F Sean O’Connor (Moose Jaw, 1999-2002) has signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL), he had six goals and five assists in 29 games. O’Connor holds dual Canadian-German citizenship.
D Colby Sissons has joined the Swift Current Broncos for the remainder of the regular-season.
Sissons, who turned 17 on Jan. 15, played this season with the midget AAA Edmonton-based SSAC Boston Pizza Athletics. . . . Sissons, from Lacombe, Alta., played two games with the Broncos earlier this season.
F Adam Tambellini of the Calgary Hitmen has signed an entry-level deal with the NHL’s New York Rangers. They selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2013 draft. . . . Tambellini, 20, has 79 points, including 45 goals, in 65 games with the Hitmen this season. . . . Tambellini, from Port Moody, B.C., has 118 points, 62 of them goals, in 96 career regular-season games.
Canada and the U.S. will renew their junior hockey rivalry on Dec. 26 as the 2016 World Junior Championship opens in Helsinki. The defending-champion Canadians will be in Group A, along with the U.S., Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden. Group A will play its games in the Helsinki Ice Hall. Canada will play its second game, against Denmark, on Dec. 28, then will meet Switzerland on Dec. 29 and Sweden on Dec. 31. . . . The U.S. will play Sweden on Dec. 28, Switzerland on Dec. 30 and Denmark on Dec. 31. . . . Group B features Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Slovakia. Its games will be played in Hartwall Arena. . . . The tournament will conclude on Jan. 5.
F Evan Polei, who hasn’t played since Jan. 24, is close to returning to the Red Deer Rebels’ lineup. Meanwhile, F Conner Bleackley, the Rebels’ captain, may not be return until the start of the playoffs. D Colton Bobyk may return may not return for another 10 days. Bleackley hasn’t played since Feb. 6, while Bobyk has been out since Feb. 18. . . .
F Deven Sideroff of the Kamloops Blazers is back practising and could return tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars. Sideroff has missed four games with what appeared to be a wrist injury. . . . With 40 points, including 16 goals, in in 58 games, Sideroff has been a big part of the the Blazers’ offence, skating alongside Matt Needham and Cole Ully. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors scratched F Tanner Eberle and F Jaimen Yakubowski again last night in Brandon. Eberle hasn’t played since Feb. 28; Yakubowski has been out since Feb. 27. . . . Neither is expected to play in a weekend home-and-home series with the Regina Pats.
THE COACHING GAME:
Ty Davidson is the new head coach of the junior B Sicamous, B.C., Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Davidson had been the general manager and head coach of the KIJHL’s Golen Rockets, but he resigned following the season, saying that he wanted to be closer to his family in Salmon Arm. . . . Davidson, the son of Everett Silvertips GM Garry Davidson, takes over from Blair Davidson, who had been the Eagles’ head coach for 18 years. Davidson was dismissed following Game 4 of a five-game first-round playoff loss to the Kamloops Storm. . . . “There’s nothing I want to say bad about it, and I won’t,” Eagles GM Wayne March told Lachlan Labere of the Eagle Valley News of Robinson’s departure. “It’s just, he did a great job for us, it was time for him to move on. We parted amicably, but he did a good job for us and has been well-appreciated over the years.”
THE WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:
1. Brandon (5 games remaining) — Will finish atop the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1995-96. They will play the conference’s second wild-card team in first round. . . . A victory at home last night moved Brandon back into a tie with Kelowna (6) atop the overall standings. . . . At home to Saskatoon on Friday.
2. Regina (6) clinched second in division. Will meet third-place team in first round. . . . Freshman F Sam Steel suffered a leg injury last night. The seriousness has yet to be determined. . . . In Swift Current tonight.
3. Swift Current (6) has lost six in a row and now leads Moose Jaw by two points. . . . At home to Regina tonight.
4. Moose Jaw (5) lost on the road last night and remains two points behind Swift Current. . . . At home to Regina on Friday.
5. Prince Albert (6) won at home last night and now is four points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Entertains Swift Current on Friday.
6. Saskatoon (5) visits Red Deer tonight.
1. Medicine Hat (6) is tied with Calgary atop the division. Medicine Hat has more victories (41-40) at the moment. . . . Tigers play in Cranbrook on Friday.
