D Mark Pysyk of the AHL’s Rochester Americans collapsed while taking part in a pickup basketball game on Saturday and was taken to hospital. He was released later in the day. Pysyk is a former captain of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has more right here.
THE WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:EAST DIVISION: Brandon (9 games remaining) will finish atop the Eastern Conference standings and now trails Kelowna by one point in the race for first place overall. . . . Regina (10) will finish second in the division. . . . Swift Current (10) is third, eight points ahead of Moose Jaw (10), which is six points ahead of Prince Albert (11). . . . The Warriors are five points behind Edmonton (10), which holds down the conference’s second wild-card berth.
CENTRAL DIVISION: Calgary (9) is atop the division, two points ahead of Medicine Hat (9). . . . Red Deer (10) is third, seven points behind Medicine Hat and five ahead of Kootenay (8), which is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Edmonton (10) is seven points behind Kootenay.
B.C. DIVISION: Kelowna (9) has clinched first place in the Western Conference and holds a one-point lead over Brandon atop the overall standings. . . . Victoria (10) will finish second. . . . Prince George (9) has won three straight and moved back into third place, one point ahead of Vancouver (10) and two up on Kamloops (9). . . . Vancouver is two points behind Tri-City (9), which holds down the conference’s second wild-card berth.
U.S. DIVISION: Everett (9) sits atop the division, but is only two points ahead of Portland (10). . . . Seattle (10) is third, nine points behind Portland and six ahead of Spokane (11). . . . Spokane holds the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Spokane is seven points ahead of Tri-City (9), which is 2-8-0 in its last 10 and clinging to that second wild-card spot.
IF THE PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY:Eastern Conference
Brandon vs. Edmonton
Calgary vs. Kootenay
Regina vs. Swift Current
Medicine Hat vs. Red Deer
Kelowna vs. Tri-City
Everett vs. Spokane
Victoria vs. Prince George
Portland vs. Seattle
(NOTE: Team with home-ice advantage shown first.)
SATURDAY’S GAMES:In Swift Current, F Dryden Hunt scored two goals and set up another as the Medicine Hat Tigers dropped the Broncos, 5-1. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford scored his WHL-leading 47th goal at 11:13 of the second period for a 2-1 lead. . . . Sanford had the WHL lead until Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand tied him later in the evening. Bjorkstrand later scored again, giving him 48. . . . Hunt, who has 30 goals, scored at 19:52 of the second, on a PP, and again at 1:30 of the third. . . . Sanford also had an assist, getting him up to 88points in 63 games. . . . Tigers F Trevor Cox, the WHL scoring leader, drew three assists. He’s got 97 points in 60 games. . . . Tigers F Steve Owre and D Kyle Becker each had a goal and an assist. . . . Owre has 16 goals; Becker has 11. . . . F Jake DeBrusk got No. 37 for the Broncos. . . . The Tigers were 2-for-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-for-2. . . . Medicine Hat G Nick Schneider stopped 30 shots, nine fewer than Swift Current’s Landon Bow. . . . The Broncos had D Dillon Heatherington back in the lineup. He last played on Jan. 23. . . . The Tigers (39-21-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Broncos (30-27-5) have lost two straight. . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Jesse Shynkaruk scored at 1:31 of OT gave the Warriors a 6-5 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The Pats led 2-0 on a pair of goals by F Adam Brooks, the second one shorthanded. . . . The Warriors then scored four in a row, with F Tanner Eberle getting two of them in 24 seconds and F Jack Rodewald scoring his 30th. . . . The Pats tied it in the first half of the third period as F Jesse Gabrielle scored his 20th and Brooks completed his first hat trick with his 25th. . . . F Patrick D’Amico gave Regina a 5-4 lead with his 18th goal at 15:28 on a PP. . . . Warriors F Brett Howden got his 15th at 16:56 to force OT. . . . Shynkaruk won it with his seventh goal of the season. . . . Eberle left the Warriors’ bench for the dressing room early in the third period and didn’t return. After the game, Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald tweeted: “Tanner Eberle is still being evaluated, but it looked like a shoulder injury and he has had a previous shoulder surgery.” . . . Rodewald also had two assists, while linemate Brayden Point scored his 29th goal and had two assists. . . . Moose Jaw D Austin Adam also had two helpers. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-for-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-for-3. . . . The Warriors (26-31-5) have won two straight. . . . Regina (33-20-9) is 0-1-2 in its last three. . . .
