WHL Roundup: Wolf eats well as Silvertips shutout Cougars
Calgary Hitmen (1) at Kootenay ICE (5)
Calgary (10-18-3-1) // Kootenay (14-17-2-0)
The Kootenay ICE scored five straight goals, with five different culprits contributing, en route to a resounding 5-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen Saturday afternoon in Cranbrook.
On Toque, Mitten & Teddy Bear Toss Night at Western Financial Place, it was sophomore forward Michael King striking first for the host ICE, sneaking a short-side shot past Hitmen goaltender Nick Schneider to spark the furry flurries 8:44 into the first period.
After the cleanup crews cleared the ice surface, the ICE got right back to it as Cameron Hausinger and Dallas Hines scored before the first period came to a close.
Sebastian Streu and Peyton Krebs piled on to give the ICE a commanding 5-0 lead in the second period before Hitmen veteran Mark Kastelic scored his seventh of the season to kill the shutout bid for Kootenay netminder Duncan McGovern.
The 17-year-old goaltender turned aside 24 shots to earn his fourth victory through 12 appearances this season.
The rookie Krebs finished his afternoon with three points (1G-2A), as did veteran Colton Veloso with three helpers.
The two teams will hit the highway and re-engage in battle Sunday afternoon (2 p.m. MT) at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Lethbridge Hurricanes (6) at Regina Pats (2)
Lethbridge (15-16-2-0) // Regina (16-16-3-0)
Taylor Ross recorded four points, including two goals, as the Lethbridge Hurricanes blew past the Regina Pats by a 6-2 score Saturday evening.
Ross, acquired by the ‘Canes from the Spokane Chiefs earlier this season, opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the campaign on a power-play opportunity 9:43 into the festivities at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
Robbie Holmes sent his seventh of the season to the back of the net, tying the game on behalf of the Pats before the first period came to a close. But it was the second period that served as the undoing for the host Pats Saturday night.
Jake Elmer remained hot, notching his 12th goal of the season, which kick started four-goal middle period for the visitors. Dylan Cozens, Ryan Bowen and Ross piled on as the Hurricanes etched out a 5-1 lead through 40 minutes of play.
Matt Bradley made it a 5-2 game with his 21st goal of the season early on in the third period, but Lethbridge captain Giorgio Estephan silenced any hopes of a comeback by putting his 15th of the year past goaltender Max Paddock to round out the scoring.
Edmonton Oilers prospect Stuart Skinner made 33 saves for his 13th win of the season and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Jordy Bellerive collected three helpers in support on offense.
Kamloops Blazers (1) at Swift Current Broncos (3)
Kamloops (16-17-0-1) // Swift Current (25-7-2-0)
Logan Flodell fought off 40 pucks, backstopping the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers Saturday night.
Almost all the scoring came during the opening 20 minutes of regulation as Glenn Gawdin and Owen Blocker staked the Broncos out to a 2-0 lead. Gawdin’s 31st of the season came a mere 25 seconds into the festivities, while Blocker’s first career WHL strike came midway through the first.
Blazers defenceman Brady Reagan replied a few minutes later and that 2-1 score held up until recently-acquired Matteo Gennaro deposited his 20th goal of the season into an empty net, icing the decision late in the third period.
For Flodell, the win goes into the books as the 21st on the year for the veteran product of Regina, Sask., while the Broncos have strung together a humble five-game winning streak.
Brandon Wheat Kings (4) at Moose Jaw Warriors (7)
Brandon (24-8-0-1) // Moose Jaw (27-6-1-1)
Brayden Burke had himself a five-point night, helping pace the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-4 triumph, effectively bringing to an end the 10-game winning streak of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The 20-year-old Burke dishes the puck as effectively as ever, handing out four assists and adding one goal to his personal stat sheet Saturday night. Beyond the big night from Burke, both Vince Loschiavo and Jayden Halbgewachs tallied twice, with Jaxan Kaluski and Justin Almeida also finding the back of the net.
Baron Thompson, Connor Gutenberg, Stelio Mattheos and Caiden Daley replied for the Wheat Kings.
A 1-1 game after 20 minutes of play, the Warriors blew things open during the second period by scoring four times to stake out a 5-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Goaltender Brody Willms put in work, making 25 saves to reach the 20-win plateau for the first time in his four-year WHL career.
Kelowna Rockets (5) at Saskatoon Blades (0)
Kelowna (20-11-2-1) // Saskatoon (14-17-2-1)
Rookie James Porter put forth a perfect performance, stopping 40 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets secure a 5-0 shutout win over the Saskatoon Blades Saturday night.
