Sunday, October 19, 2014

Raiders suspend veteran forward . . . Warriors, Broncos: Rivalry heating up

The Prince Albert Raiders have suspended F Dakota Conroy, 20, after he left the team and returned to his home in Edmonton. . . . He has a goal and an assist in 10 games, but that goal came on Sept. 20. . . . In 214 regular-season games, Conroy has 137 points, including 63 goals. He also has played with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Royals. The Wheat Kings selected him in the third round of the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Without Conroy, the Raiders are left with F Jayden Hart and D Sawyer Lange as their 1994-born players.
There isn’t anything in sports like a good rivalry, and it would seem that Moose Jaw F Jaimen Yakubowski is doing his bit to fire up the rivalry between the Warriors and the Swift Current Broncos.
Yakubowski broke a 3-3 tie with 4.1 seconds left in the third period on Saturday night.
“He then staked his claim as public enemy No. 1 in Swift Current by skating to centre ice,” reported Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, “stopping on the Broncos' logo and hushing the 2,205 fans at the Credit Union i-plex before his teammates mobbed him.”
Swift Current F Carter Rigby, who was acquired last week from the Kelowna Rockets, played against Yakubowski when the latter was with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
"I played against him in the other conference, in the west, and he's one guy that I don't care for — at all," Rigby told Gourlie. "To see him score that (winning goal), get two tonight and then do that (celebration) doesn't sit well with me. There will be a time when we can get him back and I'm sure we will."
These two don’t play again until Jan. 16 in Swift Current.
Gourlie’s complete story is right here.
NHLA note from Jim Matheson’s Hockey World in the Edmonton Journal:
“The Detroit Red Wings were gob-smacked by the play of their tryout defenceman Joe Hicketts, who wasn’t drafted this past June, in part because he missed a chunk of playing time with the Victoria Royals courtesy a bad shoulder and also because he stands just five-foot-eight and 185 pounds. They quickly signed him, loving it that he’d mix it up with way bigger guys in the corners, after he was just a good in their main camp as he was in the prospects tournament at Traverse City. They think he might be another Brian Rafalski.”
The complete Hockey World is right here.
KHLVeteran coach Dave King is back in the KHL, having returned to Yaroslavl Lokomotiv to replace Sean Simpson, who was fired eight games into the season. King had been working with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes when the call came from the KHL team as September turned into October. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson has more right here.


D Travis Sanheim had two goals and an assist as the host Calgary Hitmen dumped the Regina Pats 5-1 in the day’s lone game. . . . Sanheim has six goals in 10 games this season. Last season, he finished with five goals in 67 games. . . . Sanheim also was hit in the face by an errant puck during the game, so will be spending some time with a dentist to get a tooth repaired. . . . The Hitmen broke open a scoreless game with three second-period goals. . . . Calgary’s first two goals came via the PP, which had been on an 0-14 skid. . . . Calgary F Pavel Karnaukhov, a 17-year-old freshman from Minsk, Belarus, scored his sixth goal. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk scored his second goal in as many games for the Pats. . . . The Hitmen next play Friday when they visit the Kootenay Ice. Calgary hopes to have F Jake Virtanen, who had off-season shoulder surgery, in the lineup for the first time this season.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have scored 18 goals in their last two games; the Lethbridge Hurricanes have scored 19 goals in 10 games this season. . . . The Medicine Hat Tigers are 9-1-1 and atop the Central Divison, thanks, at least in part, to their penalty killing. They have surrendered three goals on 40 opportunities and, at 92.5 per cent, are the only team in the league with a success rate above 90. As well, they have scored three shorthanded goals. . . . The Everett Silvertips, the only team in the league without a regulation-time loss, have only been shorthanded 26 times in nine games, but they’ve given up six PP goals. Their penalty killers are ranked 16th, at 76.9. . . . I was going to add a few more stats-related items here, but the WHL website crapped out on me. Imagine that!


“Defenceman Chris Pronger, who knows a thing or two about dirty play, has been hired by the NHL to work in its Department of Player Safety,” writes Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. “There, he’ll help mete out justice to players who have crossed the line. Man, talk about the pot giving the kettle a black eye.” . . . Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen adds: “Joining (Pronger) as player rep on the Fair Play Committee will be Brad Marchand.” . . .

Here’s Hamilton with a couple of notes on Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees’ recently retired shortstop. . . . “Jeter is still cashing in on his final season in the majors,” Hamilton writes. “One of the newest items to hit the market to commemorate Jeter’s final season is a game-used sock, which can be purchased for only $409.99. That gives new meaning to the term ‘getting hosed.’ ” . . . Hamilton adds: “Anyone who buys one (or more) of Jeter’s stockings proves the adage that there’s a sock-er born every minute.” . . .

At some point in most every young boy’s life, he dreams of being a race car driver. I would like to thank the B.C. government for helping my dream come true, albeit at an advanced age. I realized last weekend, while on the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Kamloops, that on that highway we are all NASCAR drivers. . . . When the Kamloops Blazers gave goaltender Bolton Pouliot to the Portland Winterhawks the other day -- call it an early Christmas present -- it brought back memories of Jan. 19, 1983. That was the day the WHL’s Seattle Breakers traded forward Tom Martin to the Victoria Cougars for a used bus. . . .

Is it looking like the Kansas City Royals are a team of destiny, or what? . . . Outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels had the game-winning RBI in MLB’s all-star game, so the Royals have home-field advantage in the World Series. The Royals, of course, swept the Angels from the best-of-five ALDS. . . . Only in Bud Selig’s MLB. . . . Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer summed up the NFL perfectly the other day and it only took him 10 words. “You cannot lose games in the NFL,” the ESPN analyst said, “and still win.” . . . Hey, think about it for a moment. He’s right. . . . Headline at Report: More NFL stadiums cutting off fights after third quarter. . . .

“HelpAge International’s global rating of 96 countries has listed the best places in the world for seniors to live,” reports RJ Currie of “The top three are Norway, Sweden and the San Antonio Spurs.” . . .  Currie, again: “A British chef has invented the Glamburger, the world’s most expensive burger at $2,000 Canadian. The most expensive hot dog continues to be Alex Ovechkin.” . . . A sign of the impending apocalypse: The cover story in the Vancouver Province newspaper on Thursday dealt with what the headline referred to as ‘Man Bun’ Hazard. . . . According to the subhead: “Hairstyle being sported by cutting-edge, trendsetting men may be causing Vancouver’s hipsters to go bald.” . . . Seriously! . . .