In Brandon, F Peter Quenneville scored twice to help the Wheat Kings to a 6-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Quenneville has 20 goals, and is the seventh player on the Brandon roster to reach that mark. . . . The Wheat Kings built a 5-2 lead before the Ice got two goals in the latter half of the third period to get to within one. . . . Brandon F Morgan Klimchuk iced it with an empty-netter at 19:28 of the third. He’s got 27 goals. Klimchuk also had two assists. . . . Brandon F Tim McGauley had two assists as he ran his point streak to 19 games, tied for the longest such streak in the WHL this season. F Dryden Hunt put together a 19-game streak split between the Regina Pats and Medicine Hat Tigers earlier in the season. Hunt put up 30 points, 10 of them goals, in his streak. McGauley has 39 points, including 27 assists. . . . According to Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Wheaties, McGauley has the team’s longest point streak since F Cory Cyrenne went 23 games in 1997-98. . . . F Tim Bozon scored twice for the Ice, giving him 31 this season. He has scored at least 30 goals in each of his four WHL seasons. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau scored his 30th goal, while F Sam Reinhart had two assists. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny, making his 13th consecutive start, stopped 26 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings (46-10-7) are 3-0-1 in their last four. . . . The Ice (33-28-3) had points in their previous seven (5-0-2). . . .
In Red Deer, D Kord Pankewicz scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . With Red Deer shooting first, Rebels F Connor Gay and Hurricanes F Jamal Watson exchanged first-round goals. . . . After seven skaters fired blanks, Pankewicz won it. . . . Lethbridge F Tyler Wong, celebrating his 19th birthday, forced OT with his 23rd goal at 13:05 of the second period. . . . Red Deer F Reese Johnson scored his first WHL goal, in his third game, at 11:07 of the first period. . . . Hurricanes F Mike Winther tied it with his 13th at 15:11. . . . Red Deer F Adam Musil got his 13th on a PP at 2:26 of the second for a 2-1 lead. . . . Red Deer F Wyatt Johnson came up empty on a penalty shot seven seconds into OT. . . . Lethbridge G Jayden Sittler stopped 30 shots, while Red Deer’s Rylan Toth turned aside 27. . . . The Hurricanes (19-35-8) snapped a five-game losing skid (0-3-2). . . . The Rebels (32-20-10) had won their previous two games. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers erased a 3-2 third-period deficit and beat the Vancouver Giants, 6-3. . . . F Carter Popoff gave the Giants a 3-2 lead with his 24th goal at 2:23 of the third period. . . . Kamloops D Michael Fora tied it with his fifth goal at 8:16. . . . F Cole Ully of Kamloops broke the tie with his 30th goal at 13:07 and freshman F Quinn Benjafield got his second of the game, and fifth of the season, at 16:20. . . . F Jackson Houck scored his 20th goal for Vancouver in the first period and F Ty Ronning notched his first of the season, also in the first. . . . Ully finished with a goal and two assist, giving him 81 points in 60 games. He also was plus-4. . . . F Logan McVeigh and F Joel Hamilton each had two assists for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched freshman F Deven Sideroff, who left early in the third period of Friday’s 4-2 victory over visiting Victoria with an apparent injury to his right wrist. In his absence, F Jesse Zaharichuk started on the right side with Needham and Ully. Cody Nickolet, who tracks WHL lines and defence pairings, has the Ully-Needham-Sideroff line together for 54 of the Blazers’ 62 games going into last night. . . . Before the night was done, Kamloops head coach Don Hay had cycled a number of skaters through the right wing on that line. Later, he even split up Needham and Ully, putting Ully out with Luke Harrison and McVeigh. It paid off in Harrison’s 12th goal, at 17:37 of the second. . . . Vancouver had F Matt Bellerive (illness) back for the first time since Jan. 25. . . . The Blazers scored four goals on seven shots in the third period. . . . F Tyler Benson had two assists for Vancouver. . . . There were three minor penalties called, two to the Blazers. . . . Neither team scored on the PP. . . . The Blazers (24-33-6) have won two in a row. . . . The Giants (26-33-3) have lost two straight. . . .
In Spokane, F Curtis Miske scored three goals to help the Chiefs to an 8-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Chiefs took control with five second-period goals. . . . Miske, a freshman from Beaumont, Alta., who turned 18 on Jan. 17, now has five goals in 49 games. . . . Chiefs F Adam Helewka scored twice, giving him 35, and added an assist, while F Kailer Yamamoto and F Keanu Yamamoto each had three assists. Yes, they are brothers. . . . Spokane G Garret Hughson stopped 22 shots. He lost his shutout bid when F Taylor Vickerman scored his sixth goal on a PP at 19:45 of the third period. . . . Tri-City F Beau McCue missed on a second-period penalty shot. . . . Spokane D Riley Whittingham took a charging major and game misconduct at 19:02 of the third period. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm, a 15-year-old making his first start, stopped 31 shots. With regular goaltenders Eric Comrie and Evan Sarthou injured, Warm is the fifth starting goaltender the Americans have used this season. . . . Spokane leads the season series 7-3-0 with two games remaining. . . . The Chiefs (30-27-4) have won three in a row. . . . The Americans (27-33-3) have lost four in a row. . . .
