Thursday, January 29, 2015

A little of this and some of that from the WHL and beyond

F Zdeněk Blatný (Seattle, Kootenay, 1998-2001) has been released by mutual agreement by Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had eight goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .
F Richard Mueller (Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, 1998-2003) has signed a one-year extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 38 games, he leads his team in scoring with 47 points, including 28 goals, in 38 games. . . . The Frankfurt general manager is Rich Chernomaz (Saskatoon, Victoria Cougars, 1979-83 . . . Frankfurt’s head coach is Tim Kehler, who was an assistant coach with Swift Current (2007-10). . . .
F Jakub Langhammer (Spokane, 2002-04) has signed for the rest of this season with Dresdner Eislöwen (Germany, DEL2). He had been released on Wednesday by Regensburg (Germany, Oberliga) at his request so that he could sign with Dresden. He had two goals in two games with with Regensburg.

The Saskatoon Blades visit the Broncos in Swift Current tonight. That means Blades D Brycen Martin gets to face his former team for the first time. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here, and Martin doesn’t mince words when he explains how he believes things went south for him in Swift Current.
No WHL player has put up better numbers of late than G Evan Sarthou of the Tri-City Americans. Before losing 7-5 in Portland on Sunday, Sarthou had put up four shutouts in his previous five starts. With G Eric Comrie on the roster of Canada’s national junior team and now injured, Sarthou has made 20 straight starts. . . . Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald has more right here.
In the last few games, the Kootenay Ice has lost twice to the Saskatoon Blades and once to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, two non-playoff teams. The Ice gets a chance to undo some of the damage when it begins a seven-game homestand tonight against the Regina Pats. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more right here.
The Moose Jaw Warriors, under general manager Alan Millar, have taken a long, hard look at all aspects of their scouting game. It resulted in the firing of head scout Rob MacLachlan last week, even though he had the rest of this season and next left on his contract. Marc Smith of takes a look right here at all that happened and why it happened.
Dave McLellan, the GM and head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs, has been suspended for the balance of this Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season. The ruling came down after the Leafs were found to have played an ineligible player for nine games. . . . Bruce Fuhr of the Nelson Daily has more right here.
F Charlie Zuccarini of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters has been suspended for the balance of this season and the playoffs after he slashed a referee during a game last weekend. . . . From Shelton, Conn., Zuccarini is a 20-year-old, meaning that his junior career is finished. . . . He has committed to Arizona State U. . . . During the game against the Coquitlam Express, Zuccarini was hit with a match penalty after slashing referee Kirk Wood on one wrist. . . . According to a news release from the Smoke Eaters, Zuccarini “took responsibility for his actions and did not question that he was in the wrong.” . . . He had 56 points, including 27 goals, in 45 games. . . . The Smoke Eaters' news release is right here.
Note to Jim Hiller: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. If you haven’t already, put it on your reading list.

The CFL’s B.C. Lions announced Thursday that they have signed received Austin Collie, who has a history of concussions. A couple of days before he signed, but with Collie's signing somewhere in the CFL said to be imminent, Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press filed an interesting column that is right here.
“The rate of concussions among NFL players fell 25 per cent this season, according to the league, even as injury reporting and trips to injured reserve list rose overall,” writes Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press from Phoenix, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl. . . . That is especially interesting considering the increased attention on concussions these days. . . . Fendrich’s story is right here.
Here’s how Ray Ratto of summed up the NFL’s concussion report:
“The NFL said concussions were down 25 percent in 2014, which is fine. They said it. Means nothing though, since their protocols for reporting are still laxly supervised and are left to individual teams and (worse) to individual players who feel pressure to play through the haze. Plus, the NFL has lost its right to be believed anyway.
“So congratulations to all players who didn’t have a concussion in 2014. Whoever you are.”
“A new study of NFL retirees found that those who began playing tackle football when they were younger than 12 years old had a higher risk of developing memory and thinking problems later in life,” writes Ken Belson of The New York Times. “The study, published in the medical journal Neurology by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, was based on tests given to 42 former NFL players, ages 41 to 65, who had experienced cognitive problems for at least six months. Half the players started playing tackle football before age 12, and the other half began at 12 or older.” . . . The complete story is right here.
If you are wondering about concussions in the WHL this season, it is impossible to keep track. There is no transparency in the WHL when it comes to injuries and it’s impossible to count concussions by anecdotal evidence.
In many WHL markets, the media types who cover the teams don’t concern themselves with trying to identify injuries, other than going with upper- and lower-body information, as supplied by the league.
However, judging by anecdotal evidence and the number of “upper-body injuries” there have been and continue to be in the WHL, I would suggest that the number of concussions incurred by WHL players isn’t decreasing.
There also have been at least three players suffer concussions in fights in recent games.

