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Jones' offense starting to blossom

by Adam Kimelman

Seth Jones was an offensive force with the U.S. National Team Development Program last season, leading the team's defenseman with 26 points in 48 games.

That offensive skill was a bit slow in showing itself early in his first season in the Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks, but now the top 2013 NHL Draft prospect is beginning to showcase his full skill package.

Jones had five points in three games over the weekend, extending his point-scoring streak to nine games, tied for the longest current streak in the league.

Jones assisted on Ty Rattie's third-period goal in a 3-2 home loss to the Tri-City Americans on Friday. On Saturday he drew assists on Portland's first and last goals in a 6-2 win at the Seattle Thunderbirds, and on Sunday he had the primary assist on Nicolas Petan's second-period 5-on-3 power-play goal -- and just 21 seconds later, with Portland still skating up a man, he scored his first goal in five games to close the scoring in a 4-1 win at Tri-City.

Jones now has 28 points in 30 games, third among WHL defenseman. He also has a plus-27 rating, second among defensemen. Jones is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of WHL skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Jones wasn't the only 2013 NHL Draft hopeful in the WHL to have a big weekend. Here is how a few other players fared:

* Red Deer left wing Tyson Ness scored the game-tying goal and assisted on the game-winner with 10 seconds left in regulation Friday in a 2-1 win at the Moose Jaw Warriors. Ness had two assists in a 5-4 loss at the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.

* Spokane right wing Mitchell Holmberg had two goals and an assist in the Chiefs' 5-2 win at Brandon on Friday.

* Calgary left wing Zane Jones scored a pair of goals in the Hitmen's 5-2 win at the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday.

* Prince Albert defenseman Joshua Morrissey, No. 6 on Central Scouting's list, had a goal and an assist in the Raiders' 3-2 loss at the Kootenay Ice on Friday.

* Medicine Hat teammates Hunter Shinkaruk, Miles Koules and Curtis Valk combined for 11 points in the Tigers 8-7 shootout win at the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday. Shinkaruk had two goals and two assists; Koules had a goal and three assists; and Valk had two goals and an assist. Shinkaruk and Valk also scored in the shootout.

* Lethbridge's Jaimen Yakubowski had five goals in an 8-7 loss to Medicine Hat on Friday. It was the first time he had scored more than two goals in a WHL game. He added a goal and an assist the next night in a 6-1 win against the Kootenay Ice.

* Kamloops' Cole Cheveldave stopped all 23 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout of the Prince George Cougars on Friday.

* Tri-City's Connor Rankin had two goals and an assist in the Americans' 3-2 win at Portland on Friday.

* Brandon teammates Alessio Bertaggia and Richard Nejezchleb had a goal and two assists each in the Wheat Kings' 5-4 overtime win against Red Deer on Saturday. Nejezchleb had an assist on the winning goal.

* Lethbridge center Brady Ramsay had two goals and an assist and teammate Samuel McKechnie had three assists in the Hurricanes' 6-1 defeat of Kootenay on Saturday.

* Prince Albert left wing Dakota Conroy had a goal and two assists in the Raiders' 7-0 win at Medicine Hat on Saturday.

* Everett center Trent Lofthouse had a hat trick in the Silvertips' 4-1 defeat of the Vancouver Giants on Saturday. Teammate Mirco Muller, No. 7 on Central Scouting's list, had two assists.

* Prince George center Alex Forsberg had a pair of goals in the Cougars' 7-2 loss at Kelowna on Saturday.

* Portland center Presten Kopeck had two goals and teammate Nicolas Petan had a goal and an assist Saturday in the Winterhawks' 6-2 win at Seattle. On Sunday, Petan -- No. 15 on Central Scouting's list -- had two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win at Tri-City. Petan is third in the league with 53 points in 31 games.

* Seattle defenseman Shea Theodore, No. 4 on Central Scouting's list, had a pair of assists in the Thunderbirds' loss to Portland on Saturday.

* Kamloops right wing Chase Souto had two goals in the Blazers' 4-1 win Sunday at Vancouver.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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