Porter, a 17-year-old rookie from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, kept the Blades at bay all night, including making 15 saves during the third period, as he earned his first career WHL shutout.
Kyle Topping scored twice in the second period, while Jack Cowell’s first period marker stood up as the eventual game-winner at SaskTel Centre in the Bridge City. Carsen Twarynski added his team-leading 24th goal of the season and Liam Kindree chipped in with a solo short-handed effort late in the third period.
Remaining red hot since returning to the Rockets from Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Check Selection Camp, Vancouver Canucks prospect Kole Lind registered three assists only one night after firing home three goals up the highway in Prince Albert.
Porter’s first career shutout also gets logged as his 13th win of the campaign.
Tri-City Americans (5) at Red Deer Rebels (4) – SO
Tri-City (18-10-3-0) // Red Deer (10-18-4-2)
Morgan Geekie and Kyle Olson scored in the shootout as the Tri-City Americans edged the Red Deer Rebels by a 5-4 final, collecting a third straight win Saturday night.
Extra time was required after Rebels captain Grayson Pawlenchuk scored with a mere three seconds remaining in regulation to knot the contest 4-4.
The two teams exchanged blows back and forth, with Geekie and Isaac Johnson providing a 2-0 lead for the Ams only to watch Reese Johnson and Mason McCarty combine to deadlock the affair in the second period.
Carson Focht and Dylan Coghlan put the Americans up by a pair once again, before McCarty’s second of the night got the Rebels back within one, setting up for Pawlenchuk’s last-second heroics.
Beck Warm made 25 saves, plus another two in the skills competition, to backstop the Americans to a valuable two points on the road.
Medicine Hat Tigers (4) at Edmonton Oil Kings (3) – SO
Medicine Hat (18-14-2-0) // Edmonton (7-22-3-1)
Captain Mark Rassell registered the only goal in the shootout as the Medicine Hat Tigers snuck past the Edmonton Oil Kings by a 4-3 margin Saturday night.
The shootout victory for the visiting Tigers spoiled an admirable comeback from the host Oil Kings. Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, the Oil Kings received scoring from import Tomas Soustal and sophomore Trey Fix-Wolansky to tie the game and force overtime.
Davis Koch also scored for the Oil Kings, with David Quenneville, Max Gerlach and Dawson Heathcote provided the offense for the Tigers.
Jordon Hollett made 30 saves, plus three more in the shootout to earn his 11th win of the season.
Spokane Chiefs (6) at Portland Winterhawks (3)
Spokane (18-12-1-2) // Portland (21-10-0-1)
Eli Zummack and Jaret Anderson-Dolan each scored twice as the Spokane Chiefs knocked off the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks by a 6-3 score Saturday.
The Chiefs erased a 2-0 deficit that the Winterhawks built on the strength of two short-handed goals – one from Alex Overhardt and the other from Skyler McKenzie – in the first period.
Cedric Chenier, Zummack, Riley Woods and Anderson-Dolan all replied to turn the game around for Spokane.
Ty Kolle also found the back of the net for the Winterhawks.
Between the pipes, Donovan Buskey made 37 saves for the win. Chiefs captain Tyson Helgesen added three assists.
Prince George Cougars (0) at Everett Silvertips (4)
Prince George (12-16-3-2) // Everett (20-13-1-1)
Dustin Wolf made 31 saves to earn his first career WHL shutout, as the Everett Silvertips blanked the Prince George Cougars by a 4-0 score on Saturday.
Not to be overlooked was a 50-save performance from Cougars rookie goaltender Taylor Gauthier, who faced a barrage of 54 shots in the outing.
Riley Sutter and Patrick Bajkov scored during the second period of play, while Sutter notched his second of the night during the third period as well. Sean Richards rounded out the scoring for the Silvertips.
The win serves as the fourth career victory for Wolf, a 16-year-old rookie from Tustin, Calif.
Vancouver Giants (6) at Victoria Royals (2)
Vancouver (17-13-2-2) // Victoria (20-13-3-0)
Dylan Plouffe, Ty Ronning and Brayden Watts each score twice as the Vancouver Giants cruised to a 6-2 win over the Victoria Royals Saturday evening.
Matthew Phillips and Eric Florchuk provided the scoring for the host Royals.
A 2-1 game after 40 minutes of play, the Giants exploded for four markers in the final 20 minutes of the night, including Plouffe’s fifth and sixth of the season. The veteran Ronning hit the 30-goal plateau with his first of the night, and added his 31st of the campaign by filling an empty net.
Goaltender Todd Scott made 25 saves for the win as the Giants outshot the Royals by a 44-27 spread.
The win is the fifth consecutive as the Giants continue to push up the BC Division standings, while the Royals have now dropped three in a row.