The Kamloops Blazers stand alone at the top throughout two weekends of Western Hockey League pre-season action.
Victories against the Prince George Cougars, Victoria Royals, and Vancouver Giants moved the Blazers’ record to an unblemished 5-0-0-0 with two more pre-season games left on their schedule. All three games took place at the Langley Events Centre as part of a pre-season tournament hosted by the Giants.
Friday’s 7-1 win against the Cougars saw Zane Franklin score twice while Orrin Centazzo posted a goal and three points. Five other Blazers joined the offensive fun with multi-point games while Matéj Toman had the lone goal for the Cougars. Rayce Ramsay stopped 26 of 27 shots in the win.
Saturday, the Blazers faced more of a challenge in a 6-4 result, eventually prevailing over the Royals. Brodi Stuart and Swiss import Inaki Baragano each had a goal and an assist in the win. River Fahey scored twice for the Royals in the loss.
The Blazers then closed out their weekend with a 5-1 victory against the Giants. Logan Stankoven had a pair of goals and an assist while Franklin contributed a goal and two assists.
Giants close out pre-season schedule
Though Sunday’s loss ended the Giants’ pre-season schedule on a tough note, they still managed to record a pair of wins on the weekend, topping the Royals 3-2 Friday and the Cougars 5-3 Saturday. The results brought the Giants’ pre-season record to close at 4-2-0-0.
Friday, it was the Tristen Nielsen show as he scored all three goals for the Giants, outpacing the Royals, who received goals from Sean Gulka and Brandon Cutler in the game. Playing the full game, Braedy Euerby stopped 25 of 27 shots for the win.
Lukas Svejkovsky was the difference Saturday, scoring twice in the third period against Prince George to turn a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes into the 5-3 result. Justin Sourdif scored his second goal of the pre-season as part of his team-leading six points (2G-4A) in the pre-season. In Sunday’s loss, Zack Ostapchuk had the lone goal for the Giants.
Royals top Silvertips in overtime Sunday
The Royals concluded their five-game pre-season schedule on a high note, earning a 2-1 overtime victory against the Everett Silvertips. Down 1-0 heading into the third, Fahey notched his third goal of the pre-season to force the extra period followed by a goal from Nolan Jones late in overtime. Brock Gould earned the victory after stopping 19 of 20 shots while Shane Farkas was a perfect eight-for-eight in the first half of the game.
Silvertips split one-goal games
Involved in two tight games over the weekend, the Silvertips took three of four points from their weekend.
Saturday’s matchup saw Aidan Sutter score the only goal and Keegan Karki stop all 25 shots sent his way for the shutout against the Kelowna Rockets
Sutter scored 8:35 into the first period and the team held the fort the rest of the way against the Memorial Cup hosts. Dylan Anderson and Dawson Butt had the assists on Sutter’s goal.
In Sunday’s overtime loss to the Royals, Jacob Wright score the lone goal for the Silvertips while Braden Holt turned aside 19 of 21 shots.
Rockets split weekend shutouts
Following Saturday’s shutout loss at the hands of the Silvertips, the Rockets returned the favour to their next opponent, beating the Cougars 7-0 Sunday.
Off-season acquisition Cole Schwebius stopped all 21 shots sent his way for the shutout. Deegan Mofford began the offensive show with the first of three first-period goals. Kyle Crosbie scored twice in Sunday’s win.
Wheat Kings & ICE split first meetings
The Battle of Manitoba saw both the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg ICE claim victories over the weekend.
Bragging rights for the first-ever pre-season meeting went to the Wheat Kings in Brandon Friday thanks to a 5-0 shutout. Ethan Kruger and Connor Ungar stopped 19 and 16 shots respectively. Ty Thorpe scored twice in the victory, including the game-winning goal.
Saturday’s meeting at Stride Place in Portage, Man. saw the ICE turn the tables to the tune of a 5-1 victory. Will Gurski stopped 22 of 23 shots to earn the victory between the pipes while Cole Muir and Brad Ginnell each had a goal and an assist.
Blades down Raiders in Warman, Prince Albert splits weekend
The Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders returned to Warman, Sask. for pre-season action Friday, with the Blades earning a 4-3 victory, matching last year’s result.
