Western Hockey League Three Stars: Saturday, February 9, 2019
1. Jake Christiansen, Everett Silvertips: Everett Silvertips defenceman Jake Christiansen recorded the first hat trick of his WHL career Saturday in a 5-0 win against the Portland Winterhawks. Christiansen scored the first, fourth, and fifth goals of the game for Everett, securing the game-winning goal 5:31 into the second period. The hat trick was also the first by a WHL defenceman since Juuso Valimaki accomplished the feat for the Tri-City Americans on February 24, 2018 against the Prince George Cougars.
The West Vancouver, B.C. product is enjoying a career year with 39 points (12G-27A) in 52 games. In 244 WHL regular season games, the 19-year-old Christiansen has 97 points (28G-69A).
2. Dustin Wolf, Everett Silvertips: 2019 NHL Draft prospect Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips recorded his league-leading sixth shutout of the season Saturday, stopping all 29 shots in a 5-0 win against the Portland Winterhawks. Wolf stopped 13 shots in the first, five in the second, and 11 in the third for the clean sheet.
The Tustin, Calif. product is now 34-12-1-0 this season in 48 games with a 1.77 goals-against-average, 0.933 save percentage, and six shutouts. In 68 career regular season games, Wolf has a 47-18-1-0 record, 1.91 GAA, 0.931 SV%, and 10 shutouts. Wolf is ranked 17th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.
3. Adam Evanoff, Moose Jaw Warriors: Moose Jaw Warriors goaltender Adam Evanoff stopped a career-high 47 shots Saturday in a 2-1 win against the Red Deer Rebels, earning the 30th win of his WHL career in the process. Evanoff stopped 13 shots in the first, 17 in the second, then allowed one goal on 18 shots in the third period as the Warriors never trailed in the game.
The Penticton, B.C. product is now 15-8-2-1 this season with a 2.54 GAA, 0.919 SV%, and one shutout. For his WHL career, Evanoff has posted a 30-12-2-2 record, 2.59 GAA, 0.914 SV%, and one shutout in 47 games.
Saskatoon Blades 4 at Swift Current Broncos 1
The Saskatoon Blades extended the Swift Current Broncos’ five-game losing skid with a 4-1 domination.
Both the first and second periods were tight between the two teams. In the second, Gary Haden succeeded on his second effort with a rebound goal to take the lead 1-0 for Saskatoon. But, just two minutes later, Tyler Lees scored against his former team from last year, also notching his first point as a Bronco.
With the score tied, the teams headed into the third period where Riley McKay was able to quickly score a wrap-around goal for Saskatoon. Then on a breakaway, Max Gerlach tucked it through the goaltender’s five-hole to secure the two-goal lead. Sealing the win, Cyle McNabb capitalized on the Broncos’ empty net.
After only letting in one goal on 25 shots, goaltender Nolan Maier earned his 27th win of the season.
Prince Albert Raiders 6 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 5
Head coach Marc Habscheid became the eight coach in WHL history to record 500 wins as the Prince Albert Raiders held on to a tight 6-5 win against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Although Jake Elmer, Ty Prefontaine, Igor Merezhko and Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas Golden Knights), who scored twice, were able to register goals for the Hurricanes, they weren’t ever able to hang on to their lead, always letting the Raiders back in.
For Prince Albert, Cole Fonstad (Montreal Canadiens) was able to capitalize twice and the success continued with goals from Eric Pearce, Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators), Sean Montgomery and Ozzy Wiesblatt as well.
Although he was tested, facing 34 shots, Boston Bilous hung on for the Raiders win.
Moose Jaw Warriors 2 at Red Deer Rebels 1
Another tight game resulted in a loss for the Red Deer Rebels after the Moose Jaw Warriors visited.
Similar to their previous game, a scoreless first period built the tension between the two teams in the second and third. But, it was 2019 NHL Draft prospect Brayden Tracey who scored first after he drove hard to the net. Three minutes later, Tristin Langan went top shelf to earn the Warriors’ second goal of the game.
In the last minute of the third, Red Deer pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. With the advantage, Brett Davis (Dallas Stars) scored on a play with Brandon Hagel (Chicago Blackhawks), who proceeded to recorded the 162nd assist of his WHL career, becoming the Rebels franchise leader in assists.
