Western Hockey League Three Stars – Saturday, September 22, 2018
1. Kirby Dach, Saskatoon Blades: For the second-straight night, a hat-trick performance from an East Division player earned top honours for the night in the WHL Three Stars, with 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades taking the honours Saturday.
Dach scored three times and added a pair of assists for a five-point performance in an 8-0 rout of the Swift Current Broncos. Dach scored 3:52 into the game to give the Blades the only lead they’d need all night. He added their fifth goal to close out the first period. Dach then completed his hat trick 5:30 into the third period for the Blades’ seventh goal of the contest.
The Fort Saskatchewan, Sask. product also picked up assists on the team’s second and fourth goals. After adding a pair of assists in Friday’s season-opening victory, Dach has enjoyed a strong start to the season with seven points (3G-4A) in two games.
2. Nolan Yaremko, Tri-City Americans: Tri-City Americans captain Nolan Yaremko powered his team to a win in the home-opening game Saturday, providing four points in a 6-1 thrashing of the Spokane Chiefs.
The Spirit River, Alta. product scored twice in the second to change what was a 2-1 game after 20 minutes into a 4-1 advantage after 40. Yaremko drew assists on the Americans’ first two goals of the game, scored by Roman Kalinichenko and Kyle Olson respectively. The four-point performance was the third time he’s accomplished that feat in his 211-game WHL career.
3. Dylan Ferguson, Kamloops Blazers: It was a good night for Vegas Golden Knights goaltending prospects in the WHL, with Jiri Patera claiming his second victory in as many nights with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Dylan Ferguson delivering another gem for the Kamloops Blazers.
Ferguson stopped 39 of 40 shots on the night as the Blazers shut down the Rockets by a 3-1 score. The Lantzville, B.C. product helped the Blazers earn their first victory at Prospera Place since January 27, 2017. With the win, Fergsuon improved to 2-0-0-0 on the season with a 1.00 goals-against-average, and a 0.970 save percentage.
Despite back-to-back goals from Moose Jaw Warriors captain Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens), the Warriors couldn’t beat the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday in their home opener at Mosaic Place. With Ridly Grieg’s first career WHL goal and other helpers from Luka Burzan, captain Stelio Mattheos (Carolina Hurricanes), and Linden McCorrister, the Wheat Kings were able to capture their second win in as many nights. Wheat Kings goalie Jiri Patera (Vegas Golden Knights) was once again stingy between the pipes, stopping 28 of 30 shots.
The Edmonton Oil Kings continued their perfect start, sweeping a home-and-home series against the Red Deer Rebels. Trey Fix-Wolansky (Columbus Blues Jackets), Vince Loschiavo, David Kope, and Scott Atkinson contributed to the 4-1 win over the Rebels with Alexander Alexeyev (Washington Capitals) scoring the lone goal for Red Deer. Recent acquisition Dylan Myskiw stood tall during his first game for the Oil Kings, saving 28 of 29 shots to give the Edmonton the win.
Rookie forward Connor McClennon made a big impression Saturday by scoring two goals for the Kootenay ICE who eventually overcame the Calgary Hitmen by a score of 5-3. Although Calgary was first to get on the board thanks to Jake Kryski, the ICE were quick to respond with four goals in a row between the first and second period. Kryski brought the Hitmen back into the game after scoring his second goal of night towards the end of the second period. With Cole Muir’s fifth goal to answer Kyrski’s tally, the ICE were able to end any potential comeback bid.
With a two-goal performance from Cole Fonstad (Montreal Canadiens) the Prince Albert Raiders were able steal the Regina Pats’ home opener by a 3-1 score. While Aaron Hyman got the Pats on the board first, it wasn’t enough to keep the Raiders from raiding the regiment tonight. Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) was solid for the second night in a row, stopping 27 of 28 shots. Goaltender Max Paddock had a solid game despite the loss, finishing the night with 34 saves.