There is a move afoot in the NBA to reduce the playing time of its games. As Currie notes: “The NBA is considering reducing games from 48 minutes to 44 minutes. And that’s just the last three minutes.” . . . Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong added: ““I’d go with 46. It’s the last two minutes that take forever.” . . . Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., is hoping to get his golf season started next weekend. On Saturday, he tweeted: “Looks like my first start of the season will be @McGladreyClssc next week! Slightly relieved; extremely excited!!” The McGladrey Classic is a PGA Tour event held on the Seaside course at Sea Island, Ga. . . .

“Lakers point guard Steve Nash missed practice for three straight days after he injured his back carrying his bags,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “A cynic might say it’s the first time an NBA player ever got penalized for traveling.” . . . One more from Perry: “Romanian basketball prospect Robert Bobroczky stands 7 feet 4 — at age 13. Kentucky coach John Calipari, vacationing in Bucharest, declined to comment.” . . .

Over at, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers explained the difference between the team’s new owner, Steve Ballmer, and the previous owner, the disgraced Donald Sterling: “Steve is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle.” . . . That would be Derek Jeter’s first post-retirement project.

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at and Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

Americans derail Rockets . . . Wheaties are feeding their fans

The Saskatoon Blades held Pink The Rink on Saturday
night. F Cory Millette wore the captain's C in memory
of his father, Adrien. The bottom of the sweater features
the names of friends and family members of the Blades
and season-ticket holders who have been impacted
by cancer.

Photo: Saskatoon Blades

Every city has those people who work incredibly hard behind the scenes to keep various sports teams and/or leagues moving forward. In Brandon, Don Sumner was one of those people. When I started in the newspaper business at the Brandon Sun in the early 1970s, I spent a lot of time covering the Manitoba Senior Baseball League; Sumner was the league statistician and the MSBL was very much his baby. He showed more than a little patience with a young writer who really was just learning the ropes. He also taught me the importance of statistics to fans and players, no matter the sport, a lesson that has never been forgotten. . . . Sumner also was heavily involved in Brandon’s curling scene. . . . He died in hospital in Brandon on Wednesday. He was 86. . . . Condolences to his family. Rest assured that he never will be forgotten. . . . Charles Tweed of the Brandon Sun has more right here.


In Kennewick, Wash., F Lucas Nickles scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over Kelowna, as the Rockets tasted defeat for the first time this season. . . . Nickles, who is from Salmon Arm, B.C., has six goals. . . . The Rockets now are 10-1-0. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 30 shots. . . . Americans F Beau McCue broke a 2-2 tie with his fifth goal 39 seconds into the third period. . . . Tri-City head coach Mike Williamson worked his 900th WHL game. He also has coached in Portland and Calgary. . . . The 8-4-0 Americans are atop the U.S. Division. . . . Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald has a game story right here.

In Spokane, F Ivan Nikolishin scored at 2:59 of OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Chiefs F Keanu Yamamoto scored twice for Spokane, the second one at 16:52 of the third period forcing OT. . . . The Silvertips, at 6-0-3, are the only WHL team not to have lost in regulation time. . . . D Noah Juulsen had two assists for Everett. He has 11 points in nine games. Last season, he finished with 10 points in 59 outings. . . . F Dominic Zwerger had two assists for Spokane. . . . The Chiefs (4-2-3) have points in seven of nine games. . . . Everett has won its last two games in Spokane, the first of those on March 12, after losing 18 in a row. . . . These same teams will play Wednesday in Everett. . . . Chris Derrick of the Spokane Spokesman-Review has a game story right here.

In Kent, Wash., D Ryan Rehill scored with 13.3 seconds left in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 5-4 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle F Keegan Kolesar had forced OT with a shorthanded goal at 16:10 of the third period. . . . Rehill has five goals in 130 career regular-season games. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully set up four goals. . . . The Thunderbirds have played 11 games this season, with five of those going to OT. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 28 shots in earning his first WHL victory. . . .

In Saskatoon, D Blake Orban and F Andrew Koep each scored twice as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the Blades, 6-4. . . . The Oil Kings have won four in a row. . . . The Blades had a three-game winning streak snapped. . . . The 7-3-0 Oil Kings are off to their best start in modern franchise history. “I’m shocked by that, to be honest,” Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton said on the team's website. “We’ve had some pretty good team efforts. When we’ve been able to generate offence, it’s come from a variety of sources. With the exception of tonight, we’ve defended pretty hard, and that’s always going to be backbone for us." . . . The Oil Kings broke a 2-2 tie with four straight goals, three in the second period and one early in the third. . . . F Brett Pollock and D Ashton Sautner each had three assists for Edmonton. . . . Edmonton F Cole Benson scored his second shorthanded goal in four games. . . . F Alex Forsberg had two goals for Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton G Patrick Dea stopped 25 shots, including beating F Garrett Armour on a second-period penalty shot with the Oil Kings leading 3-2. . . . Saskatoon was without F Nick Zajac (shoulder) and D Isaac Schacher (wrist), both of whom were injured on Friday. . . . The Blades ran a Pink The Rink promotion that included F Cory Millette wearing the captain's C in memory of his late father, Adrien, who died of cancer on Jan. 30, 2011. . . . Cory’s mother, Kim, took part in the ceremonial pre-game faceoff. Later in the evening, Kim won the 50/50 draw, so went home with $7,765 in her purse. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here.

In Calgary, F Chad Butcher's two goals led the Medine Hat Tigers to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen. . . . One night earlier, in Calgary, the Hitmen beat the Tigers, 2-1, in OT. . . . Last night, the Tigers, now 9-1-1, enjoyed a 34-18 edge in shots. . . . Butcher, 18, went into this season with eight goals in 101 career regular-season games. This season, he has 10 goals in 11 games. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-6 on the PP; the Hitmen PP unit never had an opportunity. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders snapped a five-game losing skid with a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Josh Morrissey drew two assists for the Raiders, who outscored the visitors 4-1 in the third period. . . . F Reid Gardiner scored his seventh goal of the season for the Raiders. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Coleman Vollrath stopped 27 shots to help the Victoria Royals to a 4-0 victory over the host Kootenay Ice. . . . F Brandon Magee drew two assists in his first game after serving a 12-game suspension. . . . Vollrath posted his first shutout of the season and the second of his career. . . . The Ice completed a six-game Central Division road swing with four victories. . . . Ice F Jon Martin didn't finish the game, leaving late in the first period after seemng to injure himself while delivering a hit. He was playing his second game after returning from a three-game absence with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Tim Bozon was among the Ice's scratches. He has an undisclosed injury. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . . Meanwhile, in the NHL, F Sam Reinhart, who is eligible to be returned to the Ice, was scratched by the Buffalo Sabres last night after playing in their first five games. . . .

