WHL Weekend – Four hat tricks highlight Saturday games

in regular season


Medicine Hat Tigers (4) at Vancouver Giants (5)
Medicine Hat (26-22-7-0) // Vancouver (28-16-5-3)

The Vancouver Giants closed out an eight-game home stand with a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers Saturday, winning a back-and-forth battle with a late third period goal from Alex Kannok Leipert.

Ty Ronning (New York Rangers) and Dawson Holt each had a goal and an assist while Tyler Benson (Edmonton Oilers), James Malm and Brayden Watts added a pair of assists in the victory.

After Tyler Popowich had the lone goal of the first period, the Tigers answered back in the second. Dalton Gally scored his second of the season 5:17 into the middle period, but minutes after Bowen Byram and Ronning continued their magic from the night before with back-to-back goals in a 46-second span to make it a two-goal lead for the Giants.

That didn’t deter the Tigers, who had Gary Haden and Elijah Brown score later in the period to make it a 3-3 game after 40 minutes.

The first goal of the third period didn’t come until nine minutes in when Holt put the Giants up 4-3. Like clockwork though, the Tigers had a response as  Dylan MacPherson evened up the game at 4-4.

That tie was all for naught though as Kannok Leipert pushed the Giants ahead with 3:06 to go with the eventual game-winner.

David Tendeck stopped 38 of 42 shots in the win while Jordan Hollett (Ottawa Senators) and Michael Bullion shared the crease Saturday, combining for 34 saves.



Kelowna Rockets (2) at Everett Silvertips (8)
Kelowna (32-16-3-1) // Everett (34-17-1-2)

The force was with the Everett Silvertips this weekend as they took a three-point lead in the race for the Western Conference, exploding for eight goals to sweep a home-and-home series with the Kelowna Rockets Saturday night at home.

Patrick Bajkov, fresh off securing the record as the all-time leading scorer in Silvertips’ history, tallied a hat trick and five points, Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals) added a pair of goals and four points and Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 23 of 25 shots in his 21st victory of the season.

Bajkov and Cal Foote (Tampa Bay Lightning) traded goals in the opening minute, but Kevin Davis’ seventh goal of the season had Everett ahead by one after 20.

In the second, Pilon and Foote traded goals in the early part of the period before Riley Sutter and Bajkov’s second of the game increased Everett’s lead to three after 40 minutes.

It was all Silvertips in the third as Bajkov, Pilon and a goal with three seconds left from Martin Fasko-Rudas made the final 8-2 in Everett’s favour.

Sean Richards added a pair of assists, Davis finished with a goal and an assist and six other Silvertips picked up at least a single point.

Having already set the record for most points in franchise history, Bajkov is now in pursuit of the individual records for goals and assists. His 106 goals place him second all-time behind Tyler Maxwell’s 107 and his 163 assists have him 12 behind Zach Hamill’s 175 helpers.



Victoria Royals (3) at Seattle Thunderbirds (2) — OT
Victoria (32-18-3-1) // Seattle (26-18-5-2)

Never count out the Victoria Royals.

After a thrilling overtime victory on Vancouver Island Friday, the Royals continued their extra time tour south of the 49th parallel Saturday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Matthew Wedman and Austin Strand (Los Angeles Kings) had the Thunderbirds riding high after 40 minutes, up 2-0 on the Royals. That mattered little to the visitors in the final period though as captain Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) scored his 37th of the season, followed 76 seconds later by Jeff de Wit’s 10th of the campaign to force overtime.

Late and down a man in that extra frame, the Royals once again rallied as Phillips potted his second of the game while short-handed following a broken odd-man rush that left the puck free around the Seattle crease to secure the victory and the extra point, pulling the Royals into a tie for the B.C. Division lead.

Griffen Outhouse finished with 38 saves, including all 12 in the third and overtime. Liam Hughes stopped all 16 Victoria shots through the first 40 minutes, but took the loss, finishing with 31 saves.




Prince George Cougars (1) at Moose Jaw Warriors (4)
Prince George (19-27-4-4) // Moose Jaw (40-9-1-2)

Justin Almeida reached the 30-goal milestone for the first time in his WHL career Saturday against his former team as the Moose Jaw Warriors top the Prince George Cougars by a 4-1 final.

Almeida finished with a goal and two assists while Brayden Burke’s 25th goal of the season featured in the game as well.

Adam Evanoff had a relatively light night, making 22 saves on 23 shots in the victory and coming oh so close to his first career WHL shutout.

Burke and Almeida’s goals featured as the lone goals in the first and second period respectively. Then, in a 1:54 span near the midway mark of the third period, the Warriors doubled their lead with goals from Tate Popple and an absolute blast from the point by Brandon Schuldhaus.

Josh Maser would score his 23rd of the season on a late power play to break up Evanoff’s shutout bid.

Taylor Gauthier took the loss for the Cougars, stopping 44 of 48 shots.



Calgary Hitmen (6) at Kamloops Blazers (5) — SO
Calgary (16-30-5-1) // Kamloops (24-24-1-3)

The Calgary Hitmen ended their road trip through the B.C. Division on a positive note as the Hitmen scored three unanswered goals in the third and Carson Focht scored the winner in the shootout to top the Kamloops Blazers by a 6-5 final.