F Barrett Sheen, 16, has signed with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. An undrafted list player, Sheen is from Airdrie, Alta. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is playing for the midget AAA UFA Bisons, who play out of Strathmore, Alta. . . .
Vancouver is scheduled to visit Everett tonight, which means Giants D Mason Geersen and Silvertips F Nikita Scherbak will renew what has turned into quite a rivalry. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has more right here. . . . Ewen also points out that the Giants have yet to say who will replace injured G Payton Lee on their roster for the weekend. . . . Vancouver D Clayton Kirichenko, out since Nov. 26 with an undisclosed injury, is expected to return tonight. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades, who are expected to be without D Kolton Dixon, F Luke Gingras and F Mitch Skapski due to undisclosed injuries tonight in Swift Current, have added F Brayden Uhrich and D Mackenzie Dwyer to their roster. . . . Dwyer is a 17-year-old Winnipegger who is playing for the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers. He was an 11th-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Uhrich is the younger brother of Saskatoon F Josh Uhrich. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that F Brett Stovin, the team’s captain, is listed as probable due to an undisclosed injury.

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Blazers movin' on up B.C. Division standings

When the Kamloops Blazers came back from the Christmas break and lost their first three games, you could be excused for writing off their playoff chances.
But as they take the ice tonight in Portland against the Winterhawks, the Blazers (19-25-6) find themselves alone in third place in the B.C. Division. In other words, they hold down the division’s last playoff spot, albeit by only two points over the Vancouver Giants (20-27-2) and Prince George Cougars (20-29-2), both of whom have been going in the wrong direction of late. (The Blazers are in Vancouver on Saturday night.)
So, you’re asking, what is responsible for the Blazers’ move up the standings?
They are 6-2-1 since losing those three post-Christmas games. In their last six games, they are 5-1-0.
While the coaching staff no doubt would point to a number of things, including spending less time in their zone, nothing has been larger than the play of freshman G Connor Ingram, 17. He is 6-1-1 in his last eight decisions. This comes after head coach Don Hay pointed to inconsistent goaltending as being a primary reason for first-half woes.
Now, with Ingram having seized the starting role, the Blazers are playing with more confidence and it’s showing in the standings.
Ingram, an undrafted list player from Imperial, Sask., is no stranger to high-pressure hockey. He played last season for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos and was the goaltender of record when they won the national championship in triple overtime.
He may well get tested tonight in Portland, as the Blazers may be without three of their top five defencemen.
Swiss freshman Michael Fora hasn’t played since being injured in Victoria a week ago, while I will be shocked if Slovakian freshman Patrik Maier doesn’t have a concussion after taking at least four punches to the face, including a violent overhand right, during a late third-period fight with F Nolan Volcan of the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday night.
As well, Ryan Rehill has been suspended for one game, as has Seattle D Jared Hauf. They got into a staged fight — does that mean there can be an unstaged fight? — nine seconds into Wednesday’s game. (Kamloops and Seattle each was fined $250 for that bout. Ch-ch-ching!)
Should the Blazers be without Fora, Maier and Rehill and, if they don’t bring in anyone, they will be looking to veterans Brady Gaudet and Marc McNulty to eat up some major minutes.
Look for Dawson Davidson, 16, to be put into a larger role, too. An offensively gifted player, he joined the Blazers from the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals after the Christmas break and continues to show improvement. He has a high hockey IQ and doesn’t often put himself in bad position. That’s important because, although the native of Moosomin, Sask., is listed on the roster at 5-foot-11 and 171 pounds, he doesn’t look to be anywhere near that large.
The other two defencemen on the Blazers’ roster are Cam Reagan and Travis Verveda, a pair of 17-year-olds who have been in 23 and 24 games, respectively.
One other note about the Blazers: Head coach Don Hay is the second-winningest coach in WHL history, his 628 regular-season victories trailing only Ken Hodge’s 742.
But before the Blazers got on a roll, Spokane head coach Don Nachbaur had closed to within two victories of Hay — 623-621. The Blazers then started winning, while the injury-riddled Chiefs hit the skids. The score now is 628-621.
It all got me to wondering if either of the WHL’s coaching Dons might one day surpass Hodge.
Hay will turn 61 on Feb. 13; Nachbaur is 56 as of today (Jan. 29).
Three 40 victory seasons would get either man within reach of Hodge’s total so, yes, it’s possible. However, neither man is likely to get to 40 victories this season, so three in a row isn’t at all a sure thing.

