The WHL season was underway when the NHL’s Ottawa Senators returned D Jared Cowen to the Spokane Chiefs.
Because of that move, D Bruin McDonald now is with the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques.
A stretch? Perhaps. But you can make the case . . .
The Chiefs acquired McDonald, an 18-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., from the Prince George Cougars, who had selected him in the seventh round of the 2007 bantam draft. The Chiefs gave up a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft for McDonald, but then released him. He had recorded one assist in three games.
McDonald, whose father is a big fan of Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins, ended up with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies for whom he had five points in 14 games.
But he found himself a healthy scratch on Tuesday, and then he was traded Wednesday to the Vernon Vipers for future considerations. Strangely, McDonald was a healthy scratch as the Grizzlies played the host Westside Warriors, with Vernon GM/head coach Mark Ferner in attendance.
(The future considerations may have been to clean up an earlier deal in which the rights to F Kyle St. Denis, 20, moved to Victoria. By the way, there now are rumours that St. Denis is going to join the Grizzlies after initially saying he wanted to play with his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters.)
Shortly after McDonald’s junior A rights had been moved from Vancouver Island to the Interior of B.C., the Olympiques called.
McDonald, who by now was in Vernon, had met Ferner and had been taken to new billets, told Gatineau that he would play there if he was guaranteed a spot for the remainder of this season.
The Olympiques, having had a defenceman go down in a mid-week game, wanted McDonald there in time to play Wednesday night against the host P.E.I. Rocket.
However, at that point, the Olympiques said they couldn’t guarantee him anything. They did, however, tell McDonald they would like him in training camp in August and that they would follow his progress in Vernon.
So . . . McDonald began to prepare to play for the Vipers in a Friday night game at home against Westside.
Except that the saga wasn’t yet finished.
You see, the Olympiques had a change of mind and called him back. They have guaranteed him a roster spot for the rest of this season so he is on his way east. He didn’t get there in time to play Friday night in Moncton against the Wildcats. Tonight, the Olympiques are to play the Sea Dogs in Saint John, N.B.
As someone close to McDonald put it, “It is like becoming the best looking girl in Grade 12 after being the ugly duckling. . . . it’s absolutely whacky. . . . Bruin’s head is spinning. . . . But he seems really happy.”
If you are wondering how a player from the west is eligible to play in the QMJHL, a WHL official explained it this way: “All players 18 years of age or older who do not appear on the protected list of a WHL club are free agents and are eligible to transer to another league in the CHL.”
THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) requested and was granted his release by Dukla Trencin (Slovakia Extraliga) for personal reasons. He had four goals and no assists in 17 games for Dukla this season.
The Tri-City Americans have signed two 17-year-old forwards who are with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. . . . Brennan Bosovich, who is from Martensville, Sask., goes into the weekend tied for the scoring lead in the Saskatchewan midget AAA league, with 34 points in 19 games. . . . Dallman has 16 points in 12 games. A Prince Albert native, he is the son of Rod Dallman, who played three seasons with the Raiders and was part of the team that won the 1985 Memorial Cup. . . . Both players will travel to Kennewick, Wash., next week and are expected to play for the Americans as they go home-and-home with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Dec. 10 and 11.
Cory Wolfe of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix notes that the Hamilton family feud resumes tonight when the Saskatoon Blades meet the Rockets in Kelowna.
Blades F Curtis Hamilton turns 19 today and would love nothing better than to stick it to the Rockets. After all, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ president and general manager.
“My wife (Laureen) will cheer for him and his grandpa (Gavin Hamilton Sr.)
will be really mixed up because he won’t know which side to go for,” Bruce told Wolfe. “The best thing for us would be a 4-3 (Kelowna) win in overtime. Then they’d get a point, we’d get two and hopefully (Curtis) gets their three goals.”
The teams have played three times since Curtis joined the Blades. He holds a 2-0-1 edge.
For the rest of Wolfe’s story, and it’s a good one, especially the part about Curtis napping under his dad’s desk, check out the StarPhoenix’s website right here.