Kyle Crnkovic had a pair of goals and an assist for the Blades in their lone weekend contest. Hayden Smith and Ryan Hughes also scored for Saskatoon. Spencer Moe, Ozzy Wiesblatt, and Cole Nagy responded for the Raiders in the losing effort.
The Raiders still found their way into the win column this weekend, beating the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 Saturday. Wiesblatt, Ilya Usau, and Evan Herman scored for the Raiders while Drae Gardiner and Carson Denomie answered for the Warriors.
Rebels & Hurricanes split home-and-home series
The Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes were each victorious on home turf this weekend as the two teams renewed their Central Division rivalry.
Friday in central Alberta, Josh Tarzwell scored twice, including midway through the third period to lift the Rebels over the Hurricanes by a 3-2 score. Tarzwell added an assist for the three-point night while Brett Davis had a goal and an assist. Playing the final 29:57 of the contest, Eric Ward stopped 13 of 13 shots to earn the victory.
Saturday, the Hurricanes struck back in southern Alberta, with hometown product Zack Stringer scoring 2:10 into overtime to give his team the 3-2 win. Chase Wheatcroft had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, tying up the game late in the third period before assisting on the game-winning goal. In his first action of the 2019 WHL Pre-season, Carl Tetachuk stopped 18 of 20 shots for the win.
Oil Kings sweep home-and-home against Hitmen
The Edmonton Oil Kings picked up from their sweep in the 2019 WHL Playoffs against the Calgary Hitmen, earning a 3-1 victory at the Downtown Community Arena Friday in the provincial capital before taking a 6-2 result at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina Nation Saturday.
Friday, Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbours, and Jalen Luypen scored for the Oil Kings while Riley Sawchuk added a pair of assists. Saturday, Sawchuk had a pair of goals and three points while Neighbours contributed a goal and an assist.
Rory Neill had the lone goal for Calgary Friday while Grayden Siepmann had both Hitmen goals in Saturday’s loss.
Thunderbirds soar offensively twice
The Seattle Thunderbirds’ offence was clicking once again to the tune of a pair of weekend wins.
Friday, they dispatched the Tri-City Americans 6-1, then took down the Portland Winterhawks by an 8-3 score Saturday.
The win against the Americans saw Payton Mount record a hat trick and Conner Bruggen-Cate strike twice while Kai Uchacz struck for the other goal. Michael Horon and Conner Roulette also added three assists each.
A five-goal first period paced the Seattle Thunderbirds to an 8-3 victory Saturday against the Winterhawks. Horon had a pair of goals and four points while Mount, Simon Kubicek, and Brendan Williamson each had a goal and three points. The Thunderbirds are now 4-0-1-0 for the 2019 WHL Pre-season.
Americans post 2-1 record at home
With Thursday’s victory against the Portland Winterhawks and Friday’s loss to Seattle, the Americans headed into Saturday looking to end their weekend on a positive note.
They did exactly that with a 4-1 win against the Spokane Chiefs. Samuel Huo had a pair of goals while Nikita Krivokrasov had a goal and an assist in the win. Talyn Boyko stopped all 23 shots sent his way while Mason Dunsford took credit for the win with 20 saves on 21 shots.
Winterhawks & Tigers pick up wins
The other two victories on the weekend belonged to the Winterhawks and Medicine Hat Tigers, who each claimed 4-3 victories.
Portland took down the Chiefs by a 4-3 score for their win Friday, receiving goals from Cross Hanas, Jaydon Dureau, Gabe Klassen, and Tyson Kozak. Michael King scored twice in the loss for Spokane while Cordel Larson added the other goal.
In the Queen City, the Tigers picked up their first pre-season win by a similar score, taking down the Regina Pats with an incredible comeback. The Pats built up a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to Ty Kolle, Austin Pratt, and Cole Dubinsky. However, the Tigers roared back with goals from Caleb Willms, Ryan Watson, Tyler Preziuso, and Logan Christensen in the final 40 minutes to claim the victory.
2019 WHL Pre-season action resume Tuesday, September 10 (7:05 p.m. PT) as the Silvertips and Thunderbirds wrap up their pre-season schedules against each other at the accesso ShoWare Center.