Saturday, February 25, 2017

Silvertips, Americans streaking ... Tigers retire Lysiak's No. 9 ... Hitmen stun Rebels

Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for Postmedia, revealed Saturday morning that he is preparing for a second battle with cancer.
Ewen, one of the good guys, has fired up his blog again — Crush the Tumour with Humour.
On Saturday, he started a post with:
“I have a surgery some time this week to put a pin in my left leg. Hopefully it doesn't clash with the rods in my back.
“The cancer is back. Multiple myeloma. I had been in remission for six years, but when I was diagnosed with a solitary plasmacytoma in 2010 we were told that there was a good chance that it would return. We received recurrence rates of anywhere between 30 and 70 per cent then.”
Keep Steve and his wife, Carol-Ann, in your thoughts and prayers, and feel free to visit with him at his blog, which is right here.
More WHL teams have postponed or cancelled fan-related events due to the mumps scare that is going through the league.
The Regina Pats were to have had a post-game skate with fans after their Sunday game with the visiting Swift Current Broncos. But that has been cancelled, and hopefully will be rescheduled.
Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club was informed that player appearances at the Les Schwab in the Pearl District and Southeast scheduled for Monday have been postponed and will be rescheduled at dates to be determined.
The Winterhawks/Burgerville events scheduled for March 6 are on, but could be impacted should the mumps situation continue much longer.
The Vancouver Giants have signed D Austin King-Cunningham to a WHL contract and he made his WHL debut in Victoria against the Royals on Saturday night. . . . A list player, King-Cunningham is from Pilot Butte, Sask. He had three goals and eight assists in 33 games with Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League this season. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder led the SMAAAHL in penalty minutes, with 161. . . . The Stars didn’t make the playoffs, so King-Cunningham is free to join the Giants.
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At Everett, the Silvertips clinched their 14th straight playoff berth as they beat the Kamloops Blazers, 3-1.
. . . The Silvertips have qualified for the playoffs in every season they have played in the WHL. . . . Everett got off to a quick start when F Matt Fonteyne scored his 16th goal just 54 seconds into the first period. . . . F Patrick Bajkov made it 2-0 with No. 25 at 5:56. . . . Everett went ahead 3-0 on F Eetu Tuulola’s 16th goal, at 9:36 of the third period. . . . Kamloops F Lane Bauer scored his 36th goal at 19:14. . . . The Silvertips got two assists from D Kevin Davis. . . . Everett G Carter Hart finished with 35 saves. This was the second time since Feb. 17 that Hart lost a shutout late in a game with the other team’s goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker. It happened on Feb. 17 in a 3-1 victory over the host Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Late in the game, Hart took a shot at an empty Kamloops net. “He missed the net by quitre a bit,” Everett head coach Kevin Constantine told Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald, “but you’ve seen goalies lately, pulled goalie situation and the puck gets dumped in. If they get a shot they go for it. Maybe with a one-goal lead you try not to do that because it’s an icing, but with a three-goal lead why not? It certainly got a rise out of the crowd.” . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 24 shots for the Blazers. . . . Each team was 0-3 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips (38-12-10) have won seven in a row. They lead the U.S. Division by three points over Seattle with two games in hand. . . . The Blazers (37-21-6) have lost two straight. They are second in the B.C. Division, five points behind Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 6,377.

At Cranbrook, B.C., the Lethbridge Hurricanes opened up a 4-0 first-period lead en route to a 5-3 victory
over the Kootenay Ice. . . . F Tyler Wong scored twice in that first period, giving him a WHL-leading 45 goals, and D Brennan Menell had three assists. . . . Wong opened the scoring at 6:23, with F Tanner Nagel (8) making it 2-0 at 8:48. . . . F Matt Alfaro, who was acquired from the Ice in January, scored at 9:29 and Wong, on a PP, made it 4-0 at 17:23. . . . D Brennan Riddle drew assists on the first two goals. . . . The Ice didn’t fold, though, and cut the deficit to one. . . . D Troy Murray (4) got it started at 3:54 of the third period. . . . F Colton Kroeker got his 15th goal, shorthanded, at 8:46, and D Cale Fleury (10) scored on a PP at 10:49 to get the Ice to within one. . . . Alfaro iced the victory with his 22nd goal, into an empty net, at 19:21. . . . The Ice got two assists from F Vince Loschiavo. . . . G Ryan Gilchrist stopped 30 shots for Lethbridge. . . . G Payton Lee, who picked up an assist, turned aside 22 shots for Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-3 on the PP; the Ice was 1-4. . . . Lethbridge (38-17-7) has won two in a row. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Divison, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (13-38-10) has lost three straight. . . . Announced attendance: 1,709.

At Medicine Hat, G Michael Bullion stopped 26 shots to lead the Tigers to a 4-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prior to the game, the Tigers celebrated the career of F Tom Lysiak as they retired his
sweater number (9). F Zach Fisher, who had been wearing No. 9, has switched to 39. During the ceremony, Fischer took off the No. 9 sweater and presented it to Lysiak family members. . . . Bullion, who was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks in January, posted his second shutout in five starts and the second of his career. . . . D David Quenneville opened the scoring, on a PP, when he scored his 21st goal at 9:29 of the first period. . . . F Mason Shaw (25) made it 2-0 at 16:57. . . . F Chad Butcher assisted on both goals. . . . The Tigers got to 3-0 when F Mark Rassell scored his 30th at 13:33 of the second period. . . . F Gary Haden (7) closed out the scoring at 2:19 of the third period. . . . Rassell also had an assist. . . . Brandon got 45 stops from G Logan Thompson. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-6 on the PP; Brandon was 0-3. . . . The two teams at the heart of the WHL’s mumps situation had three players missing due to illness — F James Hamblin and D Jordan Henderson of the Tigers and F Baron Thompson of the Wheat Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings lost F Ty Lewis to an undisclosed injury during this one. . . . Medicine Hat (44-18-1) has won two in a row. The Tigers are second in the overall standings, six points behind Regina which has three games in hand. . . . Brandon (28-25-9) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost eight straight road games. . . . Announced attendance: 4,489.

