Well, it’s almost over.
There are two games on the schedule today, neither of which means anything when it comes to the final standings and playoff matchups.
The Tri-City Americans are to play the Silvertips in Everett, while the Spokane Chiefs meet the Winterhawks in Portland. All four teams will be playing their third games in 48 hours.
The WHL’s first-round playoff matchups have been finalized:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
In Calgary, F Sam Reinhart broke a 4-4 tie at 15:55 of the third period as the Kootenay Ice beat the Hitmen, 5-4. . . . Reinhart finished with 35 goals. . . . F Jaedon Descheneau scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist for the Ice. . . . The Ice also got two goals from F Jordyn Boyd, giving him eight. . . . F Brady Brassart scored twice for Calgary, giving him 35. . . . The Hitmen scratched F Cody Sylvester, F Brooks Macek, F Victor Rask, D Jaynen Rissling and D Alex Roach. . . . The Ice was again without F Brock Montgomery. . . .
In Edmonton, F Michael St. Croix drew two assists as the Oil Kings dumped the Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . F Trevor Cheek got his 32nd goal for the Oil Kings, while F Curtis Lazar scored No. 38. . . . The Oil Kings set a modern day franchise record with their 51st victory, one more than last season. . . . The Rebels went without D Mathew Dumba, F Rhyse Dieno and F Turner Elson. . . . Edmonton scratches included D Keegan Lowe, F T.J. Foster and F Henrik Samuelsson. . . .
In Prince Albert, the Raiders got two goals in the circus and beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3. . . . F Leon Draisaitl and F Anthony Bardaro scored in the shootout to win it. F Matej Stransky was the only one of the three Blades to score. . . . Saskatoon F Brenden Walker gave his guys a 3-2 lead with his 33rd goal, on the PP, at 11:55 of the third. . . . Raiders D Evan Morden tied it, with his second goal of the season, at 14:20. . . . Saskatoon F Josh Nicholls scored the game’s first two goals, giving him 47. . . . Blades D Darren Dietz drew three assists. . . .
In Brandon, F Nick Buonassisi, playing the final game of his junior career, scored the only goal of the circus as the Wheat Kings beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . Neither of these teams qualified for the playoffs. . . . F Brayden Point scored for the Warriors, getting his 24th at 7:28 of the third period. . . . Brandon D Rene Hunter tied it with his second at 17:18. . . . Buonassisi, who has used up his eligibility, was the shootout’s third participant. . . . Brandon G Corbin Boes stopped 40 shots, 14 more than Moose Jaw’s Justin Paulic. . . .
In Swift Current, the Broncos scored the game’s first two goals, both in the first period, and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . D Reece Scarlett had a goal, his ninth, and an assist for the Broncos. . . . Regina F Lane Scheidl scored his 41st goal. . . .
In Prince George, G Taran Kozun stopped 31 shots as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 7-0. . . . Kozun has two shutouts this season. . . . F Cole Ully scored twice for Kamloops, giving him 22. . . . The Blazers had two players score their first WHL goals. F Deven Sideroff, who is from Summerland, B.C., scored in his second WHL game, while D Connor Clouston scored in his fourth game. He is the son of Shaun Clouston, the GM/head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Sideroff also picked up an assist and was plus-4. . . . Kamloops F Brendan Ranford drew three assists, allowing him to finish his five-year career with 357 points in 348 regular-season games. Only five players in franchise history have more points. . . . The Cougars didn’t dress G Mac Engel, who suffered a neck injury in Kamloops on Friday night. Engel, however, was released from Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops in time to ride the bus back to Prince George with his teammates. . . .
In Medicine Hat, the Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 7-2 in a game in which they scrapped until the final buzzer. . . . F Curtis Valk scored twice for the Tigers, giving him 46, and also had an assist. . . . Tigers F Hunter Shinkaruk got his 37th and added two assists, and F Dylan Bredo had three helpers. . . . Lethbridge took 75 of the 122 penalty minutes that were dished out. . . . There were two scraps with 51 seconds left in the third period. . . . The Tigers were 4-for-8 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 0-for-5. . . .