———JUST NOTES: D Ayrton Nikkel of Kelowna is expected to make his WHL debut tonight for the Saskatoon Blades in Kelowna against the Rockets. Nikkel was the 42nd selection in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. . . . F Neil Tarnasky of hte Lethbridge Hurricanes drew a three-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major on Wednesday night against the host Swift Current Broncos.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIDAY’S WHL GAMES:
In Regina, F Antonin Honejsek and F Spencer Edwards each scored three times to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 9-6 victory over the Pats. . . . The Warriors’ goals all came from the last five numbered skaters on their roster. . . . Honejsek, who has 14 goals, also had two assists. It was his second WHL hat trick. . . . Edwards, who enjoyed his first three-goal game, has 11 goals. . . . Moose Jaw, which is at home to the Everett Silvertips tonight, has won three in a row. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal scored on a second-period penalty shot that got the Pats to within one at 4-3. However, Honejsek restored the two-goal lead just 1:11 later, at 19:02, and F Dylan Hood added another just 54 seconds into the third period. . . . F Thomas Frazee had two goals and an assist for the Pats, while Weal had a goal and two assists. . . . Regina F Trent Ouellette, a 17-year-old from Drumheller, Alta., scored his first WHL goal. It came in his 26th game. . . . Attendance was 4,462. . . . Despite the rivalry, there were only five minors and two majors handed out. . . . D Dylan McIlrath (knee) was back in Moose Jaw’s lineup after a six-game absence.
In Swift Current, G Luke Siemens put up his first WHL shutout as the Everett Silvertips stoned the Broncos 6-0 in the Teddy Bear Game. . . . Siemens, 18, is from Delta, B.C. He was making his fifth appearance of the season and sixth of his career. That includes one start last season with the Prince George Cougars. . . . F Kellan Tochkin stretched a 2-0 lead to 5-0 with three straight goals, two in the second period. He’s got 14 goals this season. Tochkin also had an assist. . . . F Manraj Hayer had three assists for Everett. He went into the game with a goal and two assists in 21 games. . . . Attendance was 2,107.
In Edmonton, F Michael St. Croix and D Mark Pysyk each had four points as the Oil Kings doubled the Brandon Whet Kings, 8-4. . . . St. Croix had two goals and two assists, while Pysyk had a goal and three helpers. . . . Brandon, which has lost eight in a row, led 3-1 in the first period but Edmonton tied it on goals by D Braeden Laroque, at 17:26, and F Kristians Pelss, at 18:49. . . . Brandon took a 4-3 lead when D Ryan Bulock scored at 18:49. . . . Edmonton scored the game’s last five goals, four of them in the second period. . . . Pysyk tied it at 6:47, with his first goal this season, and St. Croix then got his 14th and 15th. . . . Laroque, an 18-year-old from Saskatoon, scored his first WHL goal in his 16th game. . . . St. Croix has 15 points in a seven-game point streak. . . . Attendance was 4,621. . . . F Brayden Schenn, who has been returned to Brandon by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, didn’t play. He is scheduled to travel today and might play tonight in Red Deer against the Rebels.
In Red Deer, G Darcy Kuemper posted his WHL-leading fifth shutout of the season as the Rebels beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 3-0. . . . Kuemper, 20, stopped 33 shots as he earned the 11th shutout of his career. He had three in each of the last two season. . . . Kuemper has tied the single-season and franchise shutout records that were held by Cam Ward. . . . Kuemper’s goals-against average is down to 1.77. He has a .937 save percentage with a record of 19-4-2. . . . F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored once and added an assist, as did F John Persson, while F Andrej Kudrna had two assists. . . . Attendance was 4,258.
In Kamloops, F Josh Nicholls scored on a 5-on-3 PP at 3:46 of OT as the Saskatoon Blades beat the Blazers, 4-3. . . . The rare 5-on-3 PP occurred when Kamloops forwards Chase Schaber and Brendan Ranford were penalized on the same play. . . . Nicholls won it with his 15th goal of the season. . . . He was foiled by G Jeff Bosch on a first-period penalty shot attempt. . . . The Blades trailed 3-1 going into the third period, but tied it on goals by F Matej Stransky, at 1:52, and Ryan Olsen, at 12:43. . . . Attendance was 3,928. . . . Saskatoon D Stefan Elliott drew assists on his club’s last two goals.
