WHL Roundup: Royals keep B.C. Division title dreams alive with weekend sweep of Cougars

Jonathon Howe/Victoria Royals


Brandon Wheat Kings (3) at Moose Jaw Warriors (5)
Brandon (37-27-3-2) // Moose Jaw (51-14-1-2)

The Moose Jaw Warriors are on the cusp of claiming the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy following a 5-3 result over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, extending their winning streak to four games at the same time.

Vince Loschiavo scored twice in the contest while Jayden Halbgewachs (San Jose Sharks) tallied a goal and two assists to move one point ahead of Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) for the WHL’s scoring lead with 125 points on the campaign.

Loschiavo’s goals gave the Warriors a 2-0 advantage after the first period, but goals from Gunnar Wegleitner and Rylan Bettens tied up the game 5:56 into the third.

That tie would last for all of 16 seconds though as the Warriors marched right back down the ice and Halbgewachs tallied his 68th of the season to put the Warriors back on top.

Caiden Daley tied the game up in the second half of the period, but the Warriors found a way to prevail thanks to late goals from Ryan Peckford and Tanner Jeannot.

Brody Willms finished with 18 saves to earn the victory, his 36th of the season. Dylan Myskiw took the loss for the Wheat Kings.

The win gave the Warriors 105 points with four games left to play, five points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos who have 100 points with three games left to play in their season. With the loss, the Wheat Kings now sit three points behind the Regina Pats for third in the East Division with each team having three games left to play.

Warriors captain Brett Howden (New York Rangers) added a pair of assists in the victory to surpass 150 helpers for his WHL career.

Prince George Cougars (3) at Victoria Royals (4) 
Prince George (23-37-5-4) // Victoria Royals (39-25-4-2)

The Victoria Royals kept their B.C. Division title hopes alive Sunday afternoon at home with a 4-3 win over their Prince George Cougars, earning the Royals their 20th one-goal victory of the season.

Royals captain Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) led his side with a pair of goals, including the game-winning goal with 6:52 left in the third period.

Aaron Boyd opened the scoring with his 13th of the season, but the Royals responded with goals from Tarun Fizer and Phillips’ first of the game. The Cougars would respond to tie up the game before the end of the period though with Joel Lakusta’s ninth of the season.

The only goal of the second period came later on as Jackson Leppard scored with 58 seconds to go in the frame to give the Cougars an edge heading to the third.

It would be  day that belonged to the Royals though as goals from Igor Martynov and Phillips’ second of the game secured the victory.

Griffen Outhouse stopped 33 of 36 shots for the win, breaking his own franchise record for wins in a season with his 36th triumph of the season. Tavin Grant turned aside 30 shots in the loss.

As he became the Royals’ franchise leader for games played, Tyler Soy (Anaheim Ducks) added a pair of assists, earning the 175th helper of his WHL career. Brogan O’Brien and Jared Bethune each had a pair of assists for the Cougars in the loss.

The win helped the Royals cut their deficit in the division race to the Kelowna Rockets down to three points with two games remaining in their regular season with the Rockets having an extra game to play in their schedule.

Kootenay ICE (3) at Edmonton Oil Kings (4) — OT
Kootenay (25-38-5-1) // Edmonton (20-41-6-2)

The Edmonton Oil Kings and Kootenay ICE played a spirited affair on Fan Appreciation Day at Rogers Place in Alberta’s capital, with Wyatt McLeod sending the fans home happy following his overtime-winner.

Trey Fix-Wolansky added a goal and three points while Cameron Hausinger forced overtime with a late third period goal, finishing with a multi-point effort for the ICE.

Conner McDonald and Blake Allen’s first career WHL goal came minutes apart in the first period. The ICE temporarily took the lead in the second on Martin Bodak’s seventh of the season, but Fix-Wolansky and Brett Kemp would respond later on in the period to keep the Oil Kings ahead after 40 minutes.

With the game counting down in the final minute, the ICE finally broke through for the tying goal as Hausinger’s 19th of the season beat Josh Dechaine to force overtime, with McLeod’s winner coming 3:37 into the extra period.

Dechaine finished with 36 saves on 39 shots. Duncan McGovern stopped 25 of 29 shots while picking up a single point for the ICE.

Tomas Soustal and Scott Atkinson each had a pair of assists for the Oil Kings in the win.

Everett Silvertips (0) at Portland Winterhawks (2) 
Everett (45-19-2-3) // Portland (43-21-1-4)

The Portland Winterhawks are still alive in the race for the U.S. Division title following a 2-0 blanking of the Everett Silvertips Sunday at home.

Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) stopped all 28 shots directed at him in the game while Brendan De Jong (Carolina Hurricanes) and Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) found the back of the net for the Winterhawks.

De Jong’s goal came in the first while Jokiharju added the insurance goal in the third.

Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 28 of 31 shots in the loss as the Silvertips saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals), Patrick Bajkov (Florida Panthers), Connor Dewar and Jake Christiansen finished tied for the team lead with four shots each for the Silvertips.

Kehler’s shutout was his fourth of the season, sixth of his career, and helped him improve to 3-0-0-1 in his last four starts.

Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights) had a pair of assists while Ty Kolle and Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings) also contributed helpers in the victory.

Portland’s victory closed the gap on Everett to four points with both teams having three games left to play in the regular season.

Vancouver Giants (3) at Tri-City Americans (4)
Vancouver (35-25-6-3) // Tri-City (35-24-8-1)

Ty Ronning (New York Rangers) tallied his 16th multi-goal game of the season Sunday, but the Tri-City Americans were too much for the Vancouver Giants in a 4-3 defeat.

Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes) and Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes) bookended Ronning’s first of the game to keep the score 2-1 in favour of the Americans after 20 minutes.

Ronning’s second of the game made up that one-goal deficit 32 seconds into the middle period, but goals 23 seconds apart late in the period from Ams captain Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) and Riley Sawchuk quickly established a two-goal cushion for the home side.

James Malm would score late in the third period, making things close during the final two minutes, but that’s as close as the Giants would come.

It was Patrick Dea earning the victory Sunday, stopping 37 of 40 shots from the Giants. David Tendeck stopped 36 of 40 shots in the defeat.

For the Americans, they extended their winning streak to three games, perfectly wedging themselves five points behind the Spokane Chiefs for third in the U.S. Division and five points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the wild card battle.

The Giants still have a shot at claiming home-ice advantage in the first round of the WHL playoffs, but will need some help in order to leapfrog the Victoria Royals in the standings.

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