WHL Roundup: Hay earns 743rd win as Blazers double up Winterhawks for fifth straight win

Robert Murray


Regina Pats (1) at Swift Current Broncos (3)
Regina (25-21-5-0) // Swift Current (34-12-3-1)

Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) scored twice and Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers) made 22 saves as the Swift Current Broncos returned to the win column with a 3-1 victory over the Regina Pats.

Libor Hajek (Tampa Bay Lightning) opened the scoring in favour of the Pats after the Broncos ran into some early penalty trouble, but Gawdin came back with the lone goal of the second period to tie things up after 40 minutes and then the game-winner in the third, beating Ryan Kubic short side midway through the period.

Kubic finished with 42 saves on 44 shots for a solid performance despite taking the loss. Artyom Minulin added an empty-net goal on a long-rang clear in the final minute of the game.

The Broncos have now won five in row at home and nine of their last 10.

Prince George Cougars (3) at Saskatoon Blades (4) — SO
Prince George (18-24-4-4) // Saskatoon (25-23-2-1)

The Saskatoon Blades put in a sixty-minute effort and then some Saturday, mounting a comeback to overcome the visiting Prince George Cougars in a shootout Saturday.

Josh Paterson netted the winner in the sixth round of the shootout, ending a back-and-forth contest. They did take the first lead of the game though as Paterson’s 25th goal of the season gave the Blades a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Cougars scored the only goal of the second with Joel Lakusta scoring late in the frame. Ilijah Colina would give the Cougars their first lead of the contest early in the third, but the Blades tied up the game six minutes later on Braylon Shmyr’s 100th career WHL goal.

Ryan Schoettler would score with 5:55 to go, placing the pressure on the Blades to score. That pressure would still be evident in the final minute when the Blades scored, only to have the goal waved off. Undeterred, the Blades scored seconds after play resumed following the review to force overtime and eventually the shootout.

Tyler Brown earned his first win in a Blades’ uniform, making 36 saves on 39 shots and stopping five of six shooters in the shootout. Isaiah DiLaura stopped 35 of 38 shots in regulation and overtime before turning aside four of the six Blades in the shootout.

Edmonton Oil Kings (2) at Prince Albert Raiders (9)
Edmonton (13-29-5-2) // Prince Albert (20-20-7-2)

A five-goal third period blew open Saturday’s game at the Art Hauser Centre Saturday as the Prince Albert Raiders routed the Edmonton Oil Kings by a 9-2 score.

Cole Fonstad and Kody McDonald each scored twice, with Fonstad collecting an assist as well, while Vojtech Budik (Buffalo Sabres) had a goal and four points to give the Raiders their 20th victory of the season.

Fonstad and Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) scored the only goals of the first, while Fonstad and Budik scored in the second while a pair of goals from Trey Fix-Wolansky kept the Raiders’ lead at two.

That all changed in the third though as the Raiders scored three times in a 4:58 span to open the period before adding two more. McDonald scored his two goals in the final period while Justin Nachbaur and Zack Hayes. The ninth goal may have mattered the least in terms of the score, but it was a memorable moment for Nikita Krivokrasov as he tallied his first career Western Hockey League goal to round out the game.

Brayden Pachal and Max Martin each finished with a pair of assists. Nachbaur and Hayes each finished with a goal and an assist.

Tomas Soustal added a pair of assists in the loss.

Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) set a new season-high with his 14th victory of the year after making 18 saves on 20 shots Saturday. Edmonton goaltenders Josh Dechaine and Todd Scott combined for 25 saves in the loss.

Kelowna Rockets (2) at Red Deer Rebels (3) — OT
Kelowna (31-14-3-1) // Red Deer (12-25-8-3)

The Kelowna Rockets forced overtime for a third straight game on their road trip of Alberta, but the Red Deer Rebels had other ideas as to who should earn the two points Saturday at the Enmax Centrium.

