a one-game suspension for a game misconduct he incurred during a game on Feb. 2. In that one, he was given a minor for leaving the penalty box, a fighting major and a game misconduct, all at 20:00 of the third period. The suspension is believed to have been for leaving the penalty box.
On top of that, this was Langan’s third game misconduct of the season. According to WHL rules, “When a player receives his third game misconduct during the season for a combination of any major and game misconduct penalties (for which suspensions have not previously been applied), he shall receive a one-game suspension. For each subsequent game misconduct, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.”
The Warriors, who finished third in the East Division, will open a first-round best-of-seven series against the second-place Blades in Saskatoon on Friday.
The Vancouver Canucks have signed D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. . . . Woo, 18, went into Saturday with 12 goals and 50 assists in 61 games this season. . . . From Winnipeg, Woo was a second-round pick by the Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . The Warriors selected him fourth overall in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 177 regular-season WHL games, he has 110 points, including 84 assists.
The Edmonton Oil Kings used four second-period goals as the stepping stone to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (41-18-8) has won 10 in a row. . . . Calgary (36-25-6) has lost three straight. . . . The outcome set in stone two more playoff series. The Oil Kings, who clinched the Central Division title, will face the Medicine Hat Tigers, the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card team, in the first round. At the same time, the Hitmen, third-place finishers in the division, will go up against the second-place Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton is 6-0-1 in the season series; Calgary is 1-5-1. . . . They’ll meet again this afternoon in Calgary. . . . F Mark Kastelic (47) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 7:30 of the first period. . . . However, the Oil Kings took over in the second period, getting goals from F Vince Loschiavo (35), on a PP, at 1:00; F Josh Williams (14), at 7:51; F Scott Atkinson, at 8:49; and F Jake Neighbours (10), at 19:44. . . . D Conner McDonald (19) and Atkinson (15) added third-period goals. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw stopped 21 shots. He now is 28-11-5, 2.53, .914.
G Roddy Ross blocked 45 shots and F Noah Philp scored twice to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (30-29-8), which will meet the Vancouver Giants in the first round, has won two in a row. . . . Portland (40-21-6) has slipped to third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland is 8-3-0 in the season series; Seattle is 3-6-2. . . . They’ll wrap it up today in Portland. . . . Philp gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 4:38 of the first period. . . . F Noah Volcan (27) made it 2-0 with his 100th career goal 14 seconds into the second period. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-0 when F Matthew Wedman (40) scored, on a PP, 32 seconds into the third. . . . Portland got to within a goal as D Jared Freadrich (14) struck, on a PP, at 5:47, and F Josh Paterson (24) scored at 11:09. . . . Philp, who also had an assist, added his 26th goal at 15:12 and D Owen Williams (6) got an empty-netter at 18:37. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld of the Winterhawks had 11 shots on goal, but couldn’t score. He finished with one assist, giving him 113 points. With one game to play, he is tied with F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors for the WHL scoring lead. . . . Portland F Reece Newkirk had a busy night with two assists, five shots on goal, a minor penalty, a misconduct and a game misconduct. . . . Ross, a January addition to Seattle’s roster, is 16-5-3, 2.76, .919. . . . G Shane Farkas blocked 33 shots for Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had F Seth Jarvis and D Matt Quigley back in uniform, but F Cody Glass and D John Ludvig remain out.
G Brodan Salmond earned the shutout and F Tristin Langan scored twice as the host Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-0. . . . Moose Jaw (40-20-8) has won three in a row. It will meet the Blades in a first-round series that opens Friday in Saskatoon. . . . Swift Current (11-51-6), the WHL’s defending champion, finished with the league’s poorest record. The Broncos were blanked four times in their last seven games. All told, they were shut out 10 times in 68 games. . . . Salmond, who finished with 22 saves, has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . Langan finished with two goals, giving him 53, and an assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (8), F Justin Almeida (33), F Kjell Kjemhus (3) and D Daemon Hunt (7). . . . Almeida also had two assists. . . . Langan finished with 113 points and is tied with F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks for the WHL scoring lead. Blichfeld and the Winterhawks are at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds today. . . . Blichfeld and Langan lead the league in goals (53). . . . Almeida is third in the scoring race, with 111 points. He is No. 1 in assists, with 78. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Tracey, who is likely to be named the WHL’s top rookie, for a second straight game. . . . Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ head coach, missed his club’s last three games as he was on a scouting junket. Assistant coach Brandin Cote went 1-2-0 in his absence.
