The Prince Albert Raiders were to have played host to the Regina Pats on Saturday night. But blizzard-like conditions put an end to those plans. . . . A decision was made in mid-afternoon to postpone the game due to the inclement weather conditions. It will be rescheduled. . . . The Pats and Raiders aren’t scheduled to meet again until the final weekend of the regular season (March 20 and 21) when they are to go home-and-home.
. . . The Raiders are scheduled to play in Brandon today, with face-off at 4 p.m. Seriously!
And then there is the bizarre scheduling to which the Victoria Royals find themselves subjected. The Royals dropped a 7-3 decision to the Royals in Kelowna on Friday night. Victoria then played last night in Kamloops where they beat the Blazers, 5-2. . . . The Royals left Kamloops immediately after the game and headed for Kent, Wash., where they are to face the Seattle Thunderbirds today at 5:05 p.m. . . . That’s three games in three different cities in fewer than 48 hours. . . . On top of that, the Royals have to get home to play an afternoon game — it’s a noon start — against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday. . . . It all adds up to four games in about 90 hours. . . . Gee, I wonder if the Royals will practise on Monday or if head coach Dave Lowry will tell them to enjoy a day away from the rink?
There was an interesting note involving the first goal of a game in the notes for Saturday’s game that had the Victoria Royals in Kamloops to play the Blazers. . . . It seems that the Royals scored first in only 15 of their first 39 games. They went 18-18-3 in those games. . . . Since then, they have scored first in 10 of 16 games. They are 12-3-1 in those games. . . . Obviously, the first goal of game can be rather important. . . . Of course, they didn’t score first Saturday night in Kamloops, but ended up winning, 5-2.
There was good news for Brandon Wheat Kings’ fans on Saturday morning. Bruce Luebke, the play-by-play voice of the Wheaties, tweeted that the team has “confirmed that all of their home playoff games will be played at Westman Communications Group Place.” . . . In past seasons, the Wheat Kings have been forced to find another home in the first round because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair takes over the building. . . . This year’s Royal runs from March 30 through April 4. The Wheat Kings apparently will be able to schedule first-round games around that. . . .
F Rodney Southam of the Kelowna Rockets drew a two-game suspension for incurring his fourth game misconduct of the season on Friday against the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets were fined $1,000 “for second occasion of a player instigating fight in last five minutes of game.” Southam instigated a fight late in Friday’s game.
B.C. DIVISION: Kamloops lost at home, while Prince George and Vancouver won on the road. . . . Vancouver went to bed in third place, with the other two tied, just one point back. . . . Vancouver has 15 games remaining, Kamloops 14 and Prince George 13. . . . Kamloops and Prince George are five points behind Tri-City, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna won at home and now holds a four-point lead over idle Brandon atop the overall standings.
U.S. DIVISION: Everett picked up a loser point and now leads the division by eight points over idle Portland. . . . Seattle won and trails second-place Portland by three points. Each has 16 games remaining.
EAST DIVISION: Swift Current’s home-ice victory lifted the third-place Broncos 11 points clear of Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. Moose Jaw lost on the road and Prince Albert was snowed out. . . . Moose Jaw and Prince Albert are eight points behind idle Edmonton, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.
CENTRAL DIVISION: Second-place Calgary went into Medicine Hat and won to pull to within four points of the first-place Tigers. . . . Calgary holds one game in hand. . . . Red Deer picked up a loser point and is six points behind Calgary.
In Swift Current, F Cavin Leth scored twice to lead the Broncos to a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Riley Whittingham gave the visitors a 2-1 lead with a PP goal seven seconds into the second period. He’s got 11 goals. . . . D Jordan Thomson pulled the Broncos even with his fourth goal just 18 seconds later. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen broke the tie with his fifth goal at 7:05. . . . Leth, who has five goals, and F Jake DeBrusk, who has 34, provided third-period insurance. . . . F Adam Helewka got his 30th goal for the Chiefs. . . . The Broncos (27-24-5) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (27-25-4) went 3-3-0 on their East Division swing. They have lost 11 of their last 15 games but now go home for three in a row. . . .
In Red Deer, F Chase Witala scored at 1:15 of OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Witala, who also had an assist, has 28 goals. . . . F Jeff de Wit scored his third goal of the season for the home side at 12:37 of the first period. . . . F Kody McDonald pulled the Cougars even with his sixth goal at 4:14 of the second and F Zach Pochiro got his 13th, at 16:46, for a 2-1 lead. . . . Red Deer F Brooks Maxwell forced OT with his 17th goal, via the PP, at 2:54 of the third. . . . Prince George G Tavin Grant stopped 40 shots, 17 more than Red Deer’s Taz Burman. . . . Pochiro, who scored twice in a win in Medicine Hat on Friday, had an assist, too, while F Jansen Harkins had two of them. . . . The Cougars (23-32-4) are 2-0-1 in their last three and have points in five of six. . . . The Rebels (28-18-9) have lost four in a row. They lead the WHL in loser points. . . .