In Portland, F Ryan Johansen and F Nino Niederreiter each scored twice to lead the Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans, who had won four in a row. . . . The Winterhawks had lost four straight. . . . Niederreiter has 18 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games since returning from the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . Johansen, who also had an assist, has 16 goals. . . . Attendance was 5,732. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 26 shots, losing his shutout bid at 10:22 of the third period when F Adam Hughesman got his 15th on the PP. . . . Tri-City still has four 20-year-olds on its roster and has until Wednesday to get down to three. Last night, F Neal Prokop, who has returned after breaking a leg last spring, sat out. D Zak Stebner, D Tyler Schmidt and F Kruise Reddick were the 20-year-olds in the lineup. When Prokop returned, each of the Tri-City 20-year-olds was told he would sit out one of the next four games. Those four games are over and a decision is pending.
In Prince George, F Colin Jacobs broke a 4-4 tie with his third goal of the game at 6:48 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Cougars, 5-4. . . . Jacobs, a 17-year-old from Coppell, Texas, has 13 goals this season. He finished last season with 13 goals in 72 games. This was his first three-goal game in the WHL. . . . Jacobs, who also had an assist, has 25 points this season, one fewer than he had last season. . . . F Tyler Alos had a goal and two helpers for Seattle. . . . Seattle D Erik Bonsor was pointless but finished plus-4. . . . F James Dobrowolski had two goals for the Cougars, while F Brett Connolly had a goal and two assists. . . . Connolly has 37 points in 28 games. . . . Attendance was 1,790.
In Spokane, F Anthony Bardaro scored on a PP at 3:12 of OT to give the Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Spokane F Tyler Johnson had forced OT with his 19th goal at 5:27 of the third period. It was his second goal of the game. . . . Johnson has 16 points, including 12 goals, over his last 10 gmes. . . . Bardaro has nine goals. . . . Spokane has points in 11 of its last 12 games. . . . The Chiefs kept Tigers F Linden Vey, the WHL scoring leader, off the scoresheet. . . . Attendance was 4,927. . . . The Tigers took a 2-1 third-period lead on goals by F Tyler Pitlick, his 12th, at 1:46, and F Kale Kessy, his fifth, at 2:56. . . . Spokane G James Reid went the distance — he made 17 saves — one week after injuring his right leg during a game in Kamloops. . . . “I didn’t like us at all,” Spokane head coach Don Nachbaur told Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “I thought we had a lot of passengers looking out the back window of the bus.” . . . The Tigers were playing their fifth game in seven days in the U.S. Division — they went 3-1-1 — while the Chiefs hadn’t played since Saturday.
In Chilliwack, the Bruins erased a 2-0 third-period deficit and beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-2. . . . The Rockets, who went in having won 11 of 12, led 2-0 on two goals from F Brett Bulmer, who has 10 goals. . . . Chilliwack D Brandon Manning scored twice, at 1:45 and 10:48 of the third period, to tie it. . . . Manning, who signed a three-year deal with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers late last month, has 13 goals. . . . D Mitch Topping got the winner at 12:11. . . . That was Topping’s second goal this season. . . . Attendance was 3,379.
In Vancouver, F Cody Sylvester broke a 3-3 tie at 4:35 of the third period as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Giants, 4-3. . . . Vancouver, which now has lost four straight and six of seven, had scored two goals early in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. F Brendan Gallagher got No. 23 at 1:37 and D David Musil added his fourth at 4:10. . . . F Brendan Rowinski assisted on both goals. . . . The Hitmen got two goals from F Justin Kirsch, who has 13. . . . Musil scored twice, giving him four. . . . Attendance was 6,073.
FRIDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
Medicine Hat F Kale Kessy
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