Adam Evanoff was the difference maker in net for the Warriors, stopping all 47 shots that came his way.
Kelowna Rockets 4 at Kamloops Blazers 1
A text-book road win for the Kelowna Rockets ended 4-1 against the Kamloops Blazers.
Scoring in the first period using his body, Mark Liwiski notched the first goal of the game. Then 2019 NHL draft prospect Lassi Thomson and Lief Mattson scored for the Rockets to extend their lead, 3-0.
With just one second remaining in the second period, captain Jermaine Loewen (Dallas Stars) scored the lone goal for the Blazers, marking his 20th goal of the campaign, on a backhand-shot.
Although the Blazers battled hard in the third, they were unsuccessful in catching the Rockets and with their goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker, Rockets player Thomson scored his second goal of the night on Kamloops’ empty net.
With almost perfect shot-stopping abilities, 2019 NHL Draft prospect Roman Basran recorded his 17th win of the season for the Rockets.
Medicine Hat Tigers 3 at Seattle Thunderbirds 4 OT
Despite the Medicine Hat Tigers lead over the Seattle Thunderbirds, the U.S. Division team rallied hard in the third and overtime to win 4-3.
In the first period, captain James Hamblin of the Tigers scored a powerplay goal to take the lead. Continuing to dominate, Medicine Hat’s Tyler Preziuso and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Ryan Chyzowski scored in the second, with Seattle’s Andrej Kukuca only answering back with one goal.
A strong push in the third period by the Thunderbirds saw Kukuca and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Jake Lee earn points, tying the game and challenging the Tigers in overtime. With a beauty backhand play, Matthew Wedman finished the game in the Thunderbirds’ favour, 4-3.
Roddy Ross continued to dazzle in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots.
Kootenay ICE 2 at Spokane Chiefs 5
Jack Finley scored twice Saturday as the Spokane Chiefs improved to 5-0-0-1 in their past six games with a 5-2 win against the Kootenay ICE Saturday.
Finley scored his first of the game as part of a four-goal barrage in the opening 10 minutes by both teams. Co-captain Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings), Finley, and Riley Woods scored for the Chiefs while the first of two goals in the game for Martin Bodak kept the game within reach for the ICE.
Finley added his second of the game in the middle period and Bobby Russell scored against his former team while Bodak’s second of the game doubled the ICE’s score.
Filip Kral (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Connor Gabruch each added a pair of assists in the win while Bailey Brkin stopped 29 of 31 shots for the victory.
Victoria Royals 7 at Tri-City Americans 4
Kicking off a five-game road trip, the Vicotria Royals exploded to a 7-4 win over the Tri-City Americans.
Although the first period was very close between the two teams with Igor Martynov and Connor Bouchard exchanging goals, the Royals went on to control the game in the second. Scott Walford (Montreal Canadiens), Phillip Schultz, Kaid Oliver and D-Jay Jerome, who scored twice, gave the Royals a 6-1 lead.
In the third period, the Americans tried to even the score with goals from Wil Kushniryk, Riley Sawchuk and Samuel Huo, but could not get close enough after Victoria’s Kody McDonald added another goal to the Royals’ tally.
Earning his 21st win of Victoria’s campaign, Griffen Outhouse stopped 18 of 21 shots.
Portland Winterhawks 0 at Everett Silvertips 5
The Everett Silvertips punched their ticket to the 2019 WHL Playoffs in a grand fashion Saturday night against the Portland Winterhawks.
Jake Christiansen recorded the first hat trick by a WHL defenceman in nearly a full year and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Dustin Wolf stopped all 29 shots sent his way for his sixth shutout of the season as part of the 5-0 victory.
Bryce Kindopp added a goal and an assist while Max Patterson scored the other goal in the contest. Zack Andrusiak contributed three assists while captain Connor Dewar (Minnesota Wild) and 2019 NHL Draft prospect Gianni Fairbrother had a pair of helpers. Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) and Sahvan Khaira also picked up points in the win.
Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues) faced a 53-shot barrage, stopping 48 in the loss.