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WHL Announces Weekly Award Winners

March 4, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release


Calgary, Alta. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Jordan Keller of the Kamloops Blazers has been named Tempo WHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 3, 2024.

Keller led the Blazers with four goals, three assists and a plus-six rating in three matches and topped all WHL players with an average of 2.33 points per game.

The 18-year-old Kamloops, B.C. product kicked off the week with a buzzer-beater powerplay goal at 19:55 in the first period to tie the game at one against the Spokane Chiefs. Keller kept the train rolling with an assist on a Logan Bairos tally less than a minute into the second period to give the Blazers their first lead of the game. He capped off a 5-2 win with a beautiful backhand goal on the doorstep of the Spokane crease. Keller was named first star for his two-goal, one-assist performance. This marked the second three-point game of his young career.

Keller's scoring touch carried over to a tilt against Seattle, where Keller stripped the puck away from a Thunderbirds defenceman to create a two-on-zero opportunity and set up Nathan Behm for a goal. With the match tied 2-2 at the midway point, Ashton Ferster dished a beautiful pass for Keller to fire into a yawning cage to restore the Kamloops lead. Seattle would complete the comeback for a 5-3 win, but Keller was still awarded second star for his efforts.

Kamloops would end the week on a winning note with Keller opening the scoring against Vancouver with a picture-perfect backhander on the rush. The hometown boy got the crowd at the Sandman Centre on their feet by assisting Matteo Koci's game-winning goal and recording a fourth-straight multi-point game. Keller earned second star once again as Kamloops won its 20th game of the season.

The Blazers acquired Keller in the blockbuster trade that sent Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Fraser Minten to the Saskatoon Blades on November 24, 2023.

The 5-foot-11 centreman has netted 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 38 games with his new squad. Including the 23 matches he played for Saskatoon, Keller is closing in on the 20-goal milestone with 18 tallies and 45 points.

Keller's father, Aaron, captured two WHL championships and two Memorial Cups with the Blazers in 1994 and 1995 as a player and now works in the team's front office as the Director of Player Personnel.

Kamloops (20-34-3-3) is 5-4-0-1 in its last 10 games and returns to the Sandman Centre to host the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks (41-15-2-1) on March 6 at 7:00 p.m. PST.

2023-24 Tempo WHL Player of the Week

February 26, 2024: Riley Heidt, Prince George Cougars (Minnesota Wild)

February 20, 2024: Graham Sward, Wenatchee Wild (Nashville Predators)

February 12, 2024: Emmitt Finnie, Kamloops Blazers (Detroit Red Wings)

February 5, 2024: Egor Sidorov, Saskatoon Blades (Anaheim Ducks)

January 29, 2024: Carter Yakemchuk, Calgary Hitmen

January 22, 2024: Luca Cagnoni, Portland Winterhawks (San Jose Sharks)

January 15, 2024: Matthew Savoie, Moose Jaw Warriors (Buffalo Sabres)

January 8, 2024: Gavin McKenna, Medicine Hat Tigers

January 2, 2024: Chase Bertholet, Spokane Chiefs

December 18, 2023: Tij Iginla, Kelowna Rockets

December 11, 2023: Dominik Rymon, Everett Silvertips

December 4, 2023: Conor Geekie, Wenatchee Wild (Arizona Coyotes)

November 27, 2023: Andrew Basha, Medicine Hat Tigers

November 20, 2023: Koehn Ziemmer, Prince George Cougars (Los Angeles Kings)

November 13, 2023: Gabe Klassen, Portland Winterhawks

November 6, 2023: Trevor Wong, Saskatoon Blades

October 30, 2023: Jagger Firkus, Moose Jaw Warriors (Seattle Kraken)

October 23, 2023: Andrew Cristall, Kelowna Rockets (Washington Capitals)

October 16, 2023: Ryder Ritchie, Prince Albert Raiders

October 10, 2023: Easton Armstrong, Wenatchee Wild

October 2, 2023: Jagger Firkus, Moose Jaw Warriors (Seattle Kraken)

September 25, 2023: Zac Funk, Prince George Cougars

HITMEN NETMINDER BUENAVENTURA NAMED GIUSEPPE WHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK

Calgary, Alta. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Calgary Hitmen netminder Ethan Buenaventura has been named Giuseppe WHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending February 25, 2024.

