Friday, December 16, 2016

Tigers beat Blazers on late goal . . . Warriors get past Pats . . . Cougars stay on top


We are into the second-last Saturday before the big day. To get you calm and into the right frame of mind before you tackle the hustle and bustle, right here is Celine Dion with . . . O Holy Night.
F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). This seasdon, he had seven goals and five assists in 21 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL). He is from Nitra.
A grandfather sits at the kitchen table, his 12-year-old grandson seated across from him.
“Little man,” Grandpa says, “I want to talk to you about . . . new math . . . and hockey statistics. It’s important that you know these things if you are going to be a WHL fan.
“In their last 14 visits to Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Prince George Cougars are 12-2-0-0. That means they have won 12 games and lost twice.
“But . . . and it’s a big but . . . now pay attention . . . at the same time, in those same 13 games, the Thunderbirds are 2-7-1-4.
“That means the Thunderbirds have won twice and lost seven times in regulation time, lost one more game in overtime and lost four more in shootouts.
“It also means that nine of the games were worth two points each, with the other five worth three points apiece. But even though five of them were three-pointers, not one team got three points for a victory — in regulation time, overtime or a shootout.
“In the end, the Cougars came out of those 14 games with 24 points and the Thunderbirds, despite winning only two of 13 in regulation time, emerged with nine points.
“Understand? Got it?”
The grandson arches an eyebrow.
“Grandpa,” he says, “let’s go play Minecraft . . . or we can see what‘s on Netflix.”
(A tip of the cap to TBird Tidbits (@TbirdTidbits) for the inspiration. LOL!)
The Brandon Wheat Kings improved their record to 14-14-4 with a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Friday night.
In this world of loser points, where some games end up being worth three points and others two, the Wheat Kings now are a .500 team — they have 32 points from 32 games.
That means the WHL now has 17 of its 22 teams at .500 or better.
If you simply go by wins and losses, the Wheat Kings are 14-18 and one of 10 teams to have lost more games than they have won.
Cam Cole, who was one of the best wordsmiths in Canadian sporting journalism, walked out the Postmedia door for the last time on Friday. His farewell column, like all of his writing, is well worth a read, and it’s right here.
Cole couldn’t say goodbye without leaving a message, either.
“More and more aspects of the games themselves — coaches’ challenges, lockouts, concussions, doping, the Department of Player Safety — have been telling me for a while now that it’s time to go,” he writes. “Also, Twitter trolls. Sports was never meant to be this angry.”


F Ryley Appelt, 16, may make his WHL debut with the Kamloops Blazers in Cranbrook, B.C., on Saturday night against the Kootenay Ice. Appelt has been with the Blazers since Wednesday. Appelt, 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, had three goals and 10 assists in 14 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme Midget Prep team. Kamloops selected the Edmonton native in the fourth round of the 2015 WHL bantam draft.