At Moose Jaw, the Warriors snapped a 2-2 tie with three third-period goals and went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-2. . . . F Noah Gregor, in his first game since Jan. 7, gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with
No. 21 at 8:52 of the second period. . . . D Josh Brook (8) made it 2-0 at 18:23. . . . The Broncos tied the game with two late second-period goals despite being outshot 21-5 over the 20 minutes. . . . F Ryley Lindgren got No. 18 at 19:12 and F Glenn Gawdin (22) tied the score at 19:38. . . . The Warriors took a 3-2 lead when F Tanner Jeannot (16) scored at 8:15 of the third period. . . . F Thomas Foster added insurance with his 18th goal, at 12:23, and F Brayden Burke, in his first game since Feb. 8, got the final goal, his 17th, at 15:40. . . . Jeannot also had two assists, while Foster had one. . . . The Warriors got 25 stops from G Zach Sawchenko. . . . At the other end, Jordan Papirny turned aside 38. . . . Swift Current was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . F Mackenzie Wight, an 18-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., made his Swift Current debut. The Broncos acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds in December for F Tyler Adams, 19, and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Earlier in the season, he was pointless in six games with the Thunderbirds, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. Wight has been playing with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. He had six goals and six assists in 27 games. . . . The Broncos were without F Lane Pederson, who sat out the first of a two-game suspension after he took a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina F Robbie Holmes during the Pats’ 7-0 home-ice victory on Friday night. Holmes left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . The Warriors (37-17-8) have won five in a row. They are headed to a second-place finish in the East Division as they are 13 points behind Regina and 12 ahead of third-place Swift Current. . . . The Broncos (30-20-10) have lost three straight (0-2-1). They are five points ahead of fourth-place Brandon. . . . The Broncos lost 7-0 in Regina on Friday, played in Moose Jaw on Saturday and are back in Regina for a Sunday game. . . . Announced attendance: 3,829.
At Prince Albert, the Raiders broke a 1-1 tie with two early third-period goals as they defeated the
Saskatoon Blades, 4-2. . . . F Cavin Leth had given the home team a 1-0 lead with his 19th goal, on a PP, at 10:05 of the first period. . . . F Michael Farren (6) got Saskatoon even at 10:55 of the second period. . . . The Raiders regained the lead when F Simon Stransky got No. 17 at 4:48 of the third. . . . F Kolten Olynek, who also had an assist, got his 12th goal, at 6:52, for a 3-1 lead. . . . The Blades got to within a goal when F Braylon Shmyr (29) scored at 18:04. . . . The Raiders iced it on F Curtis Miske’s 17th goal, into an empty net, at 19:32. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 21 saves, two more than Saskatoon’s Logan Flodell. . . . The Raiders were 1-2 on the PP; the Blades were 0-7. . . . Saskatoon has won four of six games from Prince Albert this season. . . . The Blades are 0-5-1 and have been outscored 24-10 in their past six road appearances. . . . Prince Albert (17-40-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Saskatoon (24-30-8) is two points out of a playoff spot. . . . Announced attendance: 2,396.

At Prince George, F Jesse Gabrielle scored twice and added an assist as the Cougars skated to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Cougars also became the first B.C. Division to clinch a
playoff spot this season. . . . F Jared Bethune gave the home boys a 1-0 lead with his 18th goal, at 4:27 of the first period. . . . Gabrielle upped that to 2-0 at 12:01. . . . D Conner McDonald’s sixth goal, on a PP, at 19:08 got the Oil Kings to within a goal. . . . Gabrielle’s 29th goal, on a PP, restored the Cougars’ two-goal lat at 15:17 of the second period. . . . F Tyler Robertson’s 15th goal, also on a PP, pulled Edmonton back to within a goal, at 18:10. . . . The Cougars put it away with third-period goals from F Josh Curtis (8), at 5:47, and F Radovan Bondra (29), on a PP, at 6:37. . . . The Cougars got two assists from each of F Jansen Harkins and Bondra, with Bethune adding one. . . . G Nick McBride earned the victory with 31 saves. . . . At the other end, Josh Dechaine stopped 42 shots in his second straight start. . . . The Cougars had beaten visiting Edmonton, 4-1, on Friday. . . . Prince George was 2-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-5. . . . F Brad Morrison (undisclosed injury) was among Prince George’s scratches. Also out was F Colby McAuley, who got a two-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Ty Gerla of the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night. Gerla was a scratch on Saturday night. . . . F Max Kryski, 16, made his WHL debut with the Cougars. He is the younger brother of F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen. Max, from Kelowna, has been playing for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . The Cougars (40-19-5) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They lead the B.C. Division by five points over Kamloops. Each team has eight games remaining; they will play each other four times. . . . The Oil Kings (20-38-5) have lost six in a row (0-5-1). They went 0-4 on a trip into the B.C. Division and were outscored 26-4 in the process. . . . Announced attendance: 5,805.