In Swift Current, the Moose Jaw Warriors blew a 3-0 lead and then beat the Broncos 4-3 when F Jaimen Yakubowski scored with four seconds left in the third period. . . . Yakubowski, who has three goals, had scored the game's first goal and also had an assist. . . . The Warriors led 3-0 at 10:27 of the first period. . . . F Coda Gordon pulled the Broncos even at 17:37 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw F Noah Gregor, who was injured on Friday night, didn't dress for this one. In fact, he has one arm in a sling. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Tyler Brown stopped 29 shots in his first WHL appearance to lead the Regina Pats to a 6-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Brown, from Winnipeg, joined the Pats a couple of weeks ago when Tyler Fuhr left the club for personal reasons. Brown normally backs up Daniel Wapple. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk scored his first goal of the season in his first game for Regina. He had returned from the camp of the NHL's Calgary Flames with a wrist injury. . . . F Connor Gay had a goal and two assists for Regina, which scored the game's last six goals. . . . Lethbridge D Nick Walters played in his 250th regular-season game, while it was No. 200 for F Zane Jones. . . .

In Brandon, F Jayce Hawryluk scored four times to spark the Wheat Kings to a 10-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Hawryluk has nine goals on the season. . . . The Wheat Kings have a promotion with Smitty's, a local restaurant, that gives each fan in attendance a free breakfast if they scored seven goals in a home victory. . . . Brandon fans will be eating well, because the Wheat Kings beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos 8-3 on Friday night. . . . D Reid Duke added a goal and three assists for Brandon. . . . F Chase De Leo had two goals for Portland. . . . G Bolton Pouliot saw his first action with the Winterhawks since joining the team on Friday. He stopped 16 of 20 shots after coming on in relief of Brendan Burke with Brandon leading 6-2 late in the second period. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. He points out that the Wheat Kings have scored 15 goals in their last 69 minutes of play. . . . Brandon (8-2-1) opens a western swing in Prince George on Wednesday. If you’re wondering, the Wheat Kings will be in Kelowna on Saturday. . . .

In Vancouver, F Jackson Houck and F Alec Baer each scored three times as the Giants whipped the Prince George Cougars, 9-1. . . . Houck and Baer each has five goals this season. . . . Houck also added two assists. . . . The Giants got a goal and three assists from F Carter Popoff and a goal and two helpes from F Joel Hamilton. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson had two assists.


Friday, October 17, 2014

McVeigh's back with Blazers . . . Rockets a perfect 10!

F Martin Filo (Moose Jaw, 2007-09) has been released by Unia Oświęcim (Poland, Ekstraliga) by mutual agreement. He had yet to play this season. Last season, with Königsborner JEC Unna (Germany, Oberliga), he had 17 goals and 20 assists in 28 games.

The Kamloops Blazers, with room on their roster for a third 20-year-old, have added F Logan McVeigh, who had been with the Regina Pats. . . . In getting down to three 20s, the Pats placed McVeigh on waivers and the Blazers claimed him. . . . McVeigh, from Kenaston, Sask., was a second-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2009 bantam draft. In 267 career games, he has 116 points, including 45 goals. . . . He also has played with the Prince Albert Raiders and Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . McVeigh’s arrival means the Blazers are carrying 25 players, including eight defencemen and 15 forwards. . . . He joins D Brady Gaudet and F Mike Winther, both also trade acquisitions, as the Blazers’ 20-year-olds. . . . McVeigh was in the lineup Friday night as the Blazers dropped a 3-0 decision to the Giants in Vancouver.
BCHLF Andrew Johnson, 20, has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Johnson, from Saskatoon, was dropped by the Swift Current Broncos as they got down to the 20-year-old limit of three on Wednesday. In 263 regular-season WHL games split between the Moose Jaw Warriors, Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current, he has 102 points, 44 of them goals.
"Where are all the people who insisted that they would not attend another Regina Pats game until Russ Parker sold the WHL team?" writes Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. "The Pats, who are now owned by a group led by Anthony Marquart, have routinely played before sub-4,000 crowds." . . . After five home games, the Pats are averaging 3,716 fans.
NHLI have to admit to being more than a little surprised to find out about the work the Vancouver Canucks have been doing to grow the game of hockey in China. With support from the Canucks, Aaron Wilbur, the managing director of the Coaches Site, and Michael Butler, program co-ordinator for BC Hockey, took part in hockey shools in Shenzhen and Shangai, Aug. 10-19. Wilbur, in fact, has been travelling to China and spreading the word for three years now. . . . For more, including photos and video, check this out right here.
The Swift Current Broncos have scheduled an interesting game for Nov. 15. It’s be the Bronco alumni against the Calgary Flames Alumni, with faceoff set for 2 p.m.

