Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Broncos' first pick opts for Pioneers . . . Concussions end Verhelst's career . . . 'Canes beat Pats in OT


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D Jacson Alexander, 15, has committed to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers, starting with the 2020-21 season. From Victoria, Alexander was the Swift Current Broncos’ first selection, 17th overall, in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 22 points, including nine goals, in 24 games with the Shawnigan Lake School’s bantam team. This season, with the prep team, Alexander, who will turn 16 on Feb. 1, has six points, including five assists, in 10 games.
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The Prince George Cougars may be waiting a while longer before they get D Brendan Guhle back from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres, their defence corps depleted by injuries, recalled Guhle on Friday and he played three games over the next four days. On Tuesday, he played 15 minutes 55 seconds and had two shot blocks in a 4-3 overtime victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers. Of the six defencemen dressed by Buffalo, Guhle played the fourth-most minutes. . . . In the three games, Guhle, 19, is pointless with four shots on goal. He is plus-1. His ice time in his first two games was 16:20 and 16:48. . . . The Sabres next play on Friday against the visiting Washington Capitals.
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With G Connor Ingram leaving for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp later this week, the Kamloops Blazers have added G Max Palaga, 16, to their roster. Palaga, who is from Kamloops, plays for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . Palaga practised with the Blazers on Wednesday and will back up G Dylan Ferguson on a Central Division trip that opens against the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday. The Blazers will play six games in eight days on that trip. . . . The Blazers also will lose sophomore D Ondrej Vala, as he is scheduled to leave Monday after being named to the preliminary roster for the Czech Republic’s team that will play in the World Junior  Championship. . . . The Blazers also learned Wednesday that former NHL F Mark Recchi, who owns a piece of the Kamloops franchise, is among the B.C. Sport Hall of Fame’s class of 2017. The induction dinner is scheduled for April 12 in Vancouver.
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The Kootenay Ice has returned D Bobby Russell to the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Russell, 16, was pointless in four games during his stint with the Ice. . . . Kootenay’s roster now is at 24, including 14 forwards and eight defencemen.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed G Evan Fradette, 15, who was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., he is playing for the minor midget St. Albert Flyers, who are 17-0-0. Fradette has played eight games, going 0.75 and .971. He played last season for the bantam AAA St. Albert Flyers and was 1.81, .925.
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F Craig Cunningham, the captain of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners and a former WHLer, has been Facetiming with teammates from the hospital in which he has been since collapsing on the ice prior to a game on Nov. 19. But, as Jared Clinton of The Hockey News, writes right here, “There’s still no word as to what exactly caused” Cunningham to collapse. . . . Clinton’s piece is right here.
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Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet offers up his latest edition of 30 Thoughts right here.
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Concussion Report
G Tyson Verhelst has chosen to end his competitive hockey career due to concussion problems. Verhelst, 19, is from Kemnay, Man., a community just west of Brandon. He suffered a concussion while with the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives in 2013-14 and then was twice diagnosed with concussions while with the Spokane Chiefs (2014-16). In fact, a concussion prematurely ended last season for him. The Red Deer Rebels acquired his rights from Spokane earlier this season and he had hoped to be able to continue his career. However, he took a fall in October near his billet’s home in Red Deer, hit his head and was diagnosed with yet another concussion. Now, after consulting with doctors, Verhelst has decided to quit hockey and plans on enrolling in Lethbridge Community College in September. . . . Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com has more right here.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:

