WHL notes: Everett closes in on Chiefs
The Everett Silvertips fell off the radar a bit after losing 15 of their first 19 games following the Western Hockey League’s Christmas break.
But Everett’s recent surge could have repercussions for the upcoming playoffs, especially for the Spokane Chiefs.
In recent weeks, it seemed that the Chiefs were destined to be the Western Conference’s No. 5 playoff seed, with an outside shot at catching the Seattle Thunderbirds for the No. 4 and home-ice edge against Seattle in the first round.
Now the Silvertips (77 points) have won eight of 11 games to close within one point of Spokane. If Everett passes Spokane for the No. 5, the Chiefs would be the sixth seed and play the No. 3, presumably Victoria, in the first round.
The downside for the Silvertips is a tough remaining schedule – starting with Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Canadian Hockey League No. 1-ranked Kelowna – that includes five games against teams (Portland, Victoria, Seattle) among the conference’s top four spots.
Everett also plays at Spokane on March 12, when the regular season will be down to its final few games. Everett has lost 18 straight games at the Arena.
Everett has qualified for the playoffs in all 11 years of its existence.
Honors: Brandon’s Jayce Hawryluk was named CHL Player of the Week for the second time this season after totaling six goals and four assists in three games.
Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice was named WHL Player of the Month after amassing 10 goals and 22 assists during 13 games in February.
The Edmonton Oil Kings’ Tristan Jarry was named WHL Goaltender of the Month for the second time after posting a 7-1-2-0 record with a 1.77 goals-against average in February.
Around the league: Defenseman Jordan Thomson played his first three WHL games in four months over the weekend, picking up an assist Saturday in Saskatoon’s 8-5 loss to Brandon. Thomson was acquired by the Blades in early November after leaving Kamloops for personal reasons. He went home to Wawanesa, Manitoba, to “get some stuff through my head,” as he told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. … Regina finished 8-0 against archrival Moose Jaw this season. … Sam Steel, the second overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, made his debut with Regina last weekend. … Prince Albert center Reid Gardiner scored his first goal in 20 games to help the Raiders to a 4-2 win over Kootenay on Saturday. Gardiner had 34 points through Dec. 31 but just five points in January and February. … Carter Cochrane rejoined Everett on Monday after completing his season with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League. He was named the Chiefs’ Defenseman of the Year. … Regina’s Dryden Hunt has been cleared to play today against Edmonton after missing seven games with a concussion, his third in 18 months. … Medicine Hat compiled a 12-3 record while playing 15 games in 26 days, ending last Saturday. … Brandon had seven goals in six games from Feb. 7-17 but scored 24 in four games from Feb. 22 through last Sunday.