2. Calgary (6) has two games left in a franchise-record 11-game road trip. . . . Plays in Red Deer on Friday.
3. Red Deer (6) is five points off the pace. . . . At home to Saskatoon tonight.
4. Kootenay (5) holds down the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . At home to Lethbridge tonight.
5. Edmonton (4) is in the second wild-card spot, one point behind Kootenay. . . . At home to Medicine Hat on Friday.
6. Lethbridge (6) is at home to Edmonton on Friday.
1. Kelowna (6) has clinched first place in the Western Conference and will play the second wild-card team in the first round. . . . Is tied with Brandon for first place in the overall standings. . . . At home to Victoria tonight.
2. Victoria (6) will finish second and meet the division’s third-place team in the first round. . . . In Kelowna tonight.
3. Prince George (6) is third, thanks to a 5-0-1 run. It is 7-1-2 in its last 10. . . . Prince George is four points ahead of Kamloops (6) and six up on Vancouver (5). . . . In Kamloops tonight.
4. Kamloops (6) will meet Prince George four times in the next two weeks — tonight in Kamloops, March 18 and 20 in Prince George, and March 21 in Kamloops. . . . The Blazers also are two points behind Tri-City (6), which holds down the conference’s second wild-card berth.
5. Vancouver (5) has lost seven straight and is two points behind Kamloops and four behind Tri-City. . . . Plays host to Victoria on Friday.
1. Everett (6) leads the division by four points over Portland (8). . . . Key game tonight when Portland visits.
2. Portland (8) is on an 8-0-2 roll as it heads for Everett and tonight’s game.
3. Seattle (6) trails Portland by eight points. . . . At home to Everett on Friday.
4. Spokane (7) is in the first wild-card spot, seven points behind Seattle and nine ahead of Tri-City (6). . . . At home to Portland on Friday.
5. Tri-City (6) is in the second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and four up on Vancouver. . . . Entertains Prince George on Friday.
IF THE WHL PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY:
Brandon vs. Edmonton
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay
Regina vs. Swift Current
Calgary vs. Red Deer
Kelowna vs. Tri-City
Everett vs. Spokane
Victoria vs. Prince George
Portland vs. Seattle
(NOTE: Team with home-ice advantage shown first.)
In Prince Albert, the Raiders built up a 4-0 lead and then held off a furious Regina comeback before beating the Pats, 5-3. . . . Raiders G Nick McBride stopped 55 shots. . . . Raiders F Matteo Gennaro scored his 13th goal at 14:18 of the second period for a 4-0 lead. . . . The Pats got third-period goals from F Adam Brooks, his 28th, F Braden Christoffer, his 25th, and F Pavel Padakin, his 24th, to get to within one. . . . Padakin’s goal, on a PP, came at 15:44 with G Daniel Wapple on the bench for the extra attacker. Padakin was playing in his 200th WHL game. . . . Raiders F Reid Gardiner iced it with an empty-netter at 19:01. He’s got 32 goals. . . . F Jordan Tkatch scored twice for the Raiders, giving him 11 goals, while F Jayden Hart had three assists. . . . Regina F Sam Steel was helped from the ice with an apparent leg injury and went to the dressing room in the second period. After the game, Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Pats, tweeted: “John Paddock says Sam Steel’s injury is not serious at first assessment. Will know more in the days to come.” . . . Regina was 1-for-1 on the PP; the Raiders weren’t given even one opportunity. . . . Wapple finished with 20 saves. . . . Prince Albert (28-35-3) has won four in a row. . . . Regina (35-22-9) has lost two in a row. . . .
