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A roundup of results and news from junior hockey teams in the Okanagan and area.The Western Hockey League’s top team just got stronger.On Saturday, the Kelowna Rockets announced that they had traded their team captain, ...
A roundup of results and news from junior hockey teams in the Okanagan and area.
The Western Hockey League’s top team just got stronger.
In sending Dach to the front-running Thunderbirds, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and have a league-best 58 points, the Rockets also gave up a draft pick but received two players and three draft picks in return.
Dach, 19, suffered a serious shoulder injury while playing for Team Canada at the recent world junior hockey championship, and isn’t expected to play for the next six to eight weeks.
“Anytime you trade your captain, it’s a very tough decision,” Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said on Saturday morning.
“With Colton being injured and not available to play until likely March 1st, we felt that it was in the best interests of our team and Colton to make this trade. We want to congratulate Colton on his world junior gold medal and thank him for his time with the Rockets. We wish him all the best moving forward.”
When Dach does return, though, Seattle’s formidable roster will feature five players who played for Canada at the world juniors: goalie Milic Thomas, defencemen Nolan Allan and Kevin Korchinski plus forward Reid Schaefer.
Having two players with Team Canada experience is considered impressive. Four? That’s other-worldly, let alone five.
The Medicine Hat Tigers (1988), Kamloops Blazers (1996), Windsor Spitfires (2010) and Niagara IceDogs (2011) also had four players on Canada’s team.
“While Colton is currently recovering from an injury, we expect him to be back well before the playoffs begin,” Seattle GM Bill La Forge said of Dach, a 6-foot-4 centre who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021.
“He is a big, talented center that provides us with another offensive weapon as we chase our championship goals.”
In 14 games with Kelowna this season, Dach had 9 goals and 17 points. Last season, he had 29 goals and 79 points in 71 games.
The Rockets also gave up a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 bantam draft. Going to Kelowna, though, are left winger Ty Hurley, 18, plus defenceman Ethan Mittelsteadt, 17, plus a 2024 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2025 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2023.
At Kelowna, Andrew Cristall scored twice as the Rockets snapped a six-game losing streak on Friday night.
Marcus Pacheco also scored for Kelowna (13-19-3-0), which led 1-0 and 2-0 at the period breaks. Talyn Boyko stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Rockets, who hadn’t won since a 6-0 victory over Lethbridge on Dec. 16.
Daylan Kuefler and Kyle Masters replied for Kamloops (21-8-4-2), which will host Kelowna on Saturday night. Dylan Ernst stopped 22 of 25 shots for the Blazers, who lead the B.C. Division with 48 points. The Rockets are fourth out of five with 29 points.
Kelowna was 1-for-2 on the power play while Kamloops was 1-for-5.
Saturday’s games (all times PT)
At Prince George, Hank Levy was perfect between the pipes, stopping all 29 shots he faced, as the Vees blanked the Spruce Kings on Friday night and won their 30th game of the season.
Brett Moravec, Josh Nadeau and Aydar Suniev scored for league-leading Penticton (30-2-0-0-0), which did all of it scoring in the third period.
Moravec made it 1-0 at 1:13 of the third, with Nadeau putting the Vees ahead 2-0 at 16:53. Suniev closed out the scoring at 17:17 with a power-play goal.
Jordan Fairlie stopped 25 of 28 shots for Prince George (16-12-2-1-0).
The Vees were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Spruce Kings were 0-for-5.
At Salmon Arm, Matthew Tovell backstopped the Silverbacks to a shutout win with a 37-save performance on Friday night.
Brandon Santa Juana, Owen Beckner and Ryan Gillespie scored for Salmon Arm (16-12-2-1-0), which did all of its scoring in the first period.
Ethan David started for Vernon (14-14-0-4-0), but lasted just one period, stopping 8 of 11 shots. Roan Clarke went 19-for-19 in relief.
Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play.
