WHL Tonight: Americans storm back in third for wild win over Winterhawks

Doug Love/Tri-City Americans


Western Hockey League Three Stars: Tuesday, February 5, 2019

1. Kirby Dach, Saskatoon Blades: 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach scored the second hat trick of his WHL career Tuesday in a 7-3 win against the Brandon Wheat Kings. Dach scored the second, third, and fifth goals of the game for Saskatoon, his first two coming in a span of 19 seconds.

The Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. product now has six multi-goal games in his WHL career, including four this season. In 48 games this season, Dach has 55 points (21G-34A) and 111 points (34G-77A) in 119 WHL regular season games.

2. Max Paddock, Regina Pats: Regina Pats goaltender Max Paddock guided his team to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Lethbridge Hurricanes Tuesday, stopping 38 of 39 shots in regulation and overtime. Paddock also allowed just one goal on three shots in the shootout as the Pats began their final Alberta road trip of the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season on the right foot.

In 35 games this season, Paddock’s record stands at 9-20-1-1, with a 3.53 goals-against-average, a 0.894 save percentage, and one shutout. In 73 WHL regular season games, Paddock has a 32-28-2-2 record, 3.22 GAA, 0.899 SV%, and one shutout.

3. Gary Haden, Saskatoon Blades: Saskatoon Blades forward Gary Haden continued his strong play of late, recording four assists in Tuesday’s 7-3 win against the Brandon Wheat Kings. Haden had primary assists on the Blades’ first, fourth, and fifth goals, adding a secondary helper on the team’s sixth goal.

Haden now has 13 points (9G-4A) in his last five games and 52 points (25G-27A) in 48 games this season. In 154 WHL regular season games, the Airdrie, Alta. product has 102 points (49G-53A).


Saskatoon Blades 7 at Brandon Wheat Kings 3

2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach tallied the second hat trick of his WHL career, Gary Haden tallied four assists, and two-goal games from Max Gerlach and Eric Florchuk (Washington Capitals) led the Saskatoon Blades to a strong 7-3 win against the Brandon Wheat Kings Tuesday in Manitoba.

Gerlach’s 30th of the season opened the scoring in the first, but Wheat Kings captain Stelio Mattheos (Carolina Hurricanes) tied up the game early in the second. Dach would put the Blades back in front in a big way though as his first two goals of the game came within 19 seconds of each other. The Wheat Kings would have an answer for that too though as 2019 NHL Draft prospect Luka Burzan and teammate Cole Reinhardt scored 55 seconds apart just past the midway point of the second period to tie up the game.

The wild middle period of scoring would be capped off by Florchuk’s first of the game, giving the visiting side a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes. In the third, Dach completed his hat trick, while both Gerlach and Florchuk added their second goals of the game.

Dorrin Luding stopped all 11 shots in the third period by Brandon to finish with 25 stops and the win. Ryan Hughes added three assists in the victory, factoring into all three goals by Dach. Gerlach would add an assist for the three-point night as well.

Regina Pats 2 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 1 (SO) 

The Regina Pats did teams in the Central Division a favour Tuesday night, holding the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a single point via a 2-1 shootout victory to begin their final Alberta road trip of the regular season in the southern part of the province.

Third-period goals from Blake Allen and Taylor Ross accounted for the offence with the Regina Pats going ahead 75 seconds into the period, only to have the Hurricanes tie it up with 6:03 left in regulation. Between the pipes, both Max Paddock and Carl Tetachuk were spectacular through regulation and overtime, stopping 38 and 29 shots respectively.

In the shootout, Ty Kolle and Sergei Alkhimov scored for the Pats while captain Jordy Bellerive (Pittsburgh Penguins) had the lone shootout strike for the Hurricanes.

Vancouver Giants 4 at Prince George Cougars 2

Meeting for the second time in four days, the Vancouver Giants repeated their Saturday performance against the Prince George Cougars Tuesday, earning a 4-2 win over their B.C. Division opponents.

Four different players scored for the Giants in the win while Owen Hardy led the way with a goal and an assist. Justin Sourdif, Davis Koch, and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Bowen Byram also scored in the victory as the Giants added three goals in the second to break open the game.

Cougars captain Josh Curtis and Vladislav Mikhalchuk responded for the Cougars in the loss. In a battle of 2019 NHL Draft prospects between the pipes, Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for the victory. Taylor Gauthier turned aside 27 shots in the loss.

Portland Winterhawks 3 at Tri-City Americans 5

Down 2-0 entering the third period, the Tri-City Americans rose to the challenge and reeled off five goals in the final 20 minutes to earn a 5-3 victory against the visiting Portland Winterhawks Tuesday in Kennewick, Wash.

First-period goals from Jaydon Dureau and Josh Paterson held up through 40 minutes as the Winterhawks kept their two-goal advantage. Just 37 seconds into the third period though, Parker AuCoin initiated the comeback with his 27th goal of the season. Before the midway mark of the period, Samuel Huo’s first in an Americans’ uniform tied up the game. Three minutes later, captain Nolan Yaremko struck for his 18th of the year to give the Americans their first lead of the game.

Following that up was Connor Bouchard, who struck for the game-winning goal with 3:47 left in regulation. The final minutes of the game would be tense as Jared Freadrich cut the lead back to one, but Bouchard’s second goal of the contest went into the empty net to close out the come-from-behind victory.

Beck Warm finished the game with 30 saves, stopping all 21 Portland shots over the final 40 minutes. Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues) stopped 30 shots in the loss.

Seattle Thunderbirds 5 at Victoria Royals 3

A pair of goals from Matthew Wedman and 41 saves from goaltender Roddy Ross powered the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory Tuesday night on Vancouver Island against the Victoria Royals.

First-period goals from Wedman and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Jake Lee made it a 2-0 game in favour of the visitors after 20 minutes, but Kaid Oliver brought his team back into the game early in the second with his 20th of the season.

The rest of the game would be a see-saw battle as the Thunderbirds attempted to maintain their two-goal advantage. Owen Williams scored shortly after Oliver’s goal, while Kody McDonald responded midway through the third to make the game close again.

Cade McNelly’s first goal in the WHL restored the two-goal lead, only for Scott Walford (Montreal Canadiens) to make the game close again with his eighth of the season.

Fortunately for the Thunderbirds’, Wedman’s second goal of the game was still to come, going into the empty net in the final minute to secure the victory.

Ross’ win was the seventh of his WHL career. Rookie Payton Mount added a pair of helpers in the contest.

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