WHL notes: Oil Kings make their move
The Calgary Hitmen have held down the top spot in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference since late October.
But the Hitmen were supplanted over the weekend by the hard-charging Edmonton Oil Kings, who defeated Calgary 7-3 in Edmonton on Saturday and followed it up Sunday with a 3-2 overtime win in Calgary.
“Obviously it’s going to gain some confidence for our team,” Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal said in an Edmonton press release. “There’s two teams here that there’s a lot of culture and history here, and both teams want to make a playoff push.”
Edmonton (35-13-0-1, 71 points) padded its edge over Calgary (31-12-3-3, 68) with a 4-2 home win over Brandon on Tuesday. The Oil Kings are 12-1 since Dec. 31.
Edmonton is 4-1 against Calgary this season. The teams will meet once more during the regular season.
Fiddler on fire
Todd Fiddler’s up-and- down WHL career is definitely on the up side.
Fiddler has accounted for 28 goals and 26 assists in the 32 games he has played for Prince George since being traded from Moose Jaw in November.
Fiddler, 20, led the Spokane Chiefs with 42 goals scored last season but was benched during the final game of the WHL playoffs and traded to Moose Jaw in May. The short time in Moose Jaw did not bear fruit.
“What I told him when he got here was that it was a clean slate,” Prince George coach Mark Holick told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “It’s a chance to come in and resurrect himself.”
“When I was a young guy, I needed a little kick in the butt sometimes and a good yelling from the older guys,” said Fiddler, who has played for five WHL teams.
Around the league
Red Deer’s Patrik Bartosak was selected Canadian Hockey League goalie of the week for the week ending Sunday after posting two shutouts during a 3-0 week. Bartosak finished with 41 saves last Saturday as the Rebels defeated Regina 4-0 despite being outshot 41-25. … Portland’s Brendan Leipsic was named WHL Player of the Week after recording three goals and six assists as the Winterhawks went 3-0 to increase their winning streak to seven. … Lethbridge, with the worst record (9-38-2-3) in the WHL, held up for 42 minutes against the league’s top team last Saturday. Then, in less than 9 minutes, Kelowna (40-7-0-2) scored four third-period goals and ran away with a 5-0 home win. Kelowna hosts Spokane tonight. One of the Rockets’ seven regulation losses is against Spokane. … Former Saskatoon Blades owner Jack Brodsky was presented the WHL’s Governors Award prior to last Saturday’s home game against Swift Current. The annual award is given to someone who has contributed to the growth and development of the league. … Everett’s power play is 6 for 48 in its last 11 games. … Vancouver’s Dalton Sward has seven goals in his past seven games after being held to six goals during his other 28 games this injury-shortened season. … Regina’s Carter Hansen, held to one goal in his first 36 games, has scored six times in his past 13 games.