WHL Roundup: Pats secure regular season title; Rebels clinch playoffs

Keith Hershmiller


The Regina Pats are 2017 WHL Regular Season Champions.

That much was determined Tuesday night, among other things, as seven games were scattered across the WHL.

The Red Deer Rebels secured a berth into the 2017 WHL Playoffs as they scored a big win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

In Langley, Matthew Phillips hit the 50-goal plateau, but it was the Vancouver Giants prevailing over the Victoria Royals courtesy a four-point effort from James Malm.

Let’s get down to business…

Swift Current Broncos (6) at Brandon Wheat Kings (3)
Swift Current (38-21-4-6) // Brandon (30-29-7-3)

The Swift Current Broncos converted on all three of their power-play opportunities en route to a 6-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Tuesday night.

Artyom Minulin and Tyler Steenbergen provided the first two goals with the man advantage, giving Speedy Creek a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. For Steenbergen, the marker served as his WHL-leading 51st of the season.

Tanner Kaspick and Nolan Patrick scored 37 seconds apart in the opening 63 ticks of the second period as the Wheat Kings knotted the affair. Riley Sotts and Lane Pederson replied for the Broncos, taking a 4-2 advantage into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play.

Glenn Gawdin made it a 5-2 game with his 25th goal of the season 6:32 into the third period before Ty Lewis’ 30th of the campaign brought the Wheat Kings back within two goals once again.

Arthur Miller found the back of the net, converting on the Broncos’ third power play of the night, to seal the scoring.

Taz Burman made 24 saves for his 17th win of the season.

Minulin (1G-1A), Steenbergen (1G-1A), Ryley Lindgren (2A), Pederson (1G-1A) and Conner Chaulk (3A) enjoyed big nights on the score sheet for Swift Current. Lewis (1G-1A) was the lone Wheat King to notch a multipoint effort.

The win keeps the Broncos within five points of the Moose Jaw Warriors for second place in the East Division. Swift Current has three games remaining in its regular season and a possible six points left to claim.

Edmonton Oil Kings (3) at Kootenay ICE (2) – OT
Edmonton (21-43-5-1) // Kootenay (14-43-10-2)

Colton Kehler scored 1:17 into overtime as the Edmonton Oil Kings claimed a 3-2 win over the Kootenay ICE Tuesday night.

After a scoreless first period, Brett Davis notched his 18th of the season 51 seconds into the second period to give Kootenay a 1-0 edge. Tyson Gruninger then tied the game with only 14 seconds to go in the middle period.

Jake Elmer restored the ICE lead 4:46 into the third period, scoring his seventh of the season before Davis Koch collected his 21st of the campaign to even the festivities once again.

Josh Dechaine made 20 saves for his second win of the season.

Red Deer Rebels (8) at Medicine Hat Tigers (3)
Red Deer (29-28-8-4) // Medicine Hat (49-20-1-0)

The Red Deer Rebels have secured a playoff berth, scoring three short-handed goals en route to an 8-3 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night.

Carrying a 3-2 lead into the third period, Brandon Hagel scored his second of the night and 27th of the season to give the Rebels a 4-2 advantage. That marker went on to stand as the eventual game-winner. From there, Austin Glover made it a 5-2 game before Evan Polei and Michael Spacek scored back-to-back short-handed goals only 20 seconds apart, giving Red Deer a commanding 7-2 lead.

Max Gerlach got one back for the home side, scoring his 33rd of the season on a power play, but Jordan Roy replied with his second of the game to round out the offense.

Lasse Petersen made 37 saves for his 17th win of the season.

Polei (1G-1A), Glover (1G-1A), Hagel (2G-2A), Spacek (1G-1A), Roy (2G), Matthew Campese (2A) and Jared Freadrich (3A) scored multipoint nights for the Rebels. Matt Bradley (1G-1A) and Gerlach (1G-1A) did the same on behalf of the Tigers.

The win locks the Rebels into the 2017 WHL Playoffs, holding 70 points through 69 games. The Calgary Hitmen are now the lone team capable of catching Red Deer, trailing by points. Both teams have three games remaining.

Prince Albert Raiders (3) at Moose Jaw Warriors (2) – OT
Prince Albert (20-43-5-2) // Moose Jaw (41-19-8-1)

Simon Stransky scored 1:29 into overtime as the Prince Albert Raiders edged the Moose Jaw Warriors by a 3-2 margin Tuesday night.