Ethan Anders stopped 41 of 43 shots and Kristian Reichel’s 17th goal of the season came 2:46 into overtime as the Rebels edged the Rockets by a 3-2 final in the extra frame.

The Leif Mattson’s 17th goal of the season opened the scoring in the second, bug the Rebels came right back with goals from Mason McCarty and Josh Tarzwell to take their first lead of the game 85 seconds into the third. Kole Lind (Vancouver Canucks) would score the equalizer to force overtime, batting in the puck in mid-air off a deflected Cal Foote (Tampa Bay Lightning) shot.

Unlike their previous two games though, the Rockets would not be successful in overtime, as Reichel’s winner was the only goal to feature in the extra frame.

Dawson Barteaux and Brandon Hagel (Buffalo Sabres) picked up assists in the victory. Foote and Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames) added assists in the loss. Jack Cowell and James Hilsendager also picked up helpers to find their way onto the scoresheet.

Cole Tisdale stopped 19 of 22 shots in the loss Saturday.

Brandon Wheat Kings (2) at Kootenay ICE (3)
Brandon (28-17-3-2) // Kootenay (23-23-3-0)

Peyton Krebs scored twice and the Kootenay ICE earned a weekend sweep over the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday at Western Financial Place.

Krebs opened the scoring with the only goal of the first to put the ICE up after 20. Cameron Hausinger would double that lead for the ICE 12:46 into the second, but the Wheat Kings came right back 10 seconds later to cut that lead in half on Stelio Mattheos’ (Carolina Hurricanes) 33rd goal of the season.

Krebs would restore the two-goal lead before the end of the period and then weathered the storm in the third that featured a goal from Luka Burzan to close the gap to one.

Matt Berlin was between the pipes for his second win in as many nights Saturday, stopping 19 of 21 shots. Logan Thompson stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

Moose Jaw Warriors (3) at Medicine Hat Tigers (5)
Moose Jaw (39-8-1-2) // Medicine Hat (26-19-6-0)

The league-leading Moose Jaw Warriors will have to wait another game for their chance to become the first 40-win club in the Western Hockey League.

David Quenneville (New York Islanders) scored twice and added an assist for the three-point night while James Hamblin, Mark Rassell, and Ryan Chyzowski each added a goal and an assist in the 5-3 win in a battle of division leaders.

WHL scoring leader Brayden Burke opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period, but the Tigers were ready to strike in the second. After Chyzowski and Tanner Jeannot traded goals, the Tigers received goals from Quenneville and Hamblin to take the lead after 40 minutes.

In the third, Rassell’s 42nd of the season features as the eventual game-winner while Ryan Peckford and an empty-net goal from Quenneville featured in the second half of the period.

Jordan Hollett stopped 33 of 36 shots for the victory while Adam Evanoff stopped 19 of 23 shots in the loss.

Ryan Jevne didn’t score, but still had himself a game with three assists. Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) had a pair of assists in the loss.

Portland Winterhawks (2) at Kamloops Blazers (4)
Portland (28-17-1-3) // Kamloops (23-23-1-2)

With back-to-back wins over the Portland Winterhawks on home ice, Don Hay of the Kamloops Blazers is now the winningest coach in WHL history.

Hay, a 63-year-old product of Kamloops, B.C., etched his name into the WHL history books Saturday night as his Blazers scored four unanswered goals to secure a 4-2 triumph over the visiting Winterhawks, marking the 743rd victory of the long-tenured coach’s illustrious career.

Falling behind 2-0 to the Winterhawks in the first period, matters weren’t looking good in favour of Hay’s Blazers in the early going. But second period strikes from Connor Zary and Luc Smith evened the score heading into the final 20 minutes of play, making for a nail-biting finish to the night at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.

Only 43 seconds into the final frame, veteran Quinn Benjafield notched his 17th of the campaign, putting the Blazers in front for the first time Saturday night.

Hanging on through a flurry of Portland opportunities, Smith eventually got free in the neutral zone before depositing his second of the night into an empty net, adding all the necessary insurance to lock down a new WHL record for his head coach.

