Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Warriors, Wheaties split doubleheader ... Pats win ninth straight game . . . 'Cane train rolls through Red Deer

The Everett Silvertips open a six-game East Division swing against the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night. The Silvertips left Everett on Tuesday morning and arrived in Brandon late last night. . . . Mike Benton, their play-by-play man, is blogging on a daily basis and you can read it all right here.

History was made in Brandon on Wednesday night as the Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors played a doubleheader of sorts, completing a game that was suspended by fog on Sept. 24 and then playing a regularly scheduled game.
It was only fitting that both games went to OT — Moose Jaw won the suspended game, 4-3, and Brandon took the nightcap, 4-3 — because all six games in the season series have needed extra time. Each team is 3-0-3, meaning each team has nine of a maximum 12 points — yes, both teams have gone home happy from every single game.
The Wheat Kings are the WHL’s defending champions and that Sept. 24 game was their home-opener. However, with humidity in Brandon as high as 100 per cent that day, there were issues with fog in Westman Communications Group Place. As a result, the game was suspended with 5:37 to play in the second period and the Warriors holding a 2-1 lead.
Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun wrote in Wednesday’s newspaper:
“In one of the weirder stat lines you’ll ever find, (Jordan) Papirny of the Swift Current Broncos was Brandon’s starting goalie on Sept 24. He gave up two goals, to Brayden Watts of the Vancouver Giants and Nikita Popugaev of the Prince George Cougars.
“Both teams will have six players potentially in the lineup who didn’t play in the first game. Of the 26 players that Moose Jaw listed on its roster on Sept. 24, eight are gone, while Brandon has parted ways with seven of the 27 it had listed.”
The suspended game started at 6 p.m. They completed the second period, took a two-minute break and played the third.
F Jayden Halbgewachs, the WHL’s leading sniper, scored No. 41 on a PP at 18:48 of the third period to tie the game 3-3 and force OT.
F Thomas Foster, who when the game started on Sept. 24 was a member of the Vancouver Giants, won it for Moose Jaw with his 14th goal at 3:37 of OT. Foster had drawn the secondary assist on Halbgewachs’ goal.
When the suspended game resumed, Brandon F Stelio Mattheos, who scored earlier in game (on Sept. 24), scored his 19th goal to tie the game 2-2. Brandon D Dmitry Osipov, who was teammates with Foster in Vancouver on Sept. 24, gave the Wheat Kings a 3-2 lead with his third goal at 7:07 of the third period.
Zach Sawchenko was in goal for Moose Jaw yesterday and earned the victory with 14 saves on 16 shots. Interestingly, Brody Willms had started on Sept. 24 and had stopped 22 of 23 shots.
The Wheat Kings had started Jordan Papirny in goal on Sept. 24, and he was beaten twice on 24 shots. However, he now is with the Swift Current Broncos. Logan Thompson ended up with the loss after being beaten twice on nine shots.
Interestingly, the WHL, without providing an explanation, ruled before the game that no matter what happened Papirny wouldn’t be the losing goaltender.
“While Papirny was the goaltender of record for the Wheat Kings at the time the game was suspended,” the WHL said in a news release, “whomever starts tonight for Brandon will become the goaltender of record — be that Travis Child or Logan Thompson — regardless of the outcome.”
In other words, had Moose Jaw gone on to a 2-1 victory, Thompson would have been the losing goaltender despite not having given up a goal. Why? Because it’s the Dub, I guess.
To top things off, Popugaev, who was playing for the Cougars in Prince George last night, was named the third star in Brandon’s Fog Bowl.
In the nightcap, Brandon F Nolan Patrick scored twice, including the winner just 37 seconds into OT.
Patrick, who has 11 goals, had given Brandon a 1-0 lead at 13:21 of the first period. Brandon F Rylan Bettens (3) upped that to 2-0 at 19:29.
Moose Jaw came back with the next three goals. F Justin Almeida got his seventh at 15:20 of the second period. D Jett Woo (4) tied it at 5:38 of the third period and Halbgewachs, with No. 42, gave the visitors the lead, at 13:11.
Mattheos tied it with his 20th at 18:36.
Brandon got three assists from D Kale Clague and two from F Tyler Coulter. For Moose Jaw, Woo added an assist to his goal.