F Noah Gregor scored twice to help the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Prince Albert (54-10-4) finished with the WHL’s best record. It will meet the Red Deer Rebels in the first round of playoffs. . . . Saskatoon (45-15-8) had won its previous eight games. It will face the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . F Sean Montgomery, playing in his franchise-record 345th regular-season game with the Raiders, gave his guys a 1-0 lead with his 29th goal, at 8:05 of the first period. . . . Gregor, who has 43 goals, upped that to 3-0 at 10:23 of the first, on a PP, and 17:12 of the second, while shorthanded. . . . F Max Gerlach (42) scored for Saskatoon at 16:04 of the third period. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 24 shots to earn the victory. He finished 38-8-3, 1.83, .932. . . . G Dorrin Luding stopped 29 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert was 1-8 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-6. . . . D Alex Ozar, who is from Prince Albert, took the warmup with the Blades but was scratched. A fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he played for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. . . . At the same time, the Raiders had F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon in their lineup. The 17th overall pick in the 2017 draft, he also played for the Mintos. . . . The Raiders scratched F Dante Hannoun for a second straight game, along with F Justin Nachbaur.
The Kamloops Blazers scored the game’s last three goals — all in the last six minutes of the third period — to beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Prince George. . . . Kamloops (28-32-8) is points in six straight (5-0-1). After 68 games, it is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. The Blazers and Rockets will meet Tuesday in Kamloops with the victor getting the division’s last playoff spot. . . . Prince George (19-41-8) had won its previous two games, including a 5-4 OT victory in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Kamloops won the season series, 7-0-2; Prince George was 2-6-1. . . . Last night, F Kobe Mohr (9) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 8:48 of the second period. . . . Prince George went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (25), at 11:50 of the second, and D Cole Moberg (13), shorthanded, at 14:39 of the third. . . . F Jermaine Loewen tied it 15 seconds later, and F Connor Zary (24) snapped the tie, shorthanded, at 17:15. . . . Loewen (28) iced it with the empty-netter at 19:11. . . . Zary also had two assists. . . . With G Dylan Ferguson out, G Dylan Garand made his sixth straight start for the Blazers and stopped 29 shots. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 21 shots for the Cougars.
F Adam Beckman scored three times and added an assist as the host Spokane Chiefs dumped the Tri-City Americans, 10-1. . . . Spokane (40-21-7) has won three in a row. It moved past Portland and into second in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Winterhawks. Portland has one game remaining; it is at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds today. . . . Spokane and Portland will play in the first round of playoffs, but home-ice advantage won’t be decided until today’s game. . . . Tri-City (34-28-6) has lost five straight (0-3-2). It will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the playoffs. . . . In the Spokane/Tri-City season series, each team was 6-5-1. . . . Beckman, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, finished with 62 points, including 32 goals, in 68 games. . . . F Bear Hughes, playing in his second WHL game, scored his first two goals fro the Chiefs. Hughes, who is from Post Falls, Idaho, had made his WHL debut on Friday night. He spent this season with the junior B Spokane Braves. . . . Spokane also got goals from D Nolan Reid (17), F Ethan McIndoe (16), F Luc Smith (28), F Cordel Larson (7) and F Jake McGrew (31). . . . F Nolan Yaremko (28) scored for Tri-City, while shorthanded, in the first period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack had three assists, while McIndoe added two assists to his goal. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 19 shots for the Chiefs. . . . Freshman Talyn Boyko went the distance for the Americans, allowing 10 goals on 47 shots.
