WHL recap: Brown and Pats bust Brandon’s steak; Topping leads American over Silvertips

Regina 2 Brandon 1

Regina Pats (6-4-1-0) overage goalie Tyler Brown has to be getting sick of being overlooked. The netminder took his team on a playoff run in 2015-16 and still had people wondering if he’d be replaced the following season when the Pats seemed primed for a deeper run. General manager and coach John Paddock stuck with him and the Pats came within a couple games of a WHL title. Brown posted 0.915 and 0.916 save percentages in those two playoff runs.

Now with Brown and the Pats hosting the 2018 Memorial Cup, he again was under some off-season scrutiny. After stumbling a bit out the gate, Brown has now stopped 87 of his last 91 overall shots, leading the Pats to three straight wins.

With the Pats not sporting quite the offense they had last year, Brown has been needed in a big way in the early going. Each of the last three wins, including tonight’s over the Brandon Wheat Kings (7-3-0-1) has been by only one goal and the first two games went to overtime.

Brown turned away 26 of 27 shots Wednesday night and helped Regina to a 2-1 win over their intra-division rivals. The loss ended Brandon’s win streak at six games.

Regina opened up the scoring on the power play 8:47 in. Wyatt Sloboshan’s low point shot was redirected past Brandon goalie Logan Thompson’s left pad and inside the post. The goal was King’s fourth of the year.

Both goalies stood tall throughout the rest of the first and all of the second period. Thompson was stellar in his own right as he stopped 45 of 46 shots.

Jake Leschyshyn then added some needed insurance as he netted a short-handed, empty-net goal with 1:40 left in the third.

Ty Lewis scored his seventh of the season with 41 seconds left to make it 2-1, but Brown would not let anything else by him. Lewis kept pace with Victoria’s Matthew Phillips and both are tied atop the WHL points leaderboard with 26 apiece.

Regina will face Phillips and the Royals on Friday, while Brandon looks to get back on track Friday against Vancouver.


Tri-City 3 @Everett 2 (OT)

By all the hockey standards for what you are supposed to do while playing a tough intra-division road game, the Tri-City Americans (6-4-0-0) should have lost in Everett (4-7-0-0) Wednesday evening.

They handed the Silvertips eight power plays and could not hold onto a third period lead.

Instead overagers: forward Jordan Topping and goalie Patrik Dea made sure that the Ams went back to Kennewick with the extra point tucked away amongst their luggage.

Dea, who has not had that great of a year in the early going was the major difference for his team as they killed off six of the ‘Tips eight power plays in the contest. He stopped 46 of 48 shots and rebounded from a tough seven-goals allowed game in Victoria to turn in his best performance this year.

After Everett scored with just over seven minutes left to send this to overtime, Jordan Topping netted his sixth goal of the year, 1:14 into the extra session to lead his team to a 3-2 overtime win.

Topping spun around an Everett defender and drove in on Lyda, before backhanding a pass towards the opposite post. Instead a sprawled out Silvertips had the puck bank off him and past Lyda. The win was Tri-City’s fourth straight.

Patrick Bajkov got things going for the homestanding ‘Tips, who were returning to the confines of Xfinity Arena after going 4-5 on their recent nine-game road trip. Bajkov’s goal came on a fortunate bounce for Everett on the power play. His pass across the crease, banked off a Tri-City d-man and went past Dea. The first goal of the game came 16:18 into the second period.

Tri-City responded with two goals within 1:47 in the third period. First, Kyle Olson created a turnover in the Everett zone with some nice fore-checking and then followed up a blocked shot with a quick wrist shot that solved Everett netminder Blake Lyda. Then, Juuso Vålimåki, on a five-on-three power play beat Lyda for his second of the year and a 2-1 lead.

Everett would not go away though as the other potent overage forward for the ‘Tips cashed in to force overtime. Matt Fonetyne took a page out of Bajkov’s book and banked a shot off a Tri-City blue liner and past Dea on the power play. The goal came with 7:13 left and assured both U.S. Division teams a point apiece.

Then Topping made drove in on Lyda and gave the Ams the extra point.

Lyda turned away 32 of 35 in his very first WHL regular season game. The 15-year-old was Everett’s fourth round pick in May’s bantam draft.

Everett hosts Moose Jaw on Friday for their next game, while Tri-City hosts Kamloops on Saturday.

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