WHL Roundup: Duke dazzles as Wheat Kings whip Hitmen

Tim Smith


Technically, there were 10 games on the WHL’s Saturday night schedule, though that was cut to nine after play between the Portland Winterhawks and Everett Silvertips was postponed due to inclement weather.

North of the border, Reid Duke ripped apart the Calgary Hitmen with a five-point performance, while the recently-returned Reid Gardiner found the back of the net in his Kelowna Rockets’ debut.

Jakob Walter backstopped the Kootenay ICE to a length shootout victory, and Steven Owre put a dagger in the Vancouver Giants by scoring a hat trick.

The Prince George Cougars won a critical division matchup against the Victoria Royals, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes did the same against the Red Deer Rebels.

Out in Saskatchewan, Rylan Parenteau returned home to shutout the Saskatoon Blades, while the Moose Jaw Warriors won a big tilt against the Regina Pats. The Swift Current Broncos also managed to get past the Prince Albert Raiders.

Let’s get to it…

Calgary Hitmen (4) at Brandon Wheat Kings (8)
Calgary (14-19-3-2) // Brandon (20-16-4-0)

Reid Duke scored three times and collected two assists for a five-point night, leading the Brandon Wheat Kings to an 8-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen.

Ty Lewis chipped in with a goal and three assists for the Wheat Kings as well.

Duke scored his 21st and 22nd of the season to give his team a 2-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play. He added his 23rd of the campaign early in the third period to make it a 4-2 game, sparking what ended up being a seven-goal third period.

Stelio Mattheos notched his 14th of the season on a power play that went on to stand as the eventual winner.

Jordan Papirny made 18 saves for his 13th win of the season.

Red Deer Rebels (1) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (3)
Red Deer (18-17-4-2) // Lethbridge (22-15-3-2)

Stuart Skinner made 44 saves, backstopping the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-1 win over the Red Deer Rebels.

Jordy Bellerive scored his 17th of the season in the first period before Tyler Wong notched his 27th of the campaign on a second period power play before adding an empty-net tally to ice the win for Lethbridge.

Both Brennan Menell and Giorgio Estephan had two assists for the Hurricanes.

Moose Jaw Warriors (4) at Regina Pats (1)
Moose Jaw (25-9-6-1) // Regina (27-4-6-1)

Zach Sawchenko made 39 saves as the Moose Jaw Warriors knocked off the Regina Pats by a 4-1 margin Saturday night.

Jayden Halbgewachs scored twice, while Brett Howden added a goal and an assist.

For Halbgewachs, his second goal of the game goes into the books as his 37th of the year. He now leads the WHL goal-scoring race by six marks, with Sam Steel sitting in second with 31 goals.

Sawchenko recorded his 17th win of the season.

Vancouver Giants (4) at Medicine Hat Tigers (5)
Vancouver (16-22-1-2) // Medicine Hat (28-12-1-0)

Steven Owre scored short-handed with seven seconds remaining in regulation, completing a hat-trick performance and giving the Medicine Hat Tigers a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Giants.

For Owre, he notched his 12th, 13th and 14th goals of the campaign.

Chad Butcher collected three assists, while Zach Fischer found two.

James Malm managed two goals and an assist, while Ty Ronning had a goal and an assist for the Giants.

Between the pipes, it was Michael Bullion making 27 saves for his sixth win of the season.

Tri-City Americans (2) at Saskatoon Blades (0)
Tri-City (24-17-3-0) // Saskatoon (15-22-5-1)

Rylan Parenteau returned to his hometown and put forth a 25-save performance to collected his first shutout of the season as the Tri-City Americans blanked the Saskatoon Blades by a 2-0 final.

Morgan Geekie’s 22nd goal of the season stood as the eventual game-winner, with Nolan Yaremko added a power-play insurance marker with six seconds to go in regulation.

The contest served as Parenteau’s 15th win of the season.

Prince Albert Raiders (2) at Swift Current Broncos (5)
Prince Albert (8-31-1-2) // Swift Current (23-12-3-4)

The Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the third period to secure a 5-2 win over the Prince Albert Raiders.

Each of Tyler Steenbergen, Aleksi Heponiemi and Calvin Spencer contributed a goal and an assist in the win for Swift Current, while Taz Burman made 24 saves for his 10th win of the season.

Kamloops Blazers (2) at Kelowna Rockets (3) – SO
Kamloops (25-15-1-2) // Kelowna (24-15-3-0)

Kole Lind scored the shootout winner as the Kelowna Rockets edged the Kamloops Blazers by a 3-2 margin.

Reid Gardiner made his Kelowna debut after returning to the WHL from the American Hockey League and subsequently getting traded from Prince Albert to the Rockets. He notched his first goal of the season – a short-handed effort that tied the game and forced overtime.

Nick Chyzowski scored on a second period penalty shot for the Blazers.

Brodan Salmond made 26 saves plus another five in the shootout to earn his seventh win of the season.

Victoria Royals (2) at Prince George Cougars (4)
Victoria (22-15-4-0) // Prince George (28-11-2-0)

The Prince George Cougars scored three times in the first period en route to a 4-2 win over the Victoria Royals.

Colby McAuley’s 14th of the season stood as the game-winning goal, while Nikita Popugaev also found the scoresheet for the Cougars.

Ty Edmonds made 21 saves for his 22nd win of the campaign.

Kootenay ICE (3) at Spokane Chiefs (2) – SO
Kootenay (9-24-7-1) // Spokane (17-16-5-2)

Reed Morison ended a nine-round shootout as Jakob Walter made 45 saves, plus another nine in the skills competition, to lead the Kootenay ICE to a 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs.

Matt Alfaro recorded a goal and an assist for the ICE, while Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in the third period to force overtime, and added one assist for good measure.

For Walter, the decision goes down as his second of the season.

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