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Sunday, February 24, 2013

No one in the WHL is hotter than Tri-City forward Justin Feser (22), here scoring
against the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night.

(John Allen / AridAcres.com)
Former WHL G Kurtis Mucha put up his fourth straight shutout Saturday night, helping the host Alberta Golden Bears to a 2-0 Canada West playoff victory over the Calgary Dinos. . . . The Golden Bears swept the best-of-three semifinal. . . . Mucha is riding a shutout streak of 264 minutes 20 seconds. . . . The other semifinal, between the Manitoba Bisons and Saskatchewan Huskies, will be decided in a third game today in Saskatoon. Manitoba won 4-1 last night. . . . The final opens March 1 in Edmonton.
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The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Red Deer (4) vs. Prince Albert (5)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:
In Moose Jaw, D Darren Dietz and F Collin Valcourt each scored his 20th goal to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 7-1 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Blades have won a franchise-record 15 straight games, the longest winning streak in the WHL this season. . . . According to WHL Facts (@WHLFacts), this is the longest such streak in the league since the Medicine Hat Tigers won 17 in a row in January/February 2007. . . . Dietz is the first WHL defenceman to get to 20 goals this season. . . . Moose Jaw G Justin Paulic stopped 40 shots. He had to go the distance because the Warriors had an unlisted emergency backup (Brett Banda) on the bench. G Daniel Wapple, who has partnered with Paulic this season, is out with a concussion. . . . Banda, who turned 18 on Jan. 1, plays for the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. . . . The Blades were 3-for-5 on the PP, while the Warriors were 1-for-10. . . . Saskatoon leads the East Division by seven points over the Prince Albert Raiders. The Blades are five points in back of the Calgary Hitmen, with each team having 10 games remaining. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice ran their home-ice winning streak to a franchise record-tying 12 games as they beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . The Ice scored two its first three goals via the PP as it took a 3-1 lead. . . . F Jaedon Deschenean had a goal his 19th, and an assist for the Ice. . . . Calgary F Pavlo Padakin scored his 19th goal and now has scored in three straight games. . . . The teams have met six times, each winning three times. . . . Calgary D Jaynen Rissling left in the second period after blocking a shot. . . . The Ice is eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Swift Current Broncos and three ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Mirco Mueller scored at 2:07 of OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent). . . . Mueller has six goals this season. . . . The Silvertips had lost a franchise-record 11 in a row. . . . The Thunderbirds scored two third-period goals to force OT, with D Shea Theodore getting his 16th, via the PP, at 2:13 and D Griffin Fould equalizing with his second at 11:54. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 36 shots. . . . Everett D Landon Oslanski drew three assists. . . . F Tyler Sandhu scored Everett’s first two goals, giving him 14. . . . Seattle F Luke Lockhart played in his 334th regular-season game. He moved past F Tyler Metcalfe and into second on Seattle’s all-time list, behind only F Glen Goodall, who holds the WHL record (399). . . . Everett is eighth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Thunderbirds and five in front of the Prince George Cougars. . . .

In Medicine Hat, G Marek Langhamer stopped 38 shots as the Tigers beat the Swift Current Broncos, 2-0. . . . Langhamer has two shutouts this season. . . . One night earlier, he beat the host Broncos 2-1 in a shootout. . . . Broncos G Eetu Laurikainen stopped 22 shots. . . . F Curtis Valk scored his 38th goal at 4:24 of the first period and F Boston Leier added his 14th, into an empty net at 19:34 of the third. . . . The Tigers are sixth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind the Prince Albert Raiders and four in front of the Broncos. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2. . . . Red Deer F Matt Bellerive tied the game 2-2 at 7:29 of the third, with his 13th goal, and F Rhyse Dieno broke the tie with his 25th goal at 13:50. . . . Red Deer has won five in a row. . . . The Rebels used the game to honour the Red Deer Rustlers and wore replica uniforms from the junior A team that won the 1979-80 Centennial Cup as national champions. . . . The Rustlers played in the AJHL from 1967-89, with the exception of 1985-86 when the franchise took a year off. The Rustlers also won the Centennial Cup in 1971. . . . The Rebels are in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

