Saturday, December 11, 2010

The drive to the WHL’s trade deadline has started.
It didn’t begin earlier in the week when the Tri-City Americans cut deals with the Everett Silvertips and Kelowna Rockets, because those were driven by Tri-City’s need to trim a 20-year-old from its roster.
No, the drive to the Jan. 10 deadline began late Friday morning with a deal between the Americans and Regina Pats.
For the second straight season, RW Carter Ashton, a first-round selection by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2009 draft, is on the move.
Ashton was dealt Friday by the Pats to the Americans, along with a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick, for F Tanner Olstad, F Nils Moser, a 2011 first-round bantam draft pick and second- and fifth-round picks in the 2012 bantam draft.
It was a year and a day ago, on Dec. 9, 2009, that the Lethbridge Hurricanes dealt Ashton and F Craig Orfino to the Pats for F Graham Hood, F Tayler Balog, a 2010 second-round bantam draft pick and a 2011 first-round bantam pick.
Moser, a 17-year-old from Canmore, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2008 bantam draft. He has one goal in 20 games this season, after earning three points in 38 games last season.
Olstad, an18-year-old from Calgary, had three points in 20 games with the Americans.
Ashton, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, is the son of Brent Ashton (Saskatoon, 1975-79). Carter is in Toronto in the selection camp of the Canadian national junior team. In 29 games this season, he has 27 points and 44 penalty minutes.
In 206 regular-season WHL games, he has 137 points and 267 penalty minutes. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2006 bantam draft.
The bottom line is this: The Americans get bigger up front; the Pats, who aren’t likely to make the playoffs and have begun the rebuilding process, get badly needed draft picks.
For more on the deal, check out Greg Harder’s coverage right here at the Regina Leader-Post’s website.
D Jared Spurgeon, a product of the Spokane Chiefs, is making quite an impression with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. Check out this story by Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune right here.
Some highlights from Friday’s WHL games . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Dylan Hood had a goal and three assists to lead the Warriors to a 6-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . F Quinton Howden scored twice and added an assist for Moose Jaw, while F Spencer Edwards had a goal and two helpers. . . . Howden has 21 goals now. . . . F Elgin Pearce counted three times for the Ice, giving him five this season. . . . Pearce, an 18-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C., had three goals in 45 last season as a freshman. . . . F Magnus Christian had three assists for the Ice, with F Joe Antilla scoring once, setting up two others and finishing plus-4. . . . Attendance was 2,650. . . . The Ice was without F Kevin King, its leading scorer, thanks to an infected elbow. . . .
In Saskatoon, F Jake Trask scored his second goal of the game at 1:44 of OT as the Blades came from behind to beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-4. . . . Trask, who is from Saskatoon, was acquired earlier from the Kamloops Blazers. This was his sixth goal of the season. . . . Blades F Matej Stransky forced OT with a PP goal at 19:50 of the third period. . . . F Parker Stanfield had given Everett a 4-3 lead with his second goal of the game on the PP, at 16:31 of the third. . . . This was the Blades’ first home game after a 4-1-0 jaunt through the B.C. Division. . . . Everett led 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2 and 4-3. . . . Everett F Tyler Maxwell had a goal and three assists. . . . F Curtis Hamilton had two assists for Saskatoon in his last game before leaving for the Canadian junior team’s selection camp. . . . Ev erett G Kent Simpson stopped 40 shots. . . . Attendance was 6,112.
In Calgary, F Kris Foucault scored 25 seconds into OT as the Hitmen beat the Regina Pats, 4-3. . . . Regina is 0-5 in OT this season. . . . Calgary trailed this one 3-0 at 9:36 of the second period as the Pats got shorthanded goals from F Thomas Frazee and Garrett Mitchell, and an score from Dyson Stevenson at 9:36. . . . F Jimmy Bubnick got a PP goal for Calgary before the second period ended, and F Justin Kirsch got another at 2:08 of the third. . . . D Matt MacKenzie tied it with his second of the season at 7:53. . . . MacKenzie also had two assists, as did Regina F Lane Scheidl. . . . The Eastern Conference’s two poorest teams combined for 29 shots, 16 by the Hitmen. . . . These teams will play an outdoors game at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium on Feb. 21. . . . Attendance was 7,680. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft, drew an assist for Regina. He isn’t eligible to play full time, but took F Carter Ashton’s spot on the Pats’ foster for this one. Klimchuk is from Calgary. . . . Neither of the forwards Regina acquired from the Tri-City Americans in the Ashton deal — Nils Moser or Tanner Olstad — was in Regina’s lineup. They likely will play tonight against the Rebels in Red Deer. . . .
