Western Hockey League Three Stars: Tuesday, November 27, 2018
1. Davis Koch, Vancouver Giants: Vancouver Giants forward Davis Koch scored twice and added an assist as the Giants erased a 3-1 deficit after 20 minutes to win 5-3 against the Saskatoon Blades Tuesday.
Koch scored Vancouver’s second and fifth goals of the contest, also picking up the primary assist on the game-winning goal by Milos Roman. The performance was his ninth multi-point game of the season and gave the Surrey, B.C. product 26 points (8G-16A) in 25 games.
2. Sergei Sapego, Prince Albert Raiders: Sergei Sapego picked up three assists as the Prince Albert Raiders extended their winning streak to 17 games Tuesday night against the Red Deer Rebels in a 4-3 victory. Sapego picked up a helper on the Raiders’ second, third, and fourth goals of the contest, marking the second three-assist game of the month.
The import defenceman from Belarus now has 22 points (6G-16A) in 22 games this season, placing him eighth in scoring among WHL defencemen.
3. Sasha Mutala, Tri-City Americans: 2019 NHL Draft prospect Sasha Mutala scored once and added an assist as the Tri-City Americans tolled to a 5-2 victory at home against the Prince George Cougars Tuesday. Mutala scored Tri-City’s fourth goal of the contest and picked up a primary assist on the game-winning goal by Krystof Hrabik.
A product of Vancouver, B.C., Mutala now has 16 points (6G-10A) in 21 games this season with the Americans.
Prince Albert Raider 4 at Red Deer Rebels 3
Brett Leason scored the game-winning goal 14:27 into the second period as the Prince Albert Raiders scored early, then fended off a response by the home side to win 4-3 over the Red Deer Rebels Tuesday night in central Alberta.
Leason extended his point streak to a league-leading 25 games with a first period assist, then extended his streak of multi-point games to five games with a blast from the high slot on the power play that stood up as the difference in the contest.
The Raiders scored twice in a 72-second span before the game turned five minutes old. A rebound off an initial shot by the Raiders came right to Spencer Moe at the side of the net, who pounced on it for his fourth of the season. Then, Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) was the beneficiary of a well-executed tic-tac-toe play, taking the feed across the ice from Leason to put into a wide open half of the net for his 11th of the campaign.
A timeout by Brent Sutter yielded the Rebels some reprieve and a chance to change momentum in the contest as Ethan Sakowich scored 76 seconds after Kelly to bring the home side within a goal, but Cole Fonstad (Montreal Canadiens) came right back down the ice just 36 seconds later, sniping a shot short side on 2019 NHL Draft prospect Ethan Anders.
Zak Smith would bring his team within a goal midway through the third, but Leason answered the call for the Raiders, scoring on a power play to make it a two-goal game after 40 minutes.
A late third-period goal from Jeff de Wit made the game interesting down the stretch, but the Raiders would hold on.
Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) stopped 28 of 31 shots for the victory, his league-leading 19th of the season. Sergei Sapego notched three assists in the contest while Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks) picked up a pair of helpers. Ozzy Wiesblatt and Carson Miller each picked up a single assist.
Jacob Herauf added a pair of helpers for the Rebels while four others earned a single helper. Byron Fancy stopped 17 of 18 shots after being inserted into the game midway through the first period.
Saskatoon Blades 3 at Vancouver Giants 5
Trailing 3-1 on home ice after 20 minutes the Vancouver Giants scored four unanswered goals against the Saskatoon Blades to pick up a 5-3 win.
Davis Koch scored twice, sealing off the game with an empty-net goal as his third point of the contest.
The Blades dominated in the first 10 minutes of the contest, jumping out to a 3-1 lead. First, 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach showed off his skills to scouts in attendance, sniping the puck top shelf on David Tendeck (Arizona Coyotes) for the game’s opening goal. Less than 90 seconds later, Josh Paterson added to the Blades’ lead, wrapping the puck around on Tendeck, who made an incredible diving stop on the first attempt, but could not stop the second attempt from the Blaes forward as the puck went over his glove.
Owen Hardy cut the deficit to one for the Giants minutes later, but the Blades had a near-immediate response from the stick of Max Gerlach, sending them into the dressing room with a 3-1 advantage.
The Giants worked quickly to erase the two-goal hole in the second period as both Koch and Aidan Barfoot struck 2:02 apart within the first four minutes of the period to tie the game at three and reset the score. Early in the third, Milos Roman (Calgary Flames) struck for the game-winning goal. 2019 NHL draft prospect Bowen Byram dished the puck across the ice to Koch, who put the puck on net, where Roman was waiting to put home the puck, giving the home side Giants their first lead of the game.
The Giants wouldn’t relinquish the lead once they got it as Koch added the empty-net goal to close out the victory.
Tendeck battle through a rough first 10 minutes to earn the victory, making 23 saves. Draft-eligible Nolan Maier stopped 23 of 27 in the loss.
In a season series that sees the two teams meet just once during the regular season, Vancouver’s win Tuesday was the first by a home team in the season series since a 3-2 shootout win by the Giants back on December 6, 2014.
Prince George Cougars 2 at Tri-City Americans 5
A three-goal third period brought life to the Tri-City Americans as they won their fourth-straight game against the Prince George Cougars Tuesday, handing their B.C. Division opponents a 5-2 loss at the Toyota Centre.
Vladislav Mikhalchuk opened the scoring, getting the visitors on the board 2:47 into the second period after a scoreless first, but the Americans had a response from the stick of Nolan Yaremko while short-handed, evening up the game just 24 seconds later. A wild 82-second span featuring three goals ended at 4:09 mark of the middle period as Mikhalchuk struck again on the power play to put the Cougars back in front by a 2-1 score.
From there on out, it was all Tri-City though as goals from Isaac Johnson and Krystof Hrabik closed out the second with the Americans in the lead 3-2.
Goals from 2019 NHL Draft prospect Sasha Mutala and his teammate Mitchell Brown featured in the third to give the Americans their second-straight victory at home.
Mutala and Johnson each added an assist to their goals to earn multi-point performances while five separate Americans skaters each picked up a single assist.
Beck Warm won Tuesday’s goaltending matchup, stopping 39 of 41 shots for his 13th victory of the season. Isaiah DiLaura stopped 19 of 23 in the loss.