In Prince George, F Brendan Leipsic scored two first-period PP goals and the Portland Winterhawks went on to beat the Cougars, 6-1. . . . Leipsic also had an assist. He leads the WHL in goals (44) and points (110). . . . Portland F Nic Petan had two assists, giving him 106 points. . . . F Ty Rattie, the other member of that line, had two goals, giving him 39, and an assist. He’s got 94 points. . . . Prince George G Brett Zarowny (concussion) made his first appearance since Jan. 30 but he left at 7:43 of the first period, having given up three goals on 10 shots. . . . The Winterhawks now lead the overall standings by 13 points over the Kelowna Rockets. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Justin Feser had a goal and four assists as the Tri-City Americans dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 8-1. . . . The Americans have won five in a row for the first time this season. . . . Feser, who has a career-high 38 goals, has 18 points over his last five games. . . . On the season, Feser has 92 points in 61 games. . . . Is the 20-year-old from Red Deer the Western Conference’s MVP? . . . Feser played in his 310th consecutive game. He will tie the record held by former D Dwayne Newman (Brandon, Victoria, 1987-91) on Tuesday against visiting Portland. . . . Tri-City G Troy Trombley stopped 37 shots in his fifth straight start. He is 5-0 over that span. . . . The Oil Kings are 0-3 on their U.S. Division swing, the first time they have lost three straight in regulation time this season. . . . Evan Daum of the Edmonton Journal tweeted that it’s the Oil Kings’ worst loss since they were beaten 8-1 by the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 25, 2010. . . . Tri-City F Fraser Bulbuc scored his first WHL goal in his third game. . . . Tri-City F Jesse Mychan had his second straight two-goal outing. He’s got 17 goals. . . . Tri-City F Connor Rankin added his 23rd goal and two helpers. . . . The Americans are fourth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Oil Kings have slipped to third in the overall standings, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . .

In Spokane, G Garret Hughson stopped 32 shots as the Chiefs beat the Kamloops Blazers, 2-0. . . . F Blake Gal scoerd his 11th goal at 10:18 of the second and F Todd Fiddler added his 39th just 24 seconds later. . . . The Blazers have played in three straight shutouts. They were beaten 3-0 by the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday, then beat the Giants 6-0 in Vancouver on Friday. . . . The Chiefs are fifth in the Western Conference, a point behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Blazers are third, five points in back of Kelowna. . . .

In Victoria, the Kelowna Rockets scored three goals before the game was six minutes old and went on to a 7-2 victory over the Royals. . . . One night earlier, the Rockets dumped the host Royals, 8-3. . . . Kelowna F Cody Fowlie scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist, while F Tyrell Goulbourne scored his ninth goal and had two assists. . . . F Colton Sissons scored his 25th goal on a PP at 3:37 of the first period and F Tyson Baillie got his 22nd, along on a PP, at 5:11. . . . The Rockets finished 3-for-7 on the PP. . . . The Rockets moved past Edmonton and into second spot in the overall standings. . . . The Royals are sixth in the Western Conference, five points behind Spokane.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Griffin Foulk, Seattle
F Reid Gardiner, Prince Albert
F Graham Black, Swift Current
F Adam Lowry, Swift Current
D Tyler Wotherspoon, Portland

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
F Mike Aviani, Spokane
F JC Lipon, Kamloops
F Taylor Peters, Portland
F Caleb Belter, Prince George
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From Vancouver Province writer Steve Ewen (@SteveEwen): “#WHL Giants say they haven’t received release from USA Hockey for Minnesota F Alex Baer so they can’t use him in their line-up yet.”
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From Brandon Wheat Kings radio voice Bruce Luebke (@wheatkingsvoice): “Nick Walters won’t be suspended for checking-to-head major Friday in Saskatoon. WHL rescinded penalty. Will be in #BWK lineup Sunday. #bdnmb”


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