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings broke a 3-3 tie with five goals in the last nine minutes of the third period and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 8-3, on Friday night. . . . D Ivan Provorov, a 17-year-old freshman from Yaroslavl, Russia, had two goals and an assist for the Wheat Kings. He's got 11 points, four of them goals, in his first 10 games. . . . F Duncan Campbell, who is from Brandon, scored twice for the Wheat Kings, giving him three goals in his first season. . . . The Broncos were without F Jay Merkley (undisclosed injury), who has seven goals to date. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Nic Petan drew three assists to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-2 victory over the Warriors. . . . It was Portland's first game of a six-game East Division tour. . . . Petan was in the lineup after leaving Portland's previous game early, after a hit from Seattle D Evan Wardley that drew a seven-game suspension. Earlier Friday, Petan was named the Winterhawks' captain. . . . F Dominic Turgeon and F Oliver Bjorkstand each had two goals for Portland. Bjorkstrand, in his third season, has 181 points, including 87 goals, in 140 career regular-season games. . . . G Bolton Pouliot, picked up from Kamloops on Thursday, was on the Portland bench, backing up Brendan Burke. . . . Moose Jaw had been 5-0-1 in its last six games. . . . Warriors F Noah Gregor took a hit from Portland F Keegan Iverson early in the first period and left the game. He already has been ruled out of tonight's game in Swift Current. . . . D Blake Heinrich made his debut with the Winterhawks. He had been sidelined with a concussion. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored twice in the game's first 4:08 and went on to a 3-1 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Edgars Kulda scored twice for Edmonton, getting the winner at 4:08 of the first and adding an empty-netter late in the third. . . . Edmonton has won three straight games. . . . Kulda has scored in each of the three victories. . . . The Raiders had F Tim Vanstone in the lineup after he had missed the first eight games with an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Axel Blomqvist came back to bite his former team as he scored twice to help the Victoria Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Blomqvist, a 19-year-old Swede, was dealt to Victoria by Lethbridge last season. The Hurricanes acquired fourth- and eighth-round picks in the 2014 bantam draft in the deal. . . . Blomqvist, who has signed with the NHL's Winnipeg Jets, has three goals in six games. He sat out a few games with a suspected concussion. . . . The Royals broke a 2-2 tie with goals from F Tyler Soy and Blomqvist just 37 seconds apart early in the third. . . . Victoria D Joe Hicketts had two assists. He has 13 points in 10 games, after putting up 24 in 36 games in an injury-shortened sophomore season. He had 24 points in 67 games as a freshman. . . . The Hurricanes, now 1-7-1, have lost five straight. . . . The Royals had fallen behind 2-0 in each of the first four games of this six-game road trip that ends tonight against the Kootenay Ice. They were able to come back and win two of those games. . . . In this one, Victoria scored the game’s first two goals, then the Hurricanes came back to tie it. . . . Victoria F Austin Carroll had his eight-game goal streak snapped. . . . This was the Royals’ 12th game, meaning F Brandon Magee has served the 12-game suspension left over from a playoff game last season. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 34 shots as the Kootenay Ice beat the Regina Pats, 1-0. . . . The shutout was the first of Hoflin's career. . . . D Troy Murray scored the game's only goal, on a PP 33 seconds into the second period. Murray, the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets D Ryan Murray, is from White City, Sask., just a stone's throw east of Regina. The goal was the first of the sophomore's WHL career and came in his 73rd regular-season game. . . . Regina had a 34-16 edge in shots. . . . Kootenay F Jon Martin returned after missing three games with an undisclosed injury, but F Tim Bozon didn‘t make his return due to an undisclosed injury. . . . The Ice played with 16 skaters, two under the maximum. Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman reported: "The Ice also went without defencemen Bryan Allbee and Dylan Overdyk, as well as forward Jared Legien. The trio missed Friday's game . . . due to team-imposed suspensions after violating team rules at Mount Baker High School earlier this week." . . . Rocca's game story is right here.

In Saskatoon, the Blades broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Blades have won three in a row, after opening the season with six straight losses. . . . F Alex Forsberg and F Sam McKechnie each had a goal and an assist for Saskatoon. . . . Forsberg's goal was a shorthanded marker and ended up as the winner. . . . Saskatoon F Nick Zajac left in the third period with an undisclosed injury -- he took a check from Red Deer F Evan Polei -- and is doubtful for tonight's game against visiting Edmonton. . . . After the game, Brent Sutter, Red Deer’s GM and head coach, told the Red Deer Advocate: “Jeff (Rebels associate coach Truitt) said it best: ‘Right now we have a bunch of guys you’d like to take fishing, but they’re not going to battle like they need to.’ ” . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Adam Tambellini scored at 3:08 of OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . It was Tambellini's sixth goal of the season. . . . Medicine Hat had a 40-21 edge in shots. . . . Tigers F Chad Butcher scored his eighth goal, forging a 1-1 tie at 9:58 of the third. . . . F Greg Chase had two assists for Calgary. . . . These same teams will meet tonight in Calgary. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the visiting Prince George Cougars ran their winning streak to four with a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Cougars G Ty Edmonds stopped 26 shots, losing his shutout bid when F Keegan Kolesar scored with less than one second remaining in the third period. . . . F Jansen Harkins had a goal, his third, and an assist for the Cougars, who got another goal from F Jari Erricson, his eighth. . . . Erricson, 20, missed all but three of last season’s games with a concussion. . . . F Jared Bethune was in the Cougars's lineup for the first time. Bethune, 17, left the USHL's Lincoln Stars to join the Cougars. According to Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen, Bethune “decided to make the jump to the WHL when he learned the Stars were about to trade him.” . . . Bethune drew an assist on the Cougars' second goal for his first WHL point. . . . The matchup between Seattle F Matt Barzal and Harkins drew 16 NHL scouts. . . .

In Spokane, the Kelowna Rockets ran their record to 10-0-0 with a 3-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . G Jake Morrissey stopped 26 shots to pick up his first career victory. He‘s the younger brother of Prince Albert D Josh Morrissey. . . . The Rockets erased a 1-0 deficit with three straight goals. . . . D Riley Stadel gave Kelowna a 2-1 lead with his sixth goal, on the PP, 32 seconds into the second period, and D Madison Bowey made it 3-2 just 59 seconds later. . . . The Rockets lost F Dillon Dube with an undisclosed injury. He may not play tonight against the host Tri-City Americans. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the host Tri-City Americans scored two shootout goals and beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-4. . . . D Parker Wotherspoon and F Vladislav Lukin had the Americans' shootout goals, negating one by Everett F Ivan Nikolishin. . . . The Silvertips have lost twice in OT and once in a shootout but have yet to lose in regulation time (5-0-3). . . . Everett D Cole MacDonald scored on his 19th birthday. He has three goals in seven games after scoring twice in 63 outings last season and twice in 60 games as a freshman in 2012-13. . . . The Americans will be at home to the unbeaten Kelowna Rockets tonight. . . . Tri-City head coach Mike Williamson will work his 900th WHL game tonight. Williamson, 41, also has been head coach in Portland and Calgary. . . . Told that it would be No. 900, he told Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald: “I didn’t know that. It just makes me feel old. For anyone, it’s a great league to be associated with. It’s a privilege. I’m just excited to still be able to go out and work with these players.” . . . According to Fowler, Williamson’s record is 433-378-36-20, with 31 ties. . . .

