WHL recap: ICE double up Wheat Kings; Raiders, Blazers, Rockets and Silvertips emerge victorious as well

Kootenay 4 @Brandon 2 

The Brandon Wheat Kings (9-6-0-1) were a very short-handed team on the back end coming into Friday night’s tilt with the visiting Kootenay ICE (8-8-1-0). With blue liners Daniel Bukac, Garrett Sambrook and James Shearer all out due to lower body injuries and 16-year-old Braden Schneider away at the U17 Challenge, the team was missing four defensemen.

They could be without another d-man tomorrow as well because Schael Higson drew a game misconduct for a late, high hit on Kootenay’s Alec Baer.

The ICC made them feel their losses on the back end, by jumping all over Brandon early, then stifling the Wheat Kings attack, en route to a 4-2 win.

The ICE drew first blood as Sebastian Streu scored his first career WHL goal. He caused a turnover in his own zone, found Vince Loschiavo in the neutral zone, then drove towards the net, receiving a pass that set him up all alone on goalie Logan Thompson. He then slipped a backhand past the overage goalie.

The ICE then doubled their lead as Kaeden Taphorn slipped a backhand pass from behind the net to Michael King in tight on Thompson. King tipped the puck past the Wheaties’ netminder for his second of the season.

It then quickly became 3-0 as a pass between Gilian Kohler and Colton Veloso did not connect, but it did cause Thompson to have to go down to turn the puck away. Taphorn was at the right place and slammed the puck past Thompson.

The barrage just kept on going in the first as Cale Fleury powered a power play one-timer past a screened Thompson.

Brandon tallied a marker of their own on the power play, courtesy a Ty Lewis one-timer.

The second period started with a goalie change as Thompson was pulled in favor of Dylan Myskiw after giving up four goals on 15 shots.

Then Ty Ettinger notched his first career WHL goal, 11:55 into the second off a nice drop pass from Baron Thompson. That would get Brandon to within 4-2, but they would get no closer, due in no small part to a slew of third period penalties.

Duncan McGovern got his first win with the ICE, stopping 33 of 35.

This was the first of two straight between the ICE and Wheat Kings in Brandon. The Wheaties had dropped two straight coming in. Peyton Krebs is gone from the ICE, playing for Team Canada White at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

 

Prince Albert 5 Swift Current 1

The Prince Albert Raiders’ (7-5-3-0) game plan going into their game against the very potent Swift Current Broncos (10-3-1-0) was the same as the many other WHL teams that came before them this year. It was to frustrate the line of Tyler Steenbergen, Glenn Gawdin and Aleksi Heponiemi and get them off their game. This time, they were extremely successful and were able to draw penalties on the Broncos top line. Four penalties on the big three caused were drawn, while the game was still in doubt.

On those power plays they drew, they were also very successful, scoring on three of the six they were given.

Jordy Stallard led the way with a hat-trick, while Cole Fonstad has two assists.

Justin Nachbaur got an early run for the Raiders going with his first career WHL goal. The 17-year-old from Cross Lake, Manitoba followed up a passing play from newly acquired Raider Brett Leason. The former Tri-City Americans forward tried a pass down low, which deflected off a Bronco skate. Nachbaur found the puck and beat Logan Flodell on the blocker side.

Jody Stallard then scored twice to make it 3-0 after one. Parker Kelly forced a turnover on Kaden Elder to the right of Flodell. Stallard was right there and just got enough to sneak the puck past Flodell. Then with a  four-on-three man advantage, Stallard one-timed a pass form Cole Fonstad for his 11th of the season.

Then in the second period, Stallard completed the hat-trick. He pounced on a juicy rebound and made a quick stick-hold adjustment before powering a shot past an out-of-position Flodell.

Then after Aleksi Heponiemi scored on the power play, P.A. got a goal right back of the same variety. Sean Montgomery got credit for deflecting the shot by Brayden Pachal past Flodell.

Ian Scott stopped 30 of 31 and nailed down his fourth win in five starts. Flodell gave up give goals on 26 shots. He only lasted 40 minutes, before Joel Hofer played the third and stopped all 12 shots he faced.

This was the first of eight games between the two teams.

Rhett Rhinehart is away from the Raiders, representing Team Canada White at the U17 Challenge. Logan Barlage is missing from the Swift Current roster at the same tournament, playing for Team Canada Red.

