Western Hockey League weekly notebook | March 7

WHL News

The WHL continues its closing stretch with little movement in the standings but a lot of room for movement in the final weeks.

In the East, the Edmonton Oil Kings have rattled off five straight wins to open up a six point difference between them and the second place Moose Jaw Warriors. The Brandon Wheat Kings meanwhile look like a safe bet to take the last playoff spot, opening up an eight point lead on the ninth place Red Deer Rebels. Seeding within the top eight however is certainly still to be determined with just four points separating fifth from eighth.

In the West, the Portland Winterhawks, Kamloops Blazers, and Tri-City Americans remain in a struggle for top spot. The conference features a much clearer separation of powers with the top three clubs almost 20 points better than the fourth and fifth place Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants, who in turn, are 20-30 points better than the driftwood holding down the final three playoff spots.

Hot Spots

After splitting a home-and-home series, the Winterhawks and Americans continue to solve nothing in a divisional battle that is beginning to resemble Batman v Superman. Both teams have been full systems go for a couple weeks now, and each refuses to blink. This battle could very well come right down to the wire.

The Regina Pats had two comeback wins on the week and Jordan Weal had seven assists in those games.

Sven Bartschi scored four goals on Saturday in a 7-3 win for the Winterhawks to permanently kill the joke that the Calgary Flames have no decent prospects.

Cold Snaps

The Kamloops Blazers have clinched their division but a pair of losses last week to the Kelowna Rockets have seen them stumble in keeping pace with the Winterhawks and Americans for top spot in the conference.


Western Hockey League Weekly Notebook

The Saskatoon Blades picked up a late too-many-men call (sound familar?) in a loss to the Oil Kings that drops the slumping club down to seventh in the East and tougher first round competition.

The Medicine Hat Tigers will make a nice gesture by honouring play-by-play man Bob Ridley this Wednesday. Problem, is this is actually only game 2,998 (rather than 3,000).

Forever Young

The Spokane Chiefs have a rookie centre on their team named Liam Stewart. This is normally not newsworthy but young Liam’s parents are Rachel Hunter and Rod Stewart.

This week, Rod will check out a game of his son’s for the first time this year. Rachel Hunter meanwhile has apparently taken perch with the hockey moms at every game.

Oh, and in case you think Liam has a bit of an ego, know that he chose to stay with a billet family over the swank apartment his mom rented.

WHL Top Scorers

1 Brendan Shinnimin Tri-City Americans 63 54 66 120 76
2 Ty Rattie Portland Winterhawks 63 53 57 110 54
3 Jordan Weal Regina Pats 65 38 71 109 34
4 Mark Stone Brandon Wheat Kings 60 39 69 108 18
5 Adam Hughesman Tri-City Americans 66 40 64 104 40
6 Patrick Holland Tri-City Americans 66 24 77 101 44
7 Emerson Etem Medicine Hat Tigers 59 55 45 100 32
8 Michael St. Croix Edmonton Oil Kings 66 41 57 98 37
9 Sven Bartschi Portland Winterhawks 47 33 61 94 36
10 Michael Ferland Brandon Wheat Kings 62 41 47 88 75


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About Richard Hodges

A proud Vancouverite with a lifelong passion for the home teams that some would classify as pointless and disturbing. Now realizes that The Linden Tree is not the play you think it would be.
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