WHL Tonight: Blazers surge offensively against Americans for second-straight night

Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers


A 10-game schedule of Western Hockey League action saw a flurry of offensive performances and four shutouts to boot. The Winnipeg ICE kept on winning at home, downing the visiting Calgary Hitmen. In Saskatchewan, the Brandon Wheat Kings extended their winning streak to nine games against the Moose Jaw Warriors while the Saskatoon Blades completed a home-and-home sweep of the Swift Current Broncos in the southern part of the province. Powered by a four-goal game from James Hamblin, the Medicine Hat Tigers downed the Lethbridge Hurricanes while the Red Deer Rebels mounted a third-period comeback to take down the Prince Albert Raiders. In British Columbia, the Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants cruised to their second wins in as many nights against the same opponent. The Portland Winterhawks, Everett Silvertips, and Spokane Chiefs all shone brightly with offensive surges against the visiting sides on home ice.


Calgary Hitmen at Winnipeg ICE – Scoring & Highlights 

Jakin Smallwood’s 11th goal of the season closed out a three-goal first period for the Winnipeg ICE and stood up as the game-winning goal in a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen Saturday.

Captain Peyton Krebs (Vegas Golden Knights) scored twice while Michal Teply (Chicago Blackhawks) registered a goal and an assist in the victory. Liam Hughes continued to be the team’s backbone defensively, posting 37 saves to earn his 12th win in 15 games.

After Nolan Orzeck, Teply, and Smallwood scored in the first, Krebs struck twice in the second. Playing for the first time in his WHL career in his hometown, Riley Stotts (Toronto Maple Leafs) put the Hitmen on the board midway through the second then scored the only goal of the third to supply the Hitmen’s offence.

Isaac Johnson and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Owen Pederson each recorded a pair of helpers in the win.


Brandon Wheat Kings at Moose Jaw Warriors – Scoring & Highlights

Ethan Kruger posted a 35-save shutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings cruised to a 6-0 win against the Moose Jaw Warriors Saturday, extending their winning streak to nine games.

Luka Burzan (Colorado Avalanche) and Lynden McCallum each scored twice to power the Wheaties offensively while 2020 NHL Draft prospect Ben McCartney collected a goal and three points in the triumph. Captain Connor Gutenberg also scored in the win.

Chad Nychuk and Cole Reinhardt each posted three assists to contribute as well.

After a scoreless first, the Wheat Kings made their hay in the second, scoring five times before striking once in the third.


Saskatoon Blades at Swift Current Broncos – Scoring & Highlights

Three-point games from 2020 NHL Draft prospect Tristen Robins, Kyle Crnkovic, and Aidan De La Gorgendiere lifted the Saskatoon Blades to a 7-2 victory and a home-and-home sweep of the Swift Current Broncos Saturday in southern Saskatchewan. De La Gorgendiere had the lone multi-goal game of the trio.

Scott Walford, Nolan Kneen, and Colton Dach each had a pair of assists in the victory while 2020 NHL Draft prospect Koen MacInnes recorded 26 saves for the win.

The Blades scored twice in each of the first two periods before tacking on three goals in the third. Swift Current scored both of their goals in the middle frame.

Also lightning the lamp for the Blades in the win were captain Chase Wouters, Martin Fasko-Rudas, and Alex Morozoff. Cole Nagy and Aiden Bulych scored for Swift Current.


Lethbridge Hurricanes at Medicine Hat Tigers – Scoring & Highlights

Medicine Hat Tigers captain James Hamblin scored a natural hat trick in the first period and finished with four goals as the Tabbies defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-2 Saturday night.

Dylan Plouffe and Ryan Chyzowski scored the other goals for Medicine Hat in the win while Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres) and Justin Hall found the back of the net for the Hurricanes. Hamblin completed his four-goal performance 2:03 into the third period.

2020 NHL Draft prospect Garin Bjorklund made 26 saves on 28 shots for the victory. Corson Hopwo and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Lukas Svejkovsky each recorded a pair of assists for the Tigers.


Prince Albert Raiders at Red Deer Rebels – Scoring & Highlights

Trailing 3-1 early in the third period on home ice, the Red Deer Rebels scored twice and then clinched the victory in the shootout to down the Prince Albert Raiders 4-3.