In Vancouver, G Payton Lee stopped 23 shots to help the Giants to a 3-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . It was Lee's first shutout of the season and the third of his career. . . . The game marked the return to Vancouver of former head coach Don Hay. He spent 10 seasons with the Giants before leaving over the summer for Kamloops, where he again is head coach of the Blazers. . . . Vancouver D Dmitry Osipov scored the game's first goal, his first of the season, on a second-period PP. . . . F Tyler Benson got his third goal of the season on a third-period PP. . . . Former Prince George Cougars Brett Connolly, now with the Tampa Bay Lightning, was in the house. His brother, Josh, is a defenceman with the Blazers. The Lightning meets the Canucks in Vancouver tonight.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Did Blazers give away goaltender? . . . Another Sutter in the NHL (that's nine!)

The Kamloops Blazers sent (gave?) G Bolton Pouliot, 20, to the Portland Winterhawks on Thursday.
Neither team made mention in news releases of anything going to the Blazers in the exchange. Pouliot wasn’t made available to the WHL’s other teams in Wednesday’s 20-year-old waiver draft, where the claiming fee was $1,000.
It would seem, then, that Kamloops gave Pouliot to Portland for very little, if anything, appearing only to want to clear a spot for an incoming 20-year-old player.
Pouliot, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Red Deer Rebels last season, went 12-32-2 with the Blazers. The Rebels got a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft for Pouliot.
Unless there is another deal in the works, the Blazers will go on with two young goaltenders with little in the way of WHL experience.
Cole Kehler, who turns 17 on Dec. 17, went the distance in a 6-4 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. With Ingram on the bench, Pouliot was a healthy scratch.
In four appearances this season, Kehler, who is from Altona, Man., is 2-1-1/2.99/.906. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft.
Kehler spent most of last season at Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C., but did get into 11 games with Kamloops, going 1-4-0/5.16/.857.
Connor Ingram, a 17-year-old from Imperial, Sask., has gotten into two games and is 0-1-0/4.40/.884. Ingram, a non-drafted list player, spent last season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos and helped them win the TELUS Cup. He made 60 saves in the championship game, as the Mintos beat the Grenadiers de Chateauguay, 4-3, in triple OT in Moose Jaw.
Moving Pouliot leaves Kamloops with two 20-year-olds -- F Mike Winther and D Brady Gaudet -- on its active roster, so chances are there will be a roster addition made soon. The Blazers also hold the rights to 20-year-old F Chase Souto, but he is at home in California dealing with post-concussion syndrome and his career may well be over.
The Blazers (6-4-1) meet the Giants in Vancouver tonight.
The Winterhawks, who open an East Division swing in Moose Jaw tonight, have been riding Brendan Burke, 19, who is in his fourth season in Portland. . . . In seven games this season, Burke is 1-4-2/4.35/.865. Last season, he finished 34-10-4/2,75/.911. . . . Backup Adin Hill, an 18-year-old from Calgary, has gotten into four games, going 0-2-0/4.08/.899. . . . Pouliot’s arrival leaves the Winterhawks with three 20-year-olds as he joins F Miles Koules and D Josh Hanson. . . . Pouliot, from Calgary, is a cousin to former Portland D Derrick Pouliot. In 91 career regular-season games, Bolton is 20-49-6/3.56/.895.

As a rule, I don’t pay much attention to the naming of rosters for events like the Top Prospects Game or the Subway Super Series.
Why not? Mostly because it’s not worth getting all worked up about these things because those charged with picking these teams can’t win.
A WHL team will play a touring Russian side in Saskatoon on Nov. 10 and in Brandon on Nov. 11. The WHL chose to name most of its roster yesterday -- two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 10 forwards -- but added the provisions that the roster “is subject to change” and “two additional players will be added.”
Not included in those 10 forwards are Cole Sanford of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Cole Ully of the Kamloops Blazers, both of whom are worthy of being on this roster.
On the morning that the roster was revealed, Sanford, a 19-year-old from Vernon, B.C., was leading the WHL in points, with 19 in nine games.
Ully, a 19-year-old from Calgary, has to be the WHL’s most under-rated and unknown player. He has 16 points, including eight goals, in 11 games.
Of the 10 forwards selected, three are injured -- Morgan Klimchuk of the Regina Pats, John Quenneville of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen. Klimchuk (wrist) and Virtanen (shoulder) have yet to play this season.
Virtanen, taken sixth overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2014 NHL draft, was cleared for contact yesterday; the Hitmen hope to have him back in their lineup on Oct. 24 when they are scheduled to meet the host Kootenay Ice.
And let’s not forget about F Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, who is getting fourth-line ice time with the Buffalo Sabres, and F Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who remains with the Ottawa Senators. It appears that Reinhart may well end up back in Cranbrook. Lazar, meanwhile, is having a positive impact Ottawa so may be there for the long term.
If either of them is returned to the WHL, you can bet room will be found for them on the Super Series team.
But when players like Sanford and Ully are on the outside looking in when something like this comes along, it makes one wonder if it isn’t time for the WHL to go back to holding an annual all-star game, with the Eastern Conference facing the Western Conference.
It could rotate among the home arenas of the five American franchises. After all, the U.S. Division teams don’t seem to be eligible to play host to the Super Series games, the Top Prospects Game or the Memorial Cup.
So why not give them something of a carrot, and reward some players at the same time?
Dave Lowry of the Victoria Royals, the reigning WHL coach of the year, has been named head coach of the WHL team in the Super Series.
Lowry, in his third season with the Royals, also will be an assistant coach on the Canadian junior team that will play in the 2015 World Junior Championship.
Kelly McCrimmon, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, will work as Lowry’s assistant during the two Super Series games.
The Vancouver Giants got down to two goaltenders on Thursday when they released Ryan Kubic, 16, who will join the NAHL’s Brookings Blizzard. . . . Kubic, from St. Andrews, Man., got into one game with the Giants. He was a second-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . The move leaves the Giants with Payton Lee, 18, and Cody Porter, 17, as their goaltenders.
Junior hockey lost a team this week. The Fort Vancouver Vipers, who played in the pay-to-play Northern Pacific Junior Hockey League, closed their doors on Tuesday. The Vipers had lost 77 straight games and were running out of players when the end came. . . . Paul Danzer of The Columbian has the story right here.
Ernie Rucks, who played on the Penticton Vees when they won the 1955 World championship, has died. Rucks was 84 when he died in Redmond, Ore., on Oct. 2. There now are only five surviving members of that Penticton team. Ivan McLelland, the goaltender on that Vees team, has a tribute right here. . . . The Bend, Ore., bulletin has an obituary right here.