In Everett, D Joe Hicketts scored in OT to give the Victoria Royals a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Hicketts got the sixth goal of his freshman season at 1:57 of extra time. . . . Everett led 3-1 before F Jack Walker got his ninth at 8:13 of the second period and F Logan Nelson notched his 14th at 17:37 of the third. . . . F Ben Walker, Jack’s older brother, had two assists for the Royals. . . . Victoria G Michaell Herringer stopped 36 shots in his first WHL start. A ninth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, he played for the junior B Victoria Cougars and joined the Royals after start Patrik Polivka went down with an undisclosed injury 10 days ago. . . . F Brayden Low had a goal, his second, and an assist for Everett. . . . Everett F Matt Fonteyne, 15, earned an assist in his first WHL game. If you missed it earlier, he is the grandson of former NHL/WHL F Val Fonteyne. . . . Marlon Martens, the radio voice of the Royals, reports: “Victoria learned that leading scorer Alex Gogolev needs surgery to help repair a skate cut to his leg, and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Gogolev has already missed 20 games.” . . .
In Kelowna, the Rockets set a single-season franchise record for victories as they dropped the Vancouver Giants, 5-2. . . . The Rockets finished with 52 victories, one more than the 2002-03 team that went on to win the WHL championship. . . . Neither F Colton Sissons nor F J.T. Barnett, both of whom left a Friday game in Vancouver with undisclosed injuries, played in this game. . . . F Dylen McKinlay had two assists for Kelowna. . . .
In Kent, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks scored twice in the circus and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent), 6-5. . . . The Winterhawks set a WHL single-season record with their 29th road victory and established a single-season franchise record for points (113). The 1980-81 team put up 111 points. . . . D Derrick Pouliot and F Chase De Leo scored in the six-round shootout for Portland, with F Roberts Lipsbergs the only Seattle shooter to score. . . . F Nic Petan had a goal, his 46th, and four assists for Portland, while F Brendan Leipsic got his 49th goal and added an assist. . . . Leipsic and Petan are tied for the WHL scoring lead, each with 120 points. Only once before has the WHL scoring race ended in a tie. That was in 1987-88, when Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos and Theo Fleury of the Moose Jaw Warriors tied, with 160 points. Sakic was declared the champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. Leipsic goes into today’s final game with a WHL-leading 49 goals, two more than Petan. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie didn’t play last night. . . . Pouliot had a goal and three assists. . . . Lipsbergs scored four times, giving him 30 in his freshman season. His last two goals, at 16:46 of the second and 18:58 of the third, forced OT. . . . Seattle F Luke Lockhart had three assists. . . . G Mac Carruth wasn’t in uniform for Portland. . . . With the loser point, the Thunderbirds clinched seventh place in the Western Conference, meaning they will play the Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . The Winterhawks will go against the Everett Silvertips. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., F Blake Gal scored 34 seconds into OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Gal, who has played a lot on defence of late because of injuries, finished with 17 goals. . . . Tri-City F Justin Feser forced OT when he got his 44th goal at 7:54 of the third. . . . Spokane D Jeremy McIntosh scored his first WHL goal. It came in his 64th game. . . . Chiefs D Brenden Kichton drew two assists. He finished with 85 points, 20 more than any other defenceman. He ha 63 assists, which was 18 more than any other blue-liner and left him tied for fifth among all skaters. . . . Kichton’s 22 goals were behind only the 24 scored by Saskatoon D Darren Dietz. . . . The Chiefs won the season series, 7-5. . . . These teams will meet again in the first round of the playoffs. . . . The Chiefs have won five in a row; the Americans have lost four straight.
F Tim Traber, Victoria
From Rich Campbell (@StrengthPDX), the Portland Winterhawks’ athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach: “@SeattleTbirds thank you for the ‘Evil Empire’ introduction. You inspired us! #adversityhawks #welikewinninghockeygames”
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