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Go West, young men, go West!

It was in the early 1980s when the late Ed Chynoweth, then the WHL’s leader, admitted that his greatest fear had to do with NHL teams moving affiliate teams into Western Canada and setting up a new league.

At the time, he said he could see the day when pro teams were in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Regina and AHLSaskatoon, just for starters.
The Saskatoon Blades are near the end of lease negotiations with the SaskTel Centre. When the papers are signed, the Blades will again have hockey exclusivity in the building. That is something that Chynoweth, all those years ago, felt was of the utmost importance and something that most, if not all, WHL teams insist upon in their leases.
Now here we are more than 30 years later and NHL teams are moving affiliates west, just not into Canada.
The AHL made it official on Thursday — it will have a five-team Pacific Division next season, with all teams located in California.
The Anaheim Ducks will move the Norfolk, Va., Admirals to San Diego; the Calgary Flames will move the Adirondack Flames from Glens Falls, N.Y., to Stockton; the Edmonton Oilers will move the Oklahoma City Barons to Bakersfield; the Los Angeles Kings are moving the Manchester, N.H., Monarchs to Ontario; and the San Jose Sharks are taking the Worcester, Mass., Sharks and relocating them to, yes, San Jose.
The Adirondack Flames are in their first season in Glens Falls, after relocating from Abbotsford, B.C. Adirondack head coach Ryan Huska left the Kelowna Rockets after last season to sign with the Flames.
Mike Stothers, who left the Moose Jaw Warriors after last season, is the first-year head coach of the Monarchs.
San Jose will play its AHL affiliate out of its home building — the SAP Center. Interestingly, San Jose is planning on scheduling Saturday doubleheaders, with the AHL team playing matinees and the NHL team playing at night.
The primary reason for the moves is to get affiliate players closer to the parent clubs to make it that much easier for recalls. Scheduling details are scarce but the five Pacific Division teams will play fewer games than other AHL teams. That and less travel should result in more practice time, all of which should make for happy coaches and better development.
There also is speculation that more NHL teams will get involved in moving their AHL teams in the near future.
The Vancouver Canucks are in their second season with the AHL’s Utica, N.Y., Comets. Pat Conacher, a former head coach of the Regina Pats, is the Comets’ director of hockey operations, with Travis Green, the former assistant GM and assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, the head coach.
There is speculation that the Canucks will move the franchise to Abbotsford or Langley, B.C. The Abbotsford Centre seats 7,046 and no longer is home to a hockey team. The 5,276-seat Langley Events Centre is home to, among other things, the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Stealth.
Jim Benning, the Canucks’ general manager, told TSN Radio Vancouver on Thursday that his organization will continue to monitor the situation.
“We're really happy in Utica — players love it there,” Benning said. “We'll continue to monitor it.”
The Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate is in St. John’s, Nfld. There have been rumours since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg that the Jets would like to have that franchise in Thunder Bay, Ont. That’s hardly close to the Pacific Northwest or California, but it’s closer than Newfoundland.
The Arizona Coyotes, who are hooked up with the AHL’s Portland, Me., Pirates, also are said to be interested in having a team closer to Phoenix.
Some of the communities being vacated by AHL teams are expected to end up being home to ECHL franchises. There also is speculation that the QMJHL would like to expand by two teams and is looking at the vacant arenas.
What impact, if any, will this have as far as the WHL is concerned?
I doubt that there will be any immediate impact, but it certainly could have repercussions down the road.
When these AHL teams get relocated and organized, you can bet that they will be pouring resources into minor hockey programs as they attempt to attract fans. Eventually, that will mean more and better hockey players coming out of those areas.
It all could lead to a WHL team with a completely American roster. Don't scoff. The Portland Winterhawks have 12 players on their 23-man roster right now.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Taking Note wins award . . . Hurricanes stun Ice . . . Blazers now third in B.C.