Tim Speltz, the general manager of the Spokane Chiefs, has clarified one thing about that incident from a week ago that involved some of the team’s scratched players making inappropriate comments during the national anthem prior to a game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As Chris Derrick wrote in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Speltz said “the players were shouting encouragement to teammates at an inappropriate time, but he said it was inaccurate that the words were aimed at the (anthem) singer.” . . .
Two KHL teams made coaching changes on Thursday. Amur Khabarovsk dumped Yuri Leonov and Vitali Karamnova and replaced them with Jukka Rautakorpi, a former head coach at Tappara in Finland, and Alexander Barkov . . . As well, Neftekhimik, with a 4-11 record, fired head coach Kari Heikkila. Rafik Yakubov, the general manager, is the new head coach. . . .
F Colton McCarthy, 18, has left the Prince Albert Raiders and returned to his home in Salmon Arm, B.C. He was pointless in eight games with the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert had acquired him from the Moose Jaw Warriors for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He had 17 points, eight of them goals, in 102 games over two seasons with the Warriors. . . .
Mark Divver, who covers hockey at the Providence, R.I., Journal, tweeted Thursday: “'97 C Auston Matthews of NTDP tells me he's 50/50 on college vs. WHL. Says he's talking to BC, BU, Denver, Michigan.” . . . The 17-year-old Matthews, from Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-round pick by the Everett Silvertips in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . He is considered a top-end talent and a potential early selection in the NHL‘s 2016 draft. Last season, he split 64 games between the U.S. National Team Development Program in the USHL (20 games), the U.S. U17 team (24) and the U.S. U18 team (20). In all, he had 70 points, including 34 goals. . . .
F Brody Sutter, 23, is the ninth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL. Brody (Saskatoon, Lethbridge, 2008-12) made his NHL debut with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. He played 5:50 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers in New York. Brody is the son of Duane Sutter, who scored twice in his first NHL game with the New York Islanders on Nov. 30, 1979.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that F Ryan Graham, 18, is expected to play his first game of this regular season tonight against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. Graham, who had a strong finish to last season, has been out with mononucleosis. . . . Saskatoon F Brett Stovin, the team captain, is scheduled to play his 200th regular-season game tonight.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hauf penalty rescinded . . . Virtanen closer to returning . . . Rockets stay perfect

The WHL’s 20-year-old deadline zipped past on Wednesday afternoon.
At the deadline, each team has to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds, with excess players being placed on waivers.
On Wednesday, none of the players on waivers was claimed so any 20-year-olds not on rosters now are free agents.
The Swift Current Broncos got down to the maximum three 20-year-olds by placing F Andrew Johnson and D Stephen Shmoorkoff on waivers. . . . That left the Broncos with F Carter Rigby, F Colby Cave and F Coda Gordon as their 1994-born players. . . . Johnson, from Saskatoon, got his walking papers on his 20th birthday. A second-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2009 bantam draft, he also has played for the Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 262 regular-season games, he has 102 points, including 44 goals. . . . Shmoorkoff, from Edmonton, turned 20 on Sunday. He played the first 40 games of his WHL career with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 95 career games, he had seven points, including one goal.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted Tuesday night that F Gage Ramsay had left the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers and was bound for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . On Wednesday morning, the Giants issued a news release stating that Ramsay “has been added to the club’s active roster.” . . . Ramsay, from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He turned 16 on Wednesday. Last season, with the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos, Ramsay had 45 points, 20 of them goals, in 35 games. This season, he had three points in three games with the Blazers. According to Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province, Ramsay had left the Giants during their training camp in order to play midget hockey.
Earlier, it was mentioned here that the Saskatoon Blades had posted the 1,600th victory in franchise history and that it came in game No. 3,507. . . . Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ long-time (that just means he’s getting old!) radio voice, checks in with some clarifying numbers:
“It was the 1,600th win in WHL franchise history. But the 3,507 games includes 116 games in the SJHL from 1964-66. The Blades’ WHL record in 3,391 WHL games is 1,600-1,522-202-38-29. Throw in the two SJHL seasons and it's 1,640-1,591-209-38-29.
“Also, the 18-game losing streak is a franchise record. The previous ‘high’ was 17 straight in the 2004 part of the seven-win 2003-04 season. Another franchise record was 13 consecutive home-ice losses snapped on Saturday. The previous home win was Jan. 25 vs. Swift Current . . . 3-2 on a MacKenzie Johnston overtime goal.”
BCHLIt’s good to see that Mark Ferner, the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, is in mid-season form.
His club is 5-3-0-1 and preparing to meet the 8-1-0-0 Penticton Vees in Vernon on Friday and to visit the West Kelowna Warriors (5-4-0-0) on Saturday.
“We’ll be making sure our compete level is there for the weekend,” Ferner told Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star. “There’s too much swinging away from the puck for my liking. Guys are sniffing offensively and they think if they get a point, it makes them a good hockey player. I told them . . . that winning is like deodorant; it just covers up the stink.”
Former WHL D Travis Hamonic (Moose Jaw, Brandon, 2006-10) is making his mark in the NHL with the New York Islanders. He also is making a lot of young friends along the way as he befriends grief-stricken children. Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post has more right here.
D Jason Fram, the captain of the Spokane Chiefs, addressed the crowd prior to a game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday night. Fram, on behalf of his teammates, apologized for the inappropriate actions of a few teammates during the national anthem prior to Friday's game against visiting Seattle. . . . In that incident, players who were scratched from the lineup apparently made some inappropriate comments during the anthem. . . . Spokane general manager Tim Speltz addressed the issue prior to the Chiefs' 2-1 victory over the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. Speltz appeared on Spokane radio, explained what actions the team has taken and issued a broad apology.
Elliotte Friedman has filed his latest version of 30 Thoughts and, as usual, it's a good read. Grab a cuppa and click right here. Fans of the Edmonton Oil Kings should be warned, though, that there is a mention here of F Curtis Lazar, who remains with the Ottawa Senators.