At Brandon, F Reid Duke and F Tyler Coulter scored shootout goals as the Wheat Kings beat the
Saskatoon Blades, 3-2. . . . Duke had forced OT when he scored his 18th goal, on a PP, at 16:28 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon F Markson Bechtold, in his first game with the Blades since being acquired Wednesday from the Spokane Chiefs, opened the scoring at 17:11 of the first period. He’s got six goals. . . . Brandon F Linden McCorrister’s first goal of the season, at 17:47, tied it 1-1 and was the Teddy Bear Goal. McCorrister was playing his first game since Oct. 21. . . . The Blades went in front 2-1 at 3:05 of the second period when F Lukus MacKenzie scored No. 4. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 29 shots for Brandon, one more than Saskatoon’s Brock Hamm. . . . Brandon was 1-8 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-5. . . . This was Brandon’s first home game since Nov. 23. The Wheat Kings went 1-6-1 on a road trip that included five games in the B.C. Division. . . . The Wheat Kings have won three of four games with the Blades this season. Meanwhile, Saskatoon has lost eight straight in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (14-14-4) had lost their previous six games (0-5-1). . . . The Blades (13-18-4) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . Brandon holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot; the Blades now are two points off the pace. . . . The same two teams will meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Announced attendance: 5,190.
At Edmonton, the Oil Kings jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead en route to a 4-3 victory over the
Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Ty Gerla (2), back after a three-game absence, got the home team started at 2:37 and F Nick Bowman (4) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:08. . . . The Hurricanes would get to within one on three occasions but never were able to equalize. . . . F Ryley Lindgren (12) made it 2-1 at 12:32 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Davis Koch (10) got that one back at 2:33 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes closed to within one, again, when F Ryan Bowen got his eighth at 12:49. . . . D Anatolii Elizarov’s fourth goal, at 14:40, proved to be the winner after Lethbridge F Tyler Wong got his 21st goal at 17:12. . . . F Tyler Robertson had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Wong and Bowen each had assists for Lethbridge. . . . G Patrick Dea earned the victory with 20 saves, seven fewer than Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-4 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 1-5. . . . Edmonton (16-15-3) is 2-0-1 in its last three games. . . . Lethbridge (18-12-5) had gone 13 games (11-0-2) without losing in regulation time. . . . Announced attendance: 7,419.
At Everett, the Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals, three of them via the PP, as they beat the Tri-
City Americans, 4-1. . . . F Morgan Geekie gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with his 19th goal, at 5:31 of the first period. . . . Everett F Riley Sutterr (11) tied it, on a PP, at 9:22. F Graham Millar (8) put the home boys out front, on another PP, at 11:03. . . . Everett put it away with two third-period goals, F Patrick Bajkov getting his 17th, on a PP, at 1:39, and F Devon Skoleski (4) rounding out the scoring at 8:38. . . . D Kevin Davis had two assists for the winners, with Millar getting one. . . . G Mario Petit blocked 22 shots for the Silvertips, while Tr-City’s Evan Sarthou stopped 43. . . . Everett was 3-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips (23-4-5) have won two in a row and remain one point behind the Prince George Cougars, who are atop the overall standings. The Medicine Hat Tigers are one point behind Everett, with the Regina Pats two points in arrears of the Silvertips. . . Tri-City (19-14-3) has lost three straight. . . . Announced attendance: 4,211.

At Medicine Hat, F Mason Shaw broke a 3-3 tie with 46.3 seconds left in the third period as the Tigers
beat the Kamloops Blazers, 5-3. . . . Shaw then added his 11th goal into an empty net at 19:46. . . . The Blazers’ three previous games all had gone to OT and this one appeared headed there until a shot by Medicine Hat D David Quenneville rebounded off the end boards and into the crease area. Shaw somehow got his stick on it and directed it toward the net. Apparently, the referees didn't signal a goal on the ice, but the play went to video review and a goal was awarded. . . . D Dan Gatenby gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal, at 4:07 of the first period. Gatenby’s goal came in his 38th career game — 22 last season with the Kelowna Rockets and 22 this season with the Blazers. . . . The Tigers scored the next three goals, the first two via the PP. . . . Quenneville tied it at 10:15. Quenneville has 18 goals in 33 games. He went into the season with 20 goals in 131 regular-season games. . . . F Mark Rassell (16) gave the Tigers their first lead, at 8:14 of the second period. . . . F Chad Butcher, who is from Kamloops, got his 16th goal to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead at 11:30. . . . F Jackson Shepard (3) pulled the Blazers to within a goal at 11:53. . . . Kamloops tied it when F Rudolfs Balcers scored his 20th goal 40 seconds into the third period. . . . Quenneville, D Brad Forrest and F Matt Bradley each had two assists for the Tigers, with Shaw and Butcher adding one each. . . . Butcher now leads the WHL points race, with 52, one more than Shaw. . . . The Tigers got 34 saves from G Nick Schneider, who leads the WHL with 22 victories. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 47 shots at the other end. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-7. . . . The Tigers (24-10-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Blazers (20-13-2) had been 6-0-1 in their previous seven games. They are 3-1-1 on a six-game Central Division swing that ends tonight when they meet the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Announced attendance: 3,165.