Following a scoreless first, the Hitmen took charge of the game in the second, with Jakob Stukel (Vancouver Canucks) and Mark Kastelic scoring to give Calgary a 2-0 lead. Jermaine Loewen would answer back for the Blazers though, keeping them within one heading to the third.

What followed in the third was nothing short of wild as the Blazers brought themselves back into the game. Goals from captain Nick Chyzowski, Joe Gatenby, Chyzowski again, and Ryley Appelt featured in a 10:09 span for the Blazers as they took a 5-2 lead into the final five minutes of regulation.

The Hitmen had an answer to the Blazers’ surge of offence with three quick goals. Just 25 seconds after Appelt’s goal to make it 5-2, Dakota Krebs scored his first of the season and Egor Zamula added his first career WHL goal while Stukel added his second of the game in the final minute to force overtime and eventually the shootout.

In the shootout, the Hitmen showed off their hand skills as
and Focht each used some handiwork to put the puck past Dylan Ferguson (Vegas Golden Knights). At the other end of the ice, Matthew Armitage stopped both Kamloops shooters to secure the victory after making 36 saves in regulation and overtime.

Ferguson stopped 30 of 35 shots in regulation and overtime Saturday.

Tristen Nielsen had three helpers in the victory for Calgary while Luc Smith had a pair of helpers in Kamloops’ loss.


Swift Current Broncos (5) at Kootenay ICE (3)
Swift Current (37-13-3-1) // Kootenay (23-26-3-0)

Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) scored the game-winning goal to complete his hat trick in the middle of the third period as the Swift Current Broncos rebounded from a Friday loss with a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay ICE.

The ICE started strong with goals from Brett Davis (Dallas Stars) and Alec Baer featuring in the first period while the Broncos answered with goals from Artyom Minulin and Gawdin’s first of the game.

Davis then scored early into the second period, but the Broncos would answer from the stick of Gawdin in the final minute to keep things tied after 40 minutes.

In the third, the only two goals would come in a 40-second span as Gawdin scored the game-winner followed by an insurance goal from Matteo Gennaro.

Minulin and Gennaro each finished with a goal and an assist, while Colby Sissons (New Jersey Devils) collected his second four-assist game of the season.

Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers) stopped 36 of 39 shots to earn the victory. Matt Berlin and Duncan McGovern combined for 32 saves in the loss.

While the night belonged to the Broncos, Davis continued to produce for the ICE, collecting his fourth multi-goal game in his last nine outings.



Red Deer Rebels (3) at Brandon Wheat Kings (4) — OT
Red Deer (15-25-10-3) // Brandon (29-18-3-2)

(Carolina Hurricanes) surpassed the 75-goal plateau in his Western Hockey League career Saturday as part of a hat trick and four-point effort to help the Brandon Wheat Kings snap their 0-6-2-1 slide with a 4-3 victory in overtime against the Red Deer Rebels.

Mattheos struck for a pair of goals in the second period after a scoreless first, bookending a Alex Morozoff goal to keep the Wheat Kings ahead by one after 40 minutes. Continuing their strong play of late, the Rebels charged back in third with Morozoff’s second of the game and Josh Tarzwell’s seventh of the season.

The Wheat Kings would tie up the game though on the first career WHL goal by Chase Hartje as the Bemidji, Minn. native helped his new club force overtime.

In the extra period, the Rebels appeared to score off a break, but was ultimately waved off due to incidental contact. Seconds after that, the Wheat Kings came down the ice. With Mattheos left wide open, Connor Gutenberg found him with a cross-ice pass, giving Mattheos an open net for his third of the game.

Logan Thompson stopped 33 of 36 shots in the victory while Ethan Anders stopped 19 of 23 shots, still picking up a single point for his club.

Ty Lewis (Colorado Avalanche) added a pair of assists in the contest to reach the 100-assist milestone of his WHL career.



Edmonton Oil Kings (2) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (3)
Edmonton (14-30-5-2) // Lethbridge (25-21-6-0)

Jordy Bellerive (Pittsburgh Penguins – #15) sent the hats flying and vaulted the Lethbridge Hurricanes from the sorrows of defeat to the jubilation of victory in a matter of minutes Saturday in southern Alberta.

A natural hat trick in a 3:44 span by the 18-year-old helped lift the Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.

Brett Kemp and Trey Fix-Wolansky scored the lone goals of the first and second period respectively to put the visiting side up by two heading to the final 20 minutes when the Hurricanes found their opportunity to strike.

With 4:44 to go in the game and the Hurricanes’ hopes fading, Bellerive’s first of the game cut the Oil Kings’ lead to one. A mere 1:59 later, Bellerive struck again for his 36th of the season and second of the game to even up the score.

Bellerive and the Hurricanes weren’t done there though as another power play put them on the prowl, where they eventually found a way to put the puck past Todd Scott.

Reece Klassen stopped 25 of 27 shots, including stopping all eight shots in the final period for his fourth win of the season. Scott stopped 27 of 30 in the loss.

