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WHL Roundup: Winterhawks secure playoff berth with win over Cougars
Chad Baker

 

Saskatoon Blades (6) at Calgary Hitmen (2)
Saskatoon (27-31-7-2) // Calgary (25-31-8-2)

The Saskatoon Blades built up a 6-0 lead before the Calgary Hitmen found the scoresheet, and that was enough to claim a 6-2 victory in a vital Eastern Conference matchup on WHL on Shaw Wednesday night.

Kirby Dach opened the scoring in the first period before Gage Ramsay, Mason McCarty and Josh Paterson found the back of the net in the second.

Chase Wouters and Bryton Sayers converted in the third period to give the Blades the 6-0 lead. Mark Kastelic and Matteo Gennaro scored late in the affair to kill Logan Flodell’s shutout bid.
Flodell made 16 saves for his 21st win of the season.

The triumph moved Saskatoon three points ahead of the Hitmen for the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. Calgary owns one game in hand on Saskatoon.

Edmonton Oil Kings (1) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (2) – OT
Edmonton (20-40-5-1) // Lethbridge (43-17-4-3)

Brady Pouteau scored with 1:10 remaining in overtime as the Lethbridge Hurricanes secured a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday night.

Tyler Wong registered his WHL-leading 49th goal of the season to open the scoring with only 1:27 remaining in the second period. Then it was Conner McDonald tying the game 11:02 into the third period, forcing overtime.

Egor Babenko logged two helpers for the Hurricanes.

Ryan Gilchrist made 26 saves for his ninth win of the season. The triumph serves as the seventh consecutive for Lethbridge, leaving the Hurricanes only two points back of the Medicine Hat Tigers for first place in the Central Division. Both teams have five games remaining in their respective regular season schedules.

Regina Pats (4) at Swift Current Broncos (2)
Regina (46-12-7-1) // Swift Current (35-21-4-6)

With a 4-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos Wednesday night, the Regina Pats became the first WHL team to hit the 100-point plateau this season.

Rookie Riley Krane scored the game-winning goal in his first career WHL game, finding the back of the net 8:05 into the second period to give Regina a 3-1 advantage. Lane Pederson made it a 3-2 game late in the third period before Wyatt Sloboshan deposited one final puck into an empty net.

Bryan Lockner and Dawson Leedahl also scored for Regina, while Pederson tickled twine twice for Swift Current.

Tyler Brown made 36 save for his 29th win of the campaign.

Adam Brooks collected three assists, improving his season point total to 112.

Everett Silvertips (4) at Spokane Chiefs (0)
Everett (40-14-8-3) // Spokane (26-30-7-3)

The Everett Silvertips hit the 40-win plateau and moved back into first place in the U.S. Division following a 4-0 victory over the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday night.

Carter Hart made 17 saves for his 29th win and WHL-leading ninth shutout of the season.

Cal Babych recorded his first goal of the year 5:48 into the first period and it went on to stand as the game-winner. Devon Skoleski, Dominic Zwerger and Aaron Irving added extra tallies.

Sean Richards registered two assists for the ‘Tips.

With the win, the Silvertips slide one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the back-and-forth battle for U.S. Division supremacy. Following Wednesday’s win, Everett owns two games in hand on Seattle.

Victoria Royals (2) at Kamloops Blazers (5)
Victoria (37-25-4-1) // Kamloops (39-23-2-4)

Rudolfs Balcers scored twice as the Kamloops Blazers erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Victoria Royals by a 5-2 margin Wednesday night.

Matthew Phillips and Ethan Price gave the Royals a 2-0 advantage in the first period before Joe Gatenby got Kamloops on the board to make it a 2-1 game heading into the intermission.

Late in the second, the Latvian import Balcers tied the game with his 36th goal of the season. Captain Collin Shirley put his team in front 1:03 into the third period and then Quinn Benjafield and Balcers added some insurance.

Connor Ingram made 27 saves for his 26th win of the season.

The win pushed Kamloops five points ahead of Victoria for third place in the B.C. Division. The Blazers also sit three points back of the Kelowna Rockets for second in the division.

Kamloops has four games left, while both Kelowna and Victoria have five to play.

Prince George Cougars (4) at Portland Winterhawks (5)
Prince George (42-21-3-2) // Portland (36-26-1-3)

Cody Glass recorded four points, including two goals, as the Portland Winterhawks claimed a 5-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars and sealed up a berth into the 2017 WHL Playoffs.

Glass opened the scoring with his 28th goal of the season and chipped in his 29th early in the third period. Between that, Skyler McKenzie and Keegan Iverson also contributed for the Winterhawks.

Joachim Blichfeld provided the game-winning marker midway through the third period.

The Cougars received scoring from Aaron Boyd, Brendan Guhle, Jesse Gabrielle and Colby McAuley.

Cole Kehler made 29 saves for his 27th win of the season.

With the win, the Winterhawks secured a playoff berth, but where they finish remains to be seen. Portland is three points back of the Tri-City Americans for third in the U.S. Division and also three points back of the Victoria Royals for the first wild card seed in the conference.

Portland and Tri-City each have six games remaining, while the Royals have five.

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