Between the pipes, Dylan Ferguson made 32 saves to backstop the historic win.

The victory serves as the fifth in a row for the Blazers, as they clawed their way back to .500 in search of a WHL Western Conference wild card seed. As it stands, Kamloops is six points back of the Tri-City Americans for the second and final wild card position in the Western Conference.

With history made, Hay and his Blazers now hit the highway – as do the Winterhawks – for a third consecutive meeting, this one going Sunday evening (5 p.m. PT) in the Rose City.

Everett Silvertips (2) at Seattle Thunderbirds (3) — SO
Everett (31-16-1-2) // Seattle (26-17-4-2)

Whatever connection the Seattle Thunderbirds have with the shootout remains unknown, but for the time being they like it.

Saturday, it was the Everett Silvertips falling to the T-Birds in the shootout in Kent, Wash. as Austin Strand (Los Angeles Kings) had the lone goal through the first six shooters to deliver an extra point to his team’s playoff push.

Connor Dewar scored twice, including the only goal of the first to give the Silvertips a lead after 20 minutes. Blake Bargar evened up the game in the second and Matthew Wedman tied the game back up in the third after Dewar notched his second of the game and 25th of the season.

Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals) picked up a pair of assists in the game while Riley Sutter also found his way on the scoresheet with an assist.

Four different Thunderbirds players picked up helpers Saturday, including Noah Philp, Donovan Neuls, Nolan Volcan, and Zack Andrusiak.

Liam Hughes stood tall with 34 saves on 36 shots and three more in the shootout. Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 29 of 31 shots in the loss, earning a single point for the U.S. Division leaders.

Spokane Chiefs (4) at Tri-City Americans (5) — OT
Spokane (26-19-2-2) // Tri-City (24-16-7-0)

Dylan Coghlan’s (Vegas Golden Knights) first career WHL hat trick completed a furious comeback Saturday in overtime for the Tri-City Americans.

Down 4-1 to the Spokane Chiefs early in the second period of Saturday’s contest, the Americans reeled off four unanswered goals, including the game-tying goal and game-winning goal from the stick of Coghlan to pick up a much-needed two points.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings) had the only goal of the first period, but goals from Ethan McIndoe, Ty Smith, and Zach Fischer (Calgary Flames) created a three-goal lead for the Chiefs as Coghlan had the only goal in response for the Americans.

That would soon change as goals from Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) and Riley Sawchuk would pull Tri-City within a goal after 40 minutes, setting the stage for Coghlan to score the lone goal of the third and then win it in overtime.

Patrick Dea stopped 33 of 37 shots between the pipes Saturday to earn the victory while Dawson Weatherill made 26 saves on 31 shots in the narrow loss.

Calgary Hitmen (1) at Victoria Royals (4)
Calgary (15-27-5-1) // Victoria (29-17-3-1)

Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) and Tanner Kaspick (St. Louis Blues) each scored a pair of goals while Griffen Outhouse stopped 21 of 22 shots in a 4-1 victory Saturday on Vancouver Island.

Phillips and Kaspick each scored in the first and second period. Both first period goals came at even strength while the second period goals came on the power play as the Royals went 2-for-4 with the extra man against the Hitmen.

Luke Coleman’s 10th goal of the season from Jake Kryski and Riley Stotts was the only offence the Hitmen could muster Saturday. NickSchneider (Calgary Flames) stopped 18 of 22 shots.

Dean McNabb went between the pipes for the final 61 seconds of the contest, making two saves on two shots.

Tyler Soy (Anaheim Ducks) picked up three assists while Dante Hannoun, Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks), Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings) and Ralph Jarratt also picked up helpers.

The two-goal performance from Kaspick helped him surpass 50 goals for his WHL career as he also approaches the 200-game milestone for his WHL career. Phillips now sits two points shy of 250 for his WHL career after a similar effort Saturday. He sits six games away from 200 for his WHL career.


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