At Everett, F Jordan Topping’s OT goal gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . .
JORDAN TOPPING
This was an interesting game with the Silvertips taking a 2-0 lead and later having to erase a 3-2 deficit in order to get to extra time. . . . Topping ended it with his second goal in two games since returning from an ankle injury. . . . D Noah Juulsen got his eighth goal at 9:29 of the first period to give Everett a 1-0 lead, with D Jake Christiansen (2) making it 2-0 at 14:34. . . . The Americans got the next three goals. . . . F Morgan Geekie, who has 14, got the first two, at 17:51 of the second and 8:53 of the third. . . . F Kyle Olson (9) gave the Americans a 3-2 lead at 14:36. . . . Everett F Patrick Bajkov tied it with his 15th goal, on a PP, at 18:29. . . . Geekie and D Parker Wotherspoon each had two assists for the winners. . . . F Dominic Zwerger drew two assists for Everett, while Bajkov added one to his goal. . . . G Evan Sarthou stopped 26 shots for Tri-City, while Carter Hart blocked 16 at the other end. . . . The Americans were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-6. . . . Tri-City (18-11-2) has won two in a row. . . . Everett (20-3-5) is 5-0-1 in its last six and is tied with the Regina Pats atop the overall standings. . . . F Graham Millar returned to the Everett lineup for the first time since Nov. 2. . . . Announced attendance: 3,464.
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At Kelowna, F Calvin Thurkauf scored three goals to lead the Rockets to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle
CALVIN THURKAUF
Thunderbirds. . . . Thurkauf, who has 12 goals, got the game’s first two scores, at 1:06 and 10:54 of the first period. . . . He completed the hat trick with the game’s last goal, at 16:24 of the third period. The Swiss sophomore recorded his first WHL hat trick in his 86th regular-season game. . . . Kelowna got three assists from F Nick Merkley, with F Jake Kryski (7) and F Tomas Soustal (13) each getting a goal and an assist. F Dillon Dube and D Devante Stephens had two assists apiece. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 21 shots. He lost his shutout bid to F Ryan Gropp (9), on a PP, at 11:26 of the second period. . . . Seattle starter Rylan Toth allowed five goals on 23 shots over two periods. Matt Berlin played the third period, giving up a goal on eight shots. . . . Seattle was 1-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-3. . . . The Rockets (17-11-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Thunderbirds (15-10-3) had been 4-0-1 in their previous five outings. . . . Announced attendance: 4,721.
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At Lethbridge, D Brennan Menell scored in OT to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Regina Pats.
BRENNAN MENELL
. . . Menell’s fourth goal came at 3:12 of extra time. . . . The Hurricanes took a 4-2 lead into the third period, only to have the Pats force OT on goals from F Adam Brooks (14), at 5:00, and F Jake Leschyshyn (12), at 11:07. . . . Brooks, who leads the WHL scoring race, ran his point streak to 21 games. Including last season’s playoffs, Brooks has at least a point in 33 straight games. . . . Lethbridge took a 2-0 lead in the first period with F Tanner Nagel (4) scoring at 4:10 and F Ryan Bowen getting his seventh, on a PP, at 13:23. . . . Regina F Sam Steel scored twice before the period ended, at 13:55 and 19:22, giving him 21 goals and forging a 2-2 tie. . . . The Hurricanes regained a two-goal lead with the only goals of the second period, F Tyler Wong (20) scoring at 0:33 and F Jordy Bellerive (10) at 14:24. . . . Wong and Bowen also had two assists each, while Bellerive and Menell each had one. . . . In his last six games, Wong has had 3, 2, 3, 2, 3 and 3 points. . . . Regina got two assists from D Sergey Zborovskiy, who has 14 points, 11 of them assists, over his last four games. . . . G Stuart Skinner turned aside 42 shots for the Hurricanes, while the Pats got 28 saves from Tyler Brown. . . . Regina has Max Paddock of Brandon, a nephew of GM/head coach John Paddock, backing up Brown as Jordan Hollett is injured. . . . Lethbridge was 1-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-3. . . . The Hurricanes (15-11-4) are 8-0-1 in their last nine games. . . . Regina (20-2-5) has points in six straight (4-0-2). The loser point was enough to lift the Pats into a tie with the Everett Silvertips atop the overall standings. . . . Regina F Filip Ahl returned after missing one game due to illness. . . . The Pats had won the first two games of the four-game season series — 6-1 and 7-2. . . . Announced attendance: 2,796.
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At Medicine Hat, F Adam Musil broke a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals as the Red Deer Rebels beat
ADAM MUSIL
the Tigers, 4-2. . . . Musil, who has 13 goals, scored at 8:56 and then added an empty-netter at 18:54. He has seven goals over his past four games. . . . D Josh Mahura (10) ave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 17:28 of the first period. . . . The Tigers tied it 2:01 later when F Steve Owre got his ninth. . . . F Evan Polei shot the Rebels out front again, with his 11th, at 17:51 of the second period. . . . Tigers F Ryan Jevne (4) pulled his guys even at 6:58 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from D Austin Pratt, while Musil and Polei each had one. . . . D Clayton Kirichenko had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . D David Quenneville of the Tigers was held off the scoreboard. When he gets at least one assist, they are 15-0-0; when he doesn’t they are 6-9-1. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-4. . . . G Lasse Petersen stopped 26 shots for Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat G Nick Schneider blocked 20 shots. . . . The Rebels (15-12-4) have won two straight. . . . The Tigers (21-9-1) have followed a 10-game winning streak with four straight losses. They had been atop the overall standings, but now are two points back. . . . This was the fourth of six meetings between these teams this season; the Tigers had won the first three. . . . The Tigers now are 19-3-0 in the Eastern Conference, including 9-2-0 in the Central Division. . . . Announced attendance: 2,974, the smallest regular-season crowd to attend a game in the Canalta Centre, which is in its second season.
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At Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s first five goals as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings,
JOEL LAKUSTA
