WHL Roundup: Hughes and Farkas shine as Winterhawks rout Americans

Chris Relke/Dayne Fjord


Swift Current Broncos (6) at Calgary Hitmen (4)
Swift Current (45-14-4-1) // Calgary (19-35-5-2)

The Swift Current Broncos overcame a sluggish first period to win their 45th game of the season Tuesday afternoon against the Calgary Hitmen as a part of their BE BRAVE Anti-Bullying Game.

Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) had four assists and Colby Sissons (New Jersey Devils) added three helpers while captain Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) and Tyler Steenbergen (Arizona Coyotes) each added a goal and an assist.

The Hitmen owned the first period to the delight of the thousands of school-aged children in attendance with Jakob Stukel (Vancouver Canucks) and Riley Stotts finding the back of the net.

MacKenzie Wight would notch his first of the season, finishing off a scramble around the crease to get the Broncos on the board, but the Hitmen would restore their two-goal lead on a power play goal from Vladislav Yeryomenko before the period was out.

Special teams continued to play a factor in the Broncos’ comeback. After Jacson Alexander got the Broncos within one on an even-strength goal 8:16 into the period, Steenbergen scored his 44th of the season while short-handed to even up the game after 40 minutes.

Early in the third, Gawdin gave the Broncos their first lead of the game on the power play with his 55th of the season, only to find the score levelled minutes later by a short-handed goal from Carson Focht. The game would be decided minutes later on another Broncos’ power play as the 320th point of Giorgio Estephan’s WHL career was the game-winning goal, with Beck Malenstyn (Washington Capitals) adding the insurance marker minutes later.

Joel Hofer picked up the victory, stopping 18 of 19 shots in 40 minutes of action after replacing Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers). Nick Schneider (Calgary Flames) stopped 28 of 34 shots in the loss.

Dakote Krebs and Jake Kryski each had a pair of assists for the Hitmen Tuesday. Sissons played in his 200th career WHL game Tuesday. Heponiemi moved into a temporary tie for second place in the WHL scoring race with 109 points (26G-83A) with Brayden Burke still set to take to the ice later in the day.

With the Broncos leading 2-1 in the season series, both clubs will meet for the final time this season Wednesday, March 7 (7:00 p.m. CST) in Swift Current.

The win helped the Broncos move back into a tie with the Warriors for first place in the Eastern Conference and East Division, though the Warriors still hold the advantage due to fewer games played.

Medicine Hat Tigers (5) at Edmonton Oil Kings (2)
Medicine Hat (32-24-8-0) // Edmonton (18-37-6-2)

As the Edmonton Oil Kings held their ninth annual Hockey Hooky event Tuesday, the Medicine Hat Tigers spoiled the party, earning a 5-2 victory in Alberta’s capital.

Mark Rassell scored a pair of goals for his ninth multi-goal game this season while Dylan MacPherson added a pair of assists and Michael Bullion stopped 34 of 36 shots to help the Tigers improve to 6-3-1-0 in their last 10 games.

Goals from Rassell and Jaegar White bookended Trey Fix-Wolansky’s 27th goal of the season in the first period. Carter Souch managed to tie up the game near the midway point of the second period, but it was all Tigers from there on out. Goals from Ryan Jevne and Rassell’s second of the game came later in the second and Josh Williams struck on the power play in the third for his eighth of the season to round out the scoring.

The Tigers also recieved contributions of a single assist from Hayden Ostir, Elijah Brown, Gary Haden, Tyler Preziuso, Dalton Gally and Ryan Chyzowski.

Wyatt McLeod, Ethan Cap, and Matthew Robertson had the assists for Edmonton in the loss. Boston Bilous stopped 31 of 36 shots. Both clubs will meet for the final time this season at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat on Friday, March 9 (7:30 p.m. MST).

The win gave the Tigers 72 points on the season, moving them six points clear of the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the lead in the Central Division.

Brandon Wheat Kings (2) at Prince Albert Raiders (6)
Brandon (33-25-3-2) // Prince Albert (27-25-9-2)

The Prince Albert Raiders pulled themselves into a tie with the Saskatoon Blades for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with a 6-2 win at home against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

In his 250th WHL game, captain Curtis Miske had a goal and three points while Jordy Stallard (Winnipeg Jets) became the 10th WHL player to reach 40 goals this season. Ty Lewis (Colorado Avalanche) opened the scoring, but the Raiders responded quickly with goals from Kody McDonald and Vojtech Budik (Buffalo Sabres) to lead 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Cole Fonstad and Lewis traded goals in the early part of the second, but the Raiders turned on the later part of the second and the third. Miske scored late in the middle period and goals from Stallard and Max Martin rounded out the scoring.

Budik and Fonstad each added assists for multi-point efforts, bringing Fonstad to 63 points (19G-43A).

Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) made 21 saves for the win while Logan Thompson stopped 36 shots in the loss.

The Blades and Raiders are now tied at 65 points with each having nine games remaining. The Wheat Kings remained in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Blades and Raiders.

Moose Jaw Warriors (3) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (4)
Moose Jaw (46-13-1-2) // Lethbridge (31-25-6-0)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes did themselves and the Swift Current Broncos a favour Tuesday, doubling up the Moose Jaw Warriors by a 4-2 score.

