Three games on Wednesday’s WHL slate saw the league’s top goal-scorer build upon his lead as Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times in a Moose Jaw win.
The other two games of the evening proved nail-biting affairs as the Spokane Chiefs required overtime to get past the Kelowna Rockets while Brendan Semchuk scored late in regulation to give the Vancouver Giants a narrow win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Details, details, details…
Lethbridge Hurricanes (1) at Moose Jaw Warriors (4)
Lethbridge (20-15-3-2) // Moose Jaw (23-9-6-1)
Jayden Halbgewachs padded his WHL goal-scoring lead, notching a hat trick to fuel the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Rookie Luza Burzan continued his impressive rookie campaign, scoring his 10th goal of the season to open the scoring 6:05 into the first period. Halbgewachs doubled the Moose Jaw lead with his 32nd goal of the season 5:46 later.
Brennan Riddle replied for the Hurricanes, making it a 2-1 game after 40 minutes of play, but that’s as close as Lethbridge managed as Halbgewachs scored his 33rd and 34th goals of the season in the third period to complete the hat trick and ice the win for the Warriors.
With his Wednesday performance, Halbgewachs now has a six-goal lead on Michael Rasmussen, who sits second in the WHL goal-scoring race with 28 tallies. In the process, he pulled within four points of Sam Steel and Adam Brooks, who share the WHL’s overall scoring lead with 65 points apiece.
Not to be overlooked was a 41-save performance from Warriors goaltender Zach Sawchenko, who earned his 16th win of the season.
Both Brayden Burke and Brett Howden registered two assists for Moose Jaw.
HIGHLIGHTS: Moose Jaw (4) vs Lethbridge (1) January 4th https://t.co/LBuF5Ioa06
— Moose Jaw Warriors (@MJWARRIORS) January 5, 2017
Vancouver Giants (3) at Edmonton Oil Kings (2)
Vancouver (15-20-1-2) // Edmonton (18-17-3-1)
Ty Ronning scored a goal and an assist to help the Vancouver Giants secure a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday.
Ronning opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season before Adam Berg tied the game for Edmonton midway through the second period.
James Malm restored the Vancouver lead with a power-play goal 2:25 into the third period, before rookie Trey Fix-Wolansky hit the 10-goal plateau to tie the game only 48 seconds later.
With 3:33 to play in regulation, just when it looked like the game might be headed for overtime, Brendan Semchuk found the back of the net with his sixth goal of the campaign to give the Giants a 3-2 lead that held up until the final buzzer.
Ryan Kubic made 40 saves in earning his 13th win of the season.
Matt Barberis collected two helpers for the Giants.
GIANTS WIN!!! Giants visited the Oil Kings at Rogers Place for the second time this season and leave with 2-0 against the Edmonton team. Giants goals were scored by @tronn7 @jamesmalm14 & @semchuk27. Next road game is in Red Deer on Friday. Puck drops at 6:00pm #BeAGiant
A photo posted by Vancouver Giants (@whlgiants) on
Spokane Chiefs (3) at Kelowna Rockets (2) – OT
Spokane (16-16-5-1) // Kelowna (21-15-4-0)
Riley Woods scored the overtime winner 3:19 into the extra period of his first game with the Spokane Chiefs, giving his new club a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday.
Woods, acquired from the Regina Pats in the deal that sent Wyatt Sloboshan back to Saskatchewan, deposited his seventh of the season past Michael Herringer to give Spokane the win after a back-and-forth affair.
After a scoreless first period, the Chiefs took a 2-0 lead after Kailer Yamamoto and Tyson Helgesen scored 35 seconds apart midway through the second. Before the second period came to a close, Rodney Southam snuck a loose puck past Jayden Sittler to get the hosts on the board.
Late in the third period, Riley Stadel redirected a pass to the back of the cage, tying the game and ensuring Kelowna of at least one point.
Then it was Woods striking for his first as a Chief.
Sittler made 33 saves for his 10th win of the season, helping the Chiefs claw back to .500 on the year.
Rookie defenceman Ty Smith nabbed a pair of assists for the Chiefs, while veteran blueliner Lucas Johansen did the same on behalf of the Rockets.
GOAL! WELCOME TO THE SPOKANE CHIEFS RILEY WOODS! He wins it for Spokane as he beats Herringer 5 hole to make it 3-2 in OT for the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/qdPDc8UijX
— Spokane Chiefs (@spokanechiefs) January 5, 2017