In Kelowna, F Kenton Helgesen scored at 15:57 of the third period to give the Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 victory over the Rockets. . . . Helgesen’s goal was his 20th of the season. . . . Rockets F Leon Draisaitl scored the game’s first goal, his 14th, at 8:40 of the first period. That was his 200th WHL point. . . . Draisaitl was later ejected, taking a major for goaltender interference at 14:31 of the second period. . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen tied the game 1-1 with his 19th goal, on a PP at 5:55 of the second. . . . Virtanen also had an assist. . . . Hitmen G Brendan Burke stopped 30 shots. He’s 9-1-1 since being acquired from Portland at the trade dealine. . . . Rockets G Jackson Whistle started for the first time since Feb. 6 when he beat visiting Kamloops, 5-3. He underwent an appendectomy after that start. . . . Whistle turned aside 22 shots in this one. . . . D Josh Morrissey returned to Kelowna’s lineup after a one-game absence, but left in the second period with an apparent left leg injury. According to Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier, Morrissey “got tangled up with Calgary forechecker Carsen Twarynski, went down awkwardly and had to be helped off the ice unable to put any weight on his left leg.” . . . Calgary was 1-for-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-for-6. . . . The Rockets remain without injured F Rourke Chartier. . . . The Hitmen (39-19-5) are 5-1-0 on a six-game swing that started with five U.S. Division stops. . . . The Rockets (48-11-4) had won their previous two games. They also had won eight straight on home ice. . . . Fisher’s game story is right here. . . .
In Kent, Wash., F Oliver Bjorkstrand ran his goal-scoring streak to a franchise record-tying 11 games as the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . Bjorsktrand scored twice, giving him 48 goals in 49 games, as he took over the WHL’s goal-scoring lead. . . . He now shares the franchise record of 11 straight games with F Tony Currie, who did it in 1976-77, the Winterhawks’ first season in Portland. . . . Bjorkstrand broke a 1-1 tie at 13:40 of first period and later added an empty-netter at 18:01 of the third. . . . The online scoresheet credits Bjorkstrand with Portland’s third goal, a PP score at 2:29 of the second period, but that one is expected to be changed to F Paul Bittner, who also scored another goal. He’s got 29. . . . Bjorkstrand also had an assist. He has 90 points, good for second spot in the scoring race. . . . F Chase De Leo scored his 31st goal and added an assist for Portland, while F Nic Petan had two assists. . . . F Mathew Barzal got his 12th goal and had an assist for Seattle. . . . Portland G Adin Hill was credited with 49 stops, 26 more than Seattle’s Taran Kozun. . . . Portland was 1-for-1 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3. . . . The Winterhawks (37-20-5) have points in eight straight (6-0-2). . . . Seattle (31-23-8) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . .
In Everett, the Prince George Cougars scored the last five goals and beat the Silvertips, 5-1. . . . F Jake Mykitiuk, who began his WHL career with the Cougars, got Everett on the board with his third goal at 10:16 of the first. . . . Cougars F Chase Witala tied it with his 31st at 13:02 of the first, on a PP. . . . F Aaron Boyd broke the tie with his sixth, at 8:21 of the second. . . . Witala finished with two goals, while F Jansen Harkins had three assists for a third straight game. . . . Cougars D Josh Connolly had two assists, and F Zach Pochiro scored his 16th goal and added an assist. . . . Cougars G Ty Edmonds stopped 27 shots, two more than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . Prince George was 2-for-4 on the PP; Everett was 0-for-6. . . . The Silvertips were without D Ben Betker, who served a one-game suspension for a headshot major and game misconduct he incurred on Friday night. . . . Everett also was missing two other defence men — Kevin Davis and Tristen Pfeifer, both with undisclosed injuries. . . . The injuries and the suspension meant that Everett dressed just four defencemen, so F Dawson Leedahl helped out on the back end. . . . The Cougars scratched F David Soltes for a second straight game. . . . The Cougars (26-33-4) have won three in a row. . . . The Silvertips now are 37-19-7.
SUNDAY’S GAMES(all times local)
Prince Albert at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Regina, 6 p.m.
Swift Current at Saskatoon, 6:05 p.m.
MONDAY’S GAME(all times local)
Seattle at Victoria, 7 p.m.
TUESDAY’S GAMES(all times local)
Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Seattle at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Kelowna at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
My view from the broadcast booth in Kelowna. Some guys are going to have some great nights in that corner! #makeitup pic.twitter.com/0GNYQna4JM
— Brad Curle (@BCurle_Hitmen) March 1, 2015
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