F Mark Liwiski’s goal in OT gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (28-32-8) had lost its previous four games (0-2-2). . . . Vancouver (48-15-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Vancouver finished atop the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in a first-round series. . . . Kelowna is tied with Kamloops for third place in the B.C. Division. They will meet in a game in Kamloops on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the playoffs and the loser going home. . . . Vancouver went 7-0-2 in the season series; Kelowna was 2-7-0. . . . F Justin Sourdif (23) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:46 of the first period. . . . Kelowna tied it at 14:06 as D Cayde Augustine (2) scored. . . . The Rockets took a 2-1 lead at 15:29 of the second period on a goal by F Alex Swetlikoff (6). . . . Giants F Jadon Joseph (22) forced OT with a goal at 19:27 of the third period. . . . Liwiski, in his second game since serving a three-game suspension, won it with his 11th goal, at 3:40 of extra time. . . . Kelowna got 19 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants. . . . The Giants, who clinched first place in the Western Conference on Friday night, scratched D Bowen Byram, F Davis Koch, D Dylan Plouffe and D Seth Bafaro. . . . The Rockets were without D Lassi Thomson for a third straight game.
F Martin Fasko-Rudas scored three times to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Everett (47-16-5) had lost three in a row (0-2-1). It finished atop the U.S. Division and will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Victoria (34-30-4) will face the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett went 2-1-1 in the season series; Victoria was 2-2-0. . . . Fasko-Rudas, who finished with 15 goals, scored his first career hat trick as Everett opened up a 5-0 lead. . . . F Dawson Butt (9) and F Jalen Price (7) also scored for the Silvertips. . . . F D-Day Jerome (23) had Victoria’s only goal. . . . G Max Palaga stopped 18 shots for Everett. . . . Victoria got 39 stops from G Brock Gould. . . . Victoria dressed 16 skaters after scratching D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford, D Matt Smith, F Sean Gulka, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . F Connor Dewar, F Bryce Kindopp, F Zack Andrusiak and D Wyatte Wylie were among Everett’s scratches. The Silvertips went with 17 skaters.
F Luca Burzan’s shootout goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the visiting Regina Pats in a game between two teams that won’t be in the playoffs. . . . Brandon (31-29-8) had lost its previous five games. . . . Regina (19-45-4) won the season series, 4-2-2; Brandon was 4-4-0. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Braydyn Chizen (3), at 0:19 of the first period, and F Linden McCorrister (14), shorthanded, at 5:58. . . . F Carter Massier (5) got Regina’s first goal at 11:45. . . . Brandon F Connor Gutenberg (16) restored the two-goal lead at 11:45 of the second period. He also had three assists for his first career four-point game. . . . F Ty Kolle pulled Regina even with goals at 17:33 of the second and 4:41 of the third, the latter via a PP. He’s got 16 goals. . . . F Ben McCartney (21) put Brandon back out front at 12:34, only to have Regina F Austin Pratt (25) tie it at 16:30. . . . Burzan won it in the fifth round of the shootout. . . . Kolle had a three-point out as he also had an assist. . . . Brandon got 34 stops from G Ethan Kruger. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots for the Pats.
F Nick Henry scored two goals to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (40-18-10) has won eight in a row. . . . Medicine Hat (35-27-6) had won its previous three games. . . . Lethbridge will face the Calgary Hitmen in the first round of the playoffs, while Medicine Hat is to meet the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 7-1-2; Medicine Hat was 3-7-0. . . . F Brett Kemp (33) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:48 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge scored the next three goals. . . . Henry, who finished with 29 goals, scored at 19:39 of the first and 5:58 of the second. . . . F Jake Elmer’s 39th goal, shorthanded, gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead at 10:55. . . . F Ryan Jevne (32) got the Tigers to within a goal at 14:24 of the third period. . . . G Bryan Thomson made 29 saves for the Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers got 29 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Medicine Hat scratched D Dylan MacPherson and F James Hamblin. . . . D Igor Merezhko was among Lethbridge’s scratches.