A 10-game schedule of Western Hockey League action took place Friday as teams took another step forward on the stretch drive to the 2020 WHL Playoffs. The Brandon Wheat Kings remained hot at home win a win over the Calgary Hitmen. In Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Blades shutout the Swift Current Broncos to begin a home-and-home set while the Prince George Cougars wrapped up their biennial road trip with a win against the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Prince Albert Raiders and Lethbridge Hurricanes each claimed overtime wins in Alberta’s action. In British Columbia, the Kamloops Blazers rode a season-high 12 goals to a win while the Vancouver Giants had an Eric Florchuk hat trick power them to victory. South of the border, the Portland Winterhawks kept on winning, the Seattle Thunderbirds doubled up the Regina Pats, and the Everett Silvertips outlasted the Kelowna Rockets.
Calgary Hitmen at Brandon Wheat Kings – Highlights & Scoring
Jake Chiasson’s goal in the final minute of the first period ended up as the game-winning goal in a 3-1 result for the Brandon Wheat Kings against the Calgary Hitmen Friday.
Duncan Pierce opened the scoring 103 seconds into the contest. Combined with Chiasson’s goal, the hosts took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Hitmen and Wheat Kings would then trade goals late in the third is Josh Prokop and Neithan Salame both scored to keep the difference at a pair of goals by the final buzzer.
Jiri Patera (Vegas Golden Knights) made 30 saves for the win.
Prince George Cougars at Moose Jaw Warriors – Scoring & Highlights
Craig Armstrong’s first WHL goal stood up as the difference Friday as the Prince George Cougars topped the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 in Saskatchewan.
Mitchell Kohner and Cole Moberg (Chicago Blackhawks) each scored their sixth goal of the season to build a 2-0 lead for the Cougars through 20 minutes. Warriors captain Owen Hardy cut his team’s deficit in half before the midway mark of the second, but Armstrong would score shortly after on the other side of the halfway mark, restoring the two-goal advantage.
Though Eric Alarie would bring the game back to a one-goal difference late in the second, the Cougars held their hosts off the scoresheet in the third.
Tyler Brennan made 28 saves in the victory.
Swift Current Broncos at Saskatoon Blades – Scoring & Highlights
2020 NHL Draft prospect Tristen Robins notched a pair of goals as part of a three-point night and Koen MacInnes recorded a 14-saves shutout as the Saskatoon Blades earned a 5-0 win against the Swift Current Broncos Friday.
Martin Fasko-Rudas’ first goal with the Blades and the first of the night from Robins featured in the first period. Colton Dach scored in the second while Robins and captain Chase Wouters tallied goals in the third.
Scott Walford and Kyle Crnkovic each posted a pair of assists in the win.
Red Deer Rebels at Lethbridge Hurricanes – Scoring & Highlights
A pair of 2020 NHL Draft prospects combined for the game-winning goal in overtime as Oliver Okuliar set up Alex Cotton 112 seconds into the extra frame, lifting the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 win against the Red Deer Rebels.
Cameron Hausinger and Brett Davis traded goals for their respective sides in the first period. In the second, Jayden Grubbe put the Rebels ahead, only for Calen Addison (Pittsburgh Penguins) and newly-minted co-captain Ty Prefontaine to find the back of the net, giving the home side a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes.
After Josh Tarzwell scored the only goal of the third, Cotton would finish off the victory. Okuliar collected the loose puck off a turnover in the defensive zone and controlled it out front, before drawing a defender with him and dishing the puck off to Cotton, setting him up with an open path to the net.
2020 NHL Draft prospect Bryan Thomson stopped 31 of 34 shots in the win.
Prince Albert Raiders at Edmonton Oil Kings – Scoring & Highlights
2020 NHL Draft prospect Ozzy Wiesblatt scored the game-tying goal late in regulation, then notched the game-winning goal 67 seconds into overtime Friday, lifting the Prince Albert Raiders to a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
A first-period goal was the lone source of offence from either side through 55 minutes of regulation time when Aliaksei Protas (Washington Capitals) and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Ilya Usau connected with Wiesblatt on the power play.
In overtime, Wiesblatt got a stick on a bouncing puck in the lot slot on the rebound and buried it blocker side to clinch the victory.
Max Paddock made 27 stops for the victory.
Tri-City Americans at Kamloops Blazers – Scoring & Highlights
The Kamloops Blazers scored five goals in the first period and rolled to a 12-3 win against the visiting Tri-City Americans in the first half a two-game weekend set.
Max Martin was the lone Blazers to record a two-goal game, finishing with three points while Ryan Hughes registered five points and captain Zane Franklin tallied a quartet of points.
Quinn Schmiemann (Tampa Bay Lightning) registered three assists in the lopsided win. Overall, 16 Blazer skaters recorded a point in the win.
Rayce Ramsay made 17 saves for the victory.
Victoria Royals at Vancouver Giants – Scoring & Highlights
Eric Florchuk (Washington Capitals) recorded the second hat trick of his WHL career as the Vancouver Giants downed the Victoria Royals 4-1 at the Langley Events Centre Friday.
Florchuk scored the first, third, and fourth goals for the Giants while Connor Horning supplied the game-winning goal. Keanu Derungs had the lone goal for the Royals in the loss.
David Tendeck (Arizona Coyotes) was solid between the pipes, making 27 saves.
Kelowna Rockets at Everett Silvertips – Scoring & Highlights
2020 NHL Draft prospect Simon Knak posted a pair of goals and an assist as the Portland Winterhawks topped the Spokane Chiefs by a 5-3 final.
Knak and Eli Zummack traded goals in the first period while Chiefs captain Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) and Tyson Kozak scored in the second.
Portland took charge in the third with Knak’s second of the game as well as strikes by Lane Gilliss and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Robbie Fromm-Delorme. Adam Beckman (Minnesota Wild) netted the lone Spokane goal in the third period.
Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues) turned aside 39 of 42 shots for the victory.
Regina Pats at Seattle Thunderbirds – Scoring & Highlights
Thomas Milic’s WHL debut was a game to remember as the Coquitlam product posted a 23-save performance in a 4-2 win for the Seattle Thunderbirds against the Vancouver Giants.
Milic made seven saves in the first period, 10 in the second, and six in the third to earn the victory.
Offensively, Keltie Jeri-Leon scored a pair of goals while Lucas Ciona and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Simon Kubicek also scored. Zack Smith’s eighth goal of the season and the first goal of Josh Paulhus’ WHL career featured for the Pats.
Portland Winterhawks at Spokane Chiefs – Scoring & Highlights
2020 NHL Draft prospect Gage Goncalves had his second goal of the game be the difference in a 3-2 win for the Everett Silvertips against the Kelowna Rockets Friday.
Jake Lee had the lone goal through 20 minutes, but Goncalves and another draft prospect in Michal Gut scored in the second to make it a 2-1 game. Jonas Peterek made it a 2-2 game 7:04 into the final period, but Goncalves struck just two minutes later to restore the one-goal lead.
Dustin Wolf (Calgary Flames) made 25 saves for the victory.