At Moose Jaw, the Warriors surrendered a 2-0 lead then scored the game’s last three goals to beat the
Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . F Tristan Lang’s second goal of the season broke a 4-4 tie at 13:11 of the second period. . . . Goals by F Nikita Popugaev (21) and F Noah Gregor at 0:36 and 6:48 of the first period put the Warriors out front. . . . The Pats took a 4-2 lead before the period ended, as F Luc Smith, who has seven goals, scored twice, at 10:39 and 11:04, F Sam Steel added his 22nd, at 14:12, and F Dawson Leedahl (13) struck at 14:39. . . . Gregor’s 19th goal cut into the deficit 12 seconds into the second period. . . . F Brayden Burke’s sixth goal, on a PP, at 12:10, tied the game. That ran his point streak to 11 games. He has points in all of the 12 games he has played with Moose Jaw since being acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In those 11 games, he has two goals and 16 assists. . . . Gregor added an assist to his two goals, while Popugaev added two assists to his goal. F Brett Howden also had two helpers. . . . Regina D Chase Harrison had two assists in his return after missing five games with a concussion, while Steel added one. . . . Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs was held pointless as his 10-game goal streak ended. . . . The Warriors got 33 saves from G Zach Sawchenko. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown turned aside 24 shots in his 10th straight start. Jordan Hollett, the Pats’ other goaltender, is injured. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Regina was 0-3. . . . The Warriors (20-7-5) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (21-3-6) had points in their previous eight games (5-0-3). . . . The Warriors closed to within three points of the East Division-leading Pats, who hold two games in hand. The teams will clash again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . Announced attendance: 4,085.

At Red Deer, G Brodan Salmond recorded his first WHL shutout with a 34-save performance as the
Kelowna Rockets beat the Rebels, 3-0. . . . Salmond, an 18-year-old from Calgary, is 5-4-0, 3.08, .892 in 11 appearances as he backs up Michael Herringer. . . . F Nolan Foote’s seventh goal, on a PP, at 3:38 of the first period, was all Salmond needed in this one. . . . F Erik Gardiner scored his first goal with the Rockets, a shorthanded effort, at 0:55 of the second period and F Kole Lind added insurance with No. 19 at 5:11. Lind is on a 12-game point streak. . . . Gardiner, who was acquired from the Regina Pats in a deal that had D Jonathan Smart go the other way, also had an assist. A 17-year-old from Humboldt, he had one assist in two games with Regina last season and was pointless in two games this season. He has been playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The Rebels got 29 saves from G Riley Lamb. . . . Kelowna was 1-6 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Rockets (20-12-2) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Red Deer (16-13-6) had points in its previous five games (3-0-2). . . . The Rockets are 3-1-1 as a seven-game road trip rolls on. They will play in Calgary tonight and Edmonton on Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,355.
At Kent, Wash., the Prince George Cougars took a 3-1 lead into the third period and went on to beat the
Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . F Colby McAuley gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal, just 56 seconds into the game. . . . Seattle tied it on F Scott Eansor’s 16th goal, at 13:18. . . . The Cougars took the lead with two second-period goals. F Brad Morrison got his 15th goal, at 6:57, and F Yan Khomenko scored No. 10, on a PP, at 10:13. . . . Seattle F Keegan Kolesar wasn’t able to beat G Nick McBride on a third-period penalty shot with the Cougars leading 3-1. . . . That became a key play when F Nolan Volcan (12), who also had an assist, scored for Seattle at 18:56. . . . Morrison and Khomenko added an assist each. Khomenko, who is from St. Petersburg, Russia, has 10 goals and eight assists in 32 games. Last season, he finished with five goals and three assists in 46 games with the Everett Silvertips. . . . McBride finished with 25 saves. . . . Seattle got 31 stops from G Rylan Toth. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (undisclosed injury) was among Prince George’s scratches. He suffered an undisclosed injury in the third period of a 5-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Wednesday. . . . The Cougars (25-8-2) have won four straight. . . . The Thunderbirds (16-13-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Tyler Adams, acquired Thursday from the Swift Current Broncos, was in Seattle’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 3,444.
At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi broke a 1-1 tie at 14:22 of the second period and the Broncos went
on to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . D Sahvan Khaira’s first goal gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 19:40 of the first period. . . . F Carson Miller (2) tied it for the Raiders at 6:42 of the second period. . . . Heponiemi snapped the tie with his ninth goal. . . . F Ryan Graham (11) added insurance, at 7:48 of the third period, and F Lane Pederson got his 15th into an empty net at 19:13. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had three assists for the Broncos, with Heponiemi, Pederson and Khaira getting one each. . . . Swift Current got 20 saves from G Travis Child. . . . G Nic Sanders stopped 37 shots for the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert was 1-3 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-4. . . . The Broncos (17-10-7) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Raiders (7-25-2) have lost two in a row. . . . The Broncos are 4-0-0 against the Raiders this season, with the teams set to meet again tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Announced attendance: 2,027.

