WHL Tonight: Cougars top Blazers in OT, but Kamloops still alive for #WHLPlayoffs spot

Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers


Western Hockey League Three Stars: Friday, March 15, 2019

1. Vladislav Mikhalchuk, Prince George Cougars: Prince George Cougars forward Vladislav Mikhalchuk recorded the first four-point game of his WHL career, capping off the night with the game-winning goal in a 5-4 overtime result against the Kamloops Blazers. Mikhalchuk scored the second and fifth goals of the game for the Cougars, adding helpers on their first and third goals.

The Minsk, Belarus product has 49 points (24G-25A) in 67 games this season and 82 points (38G-44A) in 127 WHL regular season games for his career.

2. Jake Leschyshyn, Lethbridge Hurricanes: Vegas Golden Knights prospect Jake Leschyshyn of the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the third hat trick of his WHL career and first in a Hurricanes jersey Friday in a 4-3 win against the Red Deer Rebels. Leschyshyn scored Lethbridge’s final three goals of the game, including the only goal of the third period to break the 3-3 deadlock.

The Saskatoon, Sask. product has 80 points (40G-40A) this season and 179 points (85G-94A) in 256 WHL regular season games. 

3. Justin Almeida, Moose Jaw Warriors: Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors recorded a pair of goals as part of a four-point night in a 6-1 win against the Swift Current Broncos. Almeida scored the first and fourth goals of the game, picking up assists on Moose Jaw’s third and sixth goals.

The Kitimat, B.C. product has 108 points (32G-76A) this season and 240 points (88G-152A) in 255 WHL regular season games.


Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Regina Pats 5

Playing their last home game of the regular-season campaign, the Regina Pats used the energy of their sold-out crowd to defeat the Brandon Wheat Kings in a tight 5-4 game.

At first, the Wheat Kings took the lead with goals from Cole Reinhardt and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Luka Burzan and Braydyn Chizen (Minnesota Wild) but the Pats quickly answered back. Cole Dubinsky, Liam Schioler, Brett Clayton and two goals from Sergei Alkhimov overtook the Wheat Kings’ lead, putting the Pats ahead.

Burzan added another goal towards the end of the third to bring the game within one goal, but ultimately the Wheat Kings ran out of time to catch the Pats.

Dean McNabb stood strong in net for the Pats, stopping 34 of 28 shots.

Prince Albert Raiders 2 at Saskatoon Blades 3

Proving their determination and ability to compete, the Saskatoon Blades earned their second win of the season against the Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2.

Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) and Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks) put in two goals for the Raiders, but couldn’t add a third to tie or overcome the Blades. Brandon Schuldhaus, Ryan Hughes and Max Gerlach hustled for their points to earn the Blades their eighth consecutive win, attaining a new record in their regular season campaign.

Earning the third star of the game, Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots from the Raiders.

Medicine Hat Tigers 5 at Kootenay ICE 2

Leaving little room for error the Medicine Hat Tigers dominated the Kootenay ICE with a 5-2 win.

Contributing offensively, Ryan Jevne, 2019 NHL Draft prospects Ryan Chyzowski and Brett Kemp as well as Linus Nassen (Florida Panthers) were hot on Friday night, each recording two or more points in the game. Tyler Preziuso also added a goal to bring the Tigers’ final count to 5.

Rallying in the third, Marco Creta and Holden Kodak managed to get two goals past 2019 NHL Draft prospect Mads Sogaard who stopped 29 shots.

Lethbridge Hurricanes 4 at Red Deer Rebels 3

Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas Golden Knights) and Red Deer Rebels captain Reese Johnson traded hat tricks in a 4-3 win for the Hurricanes Friday in central Alberta.

The only other player to score in the game was 2019 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Cozens, who opened the scoring in the contest. After Leschyshyn made it 2-0 for the visitors, Johnson had a pair of goals. Both stars would add another goal before the end of the second and Leschyshyn provided the difference in the third.

