WHL Roundup: Kehler’s overtime goal suits Oil Kings in comeback win

Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings


Prince Albert Raiders (5) at Swift Current Broncos (4) – SO
Prince Albert (28-25-9-2) // Swift Current (45-14-4-2)

The Prince Albert Raiders scored three unanswered goals in regulation, forcing overtime before knocking off the Swift Current Broncos in a shootout. The win served as the fifth in a row for the Raiders as they laid claim to sole possession of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting two points ahead of the Saskatoon Blades.

The Broncos scored twice in the first period and twice more in the second period, bringing an early end to the night for Raiders starting goaltender Ian Scott, who surrendered three goals by the time was 25 minutes old.

Broncos overage forward Giorgio Estephan burned Scott once and then managed to beat his relief, Curtis Meger, to put Speedy Creek out front 4-1.

Despite trailing by three goals, the Raiders night wasn’t over.

A second period strike from Brayden Pachal pulled the visitors within two goals heading into the third period.

With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Vojtech Budik converted on a power play to make it a one-goal game. With only 66 seconds to go, Jordy Stallard struck for his 41st goal of the campaign, tying the game 4-4 and forcing overtime.

With nothing solved through three-on-three action, a shootout was required. Regan Nagy and Parker Kelly put two goals past Stuart Skinner, securing the bonus point for Prince Albert.

Curtis Meger came on in relief of Ian Scott and made 22 saves plus two more in the skills competition to backstop his club to victory.

Lethbridge Hurricanes (5) at Saskatoon Blades (3)
Lethbridge (32-25-6-0) // Saskatoon (31-30-2-1)

Jake Elmer registered three points, including two goals, as the Lethbridge Hurricanes skated to a 5-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades Friday evening.

Hurricanes forward Taylor Ross chipped in with two goals as well. Captain Jordy Bellerive had himself a multipoint performance, collecting a goal and an assist in the win.

A 2-2 game after 40 minutes of play, Bellerive struck shorthanded for his 44th goal of the year to put the Hurricanes ahead 3-2. Then it was Eric Florchuk notching his 14th goal of the season, knotting the affair on behalf of the Blades.

But Elmer was just getting started.

With 5:39 to go in regulation, the product of Calgary, Alta. found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season before depositing his second of the night into an empty net to seal the deal.

Logan Flodell turned aside 43 of the 46 shots sent his way, collecting his 37th victory of the season and 13th in 19 games since coming to Lethbridge from the Swift Current Broncos.

The win goes into the books as the third straight for the Hurricanes as they pulled to within two points of the Medicine Hat Tigers for first place in the Central Division.

Moose Jaw Warriors (2) at Brandon Wheat Kings (4)
Moose Jaw (47-14-1-2) // Brandon (34-25-3-2)

Ty Lewis struck for a hat trick, leading the Brandon Wheat Kings to a critical 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday night.

The Wheat Kings built a commanding 3-0 lead with Lewis registering his 37th goal of the season to start off the festivities. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos made it a 2-0 game before Lewis got back in on the action, giving the host Wheat Kings a 3-0 advantage with only 5:09 to go in the first period.

Barrett Sheen ensured the Warriors weren’t blanked in the opening 20 minutes of play, notching his fifth goal of the campaign 39 seconds after Lewis collected his second of the night.

After a scoreless second period, Justin Almeida pulled the Warriors back within one on a power play, finding the scoresheet for the 37th time this season.

Only a few minutes later, Lewis restored the Wheaties two-goal edge, scoring his third of the night to earn his first hat trick of the 2017-18 campaign.

Wheat Kings netminder Logan Thompson turned away 41 of the 43 shots he faced to earn his 28th win.

The triumph boosted Brandon past the Regina Pats and into third place in the East Division.

Kootenay ICE (4) at Red Deer Rebels (5) — SO
Kootenay (25-37-3-1) // Red Deer (24-28-10-3)

With playoff implications surrounding Friday’s meeting between the Kootenay ICE and Red Deer Rebels, both teams came away with something to show for their efforts.