Taking Note has been honoured with a Carson — a 2015 Paul Carson Broadcast & Media Award — as was announced Wednesday afternoon.
According to the news release that is pictured above, the awards “recognize excellence in sports broadcasting and journalism” in B.C.
Taking Note is being recognized as the Best Blog (Rest-of-BC). Pro Hockey Talk, with Jason Brough, Mike Halford and Cam Tucker, was named the Best Blog (Vancouver-based).
A number of veteran B.C. sports journalists, including Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province, Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun, Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist and Scott McKenzie of the Nanaimo Daily News are among the print honourees.
I am thrilled that folks know that we even exist here at Taking Note, and I am honoured to win an award that is in memory of a man who meant so much to journalism in B.C.

D Lukáš Bohunický (Kootenay, 2005-07) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with České Budějovice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). He was released at his request by the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite) on Monday. He had a goal and 13 assists in 36 games this season. . . .
F Chris St. Jacques (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has signed for the rest of the season with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Serie A), he had two goals and 12 assists in 15 games. With the Wedemark Scorpions (Germany, Oberliga), he had eight goals and 15 assists in 12 games. St. Jacques played last 3 1/2 seasons with Bietigheim. . . .
F Jakub Langhammer (Spokane, 2002-04) has been released at his request by Regensburg (Germany, Oberliga). He had two goals in two games. Per a Regensburg press release, Langhammer will join an unnamed DEL2 club.


In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored three second-period goals en route to a 6-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . .  .Fittingly, it was Bash The Blades night in Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s first five goals. . . . That included F Sean Montgomery’s first WHL goal, in the 45th game of freshman season, at 9:54 of the second period. . . . F Kris Schmidli had three assists for Prince Albert, while F Reid Gardiner scored his 22nd goal and added an assist. F Simon Stransky and F Austin Glover each had two assists. D Jesse Lees scored his eighth goal — his first since arriving in Prince Albert from Kelowna — and had an assist. . . . Raiders G Rylan Parenteau stopped 32 shots, four fewer than Nik Amundrud of the Blades. . . . This was the final game of the season series between these teams and it ended 4-4-0. . . . The Raiders (20-27-1) had lost their previous four games. They are in Calgary on Friday. . . . The Blades (14-30-3), who play in Swift Current on Friday, had won five in a row. . . .

