A nine-game schedule Friday in Western Hockey League pre-season action brought teams a day closer to the regular season while the battle for roster spots and starting jobs continued across the league.
Portland Winterhawks (8) at Kootenay ICE (3)
Portland (3-2-0-0) // Kootenay (0-2-0-0)
The Winterhawks’ offence took the lead for the second straight day at the Toyota Centre in Kennewick, Wash., downing the ICE with eight even-strength goals.
Brad Ginnell scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, while three other Winterhawks players had multi-point games in the victory.
The Winterhawks struck first, only to be put on the defensive after two goals 46 seconds apart from Max Patterson and Barrett Sheen of the ICE. Evening things up before the end of the period, Portland then tallied three goals in the second and three more in the third. Colton Kroeker added a late goal for the ICE.
Evan Fradette made 38 saves on 41 shots to earn his first victory of the pre-season while Jesse Makaj took the loss after surrendering eight goals on 29 shots.
The Winterhawks wrap up their pre-season schedule Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels. The ICE play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds looking for their first win of the pre-season.
Spokane Chiefs (6) at Seattle Thunderbirds (7) (SO)
Spokane (2-1-0-2) // Seattle (1-3-0-0)
For the second time in as many days, the Chiefs came out on the losing end of a shootout against a divisional opponent, falling to the Thunderbirds.
Matthew Wedman had a hat trick and Zack Andrusiak had a goal and an assist for the Thunderbirds while Jake Lee picked up a pair of assists as well. Eight other Seattle skaters picked up a point in the contest.
Taylor Ross answered back with a hat trick for the Chiefs, Rkyr Cole had a goal and an assist and Eli Zummack tallied a pair of assists in the loss.
The difference came in the shootout though, with Wedman and Andrusiak scoring on Donovan Buskey while Ross and Carter Chorney were denied by Matt Berlin, who made 32 saves in the victory.
Up next for the Thunderbirds is an early Saturday game against the Kootenay ICE while the Chiefs take on the Tri-City Americans Saturday evening.
Regina Pats (2) at Brandon Wheat Kings (4)
Regina (2-1-0-0) // Brandon (1-0-0-0)
Three power play goals helped the Wheat Kings double up their East Division opponents in their pre-season opener Friday.
Kade Jensen got the game-winner as part of a three-point game. Ben McCartney, Connor Gutenberg and Gunnar Wegleitner also scored for the Wheat Kings. Garrett Sambrook had a pair of assists in the contest. Ethan Kruger played the full game for the Wheat Kings, making 30 saves on 32 shots.
Koby Morrisseau and Jeff de Wit notched goals for the Pats. Tyler Brown made seven saves on 10 shots while Kurtis Chapman made 20 saves on 21 shots between the pipes.
The two teams will now complete the home-and-home series Saturday evening at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Sask. for their next pre-season contest.
Swift Current Broncos (3) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (6)
Swift Current (1-3-0-0) // Lethbridge (1-2-0-0)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes broke up their scoring into pairs over all three periods as they doubled up the visiting Swift Current Broncos at the Enmax Centre.
Tanner Nagel had a pair of goals and a three-point game while four other players tallied goals for the Hurricanes. Callen Addison, Egor Zudilov, Ryan Vandervlis and Brendan Stafford scored in the first win for the Hurricanes this pre-season.
Aleksi Heponiemi and Logan Barrage each had a goal and an assist in the game. Owen Blocker added another goal for the Broncos.
In net, Adam Swan picked up the win with 21 saves on 24 shots. Tax Burman took the loss while making 33 saves.
The two teams will complete the home-and-home series Sunday in Swift Current, Sask. as the pre-season finale for the Broncos.
Prince Albert Raiders (3) at Saskatoon Blades (2)
Prince Albert (1-1-0-0) // Saskatoon (2-2-0-0)
Sean Montgomery scored a pair of goals late in the third period to life the Raiders over the Blades Friday in the second of three pre-season meetings between the two clubs.
