The Regina Pats have lost freshman F Sam Steel, 16, for the remainder of this season. Steel, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was the second overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . According to Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “Steel described the injury as a serious high-ankle sprain, noting that — although he didn’t sustain a fracture — the ligament damage was severe enough that it’s expected to keep him off the ice for about eight weeks.” . . . He suffered the injury during the second period of a game in Prince Albert on March 10. That is the game that was to have been played on Feb. 14 but was postponed due to inclement weather and poor road conditions. . . . Steel played 61 games, picking up 54 points, including 17 goals.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes will hold what they are calling an “informational and progress update” on March 30. The Hurricanes are about to finish out of the WHL playoffs for a sixth straight season. This was a season of more turmoil, too, as they fired general manager Brad Robson and head coach Drake Berehowsky, and brought in Peter Anholt as GM/head coach. . . . The Hurricanes are a community-owned team and shareholders are contemplating putting the franchise up for sale. . . . It should be noted, too, that the Hurricanes’ front office lost a key member this month when Esther Madziya, their efficient communications and public relations manager, left to join Hockey Canada as a co-ordinator of media relations.
The Red Deer Rebels have signed D Ryan Pouliot, who turns 17 on May 26. Pouliot, from Horseshoe Bay, B.C., played this season with the major midget Vancouver-North West Giants. He also got into seven games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. . . . Pouliot ws an 11th-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2013 bantam draft. . . .
The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters, with what I think is the best nickname in all of hockey, will play for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League championship for the first time. They will open the best-of-seven final at home against the Kamloops Storm on Saturday night. . . . The Dynamiters are coached by former Kootenay Ice assistant coach Jerry Bancks. . . . Ed Patterson, who has helped at times with the Kamloops Blazers, is the Storm’s head coach. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more right here. . . .
G Jacob DeSerres (Seattle, Brandon, 2005-10) has signed an ATO (amateur tryout) with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. DeSerres, 25, played the past four seasons with the U of Calgary Dinos. He was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round of the NHL’s 2009 draft.
When Chris Borland walked away from the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week, he left a whole lot of money on the table. Kenneth Arthur of Rolling Stone takes a look at that aspect of the linebacker’s retirement right here.
THE WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:EAST DIVISION:
1. Brandon (2 games remaining) leads the overall standings by three points over Kelowna (2). The Wheaties last finished first overall in 1995-96. . . . The Wheat Kings will meet Edmonton, which will finish in the conference’s second wild-card spot, in the first round. . . . In Moose Jaw on Friday.
2. Regina (2) will finish second in division. Will meet third-place team in first round. . . . At home to Prince Albert on Friday.
3. Swift Current (2) leads Moose Jaw by two points. . . . In Lethbridge on Friday night.
4. Moose Jaw (2) is two points behind Swift Current. . . . Should the Broncos and Warriors end up tied, there would be a play-in game at the home of the team with the most victories. Swift Current has a 32-31 edge. . . . Moose Jaw entertains Brandon on Friday.
1. Calgary (2) won in OT at home last night to maintain a one-point lead over Medicine Hat. . . . Visits Kootenay on Friday.
2. Medicine Hat (2) won on the road last night to stay one point behind Calgary. . . . Each team has 43 victories. . . . In Saskatoon on Friday.
3. Red Deer (2) lost in OT in Calgary last night. . . . Will finish third in the division and meet the second-place team in the first round. . . . In Edmonton on Friday.
4. Kootenay (2) wrapped up the conference’s first wild-card spot with a victory last night. . . . Will meet the division’s first-place team in the first round. . . . At home to Calgary on Friday in what could be a first-round preview.
5. Edmonton (2) will finish in the conference’s second wild-card spot, meaning a first-round date with Brandon. . . . At home to Red Deer on Friday.
1. Kelowna (2) lost at home in OT last night and now trails Brandon by three points in the race for first place in the overall standings. The first tiebreaker is victories and Brandon has the edge (52-51) at the moment. . . . In Vancouver on Friday.
2. Victoria (2) will finish second and meet the division’s third-place team in the first round. . . . At home to Everett on Friday.
3. Prince George (2) is four points ahead of Kamloops. . . . Beat visiting Kamloops last night. . . . The same teams play Friday in Prince George and Saturday in Kamloops. . . . Prince George needs one point to clinch a playoff spot.
4. Kamloops (2) has two playoff options. It is four points behind Prince George in the division and is tied with Tri-City (3) for the conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . In Prince George on Friday and at home to the Cougars on Saturday.
5. Vancouver (2) is four points out of the conference’s second wild-card spot but has only two games remaining, both against Kelowna. . . . At home to the Rockets on Friday.
1. Portland (3) won in Spokane last night to move into a tie with Everett for first place. Portland has the tiebreaker with more victories, 42-41. . . . Will visit the Tri-City Americans on Friday.
2. Everett (3) is tied with Portland. . . . Will play in Victoria on Friday.
3. Seattle (2) won in Kelowna last night and will finish third in the division and will meet the second-place team in the first round. . . . In Spokane on Friday.
4. Spokane (3) is locked into the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . At home to Seattle on Friday.
5. Tri-City (3) is tied with Kamloops for the conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . At home to Portland on Friday.
IF THE WHL PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY:Eastern Conference
Brandon vs. Edmonton
Calgary vs. Kootenay
Regina vs. Swift Current
Medicine Hat vs. Red Deer
Kelowna vs. Tri-City/Kamloops
Portland vs. Spokane
Victoria vs. Prince George
Everett vs. Seattle
(NOTE: Team with home-ice advantage shown first.)
WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:In Prince Albert, F Curtis Sanford scored his 50th goal of the season to help the Medicine Hat Tigerfs to a 6-2 victory over the Raiders. . . . Sanford, 19, has career highs in goals (50), assists (43) and points (93). Last season, he had 73 points, including 33 goals, in 72 games. . . . He is the second WHLer with 50 goals this season, behind only Portland Winterhawks F Oliver Bjorkstrand, who has 58. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s first three goals and five of the first six as they cruised to victory. . . . Sanford also had an assist. . . . F Steve Owre and F Dryden Hunt each had a goal and an assist for the Tigers. Owre has 19 goals; Hunt has 32. . . . The Raiders saluted Duane Bartley, their veteran trainer and equipment manager, prior to the game. He worked his 1,000th WHL game on Sunday in Medicine Hat. Bartley is in his 14th WHL season. . . . Medicine Hat (43-23-4) is 2-0-1 in its last three games. . . . Prince Albert slid to 29-37-4. . . .
In Calgary, F Connor Rankin scored at 3:59 of OT to give the Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Rankin, who also had an assist, has 32 goals. . . . Red Deer D Colton Bobyk opened the scoring with his fifth goal at 14:19 of the second period. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini tied it with his 47th at 8:06 of third. . . . D Travis Sanheim gave the Hitmen a 2-1 lead with No. 14 at 11:24. . . . Red Deer F Riley Sheen forced OT with his 22nd goal at 17:02. . . . Sanheim and Tambellini each had an assist. . . . Red Deer was 0-for-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-for-3. . . . The Hitmen (43-22-5) have won three straight. . . . The Rebels (37-22-11) lead the WHL in loser points. . . .
In Lethbridge, the Kootenay Ice erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals and went on to beat the Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . F Jamal Watson gave the home side a 1-0 lead with his 25th goal at 4:06 of the first period. . . . Ice F Zak Zborosky, who had two goals and two assists, tied it at 8:38 of the first and F Jaedon Descheneau gave the Ice the lead with his 33rd goal at 7:37 of the second, via a PP. . . . Zborosky, who had gone 15 games without a goal, now has 18 goals. . . . Descheneau later scored his 34th goal and he also had an assist. . . . D Tyler King had two assists for the Ice. . . . D Brady Reagan scored his second goal and added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Kootenay G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 18 shots in his 65th appearance this season. That ties the franchise record set by Mackenzie Skapski in 2012-13. . . . The Ice (37-29-4) has won four straight. . . . The Hurricanes (20-42-8) have lost six straight. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . .
In Prince George, the Cougars built up a 3-0 lead and then withstood a furious Kamloops rally to beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . F Zach Pochiro, with his 19th, and F Colby McAuley, with his fourth, gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead before the game was four minutes old. . . . F Brad Morrison scored his 23rd at 15:15 of the second for a 3-0 lead. . . . Kamloops F Logan McVeigh got his guys on the board with his ninth goal at 1:11 of the third period. . . . D Ryan Rehill scored his seventh at 8:36 to get Kamloops to within one. . . . Cougars F Chase Witala iced it with his 38th, into an empty net, at 19:42. . . . Witala and Pochiro also had an assist apiece. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 40 shots, 12 more than Prince George’s Ty Edmonds. . . . The Cougars were 0-for-2 on the PP; the Blazers’ PP unit didn’t get off the bench. . . . Prince George (30-35-5) has won two in a row. . . . The Blazers (27-36-7) have lost two straight. . . .
In Kelowna, F Lane Pederson’s goal at 3:08 of OT gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Pederson has eight goals. . . . D Evan Wardley gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal at 18:06 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Rourke Chartier scored his 48th goal at 1:27 of the second. . . . Seattle regained the lead at 14:32 of the second, on a PP, as F Cory Millette scored his 22nd goal. . . . The Rockets forced the extra period when F Dillon Dube scored his 17th goal, via the PP, at 7:20 of the third. . . . Seattle (36-25-9) has won its last two games. . . . Kelowna (51-13-6) has lost two in a row (1-0-1). . . .
In Spokane, D Adam Henry had three goals and an assist to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-4 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Henry has 11 goals after his first career hat trick. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and three assists. He lead the WHL in goals (58) and points (112), all in 56 games. . . . F Nic Petan scored his 14th goal and added two assists for Portland, while F Chase De Leo and F Keegan Iverson each had a goal and an assist. De Leo has 38 goals; Iverson has 14. . . . Portland F Evan Weinger had two assists. . . . F Calder Brooks scored his 23rd goal and added an assist for Spokane, which got two assists from F Liam Stewart. . . . Portland took a 3-2 lead into the second period, after F Riley Whittingham’s 18th goal got Spokane to within one, and then scored the next three goals, two of them late in the second period. . . . F Adam Helewka scored his 41st goal for the Chiefs. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 43 shots, 14 more than Spokane’s Garret Hughson. . . . Portland was 2-for-5 on the PP; Spokane was 2-for-4. . . . Portland (42-21-6) is 7-1-2 in its last 10. . . . Spokane (34-31-4) has lost two in a row.
THURSDAY’S GAMESNo Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY’S GAMES(all times local)
Red Deer at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Calgary vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Seattle at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Kelowna at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY’S GAMES(all times local)
Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Lethbridge at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Spokane vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Victoria at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
SUNDAY’S GAMES(all times local)
Kootenay at Calgary, 2 p.m.
Tri-City at Portland, 5 p.m.
Everett at Spokane 5:05 p.m.
END OF REGULAR SEASON
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