The Wheat Kings got 31 saves from Thompson, while Sawchenko stopped 33 at the other end.
Each team was 0-2 on the PP.
Announced attendance was 5,187 for the opener and 4,143 for the nightcap.
Brandon, which has been hit by an outbreak of mumps, was without F Caiden Daley, F Reid Duke and F Cole Reinhardt, all of whom were on the WHL’s roster report as being ill as of Tuesday. Brandon head coach David Anning, who missed the previous two games due to illness, was back behind the bench.
Interestingly, referee Fraser Lawrence and linesman Kelsey Mahoney worked both games from start to finish. On Sept. 24, Kyle Scrivens was the other referee, with Tarrington Wyonzek on the lines. On Wednesday, Lawrence and Jeff Ingram were the referees, with Mahoney and Darrell Smurinski working the lines.
The Wheat Kings (26-20-7) hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. They are fourth in the East Division, five points behind the Swift Current Broncos.
The Warriors (32-15-8) are second in the East Division, 11 points behind the Regina Pats, who hold four games in hand, and eight ahead of the Broncos.

The Portland Winterhawks are scheduled to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. That game is to be televised, as was the one last Saturday in which the host Winterhawks won, 4-3 in a shootout. As you will be aware by now, the game ran long, going past a three-hour window, so the TV station left the game for a newscast and went to local news, despite the game being in OT.
A note from the Seattle Thunderbirds’ latest e-newsletter:
“The T-Birds and Tribune Broadcasting have partnered to broadcast eight games this season on This TV.
“The next game to be broadcast is on Feb. 11 at 7:05 p.m. in (Kent). This TV has addressed the issue from the end of the last T-Birds/Winterhawks broadcast on Feb. 8. This TV will be broadcasting the full game on Feb. 11, including overtime and shootout if they happen.”
The Saskatoon Blades, with at least five forwards on the injury list, have brought in F Kirby Dach on an emergency basis. Dach, who turned 16 on Jan. 21, is expected to stay with the Blades for the remainder of the season, something that has been cleared through the WHL and Hockey Alberta. . . . Dach was the second overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft. He has one assist in four games with the Blades this season. . . . The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Dach has been with his hometown midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, putting up six goals and 20 assists in 22 games. . . . He is scheduled to practise with the Blades today (Thursday) and is expected to be in the lineup against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday.
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There were two errors in a post that I put up here on Tuesday. I wrote that Vancouver Giants D Darian Skeoch, who is listed as being out indefinitely on the WHL’s roster report, was in the lineup Tuesday night in Prince George. He wasn’t. In fact, it appears that an ankle injury may have ended his season. . . . I also wrote that the Tri-City Americans had shut down D Tyler Jette because of a brain injury. I am told that isn’t the case, and that he was shut down with an “upper-body injury” that isn’t a brain injury. . . . Apologies all around.
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Former WHL D Ryan Coghlan is the first player to commit to playing with the Vancouver Island University Mariners, a new team that is based in Nanaimo and will play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League next season. . . . Coghlan, who is from Nanaimo, had 19 points, including seven goals, in 81 regular-season WHL games. He played 57 games with the Saskatoon Blades and 24 with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . 
Former WHL/NHL D Marc Fistric has joined the Stony Plain Eagles of the Chinook Hockey League, a senior AAA team in contention for the Allan Cup. The Eagles’ roster also includes former NHL/WHL F Ryan Smyth. The Eagles are to open the playoffs on Saturday with Game 1 of a best-of-seven first-round series with the Innisfail Eagles. . . . 
So . . . you are at a bantam hockey tournament and you see a handful of men clutching a cup of coffee in one hand and a notebook in the other, and you wonder that they’re doing. Mike Fraser, a veteran WHL scout who now works for the Brandon Wheat Kings, details all that and more in his latest column for the Westman Journal. That piece is right here.
Concussion Report
No one can recall Nick Bond taking a hit to the head, but the captain of the Springfield, Pa., High School hockey team left Sunday’s game with a headache. Moments later, he collapsed. Surgeons operated to relieve pressure on his brain but Bond, a senior, died Monday afternoon. . . . Michaelle Bond of has that story right here. . . . “Coaches and parents said that they did not see Bond take any blows to the head and that he did not tell anyone he had been hit,” Bond writes, “but he died from complications from blunt-impact head trauma, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday. The office ruled his death an accident.”