Carson Miller notched the opening goal for the Raiders in the first period, followed by a tally for the Blades from Seth Bafaro early into the second period.
That was all the scoring until Montgomery lit the lamp just past the midway mark of the third period followed by his second of the night five minutes later. Josh Paterson made things interesting for the Blades, scoring with 55 seconds left, but the Raiders held off the charge.
Curtis Meger made 20 saves in the contest for the Raiders to get the win. Joel Grzybowski made nine saves on 11 shots and Nolan Maier made 17 saves on 18 shots in his time between the pipes.
The two teams conclude their trio of pre-season matchups Saturday in Warman, Sask.
Edmonton Oil Kings (2) at Calgary Hitmen (3)
Edmonton (0-3-0-0) // Calgary (1-2-0-0)
A pair of goals from Tristen Nielsen propelled the Hitmen to a victory over their rivals from Edmonton Friday evening at Winsport Arena.
Nielsen opened the scoring and then capped it off with a late third period goal to deliver the victory after a comeback bid by the Oil Kings. Andrei Grishakov also scored for the Hitmen while Brett Kemp and Wyatt McLeod answered for the Oil Kings.
Connor Dochuk stood tall in net, making 27 saves while the tandem of Josh Dechaine and Liam Hughes consumed to saves 22 of 25 shots.
The two squads meet Sunday in Edmonton for a rematch.
Prince George Cougars (3) at Vancouver Giants (7)
Prince George (2-1-0-0) // Vancouver (3-1-0-0)
A five-goal explosion in the second period helped the Vancouver Giants take down the Prince George Cougars Friday.
James Malm had a hat trick and four points to lead the Giants. Cyle McNabb, Owen Hardy, Brayden Watts and Milos Roman also scored in the victory. Bowen Byram and Kaleb Bulych each had a pair of assists in the contest. For the Cougars, Chance Adrian, Max Kryski and Marco Mazza scored in the loss.
David Tendeck saved all 12 shots he faced while Trent Miner made 12 saves on 15 shots for the Giants. Isaiah DiLaura made 26 saves on 31 shots while Brock Hamm made 12 saves on 14 shots for the Cougars.
The Giants host the Victoria Royals Saturday as part of a pre-season tournament at the Langley Events Centre. The Cougars will remain in the Lower Mainland, hosting the Everett Silvertips Saturday afternoon.
Kamloops Blazers (0) at Kelowna Rockets (1)
Kamloops (1-2-0-0) // Kelowna (2-0-1-0)
For the second straight pre-season game, the Kelowna Rockets got the best of the Kamloops Blazers at Prospera Place.
James Hilsendager scored the lone goal of the game in the final minute on the power play to keep the Rockets undefeated in regulation throughout the pre-season. Leif Mattson and Colum McGauley picked up assist on the goal.
Cody Porter and James Porter combined for a 32-save shutout. Max Palaga’s surrendered one goal on 20 shots faced throughout the contest.
The Rockets close out their pre-season schedule Saturday at the McArthur Island Sport Centre in Kamloops.
Red Deer Rebels (3) at Tri-City Americans (2)
Red Deer (3-0-0-0) // Calgary (3-1-1-0)
The Red Deer Rebels used a early third period goal from Austin Schellenberg to squeak out a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans.
Jacob Herauf and Austin Pratt also scored for the Rebels while Connor Bouchard and Kaden Kohle responded for the Americans.
The Americans took the lead in the early portion of the first and second periods, but were followed up with goals from the Rebels each time before Red Deer went ahead for good in the third.
Riley Lamb made 22 saves while Patrick Dea turned aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced.
The Rebels will serve as the home team Saturday when they face the Portland Winterhawks. The Americans will host the Spokane Chiefs Saturday to continue their pre-season schedule.
Saturday will be another busy day in the league, with nine more pre-season games scheduled.