Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There's a Beach in Moose Jaw

So there I was, sitting in the seats at Interior Savings Centre and watching Team WHL go through its practice paces when I got an email. Mr. Anonymous had posted this message to my blog: “Gregg, any truth to the rumor of Beach and Sylvester coming to Kamloops? I hear it’s as good as done.”
I ran that past a member of the Blazers’ hierarchy, who pretty much scoffed at the idea.
And it wasn’t but a few minutes later that word broke that F Cody Beach had been traded, but not to the Blazers.
Beach was part of a five-player deal between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen. Each of the five players involved is 18 years of age.
The Hitmen dealt Beach and F Mackenzie Royer to the Warriors for G Brandon Glover, F Nathan MacMaster and F Danny Gayle.
Beach is from Kelowna and Royer is from Spruce Grove, Alta. MacMaster and Gayle both are from Calgary, while Glover is from North Saanich, B.C.
The Hitmen are the WHL’s defending champions, but right now are riding a 12-game losing streak and have the league’s poorest record.
The Hitmen obviously are looking for a fresh infusion of energy and enthusiasm.
They get Gayle, a sophomore who has 10 points in 18 games, which equals his 34-game output of last season, and MacMaster, who has 13 points, including five goals, and 21 penalty minutes in 22 games. In two previous season, he totaled 19 points in 113 games.
Glover left the Warriors early in the season, apparently feeling he deserved more playing time. Last season, he went 9-8-6 with a 3.40 GAA and .890 save percentage while backing up Jeff Bosch. Glover had been with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals.
His arrival in Calgary will leave the Hitmen with three goaltenders, the other two being Michael Snider, who is 3-10-1, 3.60, .870, and Juraj Holly, who is 1-5-0, 3.92, .872. Snider, 19, backed up Martin Jones each of the last two seasons. Holly, 19, is Slovakian and was selected in the 2010 CHL import draft.
"We'll have to figure that out," GM Kelly Kisio told John Down of the Calgary Herald, in reference to the goaltending situation. "Are we done dealing? If something comes along, maybe there's more but right now we'll let things play out and see how they end up."
Beach is the younger brother of former WHL protagonist Kyle Beach, and the Warriors are hoping he will bring some of that edgy play to their roster.
Beach, a fifth-round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2010 draft, has 15 points and 73 penalty minutes in 17 games. Last season, Beach had 14 points and 157 penalty minutes in 51 regular-season games.
“From our end we’ve been able to add what we believe is a proven top-six power forward in Cody Beach,” Alan Millar, the Warriors’ director of hockey operations, told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “We feel that he brings the presence and the scoring . . . we needed in our offence, coupled with the fact that he’s 18 years old and fits in with where we think our team can be this season and beyond.”
Royer has two points in 16 games this season. Over the previous two seasons, he had 16 points and 79 penalty minutes in 82 games.
Interestingly, the Hitmen are scheduled to play in Moose Jaw on Sunday night.
Also interesting is the fact that the Warriors didn’t acquire a defenceman in the deal. With Dylan McIlrath winging his way to New York in order to have an MRI under the watchful eyes of the Rangers’ medical staff, the Warriors are down to five defencemen.
Gourlie reports that the Warriors are going to bring in Travis Brown, a fourth-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft, from the midget AAA Winnipeg Monarchs for the weekend. They will play in Brandon on Saturday before scurrying home to face the Hitmen.
McIlrath, the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, suffered a knee injury last weekend, the extent of which isn’t yet known.
The roster for Team West has been announced. Team West, which represents Manitoba and Saskatchewan, is one of the teams that will compete at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that is to be played in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, Man., starting on Dec. 29. I could put all the names here, but won’t do that because Alan Caldwell has the roster with WHL affiliations over at Small Thoughts at Large.
Meanwhile, on the ice, the Portland Winterhawks improved to 19-3-1 on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Portland has won 13 of its last 14 games. It finished its East Division tour at 5-1-0. . . . F Ryan Johansen and F Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist each for Portland. . . . Portland F Oliver Gabriel had two assists. . . . The Wheat Kings, who were only 1-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-4 in the last half of the third period, fell back to 11-12-1, meaning there now are 16 of the 22 teams at .500 or better. . . . Brandon had won three in a row overall and four straight at home. . . . The Wheat Kings lost D Rene Hunter in the second period with an apparent leg injury. . . . Portland F Brad Ross returned after serving a two-game suspension. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie had one assist, giving him 39 points. He is one behind F Craig Cunningham of the Vancouver Giants, who leads the scoring race. . . . Portland F Sven Bartschi was held off the scoresheet. The freshman Swiss sensation had his point streak halted at 16 games. That ties Vancouver Brendan Gallagher for the longest point streak of the season. Gallagher put up 28 points in his streak, which ran from Sept. 24 to Oct. 27. Bartschi had 27 points in his streak.
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