WHL Roundup: Royals pour on offence in weekend sweep of Hitmen

Jonathon Howe/Victoria Royals


Swift Current Broncos (4) at Regina Pats (1)
Swift Current (35-12-3-1) // Regina (25-22-5-0)

The Swift Current Broncos aided their pursuit of first place in the East Division Sunday, completing a sweep of a home-and-home against the Regina Pats with a 4-1 victory.

Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers) stopped 41 of 42 shots for his second victory in as many days over the Pats and captain Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) notched his 40th goal of the season to become the fourth member of the 90-point club this season.

Beck Malenstyn and Matteo Gennaro had the only goals through the first 40 minutes as Skinner turned aside all 25 shots by the Pats. The Broncos would add to their lead in the third as Gennaro found Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) for Swift Current’s third goal of the game 5:31 into the final period.

The Pats would get on the scoreboard 91 seconds later thanks to defenceman Cale Fleury (Montreal Canadiens), but Gawdin scored on a beautiful passing series later in the period to put the finishing touches on the game. Ryan Kubic stopped 31 of 35 shots in the game.

With the WHL’s best power play in action Sunday, the Broncos continued to produce while with the extra man, converting on two of four chances in Sunday’s contest. The Pats failed to score on all three of their opportunities.

Lethbridge Hurricanes (2) at Red Deer Rebels (1) — OT
Lethbridge (23-21-6-0) // Red Deer (12-25-9-3)

The Red Deer Rebels found out the hard way Sunday that anything can happen in 20 minutes in the Western Hockey League.

Jordy Bellerive (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored midway through the third and then again 2:57 into overtime as the Lethbridge Hurricanes came back to capture two points in a Central Division clash at the Enmax Centrium.

Reese Johnson had the lone goal through the first 40 minutes, a short-handed goal 10:16 in the second period, while Ethan Anders was living up to the definition of a brick wall, stopping all 30 Lethbridge shots.

Things changed in the third though as one of the 10 shots by the Hurricanes found its way past Anders to force overtime where the Hurricanes would eventually secure their 23rd victory of the season.

Besides the one short-handed goal again, Logan Flodell was sharp in net, making 22 saves on 23 shots in the victory.

Tate Olson picked up a pair of assists in the game while Zane Franklin also added a helper. Josh Tarzwell had the lone helper on Johnson’s goal.

Spokane Chiefs (5) at Everett Silvertips (6) — OT
Spokane (26-19-3-2) // Everett (32-16-1-2)

Another wild game in downtown Everett produced two points for the Everett Silvertips Sunday as they scored three unanswered goals to roll to a 6-5 overtime victory against the Spokane Chiefs.

Highlighted by Connor Dewar and Wyatte Wylie each scoring twice and adding an assist, the Silvertips took at least one point from a game for the 10th straight game.

Jake McGrew and Luke Toporowski bookended a goal from Matt Fonteyne in the opening period.

In the second, the Silvertips answered back with goals from Spencer Gerth and Wylie while Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings) responded for the Chiefs to keep the teams tied at threes after 40 minutes.

Early in the third, the Chiefs took the lead with quick goals from Anderson-Dolan and Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers), but that didn’t deter the Silvertips, who managed goals from Wylie and then the equalizer from Dewar in the final minutes before he also won the game 70 seconds into regulation.

Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 37 of 42 shots in the victory. Dawson Weatherill stopped 42 of 48 shots in the loss.

Patrick Bajkov is now on the cusp of history after tallying a pair of assists in the game. He now sits tied with former Silvertip Zach Hamill for the franchise record for all-time scoring with 262 for his WHL career. Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals) also added a pair of assists in the victory.

On Spokane’s side, Yamamoto added three assists to finish with four points and extend his point streak to 10 games. He has 22 points (8G-14A) in those 10 games.

2018 NHL Draft prospect Ty Smith added a pair of assists to give him 47 points, moving him into a tie for seventh in WHL defencemen scoring.

Kamloops Blazers (2) at Portland Winterhawks (4)
Kamloops (23-24-1-2) // Portland (29-17-1-3)

After Don Hay celebrated a coaching milestone Saturday night against the Portland Winterhawks, Mike Johnston got to flip the script as he collected career WHL win 300 against the Kamloops Blazers.

Winterhawks’ captain Keoni Jake Gricius and Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) each had a goal and an assist and Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) made 33 saves on 35 shots as the Winterhawks worked to keep pace with the Everett Silvertips in the U.S. Division.

After a scoreless first, Jokiharju and Gricius built up a two-goal lead for the Winterhawks after 40 minutes. Going up 3-0 on Texeira’s seventh of the season, the Blazers found their legs, responding with goals from Luc Smith and Quinn Benjafield to make it a one-goal game.

That’s as close as they would get though as Mason Mannek added an empty-net goal to seal the victory in the Winterhawks’ favour. Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks), Brendan De Jong (Carolina Hurricanes), Skyler McKenzie (Winnipeg Jets) and Seth Jarvis all earned assists in the victory for the Portland.

Max Palaga stopped 28 of 31 shots in the loss.

Seattle Thunderbirds (2) at Tri-City Americans (3)
Seattle (26-18-4-2) // Tri-City (25-16-7-0)

For the second night in a row, the Tri-City Americans pulled off a spectacular comeback in the third period, topping the Seattle Thunderbirds Sunday by a 3-2 final.

Matthew Wedman had the lone goal through the first 40 minutes of play, but the Americans weren’t ready to give up on home ice as Riley Sawchuk scored twice and Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes) added his 17th goal of the season to lift the Americans to victory.

Sawchuk’s game-winning goal was especially tough for the Thunderbirds to swallow as it was scored into the empty-net with 1:09 to go. Zack Andrusiak added a late goal for the Thunderbirds in the loss.

Patrick Dea stopped 29 of 31 shots for the victory while Dorrin Luding stopped 32 of 34 shots in the loss.

Turner Ottenbreit had a pair of assists in the loss for the Thunderbirds.

Calgary Hitmen (3) at Victoria Royals (7)
Calgary (15-28-5-1) // Victoria (30-17-3-1)

After the Victoria Royals needed just two players to supply Saturday’s four goals against the Calgary Hitmen, Sunday’s effort was decidedly more of a team effort.

Seven different Royals found the back of the net and 13 picked up at least a point as the Royals earned a 7-3 victory to sweep the weekend doubleheader.

Tyler Soy (Anaheim Ducks), Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks), Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings), and Dane Hannoun each potted a goal and an assist.

Luke Coleman opened the scoring with a short-handed goal less than four minutes into the first, but the Royals came right back with a pair of first period goals, three more in the second and a pair in the third.

Braydon Buziak and Kade Jensen also scored for the Royals while Andrei Grishakov scored against his former team.

Tristen Nielsen and Jakob Stukel (Vancouver Canucks) scored in the loss for Calgary.

Dean McNabb stopped 28 of 31 shots for the victory while Matthew Armitage and Nick Schneider (Calgary Flames) combined for 33 saves in the loss.

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