In Lethbridge, F Giorgio Estaphan scored twice to help the Hurricanes to a 5-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Estephan’s first goal, on the PP, gave Lethbridge a 3-1 lead at 5:27 of the second period. . . . The Blades pulled even on F Mason McCarty’s second goal of the game, and fifth of the season, at 18:35, and F Nic Zajac’s eighth goal at 1:00 of the third period. . . . Estephan broke the tie with his 16th goal at 14:00. . . . Lethbridge D Kord Pankewicz scored his sixth goal, via the PP, and added an assist. . . . F Brett Stovin had two assists for the Blades, while McCarty also had an assist. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner stopped 32 shots, eight more than Saskatoon’s Nik Amundrud. . . . Lethbridge was 2-for-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 1-for-3. . . . F Lukas MacKenzie, a third-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, made his debut with the Blades. He’s from Calgary and attends the EDGE School in his hometown. . . . Lethbridge (18-32-6) has won three in a row and is 6-1-1 in its last eight. . . . The Blades (16-36-3) are seven points behind Lethbridge in the race to avoid the WHL cellar. . . .
In Medicine Hat, G Brendan Burke made 44 saves to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 2-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . F Adam Tambellini gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead with his 39th goal at 5:39 of the first period, on a PP. . . . F Beck Malenstyn upped that to 2-0 with his seventh goal at 12:39 of the second. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford scored his WHL-leading 45th goal at 15:19 of the second. He has one more goal than Kelowna F Rourke Chartier. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer turned aside 25 shots. . . . Calgary was 1-for-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-for-5. . . . The Hitmen are 33-18-5 and have won 10 of their last 11. . . . The Tigers (36-18-3) have lost three in a row. . . .
Congrats on The Big 5-0 to bench boss who made Cup Finals with both Panthers & Flames. pic.twitter.com/MSf0MenJ8d
— O-Pee-Chee Stars (@opeecheestars)
In Kamloops, F Tyler Soy scored twice and set up another to lead the Victoria Royals to a 5-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . F Matt Needham got the Blazers on the board first, scoring his 19th goal at 5:53 of the first period. . . . The Royals scored the nest four goals, with Soy getting two of them. He’s got 23 goals in his sophomore season. . . . Victoria F Austin Carroll also scored twice, giving him 32. Soy, now with 52 points in 53 games, drew an assist on the second of those. . . . Victoria D Joe Hicketts, playing his 150th career regular-season game, had three assists. He now has 101 career points, including 80 assists. . . . F Cole Ully had two assists for Kamloops. He’s got 73 points in 55 games. . . . Victoria F Greg Chase had two assists. . . . The Royals lead the season series 4-2-1 (the Blazers are 3-3-1). Victoria will be back in Kamloops on Feb. 27 to conclude the series. . . . The Royals had an 18-4 edge in shots in the first period and led 42-32 at game’s end. . . . Victoria head coach Dave Lowry turned 50 on Saturday. He had 35 points, including 18 goals, in 79 games with the 2000-01 Calgary Flames. Kamloops head coach Don Hay was the Flames’ head coach for the first 68 games that season, before he was replaced by Greg Gilbert. . . . The Royals (31-21-4) are a comfortable second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Blazers (22-30-6) had won their previous two games. . . .
In Kelowna, G Jake Morrissey stopped 28 shots to help the Rockets to a 6-0 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . It was Morrissey’s first career shutout. . . . F Tyson Baillie and F Leon Draisaitl each had two goals and two assists. . . . Baillie reached the 200-point plateau for his career. He has 202 points, including 92 goals, in 244 games. . . . Baillie, who has 34 goals, had been out since Feb. 7 thanks to a headshot from Kamloops F Quinn Benjafield, who sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension last night. . . . Draisaitl has 27 points, including nine goals, in 17 games since joining the Rockets from the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . D Riley Stadel and F Dillon Dube each had two assists. . . . The Rockets (44-9-4) have won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (22-30-4) are eight points out of a playoff spot with 16 games remaining. . . .
In Everett, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the only two goals of the shootout as they beat the Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Seattle F Mathew Barzal forced OT with his 11th goal at 19:35 of the third period. . . . F Scott Eansor had given Seattle a 1-0 lead with his eighth goal, on the PP, at 9:08 of the first. . . . Everett took the lead on PP goals by F Patrick Bajkov, his 21st, at 8:42 of the second, and F Remi Laurencelle, his 18th, at 2:21 of the third. . . . Barzal and F Donovan Neuls had the shootout goals. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 25 shots through OT, one more than Everett’s Carter Hart. . . . Everett was 2-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 1-for-3. . . . The Thunderbirds (29-20-7) are 2-0-1 in their last three. . . . Everett (35-16-6) has points in its last four (2-0-2). . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Vancouver Giants moved back into third place in the B.C. Division with a 6-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Giants F Alex Baer scored his 12th goal just 47 seconds into the game and the visitors never were headed. . . . F Zack Jones got his 27th goal and F Carter Popoff his 23rd for Vancouver. . . . Baer and Jones each added an assist, too. . . . F Jakob Stukel had two assists for the winners, while F Jackson Houck scored his 18th goal and had an assist. . . . F Lucas Nickles got his 21st goal and had an assist for the Americans. . . . Vancouver now is 24-30-3, while the Americans, who have lost two in a row, are 26-28-3.
(all times local)
Prince Albert at Brandon, 4 p.m.
Saskatoon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 6 p.m.
Victoria vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 5:05 p.m.
(all times local)
Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 2 p.m.
Brandon at Regina 2 p.m.
Prince George at Edmonton, 2 p.m.
Chad Brownlee’s new guitar is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. pic.twitter.com/wOyW874Kdn
— Maximillian (@thapeppa_grinda)