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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (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)
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:
In Spokane, the Chiefs clinched fourth place in the Western Conference with a 6-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The same teams will open the playoffs in Spokane on Friday. . . . G Eric Williams stopped 20 shots to record his fourth shutout this season. . . . F Carter Proft scored twice, giving him 11. He’s got five goals over his last eight games. . . . The Chiefs were 3-for-7 on the PP. . . . Spokane has won four in a row, while Tri-City has lost three straight. . . . The teams meet tonight in Kennewick, Wash., with the Chiefs leading the season series, 6-5. . . .

In Victoria, D Jordan Fransoo scored twice to help the Royals to a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Fransoo, who has eight goals, is wearing the ‘C’ in the absence of injured D Tyler Stahl. . . . D Joe Hicketts also scored twice for Victoria, giving him five goals, while F Steven Hodges had three assists. . . . G Coleman Vollrath, the go-to guy with Patrik Polivka out with an undisclosed injury, stopped 19 shots for the Royals. . . . The Royals set single-season franchise records for victories (34) and points (75), breaking records that had been set by the 2010-11 Chilliwack Bruins. . . . These teams — the Royals, not the Bruins — play tonight in Everett. . . . Victoria F Tim Traber completed his six-game suspension last night, so is eligible to play tonight. . . .

In Vancouver, the Kelowna Rockets tied a franchise record as they beat the Giants, 6-2. . . . The Rockets won their 51st game, tying the single-season record that was held by the 2002-03 club. . . . Kelowna F Austin Glover scored his first goal in his 33rd WHL gave, 30 of which have been played this season. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle, who was acquired from Vancouver early in the season, stopped 39 shots. . . . The Rockets lost F Colton Sissons, F J.T. Barnett and D Damon Severson to injuries during the game, although Severson did return and finish up. “Everything gets re-evaluated by our (medical) staff in the morning, so I have nothing to really report,” head coach Ryan Huska told the Kelowna Daily Courier. . . . The Rockets and Giants play tonight in Kelowna. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks tied a franchise record as they doubled the Seattle Thunderbirds, 8-4. . . . The Winter hawks (55-12-3) have 113 points, tying the franchise record set in 1980-81. . . . Portland meets the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight and can also set a WHL record for road victories in one season. . . . The Winterhawks are 9-2 versus Seattle this season. . . . F Brendan Leipsic scored three times for Portland, his second hat trick this season. He leads the WHL, with 48 goals. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie had two goals, giving him 47, and an assist, while F Nic Petan had three assists. . . . Portland D Troy Rutkowski, who earlier in the week signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, also had three assists. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand broke a 3-3 tie with his 30th goal of the season at 17:59 of the second period. . . . Portland G Brendan Burke stopped 31 shots. The Winterhawks had G Jarrod Schamerhorn, 17, on the bench. G Mac Carruth, the veteran starter, is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Portland D Seth Jones was a healthy scratch, just to give him some rest. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-3. . . . F Brady Brassart had two goals, giving him 33, and two assists for Calgary, while F Cody Sylvester had two goals and an assist. He’s got 41 goals. . . . The Ice led 3-1 with five minutes left in the second period. . . . The loss means the Ice will finish eighth in the Eastern Conference and face the first-place Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round. . . . The Ice plays in Calgary tonight. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Brady Ramsay and F Josh Derko each scored twice and added an assist as the Hurricanes dropped the Medicine Hat Tigers, 8-4. . . . The Tigers actually took a 4-2 lead into the third period when the Hurricanes exploded for six goals. . . . D Matt Staples, a native of Coppell, Texas, who turned 18 on March 7, scored his first WHL goal for the Tigers. It came in his 29th game. . . . F Russell Maxwell scored his 22nd goal and added two assists for Lethbridge. . . . Lethbridge D Macoy Erkamps and D Ryan Pilon each had two assists and was plus-5. . . . Lethbridge G Ty Rimmer stopped 44 shots. . . . The Tigers now are locked into seventh in the Eastern Conference, meaning they will face the Saskatoon Blades in the first round. . . . The Hurricanes are in Medicine Hat tonight. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Sam Fioretti and F Brayden Point each scored twice to help the Warriors to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Fioretti has 32 goals, while Point has 23. . . . F Jayson Swyripa scored twice for Brandon, giving him 10. . . . Neither team will be in the playoffs. . . . Warriors D Morgan Rielly will join the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on Wednesday. He was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. . . . The Warriors play in Brandon tonight. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Leon Draisaitl scored at 2:47 of OT to give the Raiders a 6-5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Draisaitl has 21 goals. . . . The Raiders had lost their previous six games. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s first three goals, two by F Anthony Bardaro, who has 24 goals. . . . The Blades then struck for five in a row, two from F Nathan Burns, who has 20. . . . F Mark McNeill, with his 24th, got the Raiders to within one at 8:58 of the third and D Davis Vandane, with his 12th, tied it at 15:13. . . . Saskatoon G Andrey Makarov, who stopped 31 shots, appeared in his 31st consecutive game. . . . Raiders F Chance Braid had a goal, his ninth, and three assists. . . . Saskatoon continues to play without F Michael Ferland (undisclosed). . . . They'll play again tonight in Prince Albert. . . .

WHLIn Regina, the Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the circus and beat the Pats, 3-2. . . . The Pats scored two PP goals, the second one from F Lane Scheidl, who has 40 goals, and took a 2-0 lead into the second period. . . . Broncos F Adam Lowry got his 45th goal in the second period and D Richard Nedomlel tied it with his seventh at 2:48 of the third. . . . The Broncos outscored the Pats 3-2 in a five-round shootout. . . . The Pats are in Swift Current tonight. . . .

In Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 1-0 deficit and beat the Rebels, 3-1. . . . The Oil Kings have won 50 games for a second straight season. . . . F Jordan DePape, playing his first game since Nov. 11, scored a PP goal 6:07 into his first appearance with Red Deer. . . . Edmonton D Griffin Reinhart broke a 1-1 tie with his eighth goal at 6:59 of the third period. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar scored h is 37th goal into an empty net. . . . Red Deer plays in Edmonton tonight. . . .

In Kamloops, F Tim Bozon scored two goals and drew two assists to lead the Blazers to a 5-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The loss killed any chance the Cougars had of catching the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. . . . Bozon has 35 goals. . . . F Brendan Ranford had a goal and two assists for the Cougars. . . . Prince George, trailing 5-0, scored two third-period power-play goals. . . . Prince George G Mac Engel got crushed in a goal-mouth scramble in the first period and was taken to hospital with a potential neck injury. He was later released and was on the bus to Prince George with his teammates. . . . The same teams meet tonight in Prince George.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
F Colten Mayor, Calgary
F Richard Nejezchleb, Brandon
F Braden Christoffer, Regina
F Cory Millette, Red Deer

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None
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From Prince George Cougars F Ryan Hanes (@HANESR13): “Thank you so much for coming out! Amazing fans! Can’t say enough about them! One special night for me! Thanks kamloops! Love everyone of you!”
Hanes, a Kamloops native, received two ovations from his hometown fans last night, one when he scored in the third period and another when he saluted them at game’s end.

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