WHL Roundup: Flodell, Gawdin lead Broncos over Tigers

David Zammit


Seattle Thunderbirds (4) at Calgary Hitmen (3)
Seattle (6-5-0-1) // Calgary (4-10-1-0)

Austin Strand played the role of hero and heartbreaker Saturday in Calgary, scoring the game-winner for the Thunderbirds with 41.9 seconds left, dashing the comeback hopes of the Calgary Hitmen as they hosted their WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation – Presented by RE/MAX event.

Strand had a goal and an assist while three other Thunderbirds skaters found the back of the net, with Liam Hughes making 25 saves for his second win in a Seattle uniform.

After a scoreless 20 minutes, the Thunderbirds owned the middle period. Blake Bargar, Reece Harsch and Donovan Neuls all scored in a 12:08 span to put the visiting side up by three after 40 minutes.

The Hitmen came to play in the third though, receiving goals from Jake Bean, Vladislav Yeryomenko and Mark Kastelic in a span of 7:01 during the third period to even up the game.

It would all be for naught though, with Strand breaking through for the go-ahead goal in the final minute to lift the Thunderbirds to their sixth win of the season.

Hughes allowed one power play goal Saturday, making seven stops each in the first and second, before making 11 more in the third. Matthew Armitage finished with 27 saves for the Hitmen.

The T-Birds will now head south to Lethbridge for a Sunday evening date with the Hurricanes. Up next for the Hitmen is a trip to Lethbridge as well next Friday.

Regina Pats (3) at Red Deer Rebels (4) OT 
Regina (8-6-2-0) // Red Deer (8-6-0-0)

For the second straight game the Rebels emerged victorious in overtime by a 4-3 score, doing it over the Regina Pats Saturday to wrap up a six-game home stand.

Hunter Donohoe opened the scoring with his first career Western Hockey League goal 3:23 in to put the Rebels up early, followed up by Jack Flaman’s first goal with his new club while short-handed 13 minutes later.

The Pats had plenty of fight in them Saturday though, as Dawson Davidson scored 38 seconds after Flaman while Josh Mahura and Robbie Holmes added goals in the second to put the Pats up by one after 40.

The Rebels wouldn’t need to play long into the third to find their equalizing goal as Grayson Pawlenchuk scored 2:52 in to reset the game.

That’s the way things would stay until 1:42 into the extra period, when Detroit Red Wings prospect Lane Zablocki scored his sixth of the season  to send the Rebels to their eighth victory of the season and a share of the Central Division lead.

Ethan Anders had a superb 28-save performance, making 15 of those in the first period. Tyler Brown finished with 16 saves in the loss.

The Rebels will head out on the road Sunday, taking on the Kootenay ICE, while the Pats will wrap up their road trip in Edmonton against the Oil Kings.

Medicine Hat Tigers (0) at Swift Current Broncos (4)
Medicine Hat (8-6-0-0) // Swift Current (10-2-1-0)

The Swift Current Broncos became the third team in the WHL to reach double-digit victories Saturday with a 4-0 shutout of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Logan Flodell made 38 saves and Glenn Gawdin had a pair of goals, finishing with four points as the Broncos snapped a two-game losing streak.

Gawdin opened the scoring 5:44 into the first period, followed four minutes later by Artyom Minulin. The Broncos offence kept coming in the first with Aleksi Heponiemi scoring his 10th of the season 90 seconds after Minulin’s goal. For good measure, Gawdin added his second of the game late in the second period.

The four goals were more than enough offence for Flodell, who stopped 18 shots in the first, six more in the second and 14 in the third. Colby Sissons finished with a pair of assists while Tyler Steenbergen picked up an assist to remain first in the league’s points race.

The Broncos are back in action next Friday when they make their first visit of the season to the Art Hauser Centre to do battle with the Prince Albert Raiders. Up next for the Tigers is a home date against the Saskatoon Blades Friday as well.

Brandon Wheat Kings (1) at Saskatoon Blades (4)
Brandon (9-5-0-1) // Saskatoon (5-7-1-0)

The Saskatoon Blades took down another big player in their division Saturday, limiting the Brandon Wheat Kings to a single goal in a 4-1 victory at home.