At Red Deer, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Rebels, 6-3. . . . The Calgary onslaught included five goals on 26 third-period shots. . . . The Rebels seemed to take control
with three second-period goals. . . . F Austin Pratt (14) started it at 5:34, before F Lane Zablocki scored twice, giving him 23, at 8:31 and 18:20. . . . Calgary got some life when F Matteo Gennaro got his 36th goal, on a PP, at 19:09. . . . F Andrei Grishakov’s 10th goal allowed the Hitmen to get within one goal just 23 seconds into the third period. . . . F Luke Coleman, who is from Red Deer, tied the game at 5:58. . . . D Jameson Murray put the Hitmen out front with his first WHL goal at 7:58. Murray, from Kelowna, turned 18 on Feb. 10. He scored his first goal in his 30th game. . . . D Brady Reagan (5) added insurance, on a PP, at 12:35. . . . Coleman put it away with his 13th goal at 13:33. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from each of D Jake Bean, D Micheal Zipp, D Vladislav Yeryomenko and F Mark Kastelic, while Reagan had one. . . . F Adam Musil had two helpers for the Rebels. . . . G Trevor Martin stopped 34 shots for Calgary. . . . Red Deer G Lasse Petersen stopped 41. . . . Calgary was 2-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-1. . . . The Hitmen (24-27-10) moved two points ahead of Saskatoon in the race for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Rebels (25-28-10) had points in each of their previous three games (2-0-1). Red Deer is third in the Central Division, two points ahead of Calgary. . . . These teams will meet again this afternoon in Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 5,355.

At Kent, Wash., F Ryan Gropp scored the game’s first two goals and the last one as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the Kelowna Rockets, 5-3. . . . Gropp provided Seattle with a 2-0 lead as he
scored on two of its first three shots, at 3:26 and 5:42 of the first period. The second of those goals came via the PP. . . . Seattle D Ethan Bear stretched the lead to 3-0, on a PP, at 3:32 of the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube got Kelowna on the scoreboard with his 11th goal, scoring on a penalty shot at 7:26. . . . F Keegan Kolesar (21) scored another Seattle PP goal, this one at 9:47. . . . F Reid Gardiner got his ninth goal for Kelowna, on a PP, at 8:38 of the third period. . . . Gropp completed his hat trick, for a 5-2 lead, with an empty-netter, on a PP, at 18:53. . . . F Kyle Topping (12) scored Kelowna’s final goal, at 19:37. . . . Gropp also had an assist, while F Mathew Barzal drew four assists and Kolesar had two. That line combined for 10 of Seattle’s 15 scoring points. . . . Bear also had an assist as he ran his career point total to 187. That ties him with Craig Channell for second on the franchise list for career points by a defenceman. Shea Theodore holds the record (212). . . . Bear has at least a point in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in the WHL at the moment, while Kolesar is at 10 games. . . . Dube added an assist to his goal. . . . The Thunderbirds got 36 stops from G Rylan Toth, while Kelowna’s Michael Herringer blocked 19. . . . Toth is tied for the WHL lead in victories (32) with Griffen Outshouse of Victoria. . . . Seattle was 4-9 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was among Seattle’s scratches after he was injured in Friday’s 7-3 loss to the host Tri-City Americans. . . . Seattle (39-18-5) is second in the U.S. Division, three points behind Everett. . . . Kelowna (36-21-5) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kamloops and four ahead of Victoria. . . . The Rockets, who beat the Blazers 8-2 in Kamloops on Friday, finish their weekend Sunday afternoon in Spokane. . . . Announced attendance: 5,313.
At Spokane, F Tyler Sandhu scored three goals and added an assist as the Tri-City Americans dumped
the Chiefs, 5-1. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto scored the game’s first goal, getting No. 35 at 10:58 of the opening period. . . . Sandhu, who has 20 goals, tied the game at 14:41 of the first and put his side ahead at 11:27 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Topping added insurance at 9:55 of the third period. . . . Sandhu completed his hat trick at 12:45 and Topping (23) closed out the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:30. . . . The Americans got four assists from F Morgan Geekie and two from D Juuso Valimaki, with Topping adding one. . . . G Evan Sarthou stopped 33 shots for Tri-City. . . . The Chiefs got 21 saves from G Jayden Sittler. . . . G Donovan Buskey was on the bench in support of Sittler. Buskey, who turned 17 on Jan. 29, is from North Vancouver, B.C., and was a third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. Buskey has been playing for the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. . . . Buskey replaced G Dawson Weatherill, who was scratched. . . . The Americans (38-23-3) have won seven in a row. They are third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Seattle. . . . The Chiefs (25-26-9) have lost two straight. They are nine points out of a playoff spot. . . . Announced attendance: 9,331.
At Victoria, F Jared Dmytriw scored twice to help the Royals to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. .
. . The Royals went ahead 1-0 when F Vladimir Bobylev scored his seventh goal, at 1:30 of the first period. . . . Dmytriw made it 2-0 at 8:55. . . . It went to 3-0 at 9:37 of the second period when Dmytriw got his 12th goal. . . . Victoria got three assists from F Matt Phillips. . . . F Calvin Spencer (14) scored his 14th goal, on a PP, at 15:52 of the second period. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 31 shots in posting his 32nd victory of the season. That ties the Royals’ single-season record that was set last season by Coleman Vollrath. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 20 shots for the Giants. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-2. . . . The Royals (34-23-5) have points in four straight games (3-0-1). They are in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Giants (19-38-5) have lost two in a row. . . . The Royals had beaten the Giants, 6-4, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. The two teams will complete their weekend tripleheader today in Victoria. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006, on Pink in the Rink night.

SUNDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Red Deer at Calgary, 4 p.m.
Swift Current at Regina, 4 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 4:05 p.m.
Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 5:05 p.m.
Kelowna at Spokane, 5:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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WHL teams working against mumps . . . Edmond sets P.G. record . . . Victoria d-man spins record, too

The WHL isn’t in lockdown mode, but it is into prevention in a big way as it hopes to avoid a full-blown outbreak of mumps.
The league issued a news release on Friday evening that began:
“The Western Hockey League was informed of confirmed cases of mumps within one of our member  clubs in early February. Since that time, the WHL has been working closely with its team services committee, all 22 WHL member clubs and their training staff members as well as the applicable health authorities to ensure proper steps are being taken to minimize the spread of the virus.”
To date, it has been confirmed that players and staff with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers have been diagnosed with mumps over the past couple of weeks. As well, Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, indicated on Thursday while discussing the mumps outbreak with rdnewsNOW that “they had a situation occur in Swift Current” with the Broncos.
You can bet that all WHL teams are working on prevention.
“All WHL clubs were also asked to review vaccination histories of players and team staff and strongly recommend vaccination if necessary,” the WHL news release continued. “The medical and training staff members of each WHL club and the WHL office are on alert for anyone displaying mumps symptoms, including officials, and isolating individuals as required.”
In Kamloops, Blazers athletic trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson, who worked his 1,500th game on Friday night, said he and his staff have been doing a lot of cleaning with bleach and are using their electrolysed washing system a lot more than they normally do. They also are making sure that water bottles are cleaned every day.
The WHL has asked teams to limit contact between players and fans, so teams are suspending minor hockey promotions and other appearances that might put players in close proximity to fans.
On Friday, for example, the Blazers, who were at home to the Kelowna Rockets, cancelled the pregame Timbits promotion that normally has a minor hockey player on the ice with them for the anthem. Security staff at the Sandman Centre also acted to limit post-game contact between players and fans in the arena’s lower reaches.
In Red Deer, the Rebels cancelled a post-game autograph session that would have have involved players and fans interacting.
The Rebels notified their fans via tweet: “There is currently a mumps outbreak and for player safety we cannot hold post-game autographs tonight.”
The Calgary Hitmen also cancelled a post-game autograph session last night.
This isn’t a problem affecting only the WHL. On Friday afternoon, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks revealed that one player, D Troy Stecher, has been diagnosed with mumps and at least four others are showing symptoms.
Andy Eide of ESPN 710 Seattle posted a Seattle Thunderbirds notebook prior to Friday’s games that included some interesting info. . . . D Ethan Bear now holds the Thunderbirds record for career goals by a defenceman, but he isn’t likely to reach the points record that is held by Shea Theodore. . . . Meanwhile, head coach Steve Konowalchuk needs three victories to tie Don Nachbaur for second place on the franchise’s career list. Nachbaur, now the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs, ran the Seattle bench from 1994-2000. . . . Eide’s complete notebook is right here.
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At Calgary, F Steve Owre scored twice and added an assist to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-4 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the second period. . . . Calgary F Jakob
Stukel gave his guys a 1-0 lead, on the PP, at 5:59 of the first period. . . . Owre tied it at 9:28 and D Brad Forrest’s second goal of the season gave the visitors the lead at 13:02. Owre, who assisted on Forrest’s goal, got No. 22 at 18:45 for a 3-1 lead. . . . Stukel’s 20th goal got the Hitmen to within a goal at 4:19 of the second period, but F Tyler Preziuso (4) got that one back at 4:51. . . . The Hitmen got back to within one when F Andrei Grishakov counted at 11:46. . . . The Tigers went ahead 5-3 as F Mason Shaw got his 24th at 17:02. . . . Grishakov closed the scoring with his ninth goal at 19:37 of the third period. . . . The Tigers got two assists from each of F Zach Fischer and F Chad Butcher. . . . Fischer wore No. 9 for the final time as the Tigers will retire it tonight in honour of the late Tom Lysiak. . . . Grishakov also had an assist, while F Matteo Gennaro had two of them. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean earned one assist, giving him 100 for his career. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Nick Schneider, who earned his 31st victory. He has won his last nine starts against Calgary, six of them this season. . . . Calgary G Kyle Dumba stopped 25 shots. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-2. . . . David Quenneville, one of the WHL’s highest-scoring defencemen, was back in the Tigers’ lineup. He had been out since Jan. 3 with a broken leg suffered while blocking a shot. When he was injured, he had 48 points, 20 of them goals, in 38 games. He was pointless and plus-2 last night. . . . The Tigers also had D Kristians Rubins and F Ryan Chyzowski back after their brushes with mumps, but F James Hamblin and D Jordan Henderson remained out. . . . Medicine Hat (43-18-1) is 6-0-0 against Calgary this season. The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Hitmen (23-27-10) had points in their previous five games (4-0-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 6,031.

At Everett, F Dominic Zwerger scored a goal and added three assists to lead the Silvertips to a 4-1
victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (24) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 1:17 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when F Joachim Blichfeld got No. 26, on a PP, at 15:08. . . . Zwerger broke the tie with his 24th goal, on a PP, at 17:50. . . . The Silvertips got insurance from D Jake Christiansen (5) at 14:20 of the second period. . . . D Noah Juulsen sealed the victory with his 12th goal at 11:59 of the third period. . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists for Everett, as did Bajkov. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 42 shots for Everett in posting his 79th career victory, 26 of them this season. He leads the WHL with a 1.93 GAA. . . . At the other end, Cole Kehler stopped 28 shots. . . . Everett was 1-4 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . F Matt Revel (collarbone), who last played on Dec. 10, was in Portland’s lineup. The Winterhawks acquired him off waivers from Kamloops in January as the Blazers got down to three 20-year-olds. . . . The Silvertips (37-12-10) have won six in a row. They lead the U.S. Division by three points over Seattle and hold two games in hand. . . . Portland (32-26-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 5,513.