In Edmonton, F Lane Bauer’s shootout goal gave the Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . F Brett Pollock also scored for Edmonton in the shootout — he extended it with a goal in the third round — while F Nick Merkley scored for the Rockets. . . . D Joe Gatenby scored for Kelowna at 9:33 of the first period. His first WHL goal came in his 85th game. . . . Edmonton F Dysin Mayo tied it with his 10th goal of the season, on a PP, at 6:35 of the second. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 35 shots, five more than Kelowna’s Jake Morrissey. . . . The Rockets gave the goaltending start to Morrissey, meaning he and his holder brother, D Josh Morrissey, were on the ice together for the first time since the latter was acquired from Prince Albert on Dec. 10. . . . F Leon Draisaitl, who started the season with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, made his return to Edmonton. The Oilers, if you missed it, arranged for Draisaitl to be traded by Prince Albert to the Rockets at the trade deadline. . . . Draisaitl went pointless and wasn’t able to score in the shootout. . . . The Rockets were 0-for-8 on the PP, including the game’s last seven. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-3. . . . Edmonton (23-21-6) ended a four-game losing skid (0-3-1). The Oil Kings play in Red Deer on Friday. . . . The Rockets (37-8-4), who visit Lethbridge on Friday, have won their previous three games. They are first in the overall standings, three points ahead of idle Brandon. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Brayden Burke had a goal and two assists and G Jayden Sittler beat his former team as the Hurricanes dropped the Kootenay Ice, 6-3. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead into the second period, only to have the Hurricanes score the next five goals. . . . Burke tied the score with his third goal of the season, at 1:32 of the second, and F Tyler Wong broke the tie, with his 21st, at 13:53. . . . F Zane Franklin, who made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, scored his first WHL goal in this one, tying the game 1-1 at 14:45 of the first. . . . Lethbridge D Brandon Kennedy scored his first WHL goal in his 23rd game, at 6:54 of the third. . . . Wong also had an assist and was plus-4. . . . Kennedy, F Pavel Skumatov and F Giorgio Estephan each had a goal and an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Estephan has 25 points, 10 of them goals, over his last 14 games. . . . F Tim Bozon scored his 20th goal and added an assist for the Ice. . . . Skinner stopped 38 shots. . . . The Hurricanes (12-29-6), who will entertain Kelowna on Friday, have equalled their victory total from last season. . . . The Ice (26-23-1) had won its last four games. Kootenay is at home to Regina on Friday. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks erased a 2-1 deficit with three straight goals and hung on to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-3. . . . Victoria F Alex Forsberg scored his 20th goal of the season at 12:41 of the second period for a 2-1 lead. . . . Portland F Alex Schoenborn tied it, with his 15th goal, at 17:20. . . . D Alex Henry gave the Winterhawks the lead at 3:08 of the third, with his fifth goal, and F Chase De Leo made it 4-2 with No. 22 at 13:21. . . . Forsberg got the Royals to within a goal at 13:39. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 36 shots, four more than Victoria’s Justin Paulic. . . . F Miles Koules and D Blake Heinrich had two assists each for Portland. . . . Portland won despite not getting any points from its big line of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nic Petan and Paul Bittner. Victoria D Joe Hicketts and his partner, Chaz Reddekopp, were plus-3 while playing as much as possible against the Petan line. . . . Hicketts also had one assist. . . . F Dominic Turgeon was back in Portland’s lineup for the first time since Jan. 17 and scored his 15th goal. Portland F Mitch Walter remains out. Both were injured in fights. Walter hasn’t played since Jan. 14. . . . The Winterhawks (29-19-3) have won six straight and are three points behind U.S. Division-leading Everett, which olds three games in hand. . . . Victoria (26-20-4) had points in its previous seven games (6-0-1). . . . Portland is at home to Kamloops on Friday, while Victoria will play in Spokane. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored three PP goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, to grab sole possession of a playoff spot. . . . Still, it was the only Kamloops goal that wasn’t on special teams that won it, D Brady Gaudet getting his second goal of the season at 14:38 of the third period, breaking a 3-3 tie in the process. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully scored twice, giving him 24, and had an assist. . . . Kamloops F Deven Sideroff had three assists, all on the PP. . . . F Matt Needham, the third member of that line, had two assists. . . . Seattle D Shea Theodore had two assists. He has 185 career points, two shy of Craig Channell’s franchise record (Breakers/Thunderbirds) for a defenceman. . . . Seattle F Cory Millette had given his guys a 3-2 lead at 14:46 of the second, on a PP, with his 12th goal. . . . Kamloops D Dawson Davidson, who was brought in to add to the PP, scored his third goal at 3:42 of the third. . . . Kamloops was 3-for-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-for-5. . . . Seattle D Jared Hauf and Kamloops D Ryan Rehill, a couple of heavyweights, were tossed nine seconds into the game for becoming involved in a staged fight. . . . The Blazers scored two first-period goals. According to Tbird Tidbits, it was the sixth time in 48 games that Seattle has allowed more than one goal in the first period. The Thunderbirds are 1-5-0 when that happens. . . . Kamloops, already without injured Swiss D Michael Fora, lost Slovakian D Patrik Maier at 15:18 of the third period when he was KO’d in a scrap with Seattle F Nolan Volcan. Maier was wobbly and needed help getting to the dressing room. . . . The Blazers (19-25-6) moved into third place in the B.C. Division, two points ahead of Vancouver and Prince George. . . . The Thunderbirds (23-19-6) are third in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of Spokane and Tri-City. . . . The Thunderbirds are in Prince George for games Friday and Saturday nights. . . . The Blazers travel to Portland for a Friday night game.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Broncos tie Bow on Wheaties . . . Missing d-men no problem for Tigers . . . Bowey wins it for Rockets

It seems that the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers attempted to purchase the OHL’s Erie Otters in order to move the franchise to Hamilton, which would have led to the Oilers getting a lease at what was then Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. . . . Dave Shoalts of The Globe and Mail takes an intriguing look at that entire situation right here.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Saltman of the Vancouver Province reports that “a one-year peace bond has been issued for a Vancouver Island junior-league hockey team owner who got into a series of heated confrontations with the owners of another team and their coaching staff.” . . . Saltman’s complete story is right here.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his weekly 30 Thoughts piece on Tuesday. As usual, it’s a must read for hockey fans, and it’s right here.