D Jared Hauf of the Seattle Thunderbirds was given a headshot major and game misconduct for a first-period hit on Spokane F Liam Stewart during a Tuesday night game against the visiting Chiefs. On Wednesday, the WHL rescinded that penalty, meaning there won’t be a suspension. . . . The Kootenay Ice are giving fans a chance to double up on their pleasure. Each of the Ice’s five Tuesday night home games will feature 2-for-1 walk-up tickets, hot dogs, small popcorn and fountain drinks. The promotion begins with an Oct. 28 game against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

Former Everett Silvertips assistant/associate coach Jay Varady has been named head coach of the U.S. Junior Selects who will take part in the 2014 Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Sask., Dec. 14-20. Varady, the director of hockey operations and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, was the video coach with the U.S. team that won the 2010 World Junior Championship. He spent eight seasons (2003-11) with the Silvertips. . . .

Jim Benning, the general manager of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, told TSN 1040 on Wednesday that F Jake Virtanen, who had off-season shoulder surgery, might be cleared to play for the Calgary Hitmen in 10 days to two weeks. Virtanen, a first-round selection by the Canucks in the 2014 NHL draft, arrived in Vancouver yesterday and will be meeting with team doctors. . . . Virtanen had 71 points, including 45 goals, in 71 games with the Hitmen last season. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft. . . .

In Edmonton on Wednesday night, the Oil Kings scored the game's first three goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Edgars Kulda's second goal of the season, shorthanded at 3:30 of the second period, was the winner. F Brett Pollock scored Edmonton's first two goals. . . . F Austin Carroll scored for the Royals, running his goal-scoring streak to eight games. He has one goal in each game. . . .

In Swift Current, the Saskatoon Blades beat the Broncos 4-3, thanks to an eight-round shootout. . . . Broncos F Tanner LeSann forced OT with his second goal of the season at 16:59 of the third. . . . Saskatoon F Austin Adamson won it in the shootout. . . . The Blades were 3-for-4 on the PP as they won for the second straight game after opening with six losses. . . . F Jake DeBrusk had two goals, giving him seven, and an assist for the Broncos. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Warriors opened up a 5-1 lead and hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, who have lost four in a row. . . . F Jack Rodewald and F Brayden Point each had a goal and an assist for the winners, who are 5-0-1 in their last six. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs outshot Seattle 43-19 en route to a 4-1 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . It was the third straight meeting between the teams. The Thunderbirds won the opener in OT, with the Chiefs taking the second one in a shootout. . . . F Liam Stewart scored twice for the Chiefs, giving him five goals this season. He also had an assist. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers gave the Kelowna Rockets all they could handle before falling 6-4, a decision that left the visitors with a 9-0-0 record as they head for Spokane and a Friday night date with the Chiefs. . . . F Nick Merkley drew three assists for the Rockets, giving him a WHL-leading 15. . . . His patience with the puck is something to watch. . . . The Blazers (6-4-1) got two goals from the always reliable Cole Ully. . . . Kelowna was 3-for-5 on the PP, and there's a lesson there. The Rockets will grind you down 5-on-5 and beat you with the league's best PP unit that now is 19-for-53, for 35.8 per cent. . . . I realize that plus-minus is a flawed statistic in a lot of ways, but it must mean something that Kelowna D Cole Martin is plus-119 in 151 regular-season games over the past two-plus seasons. . . . The three stars in the building were Merkley, Ully and Kelowna F Tyrell Goulborne, in that order. I went with Merkley, Ully and Kelowna F Austin Glover, a big body who grinds and had two goals.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spokane GM issues apology . . . Seattle D-man gets seven games

F Anders Lövdahl (Calgary, Moose Jaw, Lethbridge, 1999-2001) was granted his release by Narvik (Norway, Division 1) for personal reasons. This season, he had two assists in two games. Last season, with Falu IF Falun (Sweden, Division 1), he had 63 points, including 50 assists, in 38 games. He was second in Division 1 in assists.


Players with the Spokane Chiefs are going to be getting up close and personal with members of the U.S. military over the next while.
Tim Speltz, the Chiefs' general manager, appeared on CBS Sports 1510 KGA, which carries the WHL team's games, on Tuesday night to apologize to fans for the actions of some players during the anthem prior to Friday's game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.
Players who were scratched from Spokane's lineup apparently made inappropriate comments during the national anthem. According to Chris Derrick of the Spokane Spokesman-Review: "The players reportedly yelled comments about the female singer during the anthem."
"We as an organization sure feel it's necessary for us to comment and address the inappropriate actions of our players," Speltz said. "We're working with young guys all the time. When we make mistakes, we have to be responsible and . . . accountable. We talk about that with our guys all the time.
"Our players who weren't dressed on Friday took a time that is a real special time . . . we were very inappropriate with comments."
Speltz described the comments as "immature and childish." He said the incident was "disrespectful" and "offended people who heard it."
"Our staff and organization were very disappointed, but we have to move forward," he continued.
Speltz apologized "on behalf of management, ownership and staff," adding that "we were wrong . . . no way we can justify it."
Before he was done, Speltz had apologized to "our fans and to current men and women in the armed forces, veterans . . . and the anthem singer."
Speltz has had a former member of the military meet with the Chiefs "to reinforce the magnitude of the situation . . . how offensive the actions were during the anthem."
Speltz said the former military member "talked with three players" and that the situation was addressed with the rest of the team. Speltz said the anthem and flag must be honoured and respected, no matter what country they represent.
The Chiefs, Speltz said, will perform "some service in the military community," adding that it will become "an ongoing practice with us."
Speltz pointed out that junior hockey players are young and there are times when "they just flat out don't think. That's probably the best way we can explain it, but that doesn't make it right.
"From our standpoint, we are truly sorry it happened. . . . We were a little misguided in our enthusiasm."
Tonight, the Chiefs will play at home, with Seattle again providing the opposition.
Before the game, Speltz said, the Chiefs "will send a message to our fans . . . it's a chance to apologize and take a step forward."
"We owned it," he said. "We're going to take the necessary steps to make sure everyone understands the consequences and magnitude of it and, at the same time, make sure that it never happens again."

