WHL Roundup: Goals and teddy bears galore across WHL Saturday as holiday spirit ramps up

Cindy Adachi/Andy Devlin/Chris Mast/Marissa Baecker


Moose Jaw Warriors (3) at Swift Current Broncos (2)

Moose Jaw (21-5-1-1) // Swift Current (19-6-2-0)

The day after the Swift Current Broncos spoiled the Teddy Bear Toss night of the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Warriors got some revenge.

Moose Jaw tallied three quick goals in the first period and Adam Evanoff stopped 28 of 30 shots sent his way as the Warriors restored their four-point lead in the East Division.

Tanner Jeannot opened the scoring 10:32 into the first period followed 19 seconds later by Jayden Halbgewachs’ 26th goal of the season. If that wasn’t enough, Luka Burzan scored 1:57 later, adding to the Broncos’ woes.

Tyler Steenbergen (Arizona Coyotes) and Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) scored power play goals 1:26 apart to make the score close, but they could never pull even. WHL scoring leader Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) and defenceman Colby Sissons (New Jersey Devils) each finished with a pair of assists.

Logan Flodell was pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots. In relief, backup Joel Hofer stopped all 19 shots sent his way. Evanoff remained undefeated, moving to 5-0-0-0 early in his WHL career.

Halbgewachs and Burzan each finished with multi-point games.

Calgary Hitmen (4) at Red Deer Rebels (3) — SO 
Calgary (8-15-3-1) // Red Deer (9-16-3-1)

Vladislav Yeryomenko scored in the fifth round of the shootout as the Calgary Hitmen claimed a valuable two points in central Albert Saturday night.

Nick Schneider made 32 saves and three more in the shootout to claim the victory in favour of the Hitmen, who won for the second time in their past three games.

The Rebels held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes as Kristian Reichel sent the teddy bears flying at the Enmax Centrium and Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings). Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes) had the only goal for the Hitmen in the period.

Calgary found their way back into the game in the third. After Austin Schellenberg put the Rebels up by two, Jake Kryski and Conner Chaulk responded for the Hitmen, tying things up.

The third period and overtime solved nothing, sending the game to the shootout. Riley Lamb stopped 28 of the 31 shots sent his way, followed by two more stops in the shootout.

Prince Albert Raiders (1) at Edmonton Oil Kings (4) 
Prince Albert (11-11-4-1) // Edmonton (6-18-2-0)

Davis Koch sent a record amount of teddy bears flying at Rogers Place Saturday, then helped guide his team to an important 4-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Koch finished with a pair of goals and Brett Kemp tallied the game-winner. Kobe Mohr scored a short-handed empty net goal to close out the game.

Fans didn’t have to wait long for Koch’s goal, as he blasted a shot past Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) 1:07 into the game. Jordy Stallard (Winnipeg Jets) would even up the scoring in the second half of the period, but that’s all they’d get past Travis Child, who finished with 31 saves and even assisted on Edmonton’s fourth goal.

Scott finished with 19 saves on 22 shots while Curtis Meger stopped one shot in 2:39 of action.

Victoria Royals (1) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (4)
Victoria (18-10-3-0) // Lethbridge (12-13-1-0)

Jake Elmer’s first of two goals helped spread some holiday cheer during the Hurricanes 4-1 win over the Victoria Royals Saturday.

Elmer sent the teddy bears flying 6:23 into the first period and scored the game-winning goal early in the second period, giving them five wins in their last six games.

Ty Prefontaine also scored twice for the Hurricanes. Dante Hannoun responded with the lone goal for the Royals as Stuart Skinner ((Edmonton Oilers) made 30 saves in the victory. Griffen Outhouse also had a solid performance, stopping 40 shots, but ended up with the loss in the contest.

Prefontaine added an assist for the three-point game. Giorgio Estephan chipped in a pair of helpers while Zane Franklin and Josh Tarzwell also drew assists.

Tyus Gent picked up a secondary assist on Victoria’s lone goal for his first career WHL point.

Brandon Wheat Kings (5) at Medicine Hat Tigers (4) — OT
Brandon (19-7-0-1) // Medicine Hat (16-10-1-0)

Stelio Mattheos (Carolina Hurricanes) was up to his usual trick again Saturday, scoring the game-tying goal late in the third period and then lifting the Brandon Wheat Kings to two important points in overtime.

