Silvertips’ goalie Hart continues to stand out

Carter Hart continues to stand out among WHL goaltenders.

The Everett Silvertips 17-year-old star netminder was named the WHL’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Week, the league announced Monday.

Hart posted a record of 2-0-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average and a .951 save percentage as the Tips finished off the week with three consecutive victories.

It’s the third such honor for Hart this season. The Sherwood Park, Alberta, native was twice nominated in November and won the CHL award for the week of Nov. 23-29. Hart was also named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for November. Hart leads the league in wins (21), shutouts (6) and goals against average (1.97), and is tied for the lead in save percentage (.925).

WHL awards

Regina Pats forward Adam Brooks was named the WHL Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. Brooks scored two goals to go along with eight assists and a plus-7 rating in four games last week as the Pats went 2-1-0-1.

Meanwhile, Kamloops Blazers goaltender Connor Ingram was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December after posting a 6-3-0-1 record with a 2.09 GAA and a .937 save percentage for the month.

Prince George forward Chase Witala earned WHL Player of the Month honors for December after scored 14 goals with nine assists and a plus-10 rating in 13 games for the Cougars. Prince George finished 10-3 during the month.

Team USA plays for bronze

The World Junior Championship gold medal games takes place today in Helsinki, Finland, where the host Finns will take on Team Russia in the final.

The Russians defeated the Americans 2-1 in Monday’s semifinal round. It is the third consecutive year the Russians have ended the Americans’ gold medal hopes in the knockout round.

Team Canada, which featured seven WHL players, was eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinal round.

As the tournament concludes, WHL teams eagerly await the return of their players from their respective national teams. The Silvertips certainly benefited last week as they took two victories from a depleted Kelowna Rockets squad that had three forwards in Finland playing for three different countries. The Tips and Rockets square off again Friday in Kelowna as the Rockets will likely feature a significantly different lineup than last week.

Parity in the U.S. Division

Everett currently leads the U.S. Division with a 22-12-0-2 record and 46 points.

However, Seattle (20-14-3-0, 43 points) and Spokane (19-15-3-2, 43 points) are each three points back. Portland (20-17-1-0, 41 points) is also still very much in the race.

The Tips have officially reached the midpoint of their season after playing their 36th game Saturday in Kamloops. That’s still the fewest in the league and the Tips have a game in hand of the T-Birds and three in hand of the Chiefs.

Trade deadline

The WHL trade deadline comes at the end of this week and several moves have already been made.

The Red Deer Rebels, who are gearing up to play host to this year’s Memorial Cup, have generated the most buzz so far. The Rebels added two more big pieces since last week as they acquired 20-year-old Adam Helewka from the Spokane Chiefs, and Luke Philp from the Kootenay Ice.

Helewka was a fourth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in last year’s draft and began the season in the AHL before he was sent back to Spokane. He has 16 goals and 13 assists in 19 games for Spokane this season.

The 20-year-old Philp has 13 goals and 16 assists in 22 games for Kootenay this season although he hasn’t played since November after suffering back-to-back injuries.

For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.

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