The WHL kicked off its 46th season and Week 1 had the script of hockey-style Spaghetti Western: goal-slingin’ showdowns, renewed on-ice rivalries, face-off fights - all packed with plenty of punches (literally!).
Hat-trick, hat-trick, hat-trick! That’s three hatty’s scored by three different players, in three different games on three separate nights.
Swiss rookie Alessio Bertaggio started the hat party in the WHL season opener Thursday night as the Brandon Wheat King forward hammered three against the Moose Jaw Warriors in a 4-1 win.
On Friday, Moose Jaw’s Brett Lyon stole the spotlight and atoned for the Warriors loss getting a hat trick in a 4-3 victory against Brandon, to split the home-and-home.
The Week 1 trifecta-trifecta was capped by 16-year-old sophomore Connor Rankin on Sunday when he potted three for the Tri-City Americans in a 6-5 victory over the Portland Winterhawks.
Forwards/Snipers! On top of the three hat-tricks, 10 different players accumulated two-goal affairs over the course of the 18 week one games.
Victoria Royals – Kevin Sundher notched a goal and two assists leading the Royals over their arch-rival Vancouver Giants 5-3 in their home opener at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena. The win split the weekend home-and-home series, after the Royals dropped a 3-1 contest on Friday night.
Vancouver Giants – The X-men could have used Brendan Gallagher to counter the Royals offence during Saturday night’s loss, but instead the feisty winger impressed the Montreal Canadiens brass and, based on media reports coming out of Montreal, might be an outside contender for an opening day roster spot.
Adam Hughesman, 20, Tri-City Americans: The veteran sniper chipped in a goal and added six helpers for 7 points in back-to-back victories over American Division rivals Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks. Tri-City jumps out of the gate 2-0.
Ty Rattie, 18, Portland Winterhawks: The six-foot winger from Airdrie, Alberta scored 4 goals and notched 6 points as the ‘Hawks split their two weekend contests.