Congrats to Center Tim McGauley on joining the 100 point club! pic.twitter.com/BTSxp9lryQ
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings)
In Brandon, F Tim McGauley scored once and added two assists as the Wheat Kings beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-3. . . . McGauley became the second WHLer this season to reach the 100-point plateau when he scored his 41st goal into an empty net at 19:44 of the third period. He now is tied for the WHL scoring lead with Medicine Hat Tigers F Trevor Cox. . . . McGauley extended his point streak to 23 games with an assist on a first-period goal by F Morgan Klimchuk. That goal, his 30th this season, ran Klimchuk’s point streak to 11 games. . . . McGauley has 16 goals and 34 assists in those 23 games. . . . The Wheat Kings led 2-0 in the first period but found themselves trailing 3-2 after Warriors F Brayden Point scored his 33rd goal with 8.7 seconds in the second period. . . . Brandon F Rihards Bukarts tied it with his 31st goal at 3:16 of the third and F Jayce Hawryluk broke the tie with this second of the game, and 28th of the season, at 8:23, via the PP. . . . Point also had an assist, while F Axel Blomqvist had two helpers. . . . Klimchuk and Bukarts also added an assist each. . . . Moose Jaw F Jesse Shynkaruk and Brandon F John Quenneville were tossed 45 seconds into the game for taking part in a staged fight. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 29 shots, four fewer than Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko. . . . Brandon was 1-for-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-1. . . . The Wheat Kings (49-11-7) have won two straight. . . . The Warriors (29-33-5) had a three-game winning skein end. . . .
In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice scored the game’s first three goals and went to a 4-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Ice F Luke Philp opened the scoring at 1:17 of the first period. That was his 29th goal of the season and his 200th career regular-season point. . . . Philp later added an assist. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau scored his 30th goal of the season, while F Tim Bozon got No. 32 into an empty net at 19:47 of the third. . . . Descheneau has reached the 30-goal mark for a third straight season. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 27 shots, losing his shutout bid when F Giorgio Estephan scored his 21st goal at 18:55 of the third. . . . Ice D Rinat Valiev had two assists. . . . Lethbridge G Jayden Sittler made 41 stops. . . . Ice F Jon Martin took 29 of his team’s 33 penalty minutes. He got into a dustup with D Devan Fafard at 19:12 of the first period and was given two for instigating, two for roughing, five for fighting, a misconduct and a game misconduct. . . . Ch-ch-ching! Lethbridge GM/head coach Peter Anholt picked up a game misconduct at 18:42 of the third period with his side trailing 3-0. . . . The Ice (34-29-4) ended a three-game losing skid (0-2-1). . . . The Hurricanes (20-38-8) have lost two in a row. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . .
In Edmonton, the Oil Kings scored three power-play goals en route to an 8-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The home team scored the first four and last four goals in this one as they scored eight times for the first tie this season. . . . F Edgars Kulda and F Andrew Koep each had a goal and two assists, while D Ashton Sautner had two assists. Kulda has 12 goals; Koep has 13. . . . Edmonton F Lane Bauer scored the game’s first goal, his 24th, 53 seconds into the game and the Oil Kings took it from there. . . . The Oil Kings were 3-for-7 on the PP; the Blades were 0-for-4. . . . Edmonton G Triston Jarry stopped 34 shots, including a second-period penalty shot by F Sam McKechnie. . . . Saskatoon G Brock Hamm turned aside 38 shots. . . . The Oil Kings (32-29-7) have won two straight. . . . The Blades (19-44-4) have lost four in a row. . . .
In Vancouver, F Dominic Zwerger broke a 1-1 tie at 13:28 of the first period and the Spokane Chiefs went on to a 4-3 victory over the Giants. . . . Zwerger has 15 goals. . . . F Jackson Playfair gave the Chiefs a two-goal lead with his 12th at 5:39 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Jackson Houck scored his 22nd goal, on a PP, at 9:30 of the second. . . . F Blair Oneschuk got his sixth goal at 17:49 of the second to restore Spokane’s two-goal lead. . . . Giants F Zane Jones got his guys close with his 28th goal at 1:10 of the third, but they weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Giants’ coaching staff moved D Arvil Atwal to the forward ranks for this one. . . . The Chiefs (32-29-4) had lost two in a row. . . . The Giants (26-38-3) have lost seven in a row.
(all times local)
Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
No Games Scheduled
(all times local)
Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Prince George vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Taber, Alberta, has banned swearing, spitting and yelling in public. In other words, Taber just banned hockey
— Tyler Olsen (@ty_olsen)