News around the WHL

Alexeyev out for extended period

Alexeyev out for extended period

Red Deer Rebels stalwart blueliner Alex Alexeyev will likely miss the remained of the regular season. Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said the D-man is out at least six weeks with the most recent hand injury.

The Russian defenceman has missed significant time this year, with a shoulder injury earlier in the season and a month away from the team after the passing of his mother in January.

In total, the 2018 NHL Draft eligible defender played 45 games this year and had seven goals and 30 assists. He suffered the hand injury in Wednesday’s 3-2 OT win over the Calgary Hitmen and isn’t expected back unless the Rebels progress to the second round of the WHL playoffs.

WHL Goalie of the Week

Swift Current Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner was named WHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Feb. 25. Skinner, who was selected in the third round, 78th overall, by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2017 NHL Draft, won both his starts this week, maintaining a 1.00 goals-against-average, .966 save percentage and one shutout.

In a pivotal matchup against the Moose Jaw Warriors Wednesday, Skinner stopped 37 of 39 shots in a 4-2 win for the Broncos as they never trailed in the contest. Skinner’s next start came Sunday as he stopped all 20 shots in his hometown as the Broncos routed the Edmonton Oil Kings by an 8-0 score. The shutout was Skinner’s sixth of the season and 12th of his WHL career.

Originally selected by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round, 17th overall, of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Skinner has thrived with the Broncos, posting a 13-3-1-0 record, 2.29 GAA and .928 SV% as well as two shutouts in 17 games. A 6-foot-4, 200-pound product of Edmonton, Alta., the 19-year-old Skinner has appeared in 199 WHL regular season games, posting a 101-69-9-5 record, 3.21 GAA and .909 SV% as well as 12 shutouts.

WHL Player of the Week

Spokane Chiefs defenceman Ty Smith was named WHL On the Run Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 25.

Ranked 14th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in January’s Midterm Rankings, Smith recorded 10 points (3G-7A) and a plus-12 rating in four games this week.

Smith delivered an incredible record-setting performance Friday, tallying a pair of goals and seven points in a 9-2 win against the Prince George Cougars. Smith scored Spokane’s third and fourth goals of the game, notching his fourth game-winning goal of the season. He also had five assists, two primary and three secondary with all seven of his points coming at even strength. Smith’s night helped set a new Chiefs’ franchise record for points in a single game by a defenceman, one that had stood since 1986.

The Chiefs kept rolling Saturday, scoring a 5-3 win over the Kootenay ICE with Smith collecting his third goal of the week. Sunday, Smith and the Chiefs turned the tables on the Everett Silvertips in the finale of the regular season series, winning 5-2. All 10 of Smith’s points this week came at even-strength.

Smith, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound product of Lloydminster, Alta. has registered 68 points (13G-55A) in 60 games this season, good enough for second in scoring among WHL defencemen. Smith has appeared in 128 WHL regular season games, tallying 102 points (18G-84A), including five power-play goals and six game-winning goals.

Where are they now?

Right winger Ty Morris joined the Red Deer Rebels for his final WHL season after 24 games with the Vancouver Giants. The former fourth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2003 played a huge role on the Rebels down the stretch with 22 goals and 33 assists in 42 games that season.

After 53 games in the ECHL, most of them with the South Carolina Stingrays, Morris traveled to Germany to continue his playing career. He suited up for 47 games with Peiting EC, where he had 61 points in 47 games. From there he played six seasons in the German Second league, mostly with the Landshut Cannibals. In 2012-2013, he played 40 games with Munich in the German Elite League.

The Edmonton native has played the last three years in Peiting, with at least 19 goals and 55 points in each of those campaigns.

With files from the WHL

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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