2020 NHL Draft prospect Ilya Usau opened the scoring with a highlight-reel goal in the first period. Zak Smith put the Rebels on the board midway through the second, but goals from 2020 NHL Draft prospect Landon Kosior and Eric Pearce built the two-goal advantage for the Raiders early in the third.

The Rebels would strike back 74 seconds after Pearce’s goal from the stick of Keaton Sorenson and tie up the game on Smith’s second of the game minutes later.

With the game spilling into the shootout, Josh Tarzwell and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Ben King made no mistake on their attempts.

At the other end of the ice, Ethan Anders made 31 saves through 65 minutes before shutting the door on the Raiders in the shootout to earn the victory.


Tri-City Americans at Kamloops Blazers – Scoring & Highlights

Orrin Centazzo, Ryan Hughes, and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Connor Zary each recorded multi-goal games in a 9-0 shutout for the Kamloops Blazers against the Tri-City Americans.

Rayce Ramsay earned the 24-save shutout for his second win in as many nights. Caedan Bankier and Reese Belton each tallied a goal and an assist while Quinn Schmiemann (Tampa Bay Lightning) also scored in the victory.

Brodi Stuart and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Josh Pillar each recorded three assists, joining Zary in the group of three-point performances.

Captain Zane Franklin, Max Martin, and Sean Strange each added a pair of helpers to the offensive showcase.

Kamloops scored six goals in the first period, twice in the second, and once in the third.


Vancouver Giants at Victoria Royals – Scoring & Highlights

Led by a three-point performance from Jackson Shepard, five Vancouver Giants recorded multi-point games in a 6-2 victory against the Victoria Royals on Vancouver Island Saturday.

Shepard and Royals captain Phillip Schultz traded goals in the first period before the Giants burst the game open with four goals in the second.

Goals from Tyler Preziuso and Zack Ostapchuk featured in the opening three minutes of the middle frame. In the second half of the period, Eric Florchuk (Washington Capitals) and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Justin Sourdif scored to make it a 5-1 contest.

2020 NHL Draft prospect Cole Shepard and Gary Haden traded goals in the third to round the scoring.

Trent Miner (Colorado Avalanche) made 19 saves as the Giants completed the home-and-home sweep.


Kelowna Rockets at Portland Winterhawks – Scoring & Highlights

Dante Giannuzzi made 17 saves for the first shutout of his WHL career as the Portland Winterhawks rolled to a 7-0 win against the Kelowna Rockets.

Reece Newkirk (New York Islanders) and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Seth Jarvis each tallied three-point games, with Jarvis collecting a pair of goals for his performance and Newkirk registering a single lighting of the lamp.

Portland took control of the contest with two goals in each of the first two periods followed by three more goals in the third.

Jake Gricius tallied a goal and an assist while Tyson Kozak, Clay Hanus, and Jack O’Brien also scored.


Seattle Thunderbirds at Everett Silvertips – Scoring & Highlights 

Jackson Berezowski posted a goal and four points while Jake Christiansen and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Gage Goncalves each scored twice as part of three-point efforts in an 8-0 win for the Everett Silvertips against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Dustin Wolf (Calgary Flames) made 14 saves for the 17th shutout of his WHL career, moving into a tie for the 11th-most shutouts in WHL history.

After scoring twice in the first period, Everett struck for three goals in each of the second and third frames. Olen Zellweger added onto Everett’s lead while newcomers in Ty Kolle and hometown product Hunter Campbell each notched their first goals in a Silvertip uniform.

Captain Bryce Kindopp, Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers), and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Michal Gut recorded a pair of assists each.


Regina Pats at Spokane Chiefs – Scoring & Highlights

In the first-ever game between the Smith brothers at the WHL level, it was the elder Smith and his Spokane Chiefs emerging with a 6-2 victory against the Regina Pats.

Chiefs captain Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) picked up the primary assist on the game-winning goal by Adam Beckman (Minnesota Wild) while Zack Smith struck late in regulation for the Pats.

Outside of the brotherly rivalry, Reed Jacobson scored a pair of goals while Erik Atchison notched a goal and an assist. Beckman’s game-winning goal gave him sole possession of first place in the WHL’s goal-scoring race.

Leading 2-1 through 40 minutes, Spokane scored four times in the third to provide the difference in the contest.

Graham Sward’s first goal of the season and Brad Ginnell’s first goal in a Spokane uniform also featured. Logan Nijhoff had Regina’s other goal of the contest.

James Porter Jr. made 33 saves to collect the victory.

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