At West Kelowna, Isaiah Norlin scored the only goal in the shootout, which went seven rounds, as the Warriors rallied to beat the Smoke Eaters on Friday night.
Riley Sharun, Michael Salandra and Jaiden Moriello scored in regulation time for West Kelowna (xxx), which trailed 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 midway through the second.
Sharun scored at 10:45 to make it 3-1, with Salandra pulling West Kelowna to within one at 5:15 of the third. Nine minutes later, at 14:15, Moriello scored his 16th goal of the season to level the score at 3-3.
Overtime was scoreless, with the game then heading to what would be a lengthy and nearly scoreless shootout.
Angelo Zol stopped 31 of 34 shots for the Warriors, with Teagan Kendrick turning aside 48 of 51 shots for the Smoke Eaters.
Trail was 1-for-3 on the power play while West Kelowna had no power-play opportunities.
Saturday’s games (all times PT)
The Nelson Leafs say their head coach has resigned, and the team issued an apology, in the wake of a line brawl on Dec. 31.
In all, 10 players and one team staff member were disciplined by the league on Jan. 3, with suspensions totalling 43 games – 35 to Nelson and eight to Beaver Valley.
Then, on Friday, Jan. 6, the KIJHL announced that Nelson head coach Adam DiBella had been suspended for the rest of the season.
“Our investigation determined that the incident in Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at Mr. DiBella’s direction,” said KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois.
“The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team staff member, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects the seriousness that we place on leadership and player safety.”
The Leafs, who were also fined $5,000, also announced on Friday that DiBella had resigned, and that the team will be under the guidance of assistant coach Tyson Soobotin and GM Lance Morey.
“The Nelson Leafs will be making a decision concerning the head coaching position in the days to come,” said the team, adding it won’t be appealing the league’s decisions.
Saturday’s games (all times PT)
Scott Ratzlaff stopped 28 shots for the shutout as the Seattle Thunderbirds downed the Regina Pats 6-0 in Western Hockey League play Friday night.Lucas Ciona and Jordan Gustafson led the way offensively for Seattle (28-4-1-1) with two goals apiece. Coster Dunn scored the other.Kelton Pyne made 28 saves for Regina (18-19-1-1).RAIDERS 2, REBELS 1PRINCE ALBERT - Sloan Stanick's second-period goal proved to be the winner for the Raiders (13-21-3-0). Ryder Ritchie had the other as Max Hildebrand stoppe...
Scott Ratzlaff stopped 28 shots for the shutout as the Seattle Thunderbirds downed the Regina Pats 6-0 in Western Hockey League play Friday night.
Lucas Ciona and Jordan Gustafson led the way offensively for Seattle (28-4-1-1) with two goals apiece. Coster Dunn scored the other.
Kelton Pyne made 28 saves for Regina (18-19-1-1).
RAIDERS 2, REBELS 1
PRINCE ALBERT - Sloan Stanick's second-period goal proved to be the winner for the Raiders (13-21-3-0). Ryder Ritchie had the other as Max Hildebrand stopped 32 shots. Jace Isley replied for Red Deer (26-7-1-3).
TIGERS 3, OIL KINGS 2
EDMONTON - Pavel Bocharov's goal at 17:08 of the third period earned Medicine Hat (14-18-5-1) the win. Brayden Boehm and Dru Krebs also scored. Nathan Pilling and Rilen Kovacevic scored for Edmonton (4-33-1-0).
BRONCOS 5, BLADES 4 (SO)
SWIFT CURRENT - Josh Filmon's shootout goal earned Swift Current (17-15-0-1) the win. Filmon, Mathew Ward, Brady Birnie and Caleb Wyrostok all scored in regulation. Tanner Molendyk, Charlie Wright, Conner Roulette and Egor Sidorov had the goals for Saskatoon (25-6-2-1).