Kamloops 5 @Vancouver 4 

Like the Wheat Kings, the Vancouver Giants (5-8-1-2) were missing quite a few bodies on their blue line. With Bowen Byram away at the U17 Challenge and Bailey Dhaliwal injured and Darian Skeoch serving a suspension, they were down three key d-men.

Like the Kootenay ICE, the Kamloops Blazers (5-11) took advantage of the situation and came away with the road win.

Garrett Pilon scored twice for the Blazers, while Brodi Stuart, Luc Smith and Jermaine Loewen had two points apiece.

Max Palaga, starting due to Dylan Ferguson being called away by the Vegas Golden Knights stopped 23 of 27 for his first career WHL win.

Quinn Benjafield put a hit in behind the net on a Giants defender and after Nick Chyzowski and Brodi Stuart got a shot in on David Tendeck, Benjafield found the rebound for his third of the year.

The Giants got a garbage goal of their own as about six players battled for a loose puck on the power play and Brad Morrison found it, slipping it past Kamloops goalie Max Palaga.

The Giants then took the lead as a Brendan Semchuk pass was deflected down. He then found the puck again and passed it to Dawson Holt for his second of the season.

The second would see the Blazers storm out in front 4-2 thanks to three goals from Smith, Pilon and Loewen.

Morrison and Ronning got two back to start the third, tying the game with 2:30 left.

Then after Morrison got called for slashing, Pilon notched the game winner on the power play with 17 seconds left in regulation.

Vancouver won the first matchup 6-3 back on 9/29. The second of the home-and-home between the two goes tomorrow in Kamloops. The Giants have now dropped four straight.

Bowen Byram is playing for Team Canada White at the U17 Challenge, so is gone this weekend.

Kelowna 4 @Victoria 2

The Kelowna Rockets (8-5-2-1) made up some much needed ground in the B.C. Division, as they (the 2nd place team) got both points on the road in Victoria (12-5-1-0) with a 4-2 win.

Jared Legien made his presence felt very early on. After throwing a check in behind the net, he picked up the puck and drilled a shot from the left circle past Kelowna goalie James Porter.

Kelowna tied the game later in the period as Dillon Dube took a cross-ice pass from Kole Lind and tried to find Kyle Topping at the back post. Instead the puck found the skate of Ralph Jarratt and slid past Victoria netminder Griffen Outhouse.

Later in the period, Victoria took advantage of Cal Foote and Kole Lind taking penalties just 17 seconds apart. Tyler Soy found Dante Hannoun in the slot and the diminutive winger waited until Porter went down, before beating him high.

The rest of the game would belong to the Rockets as they got goals from Cal Foote, Leif Matson and Dillon Dube, en route to the 4-2 win.

The two play a rematch Saturday night.

Kaeden Korczak (KEL) is away playing for Team Canada Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Everett 2 Prince George 1

For all the talk of a different Everett Silvertips (6-7-2-2) team this year, the win Friday night over the visiting Prince George Cougars (5-8-2-2) had a nostalgic feel to it. They broke a deadlock with just over a minute left with a big goal from Patrick Bajkov and added an empty-netter to take a 3-1 win.

The win may have felt so nostalgic, because of a player wearing #70 between the pipes for them. After suffering from mononucleosis to start the year, Carter Hart made his season debut, to the tune of 23 saves on 24 shots.

A poor turnover in front of the Prince George net, led to a fairly easy goal for Orrin Centazzo to start the scoring. The Cougars got that one back with a marker from Josh Maser 13:33 into the second.

The game-winner would be scored with 1:22 left. Matt Fonteyne drove the net and lifted a backhand saucer pass right to Bajkov at the back post. Dewar would put it away later and end the night with two points.

Prince George is only playing one game this weekend and will take on the Silvertips on back-to-back nights in P.G. next weekend. Everett hosts Portland tomorrow. 

Taylor Gauthier is representing Team Canada Red this weekend in Fort St. John, B.C. and so will not be with the Cougars.

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Brandon Rivers

Longtime Portland Winterhawks' blogger on hodgesheroes.blogspot.com. I also write for SB Nation on the for the Seattle Sin Bin at http://www.sonicsrising.com/seattle-sin-bin. Further, I have a Seattle-sports podcast over at 206sportsjocks.com Originally from the Portland area, now living in Seattle. Proud husband and Father.