The ICE fought back in the third to erase a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes, but fell in a shootout as the Rebels continued their red-hot place against the Central Division to move up in the standings.

Alex Morozoff opened the scoring for the home side Friday night, but the ICE responded with Colton Kehler’s 13th of the season to keep the game tied after 20 minutes.

In the second, Mason McCarty scored his 35th of the season and Reese Johnson added his 21st of the season to help the Rebels take a 3-1 lead, but the ICE cut the lead to one before the end of the period on Michael Kings’ eighth tally of the 2017-18 campaign.

The ICE found the strength to erase a one-goal deficit twice in the third period. First, Colton Veloso notched his 24th of the season to tie up the game, but Chris Douglas put the Rebels ahead once again as the teams traded goals 74 seconds apart. Kootenay have a response to that goal in the final minute as Brett Davis (Dallas Stars) scored his 24th of the season, forcing overtime.

Things would progress to a shootout, where McCarty’s goal in the second round of the shootout would end up as the only one after all three ICE players missed and Kristian Reichel was denied on Red Deer’s first attempt.

WHL Goaltender of the Month Riley Lamb stopped 27 of 31 shots for the victory. Matt Berlin turned aside 13 of 17 shots. Brandon Hagel (Buffalo Sabres) and Peyton Krebs each added a pair of assists in the contest for their respective sides.

With the win, the Rebels are now seven points clear of the ICE for third place in the Central Division.

Calgary Hitmen (3) at Edmonton Oil Kings (4) — OT
Calgary (19-35-7-2) // Edmonton (19-37-6-2)

On a night when the Edmonton Oil Kings donned stylish uniforms, they put on a stylish show for their fans, pulling off a third period comeback to win in overtime on captain Colton Kehler’s 27th goal of the season.

The Hitmen charged out to a 3-0 lead by the early minutes of the second with goals from Zach Huber, his first in the WHL, Jake Kryski, and Jakob Stukel (Vancouver Canucks). Trey Fix-Wolansky responded minutes later through with a short-handed goal to cut the Hitmen’s lead to two after 40 minutes.

In the third, Kobe Mohr notched the ninth goal of his season 2:17 into the period and Tomas Soustal evened up the game with 35 seconds to go, sending things to overtime, where Kehler scored 18 seconds into the extra period.

Josh Dechaine stopped 26 shots for the victory, including making all six saves in the third as the Oil Kings got back into the game. Nick Schneider (Calgary Flames) stopped 25 of 29 shots in the loss.

Fix-Wolansky finished the game with four points, a goal and three assists. David Kope, Conner McDonald, and Matthew Robertson added the other assists for Edmonton.

Vancouver Giants (1) at Kamloops Blazers (5)
Vancouver (32-22-6-3) // Kamloops (29-32-1-4)

Luc Smith had a pair of goals and an assist while Dylan Ferguson (Vegas Golden Knights) stopped 30 of 31 shots as the Kamloops Blazers downed the visiting Vancouver Giants by a 5-1 final.

Ryley Appelt and Connor Zary had the Blazers up 2-0 after 40 minutes and Smith added his 18th of the season 40 seconds into the third to build up a three-goal lead. Ty Ronning (New York Rangers) would answer back briefly for the Giants with his 55th goal of the season, but goals 122 seconds apart from Smith and Brady Reagan rounded out the scoring in the game.

Jermaine Loewen didn’t score in the game, but did add a pair of assists in the victory. Devan Harrison, Justin Sigrist, Travis Walton, Orrin Centazzo, Nolan Kneen, and Carson Denomie all contributed a single assist to aid in the victory. Regan added an assist as well to finish with a multi-point game.

James Malm and Bowen Byram had the assists for the Giants while David Tendeck stopped 31 of 36 shots in the loss. Despite the victory, the Blazers remained six points back of the Seattle Thunderbirds for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Seattle Thunderbirds (5) at Portland Winterhawks (4) — SO 
Seattle (30-24-7-2) // Portland (38-20-1-4)

Zack Andrusiak had a pair of goals and four points, Noah Philp had a goal and three points and Donovan Neuls added a goal and an assist, but the Seattle Thunderbirds needed extra time to defeat the Portland Winterhawks in a shootout Friday.