HITMEN 2, WARRIORS 1 (SO)
MOOSE JAW -Zac Funk had the lone goal of the shootout to secure Calgary (21-11-3-1) the win. Riley Fiddler-Schultz scored in regulation as Ethan Buenaventura stopped 35 shots. Atley Calvert replied for the Warriors (23-13-0-1) as Connor Ungar made 43 saves.
WHEAT KINGS 3, WINTERHAWKS 2
BRANDON - Quinn Mantei, Brett Hyland and Nate Danielson scored the goals for the Wheat Kings (16-17-4-0). James Stefan and Jack O'Brien replied for Portland (26-5-2-1).
SILVERTIPS 4, COUGARS 2
PRINCE GEORGE - Ryan Hofer had two goals to lead the way for Everett (18-17-1-0). Austin Roest and Jesse Heslop also scored. Koehn Ziemmer and Riley Heidt countered for the Cougars (15-17-3-0).
ROCKETS 3, BLAZERS 2
KELOWNA - Andrew Cristall, scored twice, including the winner in the second period for the Rockets (13-19-3-0). Marcus Pacheco had the other goal. Kyle Masters and Daylan Kuefler scored for Kamloops (21-8-4-2).
ROYALS 6, CHIEFS 3
SPOKANE - Marcus Almquist and Tanner Scott had two goals apiece for Victoria (10-24-3-1), Riley Gannon and Matthew Hodson also scored. Cade Hayes, Chase Bertholet and Ty Cheveldayoff replied for Spokane (7-25-1-2).
GIANTS 3, AMERICANS 2 (OT)
TRI-CITY - Brenden Pentecost's overtime goal earned Vancouver (15-16-4-2) the victory. Cameron Schmidt and Ty Halaburda had the others. Jalen Luypen and Jordan Gavin handled the scoring for Tri-City (16-16-2-1).
Free Press sports writers give their predictions for the Detroit Lions' game on Sunday night at the Green Bay Packers ... and the ever-important L.A. Rams-Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday afternoon:Lions vs. PackersDave BirkettDan Campbell said Friday this is the type of special game players will remember for the rest of their careers: Sunday Night Football, the final game of the regular season, with...
Free Press sports writers give their predictions for the Detroit Lions' game on Sunday night at the Green Bay Packers ... and the ever-important L.A. Rams-Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday afternoon:
Dan Campbell said Friday this is the type of special game players will remember for the rest of their careers: Sunday Night Football, the final game of the regular season, with a playoff berth potentially on the line. The Lions have embraced the magnitude of this week, and I think they’re a slightly better team than the Packers. They can win running or throwing the ball, their pass rush is a weapon and they’ve been opportunistic taking the ball away with their defense. I don’t think they’ll shrink if this turns out to be a win-and-get-in game. But there’s a human side to this, too. If the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams in their 4:25 p.m. game, the Packers will be the only team with something on the line. The Lions won’t lie down, but that’s a tough hurdle to overcome. I think Seattle beats a decimated Rams team to win its ninth game, and the trickle down from that is that Rodgers and the Packers will sneak past the Lions in what should be an exciting night. The pick: Packers 28, Lions 27.
After the Seahawks win and eliminate the Lions, of course the Lions will win convincingly so they can enter the offseason feeling good about themselves but also kicking themselves with a bunch of what-if scenarios. What a shame. If this happens, the NFL Fraud Department should remove the Vikings from the playoffs and insert the Lions as the seventh seed. The pick: Lions 31, Packers 25.
The Packers are surging with four consecutive victories and now they have a chance to clinch a playoff spot at home. In this situation, bet on Aaron Rodgers over an up-and-coming Lions team that hasn’t quite matured into a full-fledged winner. The pick: Packers 30, Lions 23.
This is not the same Green Bay team that the Lions beat earlier this year. Yeah, so what? It’s not the same Lions team either. Just once, the Lions will get the calls. Just once, everything will align. Goodbye Green Bay. You had a fun run. Hello, Lions. And would you look at that – what the heck? – the Lions will be heading to the playoffs. The pick: Lions 31, Packers 28.