At Kamloops, F Cole Lind scored once and added three assists as the Kelowna Rockets dropped the Blazers, 8-2. . . . The Rockets had dropped seven straight games in Kamloops. . . . F Garrett Pilon gave
the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 1:28 of the first period, but the Rockets scored the next eight goals, the first three of those coming in the first period. . . . F Rod Southam’s 14th goal got Kelowna even at 4:31 of the first and F Tomas Soustal (18) gave the visitors the lead at 13:48. . . . F Nick Merkley’s 21st goal made it 3-1 at 18:19. . . . Kelowna added two more goals in the second period — D Lucas Johansen got No. 6, Lind scored his 28th, on a PP, and F Dillon Dube notched No. 10. . . . In the third period, F Reid Gardiner added his eighth goal, shorthanded, and F Carsen Twarynski got his 13th. . . . F Luc Smith (10) had the Blazers’ second goal. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of F Calvin Thurkauf and Twarynski, and one each from Merkley, Southam and Dube. . . . G Michael Herringer stopped 23 shots to earn the victory. . . . Kamloops starter Connor Ingram allowed six goals on 26 shots in 28:30, with Dylan Ferguson finishing up, stopped 13 of 15 shots in 31:29. . . . Ingram went in riding back-to-back shutouts and a shutout streak of 178:07. That ended at 182:38. . . . The longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (193:48) belongs to Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kelowna was 1-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . It was the first time the Blazers had given up at least eight goals since Jan. 22, 2016, when they lost 9-4 to the Cougars in Prince George. The last time Kamloops gave up eight goals at home? On Oct. 24, 2014, the Brandon Wheat Kings won 8-5 in Kamloops. . . . This was the final game of a season series that the Blazers won, 6-3-1. The Rockets finished 4-6-0. . . . Kamloops trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson worked his 1,500th WHL game. Robinson is in his 11th season with the Blazers. He also spent five seasons with each of the Swift Current Broncos and Vancouver Giants. . . . The Rockets (36-20-5) have points in seven straight (6-0-1) to get to within three points of the second-place Blazers in the B.C. Division. Kelowna has two games in hand. . . . The Blazers (37-20-6) had won their previous three games. They trail B.C. Division-leading Prince George by three points. . . . Kamloops climbed on to its bus after the game and headed for Everett and date tonight with the Silvertips. The Rockets, meanwhile, went south for games with the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and Spokane Chiefs on Sunday. Yes, three games in three different cities in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Announced attendance: 4,661.
At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes built up a 4-1 lead en route to a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.
. . . F Giorgio Estephan (27) got Lethbridge started at 1:16 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Nolan Patrick tied it with his 16th goal, on a PP, at 5:37. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Zak Zborosky (39) broke the tie at 7:13 of the first, with F Matt Alfaro making it 3-1 at 17:10. . . . Alfaro added his 20th goal of the season at 10:14 of the third period for a 4-1 edge. . . . The Wheat Kings made it interesting with third-period PP goals from F Ty Lewis (28), at 14:17, and F Tyler Coulter (25), at 17:28. . . . F Tyler Wong and D Brennan Menell had two assists each for the winners, while Zborosky added one. . . . Brandon got two assists from each of D Kale Clague and Lewis, with Patrick getting one. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 25 shots to earn the victory over Logan Thompson, who made 32 saves. . . . Brandon was 3-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-3. . . . Lethbridge (37-17-7) is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat with a game in hand. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-24-9) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). They are fourth in the East Division, five points behind Swift Current. Brandon is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, nine points ahead of Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 4,090.