The victory was a momentous one for Bellerive who had his game-winning goal also count as the 75th of his WHL career, also giving him eight goals in his last six games.

Brad Morrison picked up a pair of assists in the victory while Taylor Ross, Calen Addison, Ty Prefontaine, and Egor Zudilov picked up helpers.



Prince Albert Raiders (4) at Regina Pats (5) — OT
Prince Albert (21-20-9-2) // Regina (27-22-5-0)

Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) put the icing on the cake on his birthday Saturday, feeding Cameron Hebig (Edmonton Oilers) for the winner in overtime to extend the the Regina Pats’ winning streak against the Prince Albert Raiders to 13 straight games.

The goal helped the Pats avoid what was nearly a full scale collapse against the Raiders, keeping them within four points of the Brandon Wheat Kings for third place in the East Division.

Despite losing, the Raiders also benefitted from the single point, leapfrogging the Saskatoon Blades on a tiebreaker for the second and final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Pats more than made up for a scoreless first with four goals in the second. Emil Oksanen and Steel tallied back-to-back goals a 52 second span. Brett Leason came back 12 seconds later to cut the Pats’ lead in half, but the Pats kept coming.

Goals from Steel and Josh Mahura (Anaheim Ducks) closed out the middle period with Regina ahead by three.

The Raiders came to play in the third. First, Regan Nagy and Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) scored 15 seconds apart and Kody McDonald scored the equalizer with 38 seconds left to force overtime.

Both teams continued to trade blows with each other in overtime, but it’s the Pats who would come out ahead as the Raiders got caught by the Pats on an odd-man rush, with Steel feeding it back to Hebig who roofed home the game-winner.

Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) played tremendously despite taking the loss, making several high-quality saves and finishing with 35 stops. Ryan Kubic stopped 33 in the victory.

Hebig finished with a goal and three points while Mahura added an assist to his goal for the two-point game.


Tri-City Americans (2) at Portland Winterhawks (3) 
Tri-City (27-17-7-0) // Portland (31-18-1-3)

A pair of goals from Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders) and 29 saves from Shane Farkas helped the Portland Winterhawks return the favour against the Tri-City Americans to wrap up a home-and-home between the two clubs.

Dylan Coghlan (Vegas Golden Knights) opened the scoring, but Bellows and Ryan Hughes answered back for the Winterhawks, giving them a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Bellows would go on to add the game-winner in the third, followed six minutes later by an Isaac Johnson goal that brought the Americans within a goal. Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights) was instrumental in the victory, assisting on both of Bellows’ goals for the multi-point game.

Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings), Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks), Skyler McKenzie (Winnipeg Jets), and Matthew Quigley also added helpers in the victory.

Patrick Dea stopped 36 of 39 shots in the narrow loss. Johnson added an assist for the multi-point game. Juuso Valimaki (Calgary Flames), Sasha Mutala, and Parker AuCoin also picked up helpers for the Americans in the loss.


Current Standings (Feb 3, 2018):

54 34 17 1 2 71 0.657 189 134 2-0-0-0 8-1-0-1 623
53 31 18 1 3 66 0.623 193 162 1-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 701
51 27 17 7 0 61 0.598 185 177 0-1-0-0 5-3-2-0 693
52 32 16 3 1 68 0.654 204 181 0-2-0-0 5-4-1-0 696
54 32 18 3 1 68 0.630 223 193 2-0-0-0 8-2-0-0 735
52 28 16 5 3 64 0.615 183 182 3-0-1-0 5-2-2-1 634
1 51 27 19 3 2 59 0.578 199 177 5-0-2-0 6-2-2-0 678
2 51 26 18 5 2 59 0.578 187 181 0-1-1-0 6-3-1-0 745
3 52 24 24 1 3 52 0.500 159 169 1-0-0-1 6-3-0-1 726
4 54 19 27 4 4 46 0.426 160 209 0-1-0-0 2-7-0-1 743
52 40 9 1 2 83 0.798 247 157 1-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 563
54 37 13 3 1 78 0.722 212 158 1-0-0-0 6-3-0-1 699
52 29 18 3 2 63 0.606 197 178 1-0-0-0 1-6-2-1 609
55 26 22 7 0 59 0.536 198 202 0-3-1-0 2-5-3-0 450
52 25 21 6 0 56 0.538 187 182 3-0-2-0 5-2-3-0 618
52 23 26 3 0 49 0.471 161 203 0-3-0-0 5-5-0-0 505
54 27 22 5 0 59 0.546 178 185 2-0-0-0 6-3-1-0 780
52 21 20 9 2 53 0.510 170 185 5-0-3-0 6-1-3-0 675
53 25 25 2 1 53 0.500 168 206 0-2-0-0 4-6-0-0 692
53 15 25 10 3 43 0.406 142 190 5-0-2-0 5-2-3-0 649
52 16 30 5 1 38 0.365 159 205 1-0-0-0 3-7-0-0 659
51 14 30 5 2 35 0.343 138 223 0-1-0-0 3-6-1-0 650