The Packers are playing their best ball if the season — naturally. Which means one thing: it’s a conspiracy. Or maybe just that the Packers running game has improved and the young receivers are connecting with Aaron Rodgers. By the way, this is still Aaron Rodgers, has Dan Campbell pointed out this week. The Lions are ready to compete on the stage. But winning on the stage on the road against the quarterback who has done it before is a little too big of an ask. The pick: Packers 26, Lions 23.
When you’re asking for Baker Mayfield to work some magic to save the Lions’ playoff hopes, you’re probably asking for too much. The Rams’ best hope is for their mediocre defense to come up with some turnovers and have their putrid offense win a low-scoring game. But the 12th Man ain’t gonna let that happen with the playoffs on the line. The pick: Seahawks 30, Rams 17.
The Rams have lost most of their firepower and have nothing to play for after their Super Bowl honeymoon quickly turned into a nightmare. With a playoff spot on the line and rowdy crowd behind them in one of the NFL’s most rambunctious environments, the Seahawks should prevail. The pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 17.
Cam Akers has rushed for more than 100 yards in two straight games for the Rams. He’ll keep the Rams in this game, and Baker Mayfield — yes, freakin’ Baker Mayfield — will deliver the game-winning drive. OK, so it will hurt the Lions draft pick. But who cares? It will set the stage for one magical Sunday night in Green Bay. The pick: Rams 28, Seahawks 27.
The Rams played the Seahawks tough in their first meeting. And if the Rams were healthy, well, they might be playing for a lot more than to help the Lions. Baker Mayfield gives the Rams a chance. It’s not quite enough. The pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 19.
VASHON, Wash. — Mail woes continue on Vashon Island, where some residents say they wait weeks or sometimes months for their mail to be delivered.Residents there join a growing list of communities in western Washington that say they’re experiencing major delays from the U.S. Postal Service.Jim Garrison is just one of the many Vashon Island residents who said they had lost faith in their local post office.“It’s insane. We’re living in a third-world country all of a sudden,” said Garrison...
VASHON, Wash. — Mail woes continue on Vashon Island, where some residents say they wait weeks or sometimes months for their mail to be delivered.
Residents there join a growing list of communities in western Washington that say they’re experiencing major delays from the U.S. Postal Service.
Jim Garrison is just one of the many Vashon Island residents who said they had lost faith in their local post office.
“It’s insane. We’re living in a third-world country all of a sudden,” said Garrison. “I had insurance documents mailed to me that didn’t come for two and a half months. I don’t know where they were. Whether they were sitting in that post office or sitting in some post office in Seattle. "
Residents report a mail lag that goes back months but has been exacerbated by the holiday season.
Some are still waiting on Christmas presents.
“They’re going on Amazon, for example, and they’re seeing that it’s scheduled to be delivered today, so they’re expecting their packages to show up, like pre-Christmas. A lot of that did not happen,” said David Mish, who also lives on Vashon Island.
Others anxiously wait for deliveries of medicine, diapers and propane items that they’ve tracked online to the postal facility on Vashon, but then radio silence — no delivery for weeks.
Residents alerted KIRO 7 to pallets of mail stored outdoors behind the post office, where they’re exposed to the elements.
Sending mail is also an issue. Residents say there’s often an hours-long line inside the post office.
A representative with the USPS credits these frustrations to staffing issues but tells KIRO 7 that the agency is actively hiring.
It also plans to temporarily relocate postal workers from other offices to Vashon in hopes that it will help alleviate some issues.
Residents agree that local post workers need help.
“I’m not blaming the local people, the employees here. I think they’re doing the best they can,” said Garrison. “But there’s something happening on the upper levels that is really messed up.”