You likely are aware that the NHL is embroiled in a lawsuit as it is being sued by a number of former players who claim the league hasn’t been upfront about the repercussions of concussions/brain injuries. The NHL has hired Dr. Rudy Castellani, a neuropathologist and director of the Western Michigan University Center for Neuropathology, as a medical expert, knowing full well that he denies the existence of CTE. . . . Rick Westhead, who is awfully busy these days as a senior correspondent with TSN, reports that Dr. Bennet Omalu, “the neuropathologist whose story was depicted in the movie Concussion, put himself in the midst of the NHL concussion lawsuit on Wednesday.” . . . Dr. Omalu has written a letter to a lawyer representing former players and that letter has been field in U.S. district court in Minneapolis. . . . This is starting to get really interesting and you can bet that the WHL, which continues to allow teenagers to fight during games, is watching closely. . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


At Calgary, G Tyler Brown earned the shutout while F Sam Steel and D Connor Hobbs each had four
points as the Regina Pats beat the Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Brown, who earned an assist on the winning goal, stopped 28 shots in recording his third shutout this season and the fifth of his career. . . . Steel, the WHL’s leading scorer, gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 9:30 of the first period. . . . The Pats took control with two PP goals 1:51 apart late in the first, with F Nick Henry getting No. 25, at 18:03, and Steel scored his 39th at 19:54. . . . Hobbs’ 23rd goal, on a another PP, rounded out the scoring at 12:04. . . . Hobbs had three assists, with Steel getting two. . . . The Hitmen got 26 saves from G Trevor Martin. . . . Regina was 3-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-6. . . . Steel leads the WHL with 96 points, six more than teammate Adam Brooks, who had one assist. . . . The Pats (38-6-7) have won nine in a row. They lead the overall standings by five points over the Prince George Cougars, who have played six fewer games. . . . The Hitmen (19-25-9) have lost two straight and are one point out of a playoff spot. . . . Announced attendance: 5,116.
At Edmonton, F Aleksi Heponiemi snapped a 2-2 tie at 2:47 of the third period as the Swift Current
Broncos beat the Oil Kings, 3-2, handing the home team its 15th consecutive loss. . . . The Broncos went 3-7 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 2-6. . . . F Kaden Elder gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with his 12th goal, at 7:58 of the second period. . . . D Conner McDonald (4) tied it, at 13:49. . . . The Broncos went back out front at 17:12 when F Tyler Steenbergen scored his 40th goal of the season. That is second in the WHL, to F Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who has 42. . . . Edmonton tied it again when F Artyom Baltruk scored his third goal 59 seconds into the third period. . . . F Ryley Lindgren had two assists for the winners, with Heponiemi and Steenbergen getting one apiece. . . . G Jordan Papirny earned the victory with 23 saves, three fewer than Edmonton’s Patrick Dea. . . . The Oil Kings lost D Will Warm to a charging major and game misconduct at 12:52 of the second period. That was for a hit on F Lane Pederson. . . . Edmonton took 52 of the 91 penalty minutes handed out in this one. . . . The Broncos (28-17-8) have won three in a row. They are third in the East Division, five points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Oil Kings (18-32-4) are eight points out of the playoffs. . . . Announced attendance: 6,220.

At Kamloops, G Connor Ingram stopped 33 shots, 15 of them in the first period, to lead the Blazers to a 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . That was Ingram’s third shutout this season and the 10th of his
career. . . . Ingram is 20-9-3 this season, the third season in a row he has won at least 20 games. . . . Ingram picked up the secondary assist on the game’s last goal. That was his first career assist and came in his 146th game. . . . The Blazers got a goal and two assists from F Rudolfs Balcers, who is from Latvia. He leads all freshmen in goals, with five more than F Nick Henry of the Regina Pats. . . . D Nolan Kneen (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 17:05 of the first period. . . . F Garrett Pilon’s 14th goal made it 2-0 at 14:11 of the second period and F Collin Shirley (22) upped it to 3-0 just 40 seconds later. . . . D Ondrej Vala (8), Balcers and F Erik Miller (4) added third-period goals. . . . Pilon also had an assist. . . . Kelowna got 27 saves from G Michael Herringer. . . . Kamloops was 1-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-3. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (ill) was among Kamloops’ scratches. . . . The Blazers have beaten the Rockets eight straight times in Kamloops. . . . Kamloops (33-18-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1) and is 7-2-2 in its past 11 outings. The Blazers are second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Prince George Cougars and seven ahead of the Rockets and Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (30-20-4) had won its past three games. . . . Announced attendance: 4,255.
