— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings)
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings, playing before a sold-out crowd, opened with a 5-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings scored the game’s first two goals, with F Duncan Campbell getting his first at 9:48 of the first and F Tim McGauley getting his fourth at 1:56 of the second.
. . . F Taylor Cooper, a former Wheat Kings skater, got Regina’s goal at 9:12 of the second. . . . F John Quenneville got his fourth goal for Brandon at 13:50 of the second. . . . The Wheat Kings put it away with two third-period goals — D Ivan Provorov scored his first at 10:41 and F Jayce Hawryluk got No. 4 at 14:04. . . . F Tyler Coulter had two assists for Brandon. . . . Brandon has scored the first goal in each of its past five games and has won each of those games. . . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny celebrated his 19th birthday by stopping 21 shots, five fewer than Regina’s Daniel Wapple. . . . Regina was 0-for-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-for-3. . . . F Reid Duke was back in Brandon’s lineup after a 21-game absence with an undisclosed injury. He hadn’t played since Feb. 13. . . . Brandon F Morgan Klimchuk remains sidelined. . . . Attendance was 5,130. . . . A Friday tweet from Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Pats: “Pats HC John Paddock will be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in October. Official announcement coming Monday.”
In Medicine Hat, F Chase Lang had a goal and two assists to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 3-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . The series now heads for Calgary and games on Sunday and Monday. A fourth game will be played in Medicine Hat on Wednesday. The remainder of the schedule, if necessary, has yet to be announced. . . . Last night, Calgary led 2-1 after two periods, despite being outshot 24-8. . . . With the Tigers leading 6-0 on the shot clock, F Connor Rankin scored his eighth goal of these playoffs on Calgary’s first shot, at 7:57 of the first period. . . . F Jake Virtanen scored his first goal at 16:30 of the first, for a 2-0 lead. . . . The Tigers got their goal from F Dryden Hunt at 19:50 of the first. . . . Lang scored his fourth goal at 6:30 of the third. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields turned aside 33 shots. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer stopped 11 shots. . . . The Tigers were 0-for-3 on the PP; the Hitmen were 0-for-1. . . . Calgary continues to play without D Jake Bean, while F Beck Malensytn was back after a 10-game absence. . . . Attendance was 4,006.
In Kelowna, G Jackson Whistle stopped 20 shots to help the Rockets to a 5-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Kelowna tonight. . . . Whistle has put up three shutouts in his first five playoff starts. He opened the first round with 6-0 and 3-0 shutouts over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Rockets are 5-0 in these playoffs. . . . F Tyson Baillie’s third goal, at 5:40 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . The Rockets had a 14-1 edge in shots in a scoreless first period. . . . Victoria’s one shot came on a breakaway by F Alex Forsberg, who was stymied by Whistle. . . . D Josh Morrissey, out since Feb. 28, was back in the Kelowna lineup and drew three assists. . . . F Leon Draisaitl had two assists. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 39 shots. . . . The Rockets’ last two goals came via the PP as they went 2-for-5. . . . Victoria was 0-for-4. . . . F Tyrell Goulbourne, who missed two games, returned to the Rockets’ lineup. . . . F Justin Kirkland, F Chance Braid (WHL suspension) and D Devante Stephens were among Kelowna’s scratches. . . . There were at least 21 NHL scouts on hand for this one. . . . Attendance was 5,481. . . . Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has a game story right here.
In Everett, the Silvertips scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The teams will be back at it tonight in Everett. . . . F Kohl Bauml opened the scoring at 5:25 of the first period and F Remi Laurencelle made it 2-0 just 3:04 later. . . . Laurencelle added his second of the game, and second of these playoffs, at 4:42 of the second. . . . Portland F Miles Koules cut the deficit to 3-1 with 22.3 seconds left in the second period. . . . However, Everett F Jake Mykitiuk got that one back with 2.2 seconds left in the period with what likely was the biggest goal of the game. . . . After F Patrick Bajkov gave Everett a 5-1 lead at 7:58 of the third, via a PP, the visitors got goals from F Dominic Turgeon, his fifth, and F Alex Schoenborn. . . . Silvertips D Cole MacDonald had three assists, while F Ivan Nikolishin had two. . . . Portland F Keegan Iverson had two assists. . . . Everett G Carter Hart stopped 27 shots, 11 more than Portland’s Adin Hill. . . . Everett was 1-for-2 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-1. . . . D Noah Juulsen, D Tristen Pfeifer and F Dawson Leedahl were scratched by Everett, each with an undisclosed injury. . . . With two defencemen out, Everett had D Jantzen Leslie, 15, in the lineup for his second playoff game. . . . Attendance was 3,481.
An interesting tidbit from the Hodge’s Heroes blog, where Brandon Rivers writes: “D-man Caleb Jones (1996) was ranked No. 115 overall among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings. Jones, who is playing with the USNTDP, has reportedly signed with Portland, though this has not been announced by the Winterhawks. There could be some reason why this has not been announced as of yet, but I do not know exactly why.” . . . This speculation goes back to a report by Corbett Smith and his High School Sports Blog for The Dallas Morning News. Smith reported on April 2 that Jones, the younger brother of former Winterhawks D Seth Jones, has opted to join the Winterhawks, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft. Smith wrote: “According to local youth hockey expert Tanner Wilson, Caleb says he’s 100 percent committed to the Winterhawks for next season; Caleb had been courted by several top NCAA programs, most recently Wisconsin. He also had offers from Boston College, Boston University (currently in the NCAA’s Frozen Four) and Umass.” . . . Caleb Jones, 17, spent the past two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program.