Evan Weinger and tanner Kaspick (St. Louis Blues) bookended the teddy bear toss goal from David Quenneville (New York Islanders) in the first period. The Tigers roared into the lead in the second though, with goals from Jaegar White, Ryan Chyzowski and Tyler Preziuso.

That only seemed to spark the Wheat Kings though, as Barons Thompson scored in the opening minutes of the third, followed by Mattheos’ tying goal with 4:11 to play. Then in overtime, he completed the comeback 95 seconds in on his 21st of the season.

Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) finished with three assists while Kaspick had a multi-point game.

Logan Thompson stopped 41 of 45 shots for the victory while Michael Bullion made 25 saves on 30 shots in the contest.

Medicine Hat teddy Bear

(Photo credit: Randy Feere/RJF Productions)

Kamloops Blazers (2) at Seattle Thunderbirds (1)

Kamloops (13-14-0-0) // Seattle (12-13-2-1)

The Kamloops Blazers pulled themselves back to even ground Saturday with a critical 2-1 victory against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Max Palaga made 25 saves on 26 shots while Jermaine Loewen and WHL Rookie of the Month Brodi Stuart scored in the victory. Dillon Hamaliuk opened the scoring for the T-Birds with the lone goal of the first, but the Blazers answered back with a goal from Stuart in the second and Loewen’s game-winner in the third.

Matt Berlin had himself a strong performance, but still took the loss after making 30 saves on 32 shots.

Vancouver Giants (2) at Prince George Cougars (6) 
Vancouver (12-13-2-2) // Prince George (10-14-2-2)

The Prince George Cougars picked up a much-needed win at home Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Jared Bethune scored once and added a pair of assists while Josh Curtis and Joel Lakusta each had a goal and an assist. Taylor Gauthier was sharp in net, making 22 saves throughout the game.

Aaron Boyd and Ethan O’Rourke scored the other goals for the Cougars. Brad Morrison scored twice for the Giants, who had their two-game winning streak snapped in the process.

Todd Scott made 28 saves on 34 shots in the loss.

Kootenay ICE (2) at Kelowna Rockets  (5) 
Kootenay (12-15-1-0) // Kelowna (17-8-2-1)

Conner Bruggen-Cate scored the most electrifying goal of the season to date for the Kelowna Rockets on Teddy Bear Toss night as the Rockets cruised past the visiting Kootenay ICE.

Kole Lind (Vancouver Canucks) would add a goal and an assists while Kyle Topping and Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames) picked up a pair of helpers and Roman Basran stopped 24 of 26 shots to guide the Rockets to a fifth straight victory.

Braydyn Chizen had the lone goal of the second and Lind added his 12th of the season early in the third to put the Rockets up 3-0. Martin Bodak got the ICE on the board midway through the third, but the Rockets just kept coming, with Nolan Foote adding his seventh of the season and James Hilsendager rounded out a five-goal night for the Rockets.

Alec Baer scored late for the ICE. Bailey Brkin finished with 24 saves on 29 shots in the loss.

Saskatoon Blades (0) at Everett Silvertips (3)
Saskatoon (10-14-2-1) // Everett (15-12-1-1)

Montana Onyebuchi scored first to make it rain teddy bears, Patrick Bajkov had a goal and three points and Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped all 30 shots sent his way for his fourth shutout of the season.

Onyebuchi scored 6:53 into the first period for the ultimate celebratory goal while Matt Fontyene scored later in the period to put the Silvertips up 2-0 after 20 minutes. Bajkov would score 57 seconds into the third to round out the offence.

Nolan Maier stopped 34 of 37 shots for the Blades. Libor Hajek (Tampa Bay Lightning) finished with five shots to lead the Blades.

Spokane Chiefs (4) at Tri-City Americans (3) — OT
 Spokane (15-10-1-2) // Tri-City (14-9-3-0)

Ty Smith scored 3:27 into overtime Saturday, lifting the Spokane Chiefs to a road win over a U.S. Division rival.

Dylan Coghlan (Vegas Golden Knights) put the Tri-City Americans on the board first Saturday and Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) scored in the final minute of the opening period to bookend a Chiefs goal from Riley Woods.

Jordan Topping scored early in the second but Ethan McIndoe came back with a pair of goals to tie up the game by the early stages of the third before Smith’s winner in overtime.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings), Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers) and Nolan Reid each finished with a pair of assists in the game.

Declan Hobbs made 25 saves for the victory while Patrick Dea stopped 44 of 48 shots, only to take the loss.

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