Buenaventura posted a 2-1-0-0 record to keep his team's playoff hopes alive, registering an impressive 1.67 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and his first WHL shutout.

The 19-year-old got off to a tough start as the Edmonton Oil Kings scored just 10 seconds into a battle at the Scotiabank Saddledome on February 28, but bounced back with several highlight-reel saves, including a breakaway stop on Gavin Hodnett and sharp poke-check on Ty Nash. Buenaventura would go on to turn aside 32 of 35 shots as the Hitmen doubled up the Oil Kings 6-3.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound netminder battled hard in a goaltender duel against Red Deer's Rhett Stoesser on March 2. Buenaventura flexed his dexterity by leaping across his crease to deny Talon Brigley's wide-open shot after a deflected pass and stretched out to rob Evan Smith on the doorstep. Brigley would go bar-down to net the game-winner with 30 seconds to play in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss for the Hitmen.

Buenaventura would follow up the frustrating loss with one of the best performances of his WHL career. In a March 3 duel against the Central Division-leading Medicine Hat Tigers, the Winnipeg, Man. product set the tone by denying top 2024 NHL Draft prospect Andrew Basha on a sensational backhand effort. The Hitmen held the Tigers' powerplay- which is ranked third in the league- without a goal and Buenaventura denied all kinds of odd-man rushes, including a brilliant cross-crease stop on Medicine Hat captain Tyler MacKenzie. Late in the game, Buenaventura had his stick knocked away but navigated the scramble of bodies in front of him to freeze the puck and preserve a 2-0 Hitmen victory to keep the team's playoff hopes alive, earn first star and secure his first WHL clean sheet.

In his third season with a young Calgary squad, Buenaventura sports a 19-19-5-1 record, supported by a 3.54 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. He's faced the third-most shots of any goaltender in the league (1534) and has the third-most saves to match (1379). He's made at least 30 stops in his last five starts.

He was selected by the Hitmen in the fourth round, 77th overall in the 2019 WHL Prospects Draft.

With eight games remaining, Calgary (25-27-7-1) sits three points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Hitmen will continue their push for the postseason when they host Brandon (29-25-5-1) on March 6 at 7:00 p.m. MST.

2023-24 WHL Goaltender of the Week

February 26, 2024: Reid Dyck, Swift Current Broncos (Boston Bruins)

February 20, 2024: Brett Mirwald, Vancouver Giants

February 12, 2024: Brett Mirwald, Vancouver Giants

February 5, 2024: Reid Dyck, Swift Current Broncos (Boston Bruins)

January 29, 2024: Scott Ratzlaff, Seattle Thunderbirds (Buffalo Sabres)

January 22, 2024: Chase Wutzke, Red Deer Rebels

January 15, 2024: Chase Wutzke, Red Deer Rebels

January 8, 2024: Brett Mirwald, Vancouver Giants

January 2, 2024: Harrison Meneghin, Lethbridge Hurricanes

December 18, 2023: Brett Mirwald, Vancouver Giants

December 11, 2023: Chase Wutzke, Red Deer Rebels

December 4, 2023: Jackson Unger, Moose Jaw Warriors

November 27, 2023: Dawson Cowan, Spokane Chiefs

November 20, 2023: Rhett Stoesser, Red Deer Rebels

November 13, 2023: Evan May, Medicine Hat Tigers

November 6, 2023: Joshua Ravensbergen, Prince George Cougars

October 30, 2023: Joshua Ravensbergen, Prince George Cougars

October 23, 2023: Daniel Hauser, Wenatchee Wild

October 16, 2023: Jan Špunar, Portland Winterhawks

October 10, 2023: Kyle Kelsey, Red Deer Rebels

October 2, 2023: Ethan Chadwick, Everett Silvertips

September 25, 2023: Max Hildebrand, Prince Albert Raiders

2025 NHL DRAFT-ELIGIBLE FORWARD RESCHNY NAMED KAL TIRE WHL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

Calgary, Alta. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Cole Reschny of the Victoria Royals has been named Kal Tire WHL Rookie of the Week for the week ending March 3, 2024.

