Following a handful of weekday games to open the 2017 WHL Pre-season, the festivities were in full swing Friday night with eight games on the slate.
Vancouver Giants (3) at Seattle Thunderbirds (1) – Everett
Vancouver (1-0-0-0) // Seattle (0-1-0-0)
The Vancouver Giants built a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of play, refusing to relinquish it en route to a 3-1 victory over the defending WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds at Xfinity Arena in Everett.
Brendan Semchuk opened the scoring before Brad Morrison and Owen Hardy added second period tallies to fuel the Giants’ offense. Both Semchuk and Hardy enjoyed multipoint performances with a goal and an assist apiece.
Payton Mount, the Thunderbirds 19th overall selection in 2017, provided the lone strike for Seattle.
In net, 17-year-old Todd Scott was credited with the victory after stopping all 14 of the shots he faced in the start. Highly-touted former first-round selection Trent Miner came on in relief and turned aside eight of nine pucks sent his way.
Cole Schwebius made 30 saves on 33 shots, taking the loss in the Seattle crease.
Swift Current Broncos (2) at Saskatoon Blades (3) – Regina
Swift Current (1-1-0-0) // Saskatoon (1-1-0-0)
Cameron Hebig logged a two-point performance, which included the game-winning goal, as the Saskatoon Blades scored a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
Dom Schmiemann opened the scoring in the first period for Swift Current before Logan Christensen replied on behalf of Saskatoon in the second.
Arjun Atwal put the Blades in the lead early in the third period, only to have Arthur Miller draw things even once again. Only 57 seconds elapsed after Miller’s tally before Hebig notched a short-handed goal to put the Blades ahead for good. The tally served as Hebig’s second goal of the pre-season.
Joel Grzybowski made 27 saves on 29 shots, going the distance to backstop the Blades. At the other end, Joel Hofer made 29 saves on 32 shots in the Broncos crease.
Prince George Cougars (3) at Edmonton Oil Kings (2) – Red Deer
Prince George (1-0-0-0) // Edmonton (0-1-0-0)
Kody McDonald scored the game-winning goal with less than five minutes to go in regulation as the Prince George Cougars nipped the Edmonton Oil Kings by a 3-2 margin at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer.
McDonald’s marker came after the Oil Kings had executed a third period comeback, with Brett Kemp and Conner McDonald combining for back-to-back goals in a two-minute span to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Belarusian import Vladislav Mikhalchuk opened the scoring in the first period and extended the Cougars lead with his second of the afternoon late in the second period. Veteran Jared Bethune registered assists on both of Mikhalchuk’s goals.
Tavin Grant was perfect, making 12 saves after starting in the Cougars cage. But it was Brock Hamm turning aside 10 of 12 pucks sent his way who earned the victory.
In the Edmonton net, Travis Child made 16 saves on 17 shots, while Boston Bilous steered aside 11 of 13 pucks.
Portland Winterhawks (7) at Spokane Chiefs (3) – Everett
Portland (1-0-0-0) // Spokane (0-1-0-0)
Reece Newkirk scored twice as the Portland Winterhawks knocked off the Spokane Chiefs by a 7-3 score at the Xfinity Arena in Everett.
Edmonton Oilers prospect Kailer Yamamoto gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead 6:18 into the first period before the Winterhawks replied with six consecutive goals of their own to take a stranglehold on the exhibition outing. Bronson Sharp evened the score before Skyler McKenzie, Newkirk and Connor Bowie secured three power-play goals to put the Winterhawks in front 4-1 by the midpoint of the second period.
Jake Gricius added one more second period marker before Lane Gilliss made it a 6-1 game early in the third. Newkirk notched his second of the night with another power-play effort late in the third period.
Tyson Helgesen and Jeff Faith provided the other two tallies for the Chiefs.
Shane Farkas made 26 saves to log the win for Portland while Dawson Weatherill made 34 saves in the Spokane net.
Calgary Hitmen (3) at Red Deer Rebels (5)
Calgary (0-1-0-0) // Red Deer (1-0-0-0)
Kristian Reichel scored three times as the Red Deer Rebels defeated the Calgary Hitmen by a 5-3 score Friday night.
Reichel – the son of longtime Calgary Flames forward Robert Reichel – put Red Deer ahead 2-0 in the first period before Layne Toder and Justyn Gurney knotted the affair early in the second period. Chris Douglas put the Rebels back in front only to have Hunter Campbell draw the Hitmen even yet again.
Before the second period buzzer sounded, River Fahey gave Red Deer a lead it would protect.
Reichel used a man advantage to complete the hat trick midway through the third period.
Lasse Petersen went without a blemish, stopping all nine shots he faced to secure the win. Ethan Anders started the game for Red Deer, making 15 saves on 18 shots.
Nick Schneider stopped 27 of 32 shots for the Hitmen.
Medicine Hat Tigers (4) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (2)
Medicine Hat (1-0-0-0) // Lethbridge (0-1-0-0)
Highly-touted youngster Josh Williams made a splash in his first pre-season game, scoring twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers claim a 4-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night.
Brady Pouteau gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with a power-play tally 1:30 into the first period before Williams kickstarted a four-goal run for the Tigers.
The fifth-overall selection from the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft evened the game 11:18 into the second period before giving Medicine Hat a 2-1 edge with 4:40 to go in the middle period.
Daniel Baker and Corson Hopwo made it a 4-1 game in the third period, with Giorgio Estephan rounding out the scoring late in regulation.
Duncan McGovern and Garin Bjorklund split time in the Tigers cage, with both stopping 19 of 20 shots. McGovern was credited with the win.
In the Lethbridge paint, it was veteran Stuart Skinner making 39 saves on 43 shots.
Victoria Royals (3) at Kamloops Blazers (5)
Victoria (0-1-0-0) // Kamloops (1-0-0-0)
The Kamloops Blazers scored three third period goals en route to a 5-3 win over the Victoria Royals Friday night.
Erik Miller’s second of the night sparked the onslaught from the Blazers with Garrett Pilon and Jermaine Loewen also getting in on the act.
Miller opened the scoring in the first period with Carson Denomie giving the Blazers a 2-0 lead only 17 seconds into the second period.
Former Kootenay ICE forward Jared Legien notched two goals in his Victoria Royals debut, with Dino Kambeitz contributing as well.
Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 of 28 shots to earn the win. Dylan Myskiw made saves on 15 of 17 shots before Brock Gould came on in relief to make 21 saves on 24 shots for the Royals.
Tri-City Americans (9) at Everett Silvertips (4)
Tri-City (1-0-0-0) // Everett (0-1-0-0)
Nolan Yaremko and Sasha Mutala both notched hat tricks as the Tri-City Americans smother the Everett Silvertips by a 9-4 margin Friday night.
Yaremko found the back of the net twice in the first period before completing the hat trick midway through the second period. Mutala did all of his scoring in the middle period and Morgan Geekie added two goals of his own in the third period as the Americans offense fired on all cylinders. Parker AuCoin also scored for Tri-City, while Brett Leason dished four assists.
Patrick Bajkov provided two goals and an assist for Everett, with Riley Sutter and Jake Christiansen also scoring.
Beck Warm went the distance between the pipes for the Americans, stopping 35 of 36 shots.