At Langley, B.C., F Tyler Benson drew three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 6-4 victory over the
Portland Winterhawks. . . . F James Malm, who is from Langley, scored the Teddy Bear Goal for a 1-0 lead at 3:34 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy made it 2-0 with his first goal, just 25 seconds later. . . . Portland F Evan Weinger cut into the lead with his 12th goal, at 6:12. . . . Vancouver F Thomas Foster, who had two goals, extended the lead to 3-1, on a PP, at 10:49. . . . The Giants took that 3-1 lead into the third period where they erupted for three goals. . . . D Matt Barberis (6) scored at 2:07; Foster got his ninth at 4:25; and D Jeff Rayman got his first goal at 12:00. . . . The Winterhawks got two late goals from F Alex Overhardt (5) and F Skyler McKenzie (22). . . . The Giants got two assists from F Ty Ronning, while Hardy added one. . . . F Ryan Hughes had two assists for Portland. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 31 shots for the winners. . . . Portland starter Cole Kehler was beaten five times on 29 shots in 44:25. Michael Bullion finished up, allowing a goal on two shots in 13:37. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-7. . . . The Winterhawks had F Ty Westgard in their lineup. He had one goal in two games with the Victoria Royals earlier in the season. Portland acquired him on Nov. 16 for a conditional 10th-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Giants (12-18-3) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Winterhawks now are 19-15-1. . . . Announced attendance: 4,328.

SATURDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kelowna at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Prince George at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


Dec. 16: F Linden McCorrister, 17:47 1st period, Saskatoon 2 at Brandon 3 (SO).
Dec. 16: F James Malm, 3:34 1st period, Portland 4 vs. Vancouver 6, at Langley, B.C.
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.
Dec. 9: F Austin Glover, 0:32 2nd period, Moose Jaw 7 at Prince Albert 3. 
Dec. 9: F Riley Woods, 11:45 1st period, Swift Current 1 at Regina 8.
Dec. 9: F Keanu Yamamoto, 4:01 1st period, Kootenay 3 at Spokane 4.
Dec. 10: D Josh Thrower, 12:13 1st period, Prince Albert 4 at Moose Jaw 5 (SO).
Dec. 10: F Nick Bowman, 13:38 2nd period, Kamloops 3 at Edmonton 2.
Dec. 10: D Troy Murray, 1:51 2nd, Kelowna 7 at Kootenay 3.
Dec. 10: F Max Gerlach, 5:26 1st period, Calgary 4 at Medicine Hat 7.
Dec. 10: F Skyler McKenzie 2:21 1st, Everett 2 at Portland 5.
Dec. 10: F Josh Curtis, 6:02 2nd period, Seattle 4 at Prince George 6.
Dec. 10: F Tyler Sandhu, 0:36 1st period, Victoria 3 at Tri-City 4.

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