At Prince George, G Ty Edmonds set a franchise record for career victories as the Cougars beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-1. . . . Edmonds stopped 19 shots in earning his 27th victory of this season and No. 96 in his career with the Cougars. He had shared the record with Scott Myers (1996-2000). . . . F Jansen Harkins opened the scoring, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead with his 19th goal at 3:38 of the first period. . . . F Nikita Popugaev made it 2-0 with No. 26 at 7:07. . . . The Cougars took a 3-0 lead at 12:44 of the second period as F Jesse Gabrielle scored his 27th goal, shorthanded. . . . The Oil Kings got their goal from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (21), on a PP, at 7:14 of the third period. He broke the Oil Kings’ record for goals by a freshman that had been held by F Curtis Lazar (2011-12). . . . D Josh Anderson (2) scored the Cougars’ final goal, at 7:35. . . . Harkins and Gabrielle added an assist each. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine stopped 38 shots. . . . Edmonton was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . The Cougars lost F Colby McAuley to a headshot major and game misconduct at 9:56 of the second period after a hit on Edmonton F Ty Gerla, who left and didn’t return. . . . Prince George D Brendan Guhle (ankle) remains week-to-week, while F Tanner Wishnowski, who was acquired from Spokane in January, is back skating. He has been out with a concussion since Nov. 19. . . . Prince George (39-19-5) had lost seven of nine and was 0-2-1 in its previous three games. It leads the B.C. Division by three points over Kamloops. . . . Edmonton (20-37-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . These teams will meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,040.
At Red Deer, the Rebels got off to a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 6-4. . . . Red Deer
grabbed that lead with three goals in a span of 3:38 in the first period. . . . F Austin Pratt started it with No. 13 at 9:49. . . . F Cameron Hausinger added his seventh goal at 11:35. . . . F Austin Glover made it 3-0, shorthanded, at 13:27. . . . Ice D Cale Fleury’s ninth goal, on a PP, got his guys on the scoreboard at 13:53. . . . Red Deer F Evan Polei got that one back with his 27th, on a PP, 48 seconds into the second period. . . . The Ice got to within a goal when D Kurtis Rutledge (3) scored at 18:55 of the second and F Fedor Rudakov got No. 5 at 8:46 of the third period. . . . The Rebels put it away with two quick goals, F Michael Spacek getting his 26th, on a PP, at 12:23 and Glover adding his 19th at 13:06. . . . F Colton Kroeker scored the Ice’s last goal, his 14th at 19:24. . . . Polei and F Akash Bains had two assists each for Red Deer, while Glover and Spacek had one apiece. . . . The Ice got two assists from each of F Vince Loschiavo and F Michael King. . . . G Lasse Petersen stopped 25 shots for the Rebels. . . . The Ice got 33 stops from G Jakob Walter. . . . Red Deer was 2-7 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . The Rebels (25-27-10) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). They are third in the Central Division, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Ice (13-37-10) has lost two in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 4,477.
At Regina, F Sam Steel erupted for four goals and also had an assist to lead the Pats to a 7-0 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Steel, who leads the WHL scoring race, had gone eight games
without a goal. He now has 111 points, 10 more than teammate Adam Brooks, who won the scoring title last season. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 15 shots in earning his fourth shutout of the season and the sixth of his career. . . . Steel scored the game’s first three goals, the first two coming via the PP, at 2:39 and 10:14 of the second period. He completed the hat trick at 18:12. His fourth goal, No. 43 on the season, made it 6-0 at 8:38 of the third period. . . . Regina also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (8), F Nick Henry (30) and D Connor Hobbs (27). . . . Henry, who also had three assists, is the Pats’ fourth 30-goal man, while Hobbs leads all WHL defencemen in goals. . . . F Dawson Leedahl and Brooks each had two assists. . . . The shots were 51-15 and that’s a palindrome. . . . The Broncos started G Jordan Papirny, who surrendered five goals on 37 shots in 42:55. Taz Burman finished up, allowing two goals on 14 shots in 17:04. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-2. . . . Regina is 5-0-0 in the season series. . . . The Pats dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. They scratched F Jake Leschyshyn, who is done for the season with a knee injury, D Jonathan Smart and F Filip Ahl. . . . The Broncos had F Lane Pederson back in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8, but he left at 2:01 of the second period with a charging major and game misconduct. Regina F Robbie Holmes, who took the hit, left with an apparent shoulder injury and didn't return. . . . The Pats also lost F Braydon Buziak to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Regina (44-9-7) has won three in a row and leads the overall standings by eight points over Medicine Hat with two games in hand. . . . Swift Current (30-19-10) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). The Broncos are third in the East Division, 10 points behind Moose Jaw and five ahead of Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.
At Saskatoon, the Blades snapped a five-game losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Prince Albert
Raiders. . . . F Josh Paterson gave the Blades a 1-0 lead with his 14th goal, at 12:41 of the second period. . . . F Curtis Miske (16) pulled the Raiders even at 14:26. . . . Saskatoon broke the tie when F Braylon Shmyr got his 28th goal, on a PP, at 15:03. . . . D Libor Hajek added insurance with his fourth goal at 15:19 of the third period. . . . The Blades got two assists from F Jesse Shynkaruk, while Shmyr added one. . . . Saskatoon G Logan Flodell stopped 29 shots, while the Raiders’ Ian Scott turned aside 20. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-6. . . . The Blades have won four of the first five meetings between these teams this season. They will meet again tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Saskatoon (24-29-8) had been 0-3-2 in its previous five games. It is tied with Calgary for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Raiders (16-40-6) had points in each of their past two games (1-0-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,541.

At Kennewick, Wash., F Austyn Playfair scored two goals and added two assists as the Tri-City Americans dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-3. . . . Playfair had one goal and one assist over his
previous 19 games. He now has seven points, three of them goals, in 27 games. . . . The Americans took a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from F Kyle Olson, who has 17, at 0:53 and 3:43 of the first period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (6) scored for Seattle at 8:51, but the Americans took control with the next four goals. . . . Playfair got it started 27 seconds into the second period. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (8) gave the home side a 4-1 lead at 3:09 and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (2) upped it to 5-1 at 4:47. . . . F Brett Leason added another Tri-City goal, his seventh, at 8:06. . . . F Keegan Kolesar (20) and D Austin Strand (7) also scored for Seattle. . . . Playfair added his third goal of the season at 19:28 of the second period. . . . Yaremko, D Parker Wotherspoon and F Max James had two assists apiece for the Americans. . . . Tri-City G Rylan Parenteau stopped 36 shots. . . . G Carl Stankowski made his fourth appearance of the season with Seattle, but only his first since Oct. 14. He is one of three goaltenders on the team’s roster. . . . Stankowski left after giving up two goals on five shots in 3:43. Rylan Toth came on and was beaten four times on eight shots in 24:22. Stankowski went back in and finished up, stopping 15 of 16 shots in 31:53. . . . Seattle was 2-7 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-4. . . . The Americans again were without F Michael Rasmussen, who hasn’t played since Feb. 1. As well, F Vladislav Lukin is expected to be out for two weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds welcomed back F Nolan Volcan and F Keegan Kolesar back in the lineup. Volcan last played on Feb. 24, while Kolesar had missed one game. . . . The Americans (37-23-3) won their sixth straight game. They are third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Seattle and nine ahead of Portland. . . . The Thunderbirds (38-18-5) had won their previous two games. They are second in the U.S. Division, three points behind Everett. . . . Announced attendance: 5,318.

