WHL Roundup: All is Farren in love and war as Blades snap losing skid versus ICE
Regina Pats (5) at Brandon Wheat Kings (2)
Regina (28-22-5-0) // Brandon (29-19-3-2)
The final meeting of the 2017-18 Western Hockey League season between the Regina Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings saw the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup hosts score a critical victory Tuesday night in Brandon, Man.
Jesse Gabrielle (Boston Bruins) and Cameron Hebig (Edmonton Oilers) each scored twice, but it was a beautiful set of moves by Jared Legien that counted as the game-winner as the Pats threw 51 shots on net.
It was the Wheat Kings getting on the board first though in Tuesday’s contest as Marcus Sekundiak scored his second of the season 2:52 into the game. Gabrielle would respond for the Pats though with his eighth goal of the season to tie up the game by the end of the first and his ninth of the season 50 seconds into the second.
Jared Legien would then give the Pats their first two-goal lead of the game as he stick-handled his way through the Wheat Kings’ defence, a lead they’d hold after 40 minutes.
2018 NHL Draft prospect Luka Burzan would cut the Pats’ lead to one early in the third, but a pair of goals from Hebig would put the game out of reach as Max Paddock made 22 saves on 24 shots for the victory. Logan Thompson stopped 46 of 50 shots in a valiant effort, despite ultimately taking the loss.
Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) also got in on the action Tuesday, picking up three assists, including the 200th assist of his WHL career. Josh Mahura (Anaheim Ducks) picked up an assist to move into sole possession of fourth place in WHL scoring for defencemen. The assist also help Mahura tie his 53-point output from the 2016-17 season.
Hebig, now one game shy of 250 for his WHL career, is also five goals shy of 100 career goals. Legien and Emil Oksanen also picked up assists in the victory.
The win concluded the season series between the two clubs with the Pats winning five to the Wheat Kings’ three victories. With the win, the Pats are now just two points behind the Wheat Kings for third in the East Division.
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) February 7, 2018
Kootenay ICE (3) at Saskatoon Blades (5)
Kootenay (23-27-3-0) // Saskatoon (26-25-2-1)
The Saskatoon Blades moved back into a playoff spot Tuesday night with a clinical 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay ICE.
Michael Farren led the way with a pair of goals while Max Gerlach added a goal and an assist.
Farren opened the scoring 2:47 into the second after a scoreless first, but less than three minutes later ICE captain Colton Kroeker had equalized the game with his 11th of the season.
It was Farren who helped to restore the one-goal lead less than two minutes after that and Bradley Goethals made it a two-goal game before the end of the second.
Thankfully for the Blades, Gerlach would strike early in the third as the ICE were primed to fight their way back into the game. Colton Veloso and Peyton Krebs brought the ICE back into the game with goals 52 seconds apart in the final three minutes to make things interesting.
The finishing touches on the game would be applied by Chase Wouters however as his 15th of the season was sent into an empty net with 54 seconds to go, sealing the victory.
Nolan Maier earned his 17th victory of the season, stopping 21 of 24 shots. Matt Berlin stopped 29 of 33 shots in the loss.
All three ICE goal scorers finished with multi-point games, including Veloso, who factored into all three goals.
Blades captain Evan Fiala is now two games shy of 250 for his WHL career. Forward Josh Paterson is now five points shy of 100 for his WHL career after collecting an assist in Tuesday’s contest.
Tri-City Americans (2) at Seattle Thunderbirds (3) — SO
Tri-City (27-17-7-1) // Seattle (27-18-5-2)
Liam Hughes and Beck Warm gave fans a brilliant goaltending display Tuesday night in Kent, Wash.
Even with two potent offences starting down both goaltenders for 65-plus minutes, Hughes stopped 48 of 50 shots in regulation and overtime and four of five shots in the shootout while Warm stopped 40 of 42 shots in regulation and overtime followed by three saves on five shots in the shootout as the T-Bird prevailed 3-2 in a shootout.
The Americans opened the scoring on Nolan Yaremko’s 17th goal of the season midway through the first, but the T-Birds quickly responded minutes later thanks to Donovan Neuls’ 19th of the season.
Nolan Volcan put the T-Birds ahead with the lone goal of the second period, but the Ams wouldn’t be denied a shot at victory, tying up the game on Morgan Geekie’s (Carolina Hurricanes) 20th of the season late in the third to force overtime and eventually a shootout.
After Noah Philp scored the opening goal of the shootout, Parker AuCoin cashed in for the Americans in the third round to keep them alive until Volcan scored in the fifth round and Hughes came up with the save to secure the victory.
Neuls is now five games shy of 250 for his WHL career. Jaxan Kaluski was one of four different Seattle players to pick up an assist in Tuesday’s contest, earning his second point in nine games with his new squad. Matthew Wedman continued his career year with his 34th point of the season coming on an assist.
With an assist in the contest, Americans forward Jordan Topping is now two points shy of 200 for his WHL career and three assists shy of 100 for his WHL career.
Despite the loss, the Americans retained third place in the U.S. Division with 62 points while the T-Birds moved one point back of them with 61.
The @HeritageBankNW 3 Stars of the Game tonight are:
🌟 Liam Hughes
🌟🌟 Nolan Volcan
🌟🌟🌟 Juuso Valimaki pic.twitter.com/3ovSFvxOHE
— Seattle Thunderbirds 2017 WHL Champions (@SeattleTbirds) February 7, 2018