Cameron Hebig came up big again, scoring a pair of goals while Tyler Lees notched the game-winner. The Blades’ offence came in the form of a pair of goals in the first and another pair in the second Saturday. Hebig scored his 11th of the season 15:07 into the first period followed 2:06 later by Lees’ second of the season.

Wouters scored 10:13 into the second period, followed by Hebig’s second of the game eight minutes later to give his side a four-goal lead after 40 minutes.

That’s how things would stay until the final minute of the contest when Tanner Kaspick spoiled Ryan Kubic’s shutout bid with 46 seconds to go. Kubic still finished with 32 saves in a big performance while Logan Thompson made 19 saves in the loss.

The Blades are in Lethbridge to face the Hurricanes Wednesday while the Wheat Kings will return home to host the Kootenay ICE for a pair of games next weekend.

Tri-City Americans (2) at Kamloops Blazers (3) OT 
Tri-City (9-4-2-0) // Kamloops (4-11-0-0)

Joe Gatenby scored 40 seconds into overtime Saturday as the Kamloops Blazers won their first home game of the season over the Tri-City Americans.

Riley Sawchuk opened the scoring for the Ams in the first, but Keltie Jeri-Leon responded minutes later to even up the game for the Blazers. That’s the way the game stood until the third, when Quinn Benjafield and Nolan Yaremko traded goals, sending both teams to overtime.

That’s where Gatenby ended things after the puck trickled past Patrick Dea and into the net for the game-winning goal. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Dylan Ferguson made 22 saves to preserve the victory.

Garrett Pilon had a pair of assists in the game.

Up next for the Blazers is a date with the Vancouver Giants in the Lower Mainland next Friday. The Americans will head home to host the Kelowna Rockets this coming Wednesday.

Vancouver Giants (5) at Victoria Royals (6) SO
Vancouver (5-6-1-2) // Victoria (11-4-1-0)

It certainly didn’t come easy, but the Victoria Royals stayed perfect against the Vancouver Giants and B.C. Division opponents this season after outlasting the Giants in a shootout Saturday.

A total of 10 different skaters scored in regulation before Griffen Outhouse stopped Milos Roman to clinch the victory while Matthew Phillips had the lone goal of the shootout.

The teams traded goals in the first period. In the second, the Royals notched goals 3:15 apart, but the Giants closed the gap to within one later in the period. The third period saw the Royals scored twice in a 16-second span, giving them a three-goal lead. The Giants fought back though scoring two quick goals and then in the final minute to even up the game.

David Tendeck put forth a valiant effort, making 37 saves, but was out-matched by Outhouse, who finished with 43 saves in regulation and three more in the shootout as Victoria won their 11th game of the season, improving to 5-0-1-0 at home this season.

Ty Ronning, Tyler Popowich, James Malm, Owen Hardy and Matt Barberis scored for the Giants. Ryan Peckford, Matthew Phillips Eric Florchuk Jared Legien and Regan Nagy scored for the Royals.

The two teams won’t have to wait long to get another crack at each other, with a rematch Sunday at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.

Prince George Cougars (2) at Kelowna Rockets (4) 
Prince George (5-6-2-2) // Kelowna (7-5-1-1)

The Kelowna Rockets doubled up the visiting Prince George Cougars Saturday on the strength of goals from four different skaters.

Carsen Twarynski, Kyle Topping, Cal Foote and Leif Mattson each scored in the victory as the Rockets won their third straight game to wrap up a four-game home stand.

Mattson opened the scoring in the first, followed by Vladislav Mikhalchuk’s fourth of the season to keep the game tied after 20 minutes. In the second, Topping and Foote scored to open up the two-goal cushion Kelowna would eventually win by. Josh Maser scored for the Cougars in the third, but Twarynski scored an empty-net goal to round out the scoring Saturday.

James Porter made 27 saves for the victory while Taylor Gauthier made 26 saves on 29 shots in the loss.

The Rockets are in Kennewick, Wash. Wednesday to face the Tri-City Americans while the Cougars will continue their seven-game road trip in Portland against the Winterhawks Wednesday as well.

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