It's the second time the 16-year-old has earned a WHL Weekly Award.

Reschny led all rookies- and his Victoria teammates- with three goals and two assists in two games as the Royals went 1-0-1-0 on the week.

After Tri-City struck early against the Royals on March 1, Reschny kickstarted the Victoria comeback by driving the net and redirecting a Tyson Laventure shot on net to create a fortuitous rebound that bounced in off an Americans' skate. Shortly after, he collected the puck behind the Tri-City net and swept a pass into the slot for Dawson Pasternak to give Victoria its first lead of the game. Reschny capped off a tremendous period for the Royals by deftly tipping a Justin Kipke point shot towards a wide-open Pasternak for Victoria's fourth goal in eight minutes. Victoria would go on to a 6-4 win.

The following night, the Royals put up a valiant effort in one of the most hostile environments in the league in a visit to Portland. With the game tied 1-1, Reschny's long shot found its way past Jan Spunar to put Victoria in front. With the match level at three apiece in the third, Reschny would restore the lead with a deceptive shot through traffic in the high slot for his 20th goal of the season. The Winterhawks would storm back to a 5-4 overtime win.

With 20 goals and 32 assists in 54 games this season, the Macklin, Sask. product sits sixth in the WHL's rookie points race and third among qualified rookies with an average of .96 points per game.

Reschny, who is eligible for the 2025 NHL Draft, also captured WHL Rookie of the Month honours for November after lighting up for seven goals and five assists in eight games.

The 5-foot-9, 161-pound forward was selected by Victoria in the first round, third overall in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft. He represented Canada for the first time with Team Canada Red at the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he netted a trio of goals and five assists in seven contests en route to a fifth-place finish.

Victoria (28-24-5-4) sits second in the B.C. Division and has set its sights on becoming the next Western Conference team to clinch a berth in the 2024 WHL Playoffs.

The Royals head south for a midweek tilt against the Spokane Chiefs (25-28-5-1) on March 5.

2023-24 WHL Rookie of the Week

February 26, 2024: Cameron Schmidt, Vancouver Giants

February 20, 2024: Evan Gardner, Saskatoon Blades

February 12, 2024: Hunter Laing, Prince George Cougars

February 5, 2024: Evan Gardner, Saskatoon Blades

January 29, 2024: Gavin McKenna, Medicine Hat Tigers

January 22, 2024: Gavin McKenna, Medicine Hat Tigers

January 15, 2024: Julius Miettinen, Everett Silvertips

January 8, 2024: Julius Miettinen, Everett Silvertips

January 2, 2024: Cole Reschny, Victoria Royals

December 18, 2023: Terik Parascak, Prince George Cougars

December 11, 2023: Max Curran, Tri-City Americans

December 4, 2023: Joshua Ravensbergen, Prince George Cougars

November 27, 2023: Ethan Eskit, Brandon Wheat Kings

November 20, 2023: Dakota MacIntosh, Moose Jaw Warriors

November 13, 2023: Ben Kindel, Calgary Hitmen

November 6, 2023: Ethan McCallum, Medicine Hat Tigers

October 30, 2023: Julius Miettinen, Everett Silvertips (NHL CSS: C)

October 23, 2023: Terik Parascak, Prince George Cougars (NHL CSS: B)

October 16, 2023: Ty Coupland, Swift Current Broncos

October 10, 2023: Terik Parascak, Prince George Cougars (NHL CSS: B)

October 2, 2023: Terik Parascak, Prince George Cougars (NHL CSS: B)

September 25, 2023: Oscar Lovsin, Wenatchee Wild


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