WHL Roundup: Shynkaruk’s shenanigans lead Blades past Hitmen in OT

Steve Hiscock


With the WHL Trade Deadline long gone, three games dotted Tuesday’s slate.

In the Land of Living Skies, the Tri-City Americans scored a win over the Moose Jaw Warriors, while the Saskatoon Blades secured a bonus point with an overtime triumph courtesy a hat-trick performance from Jesse Shynkaruk against the Calgary Hitmen.

Finally, on the WHL on Shaw, the host Red Deer Rebels dispatched the Prince George Cougars, mere hours after having dealt defenceman Josh Mahura and forward Jeff de Wit to the Regina Pats.

All of this and more…

Tri-City Americans (3) at Moose Jaw Warriors (2)
Tri-City (25-17-3-0) // Moose Jaw Warriors (25-10-6-1)

Morgan Geekie struck twice in the final 40 minutes of play to provide the difference as the Tri-City Americans skated to a 3-2 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors Tuesday night.

Brett Howden notched his 21st goal of the season to open the scoring only 37 seconds into regulation before rookie Carson Focht tied the game 1:46 later. One-upping Focht’s response was fellow rookie Luka Burzan, who restored the Warriors lead 1:01 later and the score stood at 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Using a power-play opportunity, Geekie found the back of the net 3:44 into the second period to knot the game once again.

After a long stretch without a goal, the Americans’ forward did the Warriors in with 43 seconds to play in regulation, striking at even strength to give Tri-City a 3-2 edge that stood the test.

Defenceman Juuso Valimaki chipped in with two helpers for the Ams, while Evan Sarthou steered aside 35 shots for his sixth win of the season.

Prince George Cougars (1) at Red Deer Rebels (4)
Prince George (28-12-2-0) // Red Deer (19-17-4-2)

No Josh Mahura, no Jeff de Wit, no problem for the Red Deer Rebels.

With the ever-sharp Prince George Cougars in town and the WHL on Shaw cameras surrounding, the Rebels scored a 4-1 win Tuesday night following the WHL Trade Deadline.

Adam Musil, Evan Polei and Austin Pratt score consecutively in the first period before newcomer Lane Zablocki made it a 4-0 game midway through the second period as the Rebels cruised.

Zablocki, who landed in Red Deer following a mid-afternoon deal with the Regina Pats, registered his 10th goal of the season, making an immediate impact for his new club.

Aaron Boyd was the lone Cougar to blemish Lasse Petersen’s record, scoring with 2:32 to go in regulation, foiling the Dane’s shutout attempt. Petersen finished the evening with 23 saves for his 10th win of the season.

Polei finished the night with a goal and an assist, while Russian defenceman Alexander Alexeyev had two helpers for Red Deer.

Calgary Hitmen (4) at Saskatoon Blades (4) – OT
Calgary (14-19-4-2) // Saskatoon (16-22-5-1)

Five goals in the opening 20 minutes of play wasn’t enough to decide this thing, so the Calgary Hitmen and Saskatoon Blades went back and forth being Jesse Shynkaruk sent his third goal of the night to the back of the net 2:13 into overtime, giving the Bridge City a critical win Tuesday night.

Jake Kryski, acquired by the Hitmen from the Kelowna Rockets on Sunday evening, opened the scoring with his 14th goal of the season only 4:35 into the affair. From there, Shynkaruk got his engine going before Gage Ramsay made it 2-1 Saskatoon.

Mark Kastelic drew things even only 19 sceonds later, then Matteo Gennaro jumped in 28 seconds after that to give Calgary a quick-strike 3-2 lead after 20 minutes.

Braylon Shmyr scored his 22nd of the season on a power-play early in the second period, giving way to Shynkaruk’s second of the evening for a 4-3 Blades advantage. Before the end of the second period, Gennaro came through with his second of the night and the festivities were dead-even once again.

A scoreless third period bled into overtime where Shynkaruk completed the hat trick.

Shmyr finished the night with three points (1G-2A), while Michael Farren (2A0 and Chase Wouters (2A) also recorded multipoint efforts for the Blades.

While Gennaro had two markers for the Hitmen, defenceman Jake Bean collected two helpers.

Logan Flodell made 19 saves to earn his 11th win of the season.

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