The Saskatoon Blades continued their hot streak by routing the Swift Current Broncos 8-0 tonight in their home-opening game. After a touching tribute to the Humboldt Broncos, the Saskatoon Blades kicked their game into high gear by scoring five goals in the first, one in the second, and two in the third. 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach showed extremely well with a hat trick and two assists rightfully earning the First Star of the night in the WHL.
The Seattle Thunderbirds were able to defend their home turf against the Portland Winterhawks tonight with a complete team effort. Nolan Volcan, Zack Andrusiak, Owen Williams, Matthew Wedman and Dillon Hamaliuk contributed to Seattle’s 5-3 win over the Winterhawks. Star rookie Seth Jarvis’ tallied the first two WHL goals of his career while Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks) got Portland onto the scoreboard first. Liam Hughes stopped 30 of 33 shots to secure the win.
Although the first period was quiet between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes, the game picked up quickly in the second when Lethbridge’s Keltie Jeri-Leon, Taylor Ross, and highly-touted 2019 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Cozens scored for the visiting side. Tigers captain James Hamblin and teammate Bryan Lockner scored a short-handed and top-shelf goal respectively to answer back, but it wasn’t enough to regain momentum. In an attempt to save the game, the Tigers pulled Jordan Hollett (Ottawa Senators) from the net in the last two minutes of the third, but Hurricanes forward Jake Elmer was able to capitalize on the empty net and secure the 4-2 win.
The Tri-City Americans accomplished their first win of the 2018-19 season with a 6-1 final over the Spokane Chiefs. A solid night for captain Nolan Yaremko saw him finish with two goals and four points, helped the American’s secure their game against the Chiefs. Riley Woods struck for the opening goal of the game on the power play. Americans head coach Kelly Buchberger picked up his first career WHL victory.
The Kamloops Blazers continued their weekend domination over the Kelowna Rockets tonight win a 3-1 win. Dylan Ferguson in particular had a strong night with a 39-save performance while forwards Orrin Centazzo, Jermaine Loewen (Dallas Stars), and Zane Franklin supplied the three Blazers goals. Before a shutout could cross Ferguson’s mind, Rockets forward Leif Mattson got the home side on the scoreboard early in the third period. Unable to catch the Blazers, the Rockets lost at home to the Blazers for the first time since January 27, 2017.
With a set of short-handed goals, the Victoria Royals were able to capitalize at home tonight against the Prince George Cougars. Finishing with a 5-1 win, the Royals swept the two-game series on Vancouver Island against the Cougars. Kaid Oliver, Tyler Lees, D-Jay Jerome, Dino Kambeitz, and Ralph Jarratt found the back of the net for Victoria while Ethan Browne scored the lone goal for the Cougars.
Scores of a 3-1 nature are the Vancouver Giants best friend as of late as they earned a second victory in as many nights over the Everett Silvertips Saturday south of the border. Dawson Holt got Vancouver on the board first with a power-play goal in the first period. Silvertips captain Connor Dewar (Minnesota Wild) returned the favour for Everett early in the second period to tie the game. However, the game didn’t stay tied for long as Vancouver’s Jared Dmytriw managed another goal for the Giants half-way through the second. In the end, it was rookie forward Justin Sourdif who was able to capitalize on Everett’s empty net to seal the deal for the Giants, gaining his first career WHL goal in the process.
Brandon Wheat Kings 4 Moose Jaw Warriors 2
Prince Albert Raiders 3 Regina Pats 1
Swift Current Broncos 0 Saskatoon Blades 8
Edmonton Oil Kings 4 Red Deer Rebels 1
Lethbridge Hurricanes 4 Medicine Hat Tigers 2
Calgary Hitmen 3 Kootenay ICE 5
Kamloops Blazers 3 Kelowna Rockets 1
Prince George Cougars 1 Victoria Royals 5
Spokane Chiefs 1 Tri-City Americans 6
Portland Winterhawks 3 Seattle Thunderbirds 5
Vancouver Giants 3 Everett Silvertips 1