5-1. . . . D Joel Lakusta got it started with his first goal, at 18:42 of the first period. . . . The Cougars put it away with three goals in the second period. . . . F Brad Morrison scored twice, giving him 12 on the season, and F Jesse Gabrielle added the other. . . . Gabrielle scored his second goal of the game, and 18th of the season, at 5:09 of the third period. . . . F Kody McDonald had two assists for Prince George. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (12) scored Brandon’s goal, on a PP, at 15:11 of the third period. . . . G Ty Edmonds stopped 24 shots for the victory. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson turned aside 33 shots. . . . Each team was 1-1 on the PP. . . . The Cougars improved to 21-7-2 and closed to within a point of first place in the overall standings. . . . The Wheat Kings (13-12-4) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). They went 1-3-1 in the B.C. Division. The trip took a toll, too, as they were able to dress only 17 forwards for this one. . . . Announced attendance: 2,495.
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At Saskatoon, D Jake Bean had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Hitmen overcame a 2-0 deficit and
BECK MALENSTYN
beat the Blades, 4-3. . . . D Libor Hajek gave the Blades a 1-0 lead when he ended a 75-game goal-less skid at 4:54 of the first period. . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk’s PP goal, his ninth score this season, made it 2-0 at 9:38. . . . Bean’s second goal of the season cut into the lead, on a PP, at 16:37. . . . F Matt Dorsey’s first goal tied the scored at 5:59 of the second. Dorsey’s first goal came in his 18th game of the season. A third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, he has missed the last two seasons with injuries. . . . F Beck Malenstyn added two goals, to give his guys a 4-2 lead. Malenstyn, who has nine goals, found the net at 12:38 of the second and 39 seconds into the third. . . . F Braylon Shmyr got the Blades to within one with his 12th goal, at 16:44. . . . F Jordy Stallard had two assists for the Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon got two assists from D Bryton Sayers, while Shmyr added one to his goal. . . . The Hitmen got 26 saves from G Cody Porter, while Saskatoon’s Logan Flodell stopped 21 shots. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Saskatoon was 1-6. . . . The Hitmen (10-14-2), who were played for the fourth time in six nights, have won two in a row. . . . The Blades (11-18-2) are two points ahead of Calgary in the Eastern Conference. . . . D Jake Kustra returned to Saskatoon after missing 21 games. He last played on Oct. 18. . . . Announced attendance: 2,675.
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At Spokane, F Matt Phillips had two goals, including the OT winner, and two assists to lead the Victoria
MATT PHILLIPS
Royals to a 6-5 victory over the Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs got three goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who has 13 scores. This was his third WHL hat trick. He opened the scoring at 1:41 of the first period, on a PP, with F Markson Bechtold making it 2-0 at 5:54. . . . The Royals scored the next four goals, three of them in the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (8) got a PP goal at 10:37; F Regan Nagy (8) tied it at 13:50; F Dante Hannoun (11) gave the visitors the lead at 15:56. . . . Phillips upped the lead to 4-2 at 11:58 of the second period. . . . Bechtold (4) got his second of the game at 16:49 of the second, and Anderson-Dolan tied the score, on a PP, at 5:55 of the third period. . . . Royals D Marsel Ibragimov (2) put his bunch in front again at 14:05, only to have Anderson-Dolan force OT at 19:01. He’s got two hat tricks in his past six games. . . . Hannoun added an assist to his goal. . . . Bechtold also also had an assist in his return to the lineup. He had been out since Nov. 15 in what was his third injury-related absence this season. . . . The Chiefs also welcomed back F Kailer Yamamoto, their leading scorer. He had been out since suffering an undisclosed injury against the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 19. He had an assist on his first shift after a six-game absence and finished with two helpers. . . . Spokane F Hayden Ostir also had two assists, as did D Tyson Helgesen. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for Victoria. . . . Spokane starter Jayden Sittler was beaten three times on six shots in 15:56. Dawson Weatherill came on to stop 13 of 16 shots over 46:12. . . . Victoria was 3-6 on the PP; Spokane was 2-2. . . . The Royals (16-13-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (11-11-5) have lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . The Royals continue to play without injured F Tyler Soy, while D Ryan Gagnon served Game 1 of a four-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,955.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Red Deer at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Edmonton 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Portland, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Seattle at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m. (TBG)
Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Everett vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
TBG: Teddy Bear Game.
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TEDDY BEAR, TOQUE AND MITTEN TOSS GAMES:

Friday, Dec. 9: Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9: Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9: Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Kamloops at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Kelowna at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Everett at Portland, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Seattle at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Victoria vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 16: Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 16: Portland vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17: Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17: Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17: Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21: Vancouver vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 26: D Micheal Zipp, 19:47 1st period, Lethbridge 4 at Calgary 2.
Dec. 2: D Artyom Minulin, 13:24 1st period, Calgary 1 at Swift Current 5.
Dec. 2: F Jordy Bellerive, 14:00 1st period, Red Deer 3 at Lethbridge 5.
Dec. 3: F Adam Musil, 14:27 1st period, Lethbridge 2 at Red Deer 3 (OT).
Dec. 3: D Ondrej Vala, 10:38 1st period, Vancouver 2 at Kamloops 5.

Dec. 3: F Nick Merkley, 6:54 2nd period, Brandon 1 at Kelowna 3.

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