At Medicine Hat, F Mason Shaw ran his point streak to 15 games with a goal and assist, leading the
Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Shaw has 78 points, including 21 goals, in 54 games. He has 20 points, 12 of them assists, in his past 15 games. . . . That is the third-longest point streak in the WHL this season, behind the 22-game effort turned in by F Adam Brooks of the Regina Pats and a 16-game from Regina D Chase Harrison. . . . F Tim Vanstone (8) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 7:06 of the first period. . . . Shaw tied it, on a PP, at 5:09 of the second period. . . . Tigers D Jordan Henderson (4) broke the tie at 16:14 and F Zach Fischer’s 27th goal upped the lead to 3-1 at 4:06 of the third. . . . The Raiders got back to within one when F D-Jay Jerome scored his sixth goal at 17:34. . . . G Michael Bullion turned aside 25 shots for the Tigers. . . . At the other end, Ian Scott stopped 36 shots. . . . The Tigers were 1-5 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-2. . . . Medicine Hat (38-16-1) has won two in a row. The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince Albert (13-37-5) has lost two straight. The Raiders had won their previous four road games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,974.
At Prince George, F Johnny Wesley scored in the sixth round of a shootout as the Vancouver Giants
ended an eight-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . The first two shooters in the skills competition — Vancouver’s Ty Ronning and Prince George’s Nikita Popugaev — each scored, but that was it until Round 6. . . . The Cougars took a 1-0 lead when F Jackson Leppard, a first-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal at 9:14 of the second period. It came in his 29th career game, 27 of them this season. . . . Ronning tied it with his 21st goal just 30 seconds later. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead when Wesley got his eighth goal, on a PP, at 11:37. . . . Prince George F Jared Bethune (16) forced OT when he scored at 13:32 of the third period. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck was the game’s first star, with 38 stops. . . . Ty Edmonds stopped 23 shots for the Cougars. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 1-4. . . . The Cougars, who beat the visiting Giants 4-1 on Tuesday, again were without D Brendan Guhle and F Jansen Harkins, both of whom have undisclosed injuries. . . . The Giants (18-32-5) had been 0-6-2 in their previous eight games. . . . The Cougars (37-16-4) are 1-0-1 in their past two games. They remain second in the overall standings. . . . Announced attendance: 2,503.

At Red Deer, D Brennan Menell scored once and added two assists to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 7-3 victory over the Rebels. . . . Menell, a 19-year-old from Woodbury, Minn., has 51 points, including
11 goals, in 52 games this season. Last season, with the Vancouver Giants, he finished with seven goals and 46 assists in 69 games. . . . He has points in 17 of 19 games since the Christmas break, scoring five goals and earning 22 assists in that stretch. . . . F Dawson Martin (7) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 7:53 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Zane Franklin (5) at 10:23 and F Zak Zborosky (33) at 1:25 of the second period. . . . The Rebels tied it on F Austin Glover’s 17th goal at 3:46. . . . The Hurricanes responded with the game’s next four goals, all on the PP. . . . Menell started it at 10:20 and F Egor Babenko (18) added one at 14:44. F Tyler Wong, playing in his 299th regular-season game, scoed his 39th goal at 7:18 of the third period, and D Calen Addison (6) counted at 17:34. . . . Red Deer got its last goal from F Lane Zablocki (17), at 18:35, and F Jadon Joseph (3) replied for Lethbridge at 19:30. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from F Giorgio Estephan and one each from Wong, Zborosky, Babenko and Franklin. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 25 shots for Lethbridge in running his record to 27-13-5. . . . Red Deer starter Lasse Pedersen was beaten five times on 30 shots in 49:09. Riley Lamb finished up with eight saves on 10 shots. . . . Lethbridge was 4-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Hurricanes (32-15-7) now have points in 14 straight games (12-0-2). They are second in the Central Division, six points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Rebels (23-23-8) have lost two straight. They are third in the Central Division, seven points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 4,025. . . . Greg Meachem of has a game story right here. Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, general manager and head coach, wasn’t pleased.