Overtime was necessary after Noah Gregor tied the game by scoring his 25th of the season with only 1:06 remaining in regulation.

Max Martin and Parker Kelly also scored for the Raiders, while Dmitri Zaitsev tallied the other goal for the Warriors.

Nicholas Sanders made 41 saves for his 10th win of the season.

Curtis Miske (2A) and Kelly (1G-1A) scored multipoint performances for Prince Albert.

Saskatoon Blades (4) at Regina Pats (5)
Saskatoon (27-34-7-2) // Regina (49-12-7-1)

The Regina Pats scored a come-from-behind victory, defeating the Saskatoon Blades 5-4 to claim the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as 2016-17 WHL Regular Season Champions Tuesday night.

The Pats fell behind 3-1 after the Blades got first period scoring from Caleb Fantillo, Dryden Michaud and Josh Paterson.

A three-goal effort from the Pats in the second period changed the pace. Jeff de Wit, Sam Steel and Josh Mahura scored to give Regina a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes and Connor Hobbs added his 29th of the year, using a power-play opportunity to extend the Pats lead.

A late goal from Michael Farren made for some nail-biting moments, but the Pats held on to collected their 49th win and 106th point of the campaign, ensuring no one else in the WHL will catch them over the final week of the regular season.

Tyler Brown made 22 saves for his 32nd win of the season.

Steel (1G-2A) continued to build upon his CHL scoring lead. The Anaheim Ducks prospect now has 127 points in 63 games and sits four points ahead of Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters (Ontario Hockey League). Hobbs (1G-1A) and Adam Brooks (3A) provided additional help on offense.

Fantillo (1G-1A) was the lone Blades to crack the multipoint mark.

While the Pats are well on their way to the 2017 WHL Playoffs, the Blades are in tough heading down the stretch. As it stands, Saskatoon is three points back of the Calgary Hitmen for the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. The Blades have two games left to play (vs. PA, at PA), while the Hitmen have three games remaining (at RD, at KTN, vs. KTN).

Portland Winterhawks (6) at Tri-City Americans (1)
Portland (39-27-1-3) // Tri-City (38-28-3-0)

Keegan Iverson scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Portland Winterhawks defeated the Tri-City Americans by a 6-1 score Tuesday night.

Skyler McKenzie, Iverson and Lane Gilliss scored in the first period to give the Winterhawks a commanding 3-0 lead. Jake Gricius added to the cushion in the second period before Kyle Olson hit the 20-goal plateau to get Tri-City on the board in the third period.

Iverson responded with his second of the night and Brett Clayton provided the final dagger.

Cole Kehler made 35 saves for his 31st win of the season.

Caleb Jones (2A), Ilijah Collins (2A), Iverson (2G) and McKenzie (1G-1A) helped pace the scoring for Portland.

The loss comes as the fifth consecutive defeat for the Americans, as they fall three points back of the Winterhawks for third in the U.S. Division. Portland has two games remaining, while Tri-City has three games to play.

Victoria Royals (3) at Vancouver Giants (5)
Victoria (37-27-5-1) // Vancouver (20-43-3-3)

Dressed sharper than ever, the Vancouver Giants knocked off the Victoria Royals by a 5-3 score on CHL on Sportsnet Tuesday night.

Donning specially-themed Don Cherry sweaters in support of the Kidney Foundation, the Giants led right from the get-go and didn’t look back as Brayden Watts opened the scoring 3:03 into the first period.

James Malm registered his 19th of the season midway through the second period to extend the lead before Matthew Phillips secured his 49th of the year only 10 seconds later.

Jordan Wharrie ensured the Giants took a two-goal lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes.

Phillips became the second WHL player to hit the 50-goal plateau this season, converting on a penalty shot only 1:16 into the third period and pulling the Royals back within striking distance once again.

But Ty Ronning replied 1:23 later, notching his 25th of the campaign. That marker went on to stand as the eventual game-winner as Blake Bargar once again got the Royals within a goal.

Malm hit the 20-goal plateau, securing his second tally of the night later in the period to add some insurance.

David Tendeck made 39 saves for his fifth win of the season.

Malm finished the night with four points (2G-2A), finding his way to the 50-point plateau in the process. Calvin Spencer (2A), Watts (1G-2A) and Johnny Wesley (2A) also contributed.

Phillips and his two strikes served as the lone multipoint performance on the Royals side of the equation.

The Royals remain one point ahead of the Tri-City Americans for the first wild card seed in the Western Conference. Victoria has two games to play, while Tri-City holds three.

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