The T-Birds dominated the first 40 minutes, receiving both goals from Andrusiak and Neuls’ 21st of the season while Ty Kolle had the lone Portland goal to keep Seattle’s lead at two after 40 minutes.

The tide temporarily changed in the third as the Winterhawks reeled off goals from Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights), Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks) and Ryan Hughes to take their only lead of the game, forcing Philp to come through in the clutch late in the period and tie up the game.

After overtime solved nothing between the two clubs, things headed to a shootout, where Philp and Andrusiak scored to win it for Seattle.

Liam Hughes stopped 36 of 40 shots for the win while Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) stopped 29 of 33 in the loss.

The win helped the Thunderbirds move within four points of the Tri-City Americans for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference while the Winterhawks’ loss kept them eight points back of the Everett Silvertips for first in the U.S. Division.

Victoria Royals (1) at Prince George Cougars (2) — OT
Victoria (35-24-4-2) // Prince George (23-33-4-4)

The Victoria Royals were still able to pull away a silver lining from Friday’s overtime loss to the Prince George Cougars.

Ryan Schoettler’s goal 4:04 into the extra period lifted the Cougars to their 23rd victory of the season in front of their home fans Friday, but the Royals clinched a playoff spot with the single point.

Joel Lakusta’s eighth of the season and Noah Gregor’s (San Jose Sharks) 26th of the season were the only goals in regulation, coming in a 3:07 span during the early third period.

Brogan O’Brien, Jackson Leppard, Josh Curtis, and Aaron Boyd had the assists for Prince George. Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) and Tyler Soy (Anaheim Ducks) had the assists for Victoria.

Taylor Gauthier stopped 32 of 33 shots for the victory while Griffen Outhouse stopped 36 of 38 shots in the narrow loss.

Spokane Chiefs (5) at Tri-City Americans (4) – OT
Spokane (37-21-3-2) // Tri-City (32-22-8-1)

Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored with 1:09 remaining in overtime as the Spokane Chiefs skated to a fourth straight win with a 5-4 triumph over the Tri-City Americans Friday night.

The winning effort rounded out a multipoint effort for Anderson-Dolan, who also added an assist.

The Chiefs were able to force overtime after Jake McGrew scored his 17th goal of the season 5:35 into the third period, tying the game 4-4.

Ethan McIndoe, Dalton Hamaliuk and Filip Kral also scored for Spokane, while Dawson Weatherill fought off 36 of the 40 shots sent his direction.

On the other side of the equation, the Americans received scoring from Jordan Topping, Dylan Coghlan, and Morgan Geekie, who tallied twice.

The win moved Spokane within two points of the Portland Winterhawks for second in the WHL’s U.S. Division, while a single point ensured the Americans held a four-point lead over the Seattle Thunderbirds for the first wild card seed in the Western Conference.

Kelowna Rockets (2) at Everett Silvertips (4)
Kelowna (38-21-4-2) // Everett (42-18-2-3)

If there’s one team that could score four unanswered goals against the Kelowna Rockets, it’s the Everett Silvertips.

The best team in the Western Conference did just that Friday at home for their 42nd victory of the season. Carsen Tawrynski (Philadelphia Flyers) and Kole Lind (Vancouver Canucks) had the Rockets up 2-0 by the 5:17 mark of the second period.

Answering back in the later portion of the second was Silvertips captain Matt Fonteyne who pulled Everett within a goal after 40 minutes. In the third, Patrick Bajkov tied up the game 11:39 into the final period with his 29th of the season while Connor Dewar added his 33rd and 34th goals of the season to add to the victory.

Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 22 of 24 shots for the win while Brodan Salmond stopped 36 of 40 in the loss.

Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals) added a pair of assists while Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames) had a single helper for the Rockets. Riley Sutter, Sean Richards, and Wyatte Wylie had assists for the Silvertips while Fonteyne added a helper for the multi-point game.

With the victory, the Silvertips are now seven points clear of the Rockets for the best record in the conference. Both teams still lead their respective divisions.

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