At Langley, B.C., D Scott Walford tied a franchise record in leading the Victoria Royals to a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Walford had a goal and three assists, his four points equaling the Royals
record for points in a game by a defenceman. . . . Walford now shares the record with Chaz Reddekopp (2014-15), Joe Hicketts (2014-15), Travis Brown (2013-14 and 2014-15) and Brandon Manning (2009-10 and 2010-11). . . . Walford, who turned 18 on Jan. 12, has 23 points in 49 games this season. . . . The Royals also tied a franchise record for PP goals in one game, with five. The Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) went 5-13 in a 6-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Oct. 2, 2010. . . . F Vladimir Bobylev (6) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:25 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning (23) tied it at 10:07 of the second period. . . . Victoria F Jack Walker followed with two PP goals, giving him 27, at 12:39 and 17:55. . . . The Giants cut the deficit to one as D Matt Barberis scored his ninth at 19:10. . . . The Royals restored the two-goal lead when F Matt Phillips scored No. 43 just 39 seconds into the third period. . . . F Johnny Wesley (9), on a PP, pulled the Giants back to within one at 9:10, but Victoria put it away with the next two goals, both on the PP, as F Dante Hannoun (20) scored at 12:36 and Walford counted his sixth at 16:04. . . . Vancouver F Calvin Spencer closed the scoring with his 13th goal, at 18:08. . . . Phillips, Hannoun, Bobylev and F Regan Nagy each had two assists, with Walker adding one. . . . The Giants got two assists apiece from F Brayden Watts and F James Malm, and one from Wesley. . . . The Royals got 23 saves from G Griffen Outhouse, who earned his 31st victory, one shy of the franchise single-season record set last season by Coleman Vollrath. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 41 shots for the Giants. . . . Victoria finished 5-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . The Royals (33-23-5) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They are fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind Kelowna. Victoria holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Portland. . . . The Giants (19-37-5) now head to Victoria for games tonight and Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,125.

SATURDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Brandon at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

AHS connects Tigers to mumps cases . . . Aces falling from ECHL deck . . . Another lengthy OHL suspension

Tommi Virkkunen (Kamloops, Victoria, 1989-90) has been named the new CEO of Kärpät Oulu (Finland, Liiga), effective May 1. Virkkunen has been chairman of Kärpät's board the past seven years and an executive VP for Finnish company Ahlsell Oy for 10 years.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has said that the nine confirmed cases of mumps in the province’s South Zone all are connected to the Medicine Hat Tigers. This is the first such outbreak in the province in 10 years.
AHS believes the Tigers came in contact with the viral infection during a game against the visiting
Brandon Wheat Kings on Jan. 28, as they were starting to fight the illness.
Dr. Vivien Suttorp, the South Zone Medical Officer of Health, told Matt Nemeth of CHAT News Today in Medicine Hat that people who have come in contact with mumps may be symptom-free for as long as 25 days before feeling ill.
Dr. Suttorp told Nemeth: “Before developing symptoms of swollen glands, headaches, feeling unwell, individuals may have already shared the wealth of this virus with others.”
As Nemeth noted, the Tigers have played 10 other teams since they met the Wheat Kings.
In fact, chances are that all of the WHL’s 22 teams have come in contact with one of the teams involved in one way or another, with the Everett Silvertips having completed a recent six-game swing through the East Division.
Meanwhile, it seems the Swift Current Broncos also had to deal with mumps, meaning it has been in at least three WHL dressing rooms.
“They had a situation occur in Swift Current (recently) and it happened in Brandon,” Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, told rdnewsNOW on Thursday. “Then Medicine Hat happened to go and play Brandon and now they’re dealing with it to some degree.”
Dr. Digby Horne, the AHS Central Zone’s Medical Officer of Health, told rdnewsNOW that there aren’t any cases in that zone.
The Rebels, like other teams, are taking precautions in the hopes of avoiding an outbreak.
“Just manage and control (things),” Sutter said, “make sure we’re dealing with it the right way. Everybody is informed, from the medical side of it, on what we have to do as far as the (WHL) teams. Hopefully, Medicine Hat will get through this and it won’t carry on to another team.”
The Tigers could get some relief tonight (Friday) as they play the host Calgary Hitmen tonight.
Besides having to sit players and one coach because of mumps, they also have been without two top defencemen as David Quenneville and Ty Schultz have been recovering from broken legs suffered while blocking shots. Quenneville, who has missed 21 games, has received medical clearance to return and could be in the lineup against the Hitmen. Schultz, however, still is listed as week-to-week on the WHL roster report.
F Ryan Chyzowski is feeling better and could play in Calgary, while assistant coach Joe Frazer also has returned to the team. D Kristians Rubins and D Jordan Henderson are day-to-day, while F James Hamblin isn’t likely to play.
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ECHLThe ECHL’s Alaska Aces, who play out of Anchorage, will suspend operations after this season. 
According to Terry Parks, the ownership group’s managing partner, the franchise has lost more money in 2016-17 than in the previous two seasons combined. He said attendance is down 1,500 per game from two seasons ago. . . . From an Aces news release: “Parks says as a result of the economic downturn, sponsorships are down $600,000, season-ticket sales are down $262,000 and attendance is down about 1,500 spectators per game from just a couple seasons ago.” . . . Also from the news release: “With thousands of job losses in Alaska and more likely to come, Parks says, the team expects this downward trend to continue.” . . . The Aces are completing their 15th season in Anchorage.
The Regina Pats beat the host Saskatoon Blades, 4-1, on Wednesday night, with F Adam Brooks scoring once and being credited with an assist. Brooks won the WHL scoring title last season, with 120 points. That assist gave Brooks 100 points, at least for the moment. . . . However, a post-game scoring change took the assist away from Brooks, leaving him at 99 points. He gets another opportunity to get to 100 tonight (Friday) against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
Mike Fraser scouts for the Brandon Wheat Kings and also writes a weekly column for the Brandon-based Westman Journal. This week, he writes about how “listening to a fan or parent yell and mock a 14-year-old kid is hard to digest and let go.” . . . That piece is right here.
OHLMike Kelly, the general manager of the Guelph Storm, will leave the OHL team when his contract expires at the end of this season. . . . “Mike has informed us that he and his wife, Denise, will be relocating to the Niagara region to be closer to their children and grandchildren,” Storm president Rick Hoyle said in a news release. “We respect Mike’s decision to prioritize his family.” . . . Kelly joined the Storm for the 1991-92 season and was the GM for six seasons, before signing on as the amateur scouting co-ordinator with the NHL’s Calgary Flames in 1997. He returned to the Storm in November 2010 for a second go-round as GM. . . . From the Storm’s news release: “During his 13 seasons with the club, he led the Storm to three division titles, three OHL regular-season titles, three appearances in the OHL championship series and the franchise’s last OHL championship in 2013-14.” He was the OHL’s executive of the year for 1994-95.
The OHL has suspended F Max Jones of the London Knights for 10 games after he took a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jonah Gadjovich of the Owen Sound Attack on Feb. 17. Jones will be eligible to return on March 14. . . . Jones was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. He has 32 points, including 14 goals, in 29 games this season, one that has been interrupted twice by injuries. . . . Jones is a repeat offender, having been hit with a 12-game suspension for a blindside during a first-round playoff game last season. . . . The latest suspension comes a day after the OHL hit F Christiano DiGiacinto of the Windsor Spitfires with a 10-game suspension after he incurred a headshot major and game misconduct. 
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No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

