Today (Monday) is a holiday — Family Day — in B.C., and that’s good for hockey fans. There are four games on the WHL schedule, all of them afternoon games in B.C. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Victoria Royals, the Tri-City Americans travel to Kamloops to play the Blazers and the Seattle Thunderbirds are in Vancouver to meet the Giants.
Those three games all start at 2 p.m. . . . In the other game, the Prince George Cougars are in Kelowna to face the Rockets, at 2:05 p.m.
The Red Deer Rebels aren’t certain how long they’ll be without F Conner Bleackley, their captain. He suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday night in Vancouver and didn’t play Saturday in Victoria. . . . “He said it felt better yesterday, but to be honest he has an injury that could keep him out for days or maybe for weeks,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. “He won’t skate until Thursday at the earliest, and we probably won’t know the extent of the injury until then.” . . . The Rebels don’t play until Friday when they entertain the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
It was wonderful to see old friend Don Dietrich getting some TV time on Saturday night. Dietrich, a former Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman who went on to play with Canada’s national team and in the NHL, has had a tough time in recent years but you won’t hear him complaining. . . . If you missed the TV spot, it’s right here. . . . And if you’re looking for a great read, he wrote a book — No Guarantees — a few years ago. You should be able to find it right there.
F Quinn Benjafield of the Kamloops Blazers won’t play today against the visiting Tri-City Americans. He was hit with a ‘tbd’ suspension for a headshot major and game misconduct during Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. He hit Kelowna F Tyson Baillie late in the third period. . . . Baillie needed attention on the ice, but was able to get off under his own power. He went directly to the dressing room. His status for today’s game against visiting Prince George isn’t known. . . .
F Tyler Lewington of the Medicine Hat Tigers will sit out one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers were fined $500 for Lewington’s actions. . . .
D Arvin Atwal of the Vancouver Giants won’t play against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds today. He drew a one-game suspension for the game misconduct he took in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.
In Lethbridge, the Brandon Wheat Kings moved into first place in the overall standings with a 7-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Wheat Kings are one point ahead of the idle Kelowna Rockets, who hold two games in hand and are at home to Prince George this afternoon. . . . The Wheat Kings scored four times in the game’s first 11 minutes to take control of this one. . . . F Rihards Bukarts scored twice, giving him 23, as Brandon completed a road trip with its fourth victory in five days. Brandon outscored its opponents 22-9 in the four games. . . . Brandon F Peter Quenneville scored his 15th goal and added an assist, while D Macoy Erkamps and F Reid Duke each had two assists against their former team. . . . Brandon F Tyler Coulter scored his 10th goal after going 22 games without a score. . . . Brandon F Tim McGauley had an assist to run his point streak to 11 games. He’s got 22 points, including eight goals, in that stretch. . . . Wheaties D Mark Taraschuk was pointless but finished plus-4. . . . Lethbridge F Giorgio Estephan scored his 14th goal on a third-period PP and also had an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 55-25 edge in shots. . . . Brandon was without D Ivan Provorov, who suffered an undisclosed injury early in the third period on Saturday night in Cranbrook. . . . The Wheat Kings already were without F John Quenneville (suspected concussion) and F Jayce Hawryluk (undisclosed injury). . . . The Wheat Kings (41-9-5) are 17-2-1 since coming back from the Christmas break. . . . The Hurricanes (15-32-6) had a three-game winning streak end. . . .
In Everett, F Carson Stadnyk scored the OT winner and had two assists as the Silvertips beat the Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Everett, the U.S. Division leader, went into the game with a five-point lead over Portland. That lead now is six. . . . Stadnyk, who scored at 1:34 of extra time, has 21 goals. . . . Portland F Chase De Leo forced OT when he scored his 27th goal with 31.3 seconds left in the third period and G Adin Hill on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . With the score 2-2 in the third, Portland defencemen Blake Heinrich and Layne Viveiros took delay of game penalties 30 seconds apart. . . . Everett F Kohl Bauml scored his second goal of the game 40 seconds after the 5-on-3 began. . . . Bauml, who also had an assist, has 27 goals this season. . . . Everett took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals by F Dawson Leedahl, his 10th, and Bauml, the latter scoring at 19:17. . . . Everett had a 19-9 edge in first-period shots despite giving up the period’s only two PP opportunities. . . . Portland scored twice in the second period, with F Oliver Bjorsktrand getting his 37th at 8:13 and F Paul Bittner getting No. 22 on a PP at 10:53. . . . Everett D Noah Juulsen and F Patrick Bajkov each had two assists. . . . D Adam Henry had two assists for Portland. . . . Hill finished with 45 saves, 15 more than Everett G Carter Hart. . . . Portland D Josh Hanson, a 20-year-old from Eagle River, Alaska, played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Everett improved to 34-16-4, while Portland now is 31-20-4. . . .
In Saskatoon, the Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to eight games with a 5-2 victory over the Blades. . . . F Brett Stovin got the Blades on the board with his 22nd goal, on the PP, at 3:57 of the first period. . . . Calgary answered with three goals and took a 3-1 lead into the third period. . . . F Kenton Helgesen tied it with his 17th goal at 6:27 of the first. F Adam Tambellini scored his 38th, shorthanded, to give the Hitmen the lead at 8:06 of the second. D Michael Zipp upped the lead to 3-1 with his eighth goal at 18:25. . . . Zipp and D Keegan Kanzig, who scored his second goal and added an assist, each was plus-4. . . . Helgesen also had an assist, as did Stovin. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean drew an assist on his club’s fourth goal to set a franchise record for single-season points by a rookie defenceman (33). He was sharing the record with Matt Kinch (1996-97). . . . The Hitmen (31-17-5) are second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat and three ahead of Red Deer. . . . The Blades (15-34-3) have lost three in a row. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here.
For anyone wondering, are first team in Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.
— Bruce Luebke (@wheatkingsvoice)