Martin to serve three game suspension

Daily Herald File Photo Max Martin controls the puck for the Prince Albert Raiders during their home opener against the Regina Pats last month.

As the Prince Albert Raiders prepare to host the Spokane Chiefs Saturday, they will do so without the services of blueliner Max Martin.

The Western Hockey League has given the 19-year-old from Winnipeg a three-game suspension a result of a hit that he made on Calgary Hitmen forward Riley Stotts during the first period of an 8-4 win for the Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre Tuesday.

No penalty was called on the play, which later led to a goal by Sergei Sapego, but Stotts did not return to the game and was not in the lineup for the Hitmen’s road contest with the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday.

This is the first time that Martin has been suspended in his major junior career and he will be out of action until a Saturday, Oct. 27 home game with the Regina Pats.

In a related move, the Raiders have recalled 18-year-old defender Konrad Belcourt from the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

No Raiders on Central Scouting list

Although the Prince Albert Raiders’ hot start has them ranked first by the Canadian Hockey League heading into this weekend, the performance of their players hasn’t caught the eye of those involved in NHL Central Scouting as of yet.

When the preliminary list of players to watch was released earlier this month week, no draft eligible members of the Raiders made the cut, though that’s expected to change as the season continues.

Humboldt Broncos defenceman Chase Felguerias, who was a sixth round pick by the Raiders in 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, earned a ‘C’ ranking and is currently projected to be a potential fourth to sixth round pick.

Also earning a ‘C’ grade was former Prince Albert Mintos forward Logan Barlage, who is in his second season of Western Hockey League play with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Of the 35 players from the WHL that have been listed by NHL Central Scouting, seven have earned ‘A’ grades and are projected to be first round picks.

Those players are Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets), Peyton Krebs (Kootenay Ice), Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers).

Jack Hughes, a star forward with the United States National Team Development Program, is widely expected to be the first overall pick at June’s NHL Draft in Vancouver.

Friday’s Scores

  • Brandon 5 Everett 2 (Stelio Mattheos – Three Goals – Second Career Hat Trick)
  • Calgary 5 Moose Jaw 1 (Mark Kastelic – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Saskatoon 3 Spokane 2 (Kirby Dach Overtime Winner – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Red Deer 5 Edmonton 2 (Brandon Hagel – Four Goals)
  • Medicine Hat 4 Lethbridge 3 (James Hamblin Overtime Winner on a Penalty Shot – Linus Nassen – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Kamloops 5 Swift Current 3 (Luc Smith – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Portland 5 Vancouver 3 (Jake Gricius – Two Goals)
  • Tri-City 4 Seattle 2 (Nolan Yaremko – Three Assists)
  • Kelowna 8 Victoria 2 (Lassi Thomson – Two Goals and Two Assists)

Around the WHL

Rumours involving the relocation of the Kootenay Ice have returned as the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the club would move to Manitoba’s capital in time for the 2019-20 campaign.

In an article written by sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, it’s believed that a new 5,000 seat arena would be built next to the Rink Hockey Academy’s training facility that is currently under construction.

The Ice were previously rumoured to be moving to Winnipeg a few years and were through to be headed to Nanaimo, B.C. in 2017 until it’s citizens voted against borrowing money to build a new events centre.

Eric Fawkes, a second round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2016 who had his rights dealt to the Ice earlier this month, has committed to the NCAA’s RPI Engineers for the 2020-21 season.

The 17-year-old forward from Winnipeg is currently in his first season with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers and has three assists in 10 games.

A total of six WHL regular season games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet as part of their Canadian Hockey League broadcast package.

Those contests are as follows:

  • Saturday, Nov. 24 – Lethbridge vs. Moose Jaw
  • Saturday, Jan. 5 – Medicine Hat vs. Calgary
  • Saturday, Jan. 19 – Calgary vs. Edmonton
  • Thursday, Jan. 24 – Prince Albert vs. Vancouver
  • Saturday, Feb. 23 – Regina vs. Moose Jaw
  • Saturday, March 2 – Lethbridge vs. Regina

Pre-Game Notes

Following Friday’s overtime loss to the Blades, the Chiefs have a 6-2-1-2 record to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Portland Winterhawks by two points in the US Division standings.

The Chiefs have won their last two meetings with the Raiders, with their most recent encounter being a 7-0 triumph in Spokane on Nov. 18, 2017 that saw current Raiders backup netminder Donovan Buskey earn his first career WHL shutout.

Blueliners Filip Kral and Matthew Leduc were both sidelined with injuries according to the league’s weekly report, while star forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan has started the season with the Los Angeles Kings.

A second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old from Calgary has an assist in five games for the Kings.

New Jersey Devils prospect Ty Smith has 16 points in nine games in his third season for the Chiefs, which is three markers back of the Blades’ Dawson Davidson for the most points among defencemen.

He also has a nine game point streak, which is tied with Brandon’s Stelio Mattheos and Davidson for the second longest run in the league at the moment and trails the 12-game run that Raiders forward Brett Leason is currently on.

Saskatoon’s Adam Beckman, who spent the last two season in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with the Battlefords Stars, is tied with Kelowna Rockets blueliner Lassi Thomson for the most goals among first year players with six.

Baily Brkin enters Saturday’s contest with the fourth best goals against average in the WHL with a 2.12 mark and is tied for third with Medicine Hat’s Mads Sogaard in save percentage with a .933 mark.

Saturday’s Schedule

  • Calgary vs. Brandon – 6:30 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
  • Kootenay vs. Red Deer – 7 p.m.
  • Medicine Hat vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
  • Tri-City vs. Seattle – 7 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Vancouver – 8 p.m.
  • Kelowna vs. Victoria – 8 p.m.