WHL team logoIn Brandon, G Landon Bow stopped 52 shots through OT and D Max Lajoie scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Swift Current Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . F Carter Rigby of the Broncos scored the game’s first goal, via the PP, at 10:53 of the first period. He was back in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 11 when he suffered an undisclosed injury. . . . Rigby, who has 14 goals, also had an assist. . . . Broncos F Jake DeBrusk got his 26th at 1:08 of the second for a 2-0 lead. . . . Brandon F Tim McGauley scored his 30th of the season at 11:55 to get his guys on the board. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk tied it with his 18th at 6:28 of the third. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 26 shots as he went for his 30th victory. . . . The Wheat Kings continue to be without F Jayce Hawryluk and D Kyle Clague with undisclosed injuries. They also scratched F John Quenneville from this one. . . . Swift Current is without D Dillon Heatherington for up to six weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Wheat Kings (35-9-5) now are two points behind Kelowna in the race for first overall. Brandon had won its previous six games. . . . The Broncos (22-22-5) had lost three in a row. They are third in the East Division, five points ahead of idle Moose Jaw. . . . In their next five games, the Broncos will play Prince Albert twice and Saskatoon three times. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . The visitors took a 3-2 lead into the second period. . . . Tigers D Tyler Lewington tied it at 7:43 of the second and gave his guys the lead at 19:52. He’s got eight goals. . . . F Trevor Cox, who leads the WHL in points, got his 21st goal at 2:49 of the third and F Chad Butcher scored No. 15 at 7:11 on a PP. . . . Cox also had two assists. . . . F Markus Eisenschmid had two goals, giving him 15, and added an assist for Medicine Hat. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford had three assists, as did freshman D David Quenneville, who enjoyed his first three-point game. . . . Medicine Hat F Dryden Hunt didn’t get a point, thus ending his point streak at 19 games, the longest in the WHL this season. He had 10 goals and 19 assists during his streak. . . . The longest active point streak in the WHL now belongs to Cox, at nine games. . . . Cox has 83 points in 48 games; last season, he finished with 82 in 70 games. He leads the scoring race by eight points over Sanford. . . . Lethbridge F Tyler Wong scored his 20th goal of the season, while F Brayden Burke had two assists. . . . With seven regulars out — including D Tommy Vannelli, Ty Stanton, Kyle Burroughs and Kyle Becker— the Tigers had D Brad Forrest of Calgary and F Ryan Jevne of Edmonton in their lineup. Forrest was an eighth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft; he plays for the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. Jevne, who plays for the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons, was taken in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . F Zane Franklin, the 43rd overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft, made his debut with the Hurricanes. Franklin, from Marwayne, Alta., is playing for the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats. He has 31 points, including 11 goals, in 26 games. . . . The Tigers (34-12-2) have won five in a row. . . . The Hurricanes (11-29-6) entertain the Kootenay Ice tonight. . . .

In Red Deer, D Madison Bowey scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Rebels. . . . Red Deer F Conner Bleackley forced OT with his 23rd goal at 5:29 of the third period. . . . The Rebels took a 2-0 lead with a pair of second-period goals 13 seconds part. . . . F Austin Adamson scored his fourth goal at 3:40 and F Wyatt Johnson added his 20th at 3:53. . . . The Rockets then took the lead with three goals in 2:02. D Madison Bowey got his 12th at 11:55 of the second, with F Justin Kirkland getting his 17th at 13:29 and F Tyson Baillie notching his 30th at 13:57. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistler stopped 24 shots through OT and was perfect in the shootout. . . . Red Deer G Rylan Toth turned aside 36 shots. . . . Red Deer was 0-for-4 on the PP, including a 5-on-3 for 1:54 in the second period as it was leading 2-0. . . . Kelowna was 0-for-3. . . . Red Deer won’t have F Evan Polei in its lineup for up to two months. He suffered an undisclosed injury Saturday against visiting Vancouver. . . . The Rockets (37-8-3), who are in Edmonton tonight, have won three straight. . . . The Rebels (27-14-7) are 7-0-2 in their last nine games. They are second in the Central Division, two points ahead of idle Calgary.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Seattle goaltender retires . . . Giants goaltender hurt . . . Busy day for WHL Dept. of Discipline

F Cody Sylvester (Calgary, 2008-13) has signed for the rest of the season with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL), he had seven goals and 10 assists in 25 games. He was an alternate captain with the Stingrays. . . .
D Lukáš Bohunický (Kootenay, 2005-07) has been released by the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite) at his request. According to a club press release, Bohunický requested his release in order to return to Slovakia to attend to personal matters. He had a goal and 13 assists in 36 games.