David Levin, who was born in Tel Aviv, will be selected by the Sudbury Wolves with the No. 1 pick in today’s OHL draft. . . . Levin, now 15, was 12 when he left his parents and brother behind to come to Canada in order to focus on hockey. . . . He played this season with the AAA minor midget Don Mills Flyers. Their head coach is Lindsay Hofford, who once did a stint as head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (2003-06). Hofford also is the director of scouting for the OHL’s London Knights. . . . John Matisz of QMI Agency has more on Levin right here.
——F Sam Reinhart’s debut with the AHL’s Rochester Americans has been delayed. Reinhart suffered an undisclosed injury as his Kootenay Ice dropped a seven-game series to the Calgary Hitmen last week, so the Americans, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, have chosen to hold out Reinhart until next weekend. . . . The Americans will conclude their regular season with three games next weekend. The last game, on Sunday, April 19, will be against the host Adirondack Flames, whose roster includes F Max Reinhart, Sam’s older brother.
The AHL’s Adirondack Flames have signed G Taran Kozun of the Seattle Thunderbirds to an amateur tryout deal. Kozun, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was in a development camp with the Washington Capitals in 2014. Adirondack is the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. This season, Kozun was 33-19-8, .915, 2.41. . . . Former Kelowna Rockets head coach Ryan Huska is in his first season as Adirondack’s head coach. . . . The Flames are at home to Dean Chynoweth and the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday and Sunday. . . . Seattle D Evan Wardley, who also used up his junior eligibility, has joined the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. . . . Seattle D Shea Theodore, 19, is playing with the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Theodore was selected by the Ducks in the first round of the NHL’s 2013 draft.
The BCHL has made a move to get older players onto its teams’ rosters. Here’s a note from Brian Wiebe, over at Brian’s Banter:
“The BCHL has re-introduced the roster rule stating that each team must have a minimum of two players 17-years-old or younger on its active roster in 2015-16. This is a change from this season when teams were required to have a minimum of four rookie players, which was defined as those entering the season with less than 30 games of junior A experience. The 17-years-old-and-under rule was in place for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons after teams were required to carry a minimum of one 16-year-old and one 17-year-old on their rosters during the 2011-12 season.”
The Red Deer Rebels have signed F Austin Pratt, a native of Lakeville, Minn., who was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. Pratt, who attended a Rebels’ prospect camp last summer and was in their training camp prior to this season, played the past two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. This season, with the school’s U-16 team, he had 52 points, 20 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . Pratt may be the only 16-year-old on the Rebels’ roster next season as it prepares to play host to the 2016 Memorial Cup. . . .
It is expected that F Connor McDavid of the OHL’s Erie Otters or F Jack Eichel of Boston U will be first pick in June’s NHL draft. On Friday afternoon, Eichel was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player; later in the day, McDavid became the first Erie player to score five goals in a regular-season or playoff game as the Otters dropped the visiting London Knights 7-3 in a second-round game. . . . The Otters lead the series, 2-0. . . . Erie D Kurtis MacDermid has been suspended for eight games for a headshot that has taken London F Max Domi out of the series. . . . Erie F Mason Marchment has been hit with an indefinite suspension for a hit on London F Mitch Marner. . . .
G Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans started for the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps last night. He made 28 saves in a 3-2 loss to the visiting Hershey Bears. . . . F Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors scored his first AHL goal last night, as he and the host Syracuse Crunch beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, in OT. Point forced OT with a PP goal at 3:43 of the third period.
THE COACHING GAME:
Chad van Diemen is the new head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. Van Diemen, 33, spent the past six seasons with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, as assistant GM and associate head coach. . . . Van Diemen, who signed a two-year contract, replaces Dave Dupas, who resigned following the season. Dupas, who is from Kelowna, cited family reasons in resigning. . . . Van Diemen is from Kamloops. He played four seasons (1998-2002)in the BCHL, with the Nanaimo Clippers, Powell River and Quesnel Millionaires before going on to play four seasons of NCAA hockey — one at Iona and three at Manhattanville. . . . His father, Case, was the president of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers for a while when the franchise was community-owned.
The Hamilton Bulldogs, who will begin play in the OHL next season, have signed George Burnett as their first general manager/head coach. Burnett, a 26-year veteran of the coaching wars, spent the past 11 seasons as the GM/head coach of the Belleville Bulls. That franchise is relocating to Hamilton. Burnett, 53, is a long-time OHL coach, having also worked with the Oshawa Generals, Niagara Falls Thunder, Oshawa Generals and Belleville. He also has coached in the NHL and AHL. He has 611 OHL coaching victories, ranking him second among active coaches and leaving him fifth on the all-time list.
Victoria Cougars vs New Westminster Bruins, playoff game April 7, 1979 at the Victoria Memorial Arena. pic.twitter.com/3R6UISrkNV
— Victoria Cougars (@victoriacougars)