The Seattle Thunderbirds will be without D Evan Wardley for seven games after he was suspended by the WHL on Tuesday. Wardley was disciplined for a headshot major and game misconduct he took for a hit on F Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night. . . . According to the WHL's reasoning, "The hit resulted in an injury to opponent. . . . The player is a repeat offender." . . . Wardley will be eligible to return on Nov. 1 against the visiting Vancouver Giants. He sat out his first game last night against the visiting Spokane Chiefs and won't play tonight in Spokane. He also will miss a three-game homestand (Prince George, Kamloops, Spokane), a game in Everett and a visit by the Edmonton Oil Kings). . . . Interestingly, Wardley won't miss any games against Portland. . . . Petan was on Portland's bus on Tuesday when it left the Oregon city and headed for Moose Jaw where the Winterhawks open an East Division tour against the Warriors on Friday.
The Swift Current Broncos have claimed F Kristian Ferletak, 18, off waivers from the Victoria Royals. Ferletak, a freshman from Slovakia, was dropped by the Royals after they claimed D Marsel Ibragimov, a 17-year-old Russian freshman who had been placed on waivers by the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton released Ibragimov in order to keep veteran forwards Mads Eller and Edgars Kulda. . . . The Broncos were carrying just one import player, that being Swedish F Andreas Schumacher, 18. . . . Swift Current had been hoping to get D Julius Honka, 18, back from the NHL's Dallas Stars. However, Honka, who was selected by the Stars in the first round of the NHL's 2014 draft, was assigned to the AHL's Texas Stars. Honka was eligible for the AHL because his rights had been loaned to the Broncos by his Finnish club team; most import players are released to junior teams. . . . Ferletak may get into action with the Broncos as soon as tonight. They are at home to the Saskatoon Blades and have two forwards on the shelf -- Jay Merkley (ill) and Cole Johnson (undisclosed injury).
The Swift Current Broncos, while adding Slovakian F Kristian Ferletak to their roster on Tuesday, will be making more moves today. As of Tuesday night, they still had five 20-year-olds on their roster and that's two over the limit. The 20-year-old deadline arrives this afternoon. . . . The Broncos acquired F Carter Rigby from the Kelowna Rockets on the weekend and also have been carrying F Colby Cave, F Coda Gordon, F Andrew Johnson and D Stephen Shmoorkoff.
The Regina Pats got down to three 20-year-olds on Tuesday by waiving F Logan McVeigh. That leaves Regina with F Braden Christoffer, F Patrick D'Amico and F Pavel Padakin as its three 1994-born players. . . . McVeigh was pointless in two games with the Pats, although a knee injury kept him from playing since the season's second game. . . . The Pats had acquired McVeigh,who is from Kenaston, Sask., last season from the Medicine Hat Tigers. He had four goals and five assists in 26 games with the Pats. In 267 career regular-season games, McVeigh has 116 points, including 45 goals. McVeigh was a second-round pick by the Kamloops Blazes in the 2009 bantam draft. He also played with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina now is carrying 24 players, including three goaltenders and 15 forwards.

QMJHLF Brandon Vuic of the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads is facing an impaired driving charge from an incident that occurred on Oct. 7. As well, the Halifax Chronicle Herald is reporting that Vuic, 19, is beig "investigated for alleged drug possession in connection with the same incident." That story is right here.

The Vancouver Giants hope to have D Arvin Atwal back in their lineup on Friday when they play host to the Kamloops Blazers. Atwal missed two weekend losses to the Cougars in Prince George with a shoulder injury. . . . Friday's game marks the regular-season return to Vancouver of former Giants head coach Don Hay. He spent 10 seasons as the Giants' head coach before leaving to return to Kamloops over the summer. Hay had one season left on his contract with the Giants, who didn't ask for compensation when he returned to the Blazers. . . .

F Jaedon Descheneau of the Kootenay Ice goes into Friday's game against the visiting Regina Pats with 199 career regular-season points. He also has played 199 regular-season games. . . . F Tim Bozon is expected to play his first game for the Ice on Friday since being stricken with Neisseria meningitis late last season. Bozon, 20, was returned to the Ice by the Montreal Canadiens this week. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman chatted with Bozon on Tuesday, and filed this story right here. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets put their 8-0-0 record on the line tonight when they meet the Blazers (6-3-1) in Kamloops. The Rockets are expected to get back F Dillon Dube and D Joe Gatenby, both of whom have undisclosed injuries, this week. However, D Mitchell Wheaton and F James Wishnowski will remain out, also with undisclosed injuries. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted Tuesday night that "Gage Ramsay has left the Sask. Blazers. Unconfirmed, but appears the '98-born F will join Vancouver (WHL). He was picked 50th in 2013 draft." The Blazers play in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Ramsay had two goals and an assist in three games with the Blazers. . . .

In Red Deer, F Tyler Soy scored at 1:09 of OT to give the Victoria Royals a 6-5 vicory over the Rebels on Tuesday night. The Royals trailed 4-0 in the first period and forced OT on F Axel Blomqvist's goal with 56.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Austin Carroll scored his seventh goal of the season for Victoria. He has one goal in each of his club's last seven games. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Adam Helewka, playing his first game since Sept. 27, scored the only goal of the shootout as the Spokane Chiefs beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . It was the third straight OT game for Seattle, with the Chiefs needing OT for the third time in four games. . . . This was the second of three straight games between these teams. The Thunderbirds won 2-1 in OT in Spokane on Friday. They'll meet again tonight in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs had F Devon McAndrews in their lineup after acquiring him from the Tri-City Americans on Monday. As well, Helewka and F Jacob Cardiff returned after being out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Seattle, already without D Shea Theodore (injured) and D Evan Wardley (suspended), was down to three defencemen late in the first period after losing Ethan Bear and Turner Ottenbreit to first-period injuries and Jared Hauf to a headshot major and game misconduct. . . . Bear left after being cut up in a scrap with F Riley Whittingham. . . . Ottenbreit was looking woozy when he left after taking a check from Cardiff. . . . Hauf was tossed for a hit on F Liam Stewart. . . . D Scott Allan, acquired Monday from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was in Seattle's lineup. . . . The Thunderbirds moved F Justin Hickman back to defence, with Keegan Kolesar moving up alongside Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp. . . . Barzal scored his fourth goal of the season, this one shorthanded, giving him a four-game goal streak. . . . There were 20 NHL scouts on hand for this one.

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