When the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks revealed Sunday that they had lost G Logan Flodell to Seattle, it was evident that something was going on with the Thunderbirds’ goaltending. What exactly that was became apparent Monday when the Thunderbirds announced that G Danny Mumaugh, 18, had chosen to retire. . . . Mumaugh, from Centennial, Colo., was in his third season in Seattle. He got into 18 games as a freshman and 35 games last season. This season, he had made only eight appearances as he backed up Taran Kozun, 20, who has been in 40 games. In 61 regular-season games, Mumaugh was 18-21-8, 3.76, .887, with one shutout. . . . “Danny came to us recently and told us he did not have the drive to keep playing,” Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said in a news release. “To have a player quit this soon after the (trade) deadline could have left us in a real bind. We are fortunate that Logan is able to join us. We appreciate the Nipawin Hawks working with us to allow Logan to join the team for the remainder of the season.” . . . Flodell, 17, was with the Thunderbirds through Nov. 1, playing in one game — a 3-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Oct. 17. In Nipawin, Flodell, who is from Regina, was 8-4-0, 2.44, .901 in 13 games. . . . Flodell was a third-round selection by Seattle in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . The Thunderbirds next play on Wednesday when they are in Kamloops. Kozun, who was acquired from the Kamloops just more than a year ago, is 21-13-6, 2.36, .914 this season. . . . Thom Beuning, the radio voice of the Thunderbirds, has a good piece right here explaining the Mumaugh situation.
The Vancouver Giants are expecting to be without G Payton Lee, 18, for up to 10 days, according to Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province. Lee was injured three goals into an 8-0 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Sunday, when he took a shot to the underside of his blocker. . . . That leaves the Giants with freshman Cody Porter, 17, as their starter for now. . . . Scott Bonner, the Giants’ general manager, also told Ewen that D Clayton Kirichenko should be back Friday when they play in Everett. Kirichenko hasn’t played since Nov. 26 thanks to an undisclosed injury. . . . The Giants go into Everett having lost seven of eight games.
Head coach Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors and three of his players went for the ride of a lifetime on Monday. "The G-forces that you go through when you are coming out of the loops is something that you can't really explain,” Hunter told the Moose Jaw Times-Herald after spending some time in the air with the Snowbirds. “I know that my stomach didn't handle it so well when we came out of it for the second time.” . . . The Times-Herald story is right here.
F Oliver Bjorkstrand has 21 points in nine games since he returned from the 2015 WJC, where he played for his native Denmark. Bjorkstrand has 61 points in 37 games and is up to fifth place in the WHL scoring race.
Is it cheating, or is it gamesmanship? In the wake of Deflategate, Arash Madani of Sportsnet, who has worked for CFL teams, explores the subject in an excellent piece that is right here.
Department of Discipline

F Carter Arnson of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and F Colby McAuley of the Prince George Cougars both were suspended for five games on Monday after they became in a game-ending bout on Saturday in Lethbridge. McAuley already has missed one game. . . . The Cougars and Hurricanes each were fined $1,000 because of the incident. . . .
D Kyle Burroughs of the Medicine Hat Tigers was suspended for four games for a headshot major and game misconduct on Friday against visiting Prince George. He already has missed one game. That hit was on Cougars F Jari Erricson, who missed most of last season with a concussion. Erricson didn’t play Saturday in Lethbridge or Sunday in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat D Ty Stanton has been suspended for one game for a headshot major and game misconduct that he incurred in Edmonton on Sunday. . . . Burroughs and Stanton won’t play tonight when the Tigers entertain the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers also will be without veteran D Tommy Vannelli, 19, who suffered a broken finger in Edmonton on Sunday. . . . In Edmonton, the Tigers were able to dress only 16 skaters, two under the maximum. Still, they beat the Oil Kings 5-2.

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