Carl Tetachuk stopped 27 of 30 shots for the win. Hurricanes captain Jordy Bellerive (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Calen Addison (Pittsburgh Penguins) each had a pair of assists in the win.

Moose Jaw Warriors 6 at Swift Current Broncos 1

Beginning their final home-and-home series of the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season, the Moose Jaw Warriors took the win against the Swift Current Broncos 6-1.

Justin Almeida (Pittsburgh Penguins) opened the scoring with a short-handed breakaway goal in the first period, igniting a runaway lead for the Warriors.

Carson Denomie, Keenan Taphorn, Almeida, Daniil Stepanov and captain Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens) added five more goals to the Moose Jaw’s total.

Scoring the lone goal for Swift Current was 2019 NHL Draft prospect Connor Horning from Tyler Lees and Ben King.

Adam Evanoff recorded his 19th win of the season after stopping 23 shots from the Broncos.

Prince George Cougars 5 at Kamloops Blazers 4 (OT)  

The Prince George Cougars topped the Kamloops Blazers in a wild 5-4 overtime contest Friday, adding intrigue to the battle for third place in the B.C. Division.

Midway through the third, captain Josh Curtis and Mike MacLean had broken open a 2-2 tie to give the Cougars a two-goal advantage. However, the Blazers had plenty of resolve left in them as Kyrell Sopotyk scored on the power play and Connor Zary tied the game up late with his biggest goal of the season to cap off a three-point night.

The extra point would belong to the Cougars as Vladislav Mikhalchuk capped off a four-point night with his second goal of the game 3:46 into the extra period. Rhett Rhinehart also scored in the game for the Cougars.

Kobe Mohr and Ryley Appelt added the other goals for the Blazers. The two teams meet Saturday in Prince George to close out their regular season schedules.

Kelowna Rockets 1 at Vancouver Giants 2 

Best in the West.

Dylan Plouffe scored with 3:10 left in regulation Friday, lifting the Vancouver Giants to a 2-1 win against the Kelowna Rockets and the best record in the WHL’s Western Conference.

Alex Kannok Leipert (Washington Capitals) and Kyle Crosbie traded goals in the second to keep the teams tied through 40 minutes.

In a battle of 2019 NHL Draft prospects between the pipes, Trent Miner stopped 17 of 18 shots for the win. Roman Basran stopped 29 of 31 shots for the Rockets in the narrow loss.

Everett Silvertips 3 at Victoria Royals 3 SO

Seeking top seed in the Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips were pushing for the regulation win against the Victoria Royals but fell just shy in the shootout.

In the first and second period, both teams exchanged goals under one minute from each other. First, it was Connor Dewar for the Silvertips and then Brandon Cutler responded less than 20 seconds later.

In the second period, the Silvertips led again with a goal from Martin Fasko-Rudas but were quickly stifled by Victoria’s Culter again. With neither team able to score in the third period, the game headed to overtime. When overtime couldn’t solve the tie, a shootout ensued. Taking the win 3-2, the Royals earned their fifth shootout win of the season.

Griffen Outhouse captured his 26th win of the season after stopping 25 shots.

Spokane Chiefs 5 at Tri-City Americans 3

The Spokane Chiefs kept their hopes for home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs alive Friday with a 5-3 win against the Tri-City Americans.

In the absence of co-captain Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings), Jake McGrew (San Jose Sharks) tallied a hat trick while Filip Kral (Toronto Maple Leafs) added a goal and an assist. 2019 NHL Draft prospect Luke Toporowski had the other goal for the Chiefs.

Nolan Reid and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Adam Beckman each had a pair of assists.

Roman Kalinichenko, Parker AuCoin, and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Krystof Hrabik each scored in the loss. AuCoin added a pair of helpers for the three-point night. In his final regular season home game, Americans captain Nolan Yaremko had a pair of assists. Aaron Hyman added an assist in his final regular season home game as well.

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