Up 2-0 against the Warriors, the Hurricanes gave up three straight goals, but a late score from Dylan Cozens helped to keep the Hurricanes on top.

Keltie Jeri-Leon and Taylor Ross scored the only goals of the first period to put Lethbridge up by a pair, but Moose Jaw responded with a goal from Tristin Langan in the second to cut the lead to one after 40 minutes. Early in the third, the Warriors went to work again, with Jett Woo and Justin Almeida scoring 40 seconds apart to put Moose Jaw on top for the first time in the game.

The Hurricanes would find an answer 10 minutes later from Egor Zudilov followed by Cozens’ game-winner, his 20th of the season, with 1:34 to go in the game.

Logan Flodell stopped 37 shots, hanging on for the win in the tight one-goal victory. Brody Willms took the loss, making 16 saves on 20 shots.

Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens) tallied a pair of assists while Brayden Burke, Brett Howden (New York Rangers), and Jayden Halbgewachs (San Jose Sharks), and Tate Popple picked up assists for the Warriors. Burke moved back into sole possession of second place in the WHL scoring race with his helper.

The win helped the Hurricanes keep pace with the Tigers in the Central Division, also approaching the cusp of clinching one of the five playoff spots still unconfirmed in the conference. For the Warriors, Tuesday’s loss handed them their 13th regulation loss of the season.

Kelowna Rockets (1) at Prince George Cougars (4)
Kelowna (38-19-4-2) // Prince George (21-33-4-4)

Even with a 24-point gap between the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars, there’s a reason you still play the games for 60 full minutes.

Tuesday on home ice, the Cougars snapped a three-game winless streak with a 4-1 win over the Rockets, taking down the B.C. Division leaders.

Joal Lakusta had a goal and an assist, Brogan O’Brien and Jared Bethune each had a pair of assists and Taylor Gauthier stopped 20 of 21 shots to deny the Rockets a chance at extending their division lead to nine points.

Erik Gardiner and Vladislav Mikhalchuk traded goals in the first period before the Cougars turned on the offensive jets in the second for three goals. Austin Crossley’s second goal of the season came 3:20 into the second period and was followed up later by goals from Josh Maser and Lakusta to build a three-goal cushion.

Brodan Salmond stopped 12 of 16 shots while James Ported stopped both shots sent his way.

Portland Winterhawks (9) at Tri-City Americans (0)
Portland (38-20-1-3) // Tri-City (32-22-7-1)

The Portland Winterhawks were firing on all cylinders Tuesday night on both sides of the puck.

Ryan Hughes had a pair of goals and five points, surpassing the 100-point plateau in his WHL career while Kieffer Bellows (New York Islands) added a pair of goals and Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks) added a goal and three points.

If the offensive showing wasn’t enough, Shane Farkas was on his game between the pipes, stopping all 37 shots for his second career WHL shutout to hold the Americans off the board.

Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights), captain Keoni Texeira, and Reece Newkirk each had a goal and an assists while Conor MacEachern had a pair of helpers. The Winterhawks rolled to their victory with three goals in the first, four in the second, and two in the third.

Texeira recorded his 100th career WHL assist in the game as well. Farkas faced 11 shots in the first, 15 in the second, and 11 more in the third. Patrick Dea and Beck Warm combined for 33 saves in the contest. Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes) led all Americans skaters with seven shots.

Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Winterhawks moved three points up on the Spokane Chiefs for second in the U.S. Division. The Americans saw their three-game winning streak snapped in the game and had their lead over the Seattle Thunderbirds for the first wild card spot cut to five points.

Vancouver Giants (4) at Seattle Thunderbirds (5) — OT
Vancouver (32-21-6-3) // Seattle (29-24-7-2)

Zack Andrusiak scored 34 seconds into overtime Tuesday, completing his hat trick and a wild comeback by the Seattle Thunderbirds against the Vancouver Giants.

After opening the scoring Tuesday, Andrusiak watched his squad fall behind by a 4-1 score 6;55 into the second, but helped breathe life into the comeback.

The Giants were rolling after Andrusiak’s goal, with Tyler Popwich, Tyler Benson (Edmonton Oilers), Ty Ronning (New York Rangers), and James Malm finding the back of the net in a 10:31 span between the first two periods.

There was no quit in the T-Birds Tuesday night though as they fought to improve their playoff odds. First, Nikita Malukhin scored to cut the deficit to two after 40 minutes.

In the third, Andrusiak and Nolan Volcan scored to force overtime. Put on the power play just 18 seconds into the extra period Tuesday, Andrusiak took all of 16 seconds to lift Seattle to their victory. Donovan Neuls didn’t score in the game, but was influential in the final score, picking up assists on Seattle’s last four goals in the contest.

Liam Hughes stopped 24 of 28 shots to hold on for the victory. David Tendeck stopped 35 of 40 shots in the loss.

The win helped the Thunderbirds cut the gap between them and the Tri-City Americans to five points. The overtime loss gave the Giants a single point, bringing them within two points of the Victoria Royals for second in the B.C. Division.

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