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Wheat Kings move playoff games to Dauphin . . . Is it time pollsters noticed Warriors?

Dauphin's Credit Union Place

The Brandon Wheat Kings are relocating to Dauphin, Man., for a few playoff games.
The Wheat Kings haven’t yet qualified for the playoffs, but they hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot and appear headed to a first-round clash with the Medicine Hat Tigers, who are closing in on the Central Division title.
With the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair taking over the Keystone Centre from March 27 through April 1, the Wheat Kings announced Thursday that they will play at least two first-round home playoff games at Dauphin’s Credit Union Place, which contains 1,763 seats and has room for 752 standees. The facility, which is home to the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings, opened in April 2006.
Dauphin is located 165 km north of Brandon.
The dates have yet to be confirmed but that likely will involve Games 3 and 4 on March 28 and 29. Game 6, if necessary, would be played in Dauphin on April 2.
“Other potential options,” writes Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun, “included the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, the Portage Credit Union Centre in Portage la Prairie and Tundra Oil and Gas Place in Virden.
“Winnipeg used to be the go-to Plan B, but the MTS Centre has two (Winnipeg) Jets games, two (Manitoba) Moose games and a concert by the Lumineers that week, and the Portage Terriers and Virden Oil Capitals could still be active in the MJHL playoffs.”
In Dauphin, the Kings have four games left in their regular season and remain five points out of a playoff spot.
According to Bergson, “WHL officials did a walk-through in Credit Union Place in the past to clear it. The biggest hurdle is that Brandon has to remove its expensive video replay system from Westman Place and set it up in the Dauphin arena.”
From a Wheat Kings news release: “The announcement was made . . . as  the Wheat Kings rolled out plans for both the playoffs and their 2017-18 season-ticket prices. In addition to holding the line on season-ticket prices next (season), fans who purchase their 2017 playoff packages as well as renew their season tickets by the Monday, March 20 deadline will receive a $5 discount off regular playoff box-office admission prices for all games played in Brandon.”
The Moose Jaw Warriors have been doing a terrific job of flying under the radar this season.
They are ensconced quite comfortably in second place in the East Division and appear headed to a first-round playoff meeting with the Swift Current Broncos.
The Warriors have won their past four games, including a 4-0 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Saturday night. The Pats (43-9-7) have the WHL’s best record; the Warriors (36-17-8) trail them by 13 points. The Warriors, however, have proven they can play with Regina.
The Warriors are 6-3-1 in their past 10 outings, and they’ve been without top-end forwards Brayden Burke and Noah Gregor.
But, gee, it’s about that lack of respect.
It was on Nov. 1 when John Paddock, Regina’s GM and head coach, said of the Warriors: 
“I think they’re able to play off the fact that (we’re) all anybody talks about within an hour radius (of Regina). They don’t talk about Moose Jaw. Whoever does the dumb CHL poll has never hardly had them in the top 10.”
That was the case again this week, as Regina fell from first to second, behind the OHL’s Erie Otters, and there was no sign of the Warriors, not even as an honourable mention.
Last week, before losing to the Warriors, Paddock told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post:
“They’ve got a really good goalie (Zach Sawchenko). It was sort of shocking that he wasn’t drafted last year.
“With the deals that (GM Al Millar) has made, they’ve got a deep group of forwards. There’s nobody leading the league in scoring, but they have Brett Howden and Brayden Burke, and Jayden Halbgewachs is having a big-time season. They’ve been missing forwards (due to injury), but they’ve probably got the deepest set of forwards in the Eastern Conference.”
It’s hard to argue with that, although, yes, Regina’s group of forwards is pretty good, too.
Here’s hoping that fans get treated to a Regina-Moose Jaw playoff series at some point.
With two games left in the season series, the Warriors hold a 3-2-1 edge, while the Pats are 3-3-0. They will finish the series by going home-and-home on March 10 and 11, starting in Regina and finishing in Moose Jaw.
Here’s a note from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post:
“Pats head coach/GM John Paddock is a total pro. Too many hockey coaches — not to mention football coaches — are paranoiacs. Paddock, by contrast, gets it. He doesn’t play any games or robotically dispense eye-glazing cliches. Instead, he tells it like it is and treats the media (a conduit to the fans) with respect.”

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