At Spokane, the Chiefs erased a 4-3 third-period deficit with three straight goals en route to a 6-5 victory
over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Skyler McKenzie’s 34th goal gave the Winterhawks a 4-3 lead at 3:21 of the third period. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan tied it with his 29th goal, at 7:05 of the third period. A first-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, Anderson-Dolan has 56 points in 53 games. He has seven goals in his past five games. . . . F Eli Zummack gave the Chiefs a 5-4 lead with No. 8 at 10:04 and D Tyson Helgesen (8) made it 6-4 at 11:04. . . . The Winterhawks got back to within a goal when F Alex Overhardt counted his 13th goal, on a PP, at 18:07. . . . The Winterhawks had taken a 1-0 lead on F Colton Veloso’s 16th goal, at 4:53 of the first period, only to have the Chiefs tie it on F Ethan McIndoe’s 12th goal, at 8:57. . . . Overhardt sent the visitors back out front at 11:00, only to have F Alex Mowbray tie it with his second goal of the season, shorthanded, at 17:46. . . . The Chiefs took a 3-2 lead on F Hayden Ostir’s sixth goal, at 12:46 of the second period, with the Winterhawks pulling even when D Brendan De Jong got No. 8 at 16:11. . . . Zummack and F Kailer Yamamoto each had two assists for the Chiefs, with Ostir adding one. . . . The Winterhawks got two assists from each of D Caleb Jones and F Ryan Hughes, with De Jong getting one. . . . Spokane G Dawson Weatherill blocked 35 shots, two fewer than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . Portland was 2-7 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . The Chiefs (22-23-8) are nine points behind Portland (29-22-3), which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Portland had won its previous seven games. It is four points behind the third-place Tri-City Americans. . . . Announced attendance: 3,162.

At Victoria, D Ethan Bear broke a 4-4 tie at 7:15 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Royals, 5-4. . . . Seattle had won 3-1 in Victoria on Tuesday night. . . . Bear’s 19th goal, which tied last
season’s career high, came via the PP, with F Mathew Barzal and F Ryan Gropp assisting. Barzal and Gropp each had four points, the former setting up four goals and the latter scoring once and adding three helpers. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Keegan Kolesar, on a PP, at 3:55, and D Austin Strand (6), at 6:47. . . . D Ralph Jarratt’s second goal got the Royals on the scoreboard at 15:33, but Gropp, who has 19 goals, got that one back, on a PP, at 18:56. . . . Kolesar’s 14th goal, at 8:10 of the second period, sent Seattle to a 4-1 lead. . . . The Royals accounted for the next three goals, the first two on second-period PPs. . . . F Tyler Soy (25) scored at 10:57 and F Matt Phillips got his 38th at 13:03. . . . F Jared Dmytriw tied it with his 10th goal at 2:04 of the third period. . . . Gropp is riding a 10-game point streak, with eight goals and 12 assists over that stretch. He had four goals and three assists in the two-game sweep in Victoria. . . . Barzal has 45 points, including 38 assists, in 27 games this season. He had six assists in the two victories. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Dante Hannoun, while Phillips and Soy each had one. . . . Seattle G Rylan Toth turned back 19 shots in winning his 27th game, two off Victoria G Griffen Outhouse, who leads the league. Outhouse finished with 23 saves. . . . The Thunderbirds were 3-5 on the PP; the Royals were 2-6. . . . Seattle F Elijah Brown left Tuesday’s game with an apparent leg injury, but was back in the lineup for this one. . . . The Thunderbirds (33-15-5) have points in 10 straight (9-0-1). They have closed to within a point of the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips, who have a game in hand and are scheduled to open a six-game East Division swing in Brandon on Friday. . . . The Royals (30-21-4) have lost two in a row. They are tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third in the B.C. Division. . . . Announced attendance: 2,965, although there were far fewer than that in the building due to inclement weather. Prior to the game, the Royals announced that all fans who had tickets, whether they were in attendance or not, are eligible to exchange them for ducats to one of two weekend games. The Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to play in Victoria on Friday and Saturday.

THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Everett at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Regina at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Prince Albert at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Portland, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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