In Lethbridge, F Ryan Howse had two goals to help the Chilliwack Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Howse has 22 goals. . . . He scored two PP goals as five of the game’s seven goals came with the man advantage. . . . Lethbridge F Mitch Maxwell got his 10th goal on a penalty shot at 19:48 of the third period. . . . Chilliwack F Roman Horak had three assists, while F Robin Soudek had a goal and two helpes. . . . Howse gave the Bruins a 2-0 first-period lead. The Hurricanes tied it with two PP goals — from F Cam Braes and F Austin Fyten. The Bruins then got third-period goals from Soudek, at 13:41, and F Jamie Crooks, at 15:41, to win it. . . . Chilliwack G Lucas Gore stopped 35 shots. . . . Attendance was 2,826. . . .
In Red Deer, F Evan Bloodoff and F Geordie Wudrick each scored twice to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . The Rockets were without head coach Ryan Huska, who is serving as an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. Assistant coach Ryan Cuthbert, a former Rockets captain, will serve as head coach, with help from assistant Dan Lambert, in Huska’s absence. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s first four goals and took a 4-0 lead into the third period. . . . Kelowna G Adam Brown stopped 37 shots. That included a penalty shot by F Colten Mayor at 7:57 of the third period. . . . Bloodoff has six goals; Wudrick has 15. . . . Attendance was 4,057. . . .
In Kamloops, F Brendan Ranford scored his WHL-leading 26th goal of the season as the Blazers edged the Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Ranford’s goal, which broke a scoreless tie 49 seconds into the second period, was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Ranford also had an assist and now is tied with Medicine Hat Tigers F Linden Vey for the WHL points lead, with 49. . . . F Cody Eakin scored both Swift Current goals and now has 18 on the season. He leaves from Vancouver today for the Canadian junior team’s selection camp. . . . The game was delayed for about 15 minutes in the third period after Swift Current F Killian Hutt, 19, went into convulsions following a hit by F Jordan DePape. Hutt was conscious and have movement in his limbs as he left the ice on a stretcher and was taken to hospital. . . . DePape was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . . The Broncos were 0-for-7 on the PP; the Blazers were 0-for-1. . . . Attendance was 4,332. . . . 
In Portland, the Winterhawks broke open a scoreless game with three second-period goals and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Portland F Sven Bartschi, the WHL’s top scorer among freshmen, got his 20th goal at 3:30 of the second, on a PP, to get it started. . . . F Brad Ross added his 14th at 7:46 and F Spencer Bennett made it 3-0 with his 10th at 14:25. . . . It was Portland’s second victory in eight games. . . . F Spencer Asuchak, with his 10th, scored for Prince George at 18:44 of the second. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 22 shots. . . . Prince George G Ty Rimmer turned aside 26 shots, including Ross on a third-period penalty shot. . . . Attendance was 5,441. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., F Brendan Shinnimin scored once and added two assists as the host Tri-City Americans beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . Shinnimin scored at 1:10 of the first period and it was Tri-City’s Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Mason Wilgosh and F Justin Feser each added two assists. . . . F Adam Hughesman helped out with his 16th goal and an assist. . . . Tri-City G Drew Owsley stopped 22 shots, losing his shutout bid to F Charles Wells at 11:39 of the second. Wells has eight goals this season. . . . F Carter Ashton, acquired by Tri-City from the Regina Pats on Friday, wasn’t in the Americans’ lineup. He is in Toronto preparing for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp. . . . The Americans were 2-for-10 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Attendance was 4,776. . . . The teams meet  again tonight in Kent, Wash. The Thunderbirds will be without G Calvin Pickard (13-9-7), who is off to the Canadian junior team selection camp. . . .
In Vancouver, F Blake Gal scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Spokane Chiefs got past the Giants, 3-2. . . . Gal was the only one of the six shooters to find the range. . . . The goal was allowed after video review; it seems that G Mark Segal kicked the puck into his own net in the process of trying to make the save. . . . The Giants held a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period on goals by F Michael Burns — it was the Teddy Bear goal — and F Brendan Gallagher, his 25th. . . . F Tyler Johnson got his 20th, at 19:52 of the first, on a PP, to get the Chiefs on the board. . . . D Jared Cowen, who leaves today for the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team, tied it at 18:59 of the second, on a PP. . . . The Chiefs were 2-for-5 on the PP; the Giants were 0-for-2. . . . Segal stopped 43 shots, 23 more than Spokane’s James Reid. . . . Attendance was 12,263. . . . Giants D Luke Fenske (shoulder) returned after a seven-game absence, but they were without D David Musil, who suffered a hairline fracture in his right leg last week.
Two minors:
Kootenay D Joey Leach
Kelowna F Max Adolph
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