Residents say they’ve started reaching out to their local representatives to try to find a solution, and a community meeting is scheduled to discuss the mail delays on Jan. 19.
take the field against the Green Bay Packers (-5), all eyes will be on the 4:25 p.m. ET matchup between the Seattle Seahawks (-5) and Los Angeles Rams (+5). For the Lions to be playing for a playoff spot on “Sunday Night Football,” they need the Seahawks to either lose or tie that football game....
take the field against the Green Bay Packers (-5), all eyes will be on the 4:25 p.m. ET matchup between the Seattle Seahawks (-5) and Los Angeles Rams (+5). For the Lions to be playing for a playoff spot on “Sunday Night Football,” they need the Seahawks to either lose or tie that football game.
On the surface, it looks like a tall task. The Seahawks are playing for their own playoff lives—needing a win and a Lions win to make it—while the 5-11 Rams are injured, lacking an identity, and have only pride to play for on Sunday. Seattle is also a 6.5-point favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook, so the outlook doesn’t look great.
However, I’m here to tell you to not give up hope. There is a realistic chance the Rams can pull off an upset here. And I’m not going to back up my points with platitudes like “division games are weird” or emotional narratives like “Bobby Wagner revenge game” or “Rams rally for Sean McVay’s possible last game?.”
No. Here are five cold, hard facts and reasons why the Rams could win on Sunday.
For years, the Seahawks have had one of the strongest home field advantages in the NFL, but that hasn’t been the case in 2022. They are just 4-4 in Seattle this year and have lost three of their last four at Lumen Field.
Now, it’s worth noting that just one of the Rams’ five wins has come on the road this season, but considering Los Angeles often has to go silent counts at home, they’re certainly prepared for some elements.
Despite all the injuries on the offensive line, the Rams have been able to establish a pretty decent rushing attack over the past couple months. At the center of that is Cam Akers, who is starting to finally look like himself after his Achilles tear last season. In the past seven games, Akers has 105 rushes for 506 yards (4.82 YPC) and six touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Since Week 10, they rank 29th in run defense DVOA. And for the season they rank 30th in rushing yards per game allowed (150.5) and rank 26th in yards per carry allowed (4.8).
Big surprise, but it’s supposed to rain in Seattle on Sunday. The ground game could be very important.
The two teams played each other back in Week 13, and the Rams nearly walked away with that win, despite holding just a 3-8 record to Seattle’s 6-5 record. With 2:56 left in the game, Akers scored the go-ahead touchdown to take a 23-20 lead. Unfortunately, Geno Smith would lead the Seahawks to an 11-play, 75-yard drive for the win.
It’s worth noting that the Rams’ quarterback in that game was John Wofford, and he played horribly. He went just 14-of-26 for 178 yards and two interceptions. Do the Rams win that game with Baker Mayfield? I guess we’ll see this Sunday.
The Rams’ biggest disadvantage right now is their pass protection. They rank 27th in PFF’s pass blocking, have given up the fourth most sacks in the NFL, and rank 31st in pressure percentage allowed.
Thankfully, the Seahawks don’t present a huge threat in that department. Yes, they did get four sacks in the previous matchup, but on a week-to-week basis, this is one of the worst pass rushes in the league. They rank 28th in PFF pass rush grade, 30th in pass rush win rate, and 19th in pressure percentage.
Mayfield, who can be a decent quarterback when kept clean (103.9 passer rating with a clean pocket per PFF), could have a more comfortable day than usual.
In the past four weeks—since the Rams acquired Baker Mayfield—Los Angeles is 2-2, and the Seahawks are 1-3. Granted the Rams’ wins have come against the Raiders and Broncos, but it was just over a month ago that the Seahawks lost to the Raiders at home.
And looking at some advanced statistics over the past month, these two teams are a lot closer than the Vegas line would suggest.
DVOA rankings since Week 14
EPA rankings since Week 14
Put it together, and look at these tiers:
I understand this is a small sample size, and the Seahawks have faced a much more difficult schedule over this time period (Panthers, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets). However, it’s worth pointing out just how much better the Rams have been playing with Mayfield at the helm.