Saturday, February 12, 2011

If you are wanting to watch today’s game from Whitehorse between the Vancouver Giants and Kamloops Blazers, it will be streamed at cbc.ca and whl.ca. . . . The game has a starting time of 4 p.m. PT, but may start as late as 4:30 p.m. . . . The WHL wants to maximize its exposure on Hockey Night in Canada, so has told the TV people that it is prepared to delay the faceoff up to 30 minutes in order to get the best fit with HNIC’s schedule. . . . Perhaps the thinking is this: The NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs also is to start at 4 p.m., so if the WHL game starts a bit later, its first period might still be in progress during the NHL’s games first intermission. If that is the case, Coach’s Corner could be shown while the WHL game is being played in the background. . . . Just a thought. . . .
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When the Portland Winterhawks exploded for five goals in 1:59 during a 10-5 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs the other night, it got Todd Vrooman to thinking. Vrooman, the son of former Portland play-by-play voice Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, now is the analyst on Winterhawks’ broadcasts. After that game, Todd blogged about the way things used to be, such as the night when Portland pulled its goaltender while leading Spokane 18-2. . . . The franchise in Spokane was called the Flyers in those days.
Vrooman’s piece is right here.
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Neate Sager, over at Yahoo! Sports, takes a look at the challenges facing commissioner Ron Robison, who has been given a five-year contract extension by the WHL’s board of governors. The biggest challenge? Decreasing attendance in some key markets. That piece is right here.
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The Central league’s Dayton Gems have come up with a neat Valentine’s Day promotion, all in the aid of a good cause. They are auctioning off a date with their tough guy. Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News has the story right here.
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The OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds fired head coach Denny Lambert, who had two years left on his contract, on Jan. 11. Dave Torrie, the general manager, now is also the interim head coach.
Obviously, then, the Greyhounds will have a new head coach for next season.
Craig Hartsburg is a former Soo player and head coach, but he has two seasons left on his contract as head coach of the Everett Silvertips.
So . . . might Hartsburg be interested in returning to the Greyhounds? After all, he spends his summers in the Soo.
"My only focus is here (in Everett)," Hartsburg told Peter Ruicci of the Sault Star. "I can't be thinking, let alone talking, about other things. I wouldn't. It's not fair to Everett. I would say I feel badly for Dave and for Denny and the organization. I hope it all gets straightened out."
Ruicci’s complete column is right here.

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SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIDAY’S GAMES:
In Moose Jaw, F Sebastian Svendsen scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Warriors beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-4, to halt a four-game losing skid. . . . Earlier, Svendsen had opened the game’s scoring with his 22nd goal, shorthanded, at 2:10 of the first period. . . . The Oil Kings held a 15-4 edge in shots in the third period and forced OT on F Colton Stephenson’s sixth goal at 1:43 of the third. . . . Edmonton F Dylan Wruck had two assists, giving him a team-high 60 points and leaving him three points shy of the franchise’s modern-day single-season record. . . . Moose Jaw F Quinton Howden had a goal, his 32nd, and two assists, while F Dylan Hood had two helpers and Spencer Edwards, the third player on that line, had a goal and an assist. . . . F T.J. Foster had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Moose Jaw D Joel Edmundson, a 17-year-old freshman from Brandon, scored his first WHL goal in his 55th game. He also has 18 assists this season. . . . Attendance was 2,663. . . . The Warriors continue to be without D Dylan McIlrath (knee). . . . Edmonton is in Brandon tonight, while the Warriors are home to Saskatoon. You may have read here earlier about Saskatoon GM/head coach Lorne Molleken and Moose Jaw head coach Dave Hunchak volleying a few words at each other. Interestingly, Hunchak once played for Molleken with the Blades. As well, Hunchak’s mother, Irene, is an usher during Blades’ games at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon. . . .
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In Regina, F Cody Eakin scored three times to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-1 victory over the Ice. . . . There only were four assists awarded on the five Ice goals. Eakin has 28 goals. . . . He also set up one goal. . . . Ice G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 34 shots, losing his shutout at 14:38 of the first period when D Myles Bell scored his 12th goal of the season. . . . Attendance was 3,912. . . . Eakin has 10 goals and 10 assists in 10 games since joining the Ice in that trade from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . On the season, he has 59 points in 40 games. . . . The Ice on the season series with Regina, 4-0, outscoring the Pats 21-9 in the process. . . . The Ice has won three in a row and is tied for third in the Central Division with Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay plays in Swift Current tonight. . . . The Pats, who play visiting Medicine Hat tonight, are four points out of a playoff spot and will have to climb over three teams to get there. That’s a tall order in this era of loser points. . . .
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In Saskatoon, the Blades dropped the Prince Albert Raiders 7-2 as they ran their winning streak to 10 games. . . . The Blades’ franchise record for longest winning streak (13) was set in 1987-88. . . . F Marek Viedensky and F Josh Nicholls each had three assists for Saskatoon, which got two goals from F Chris Collins, who has 17, and two more from F Brayden Schenn. . . . Schenn scored the game’s first two goals, both via the PP. He’s got 11 goals on the season. Schenn has 23 points, including 10 goals, since being acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Jan. 10. . . . On the season, Schenn has 27 points in 12 games. . . . Saskatoon G Steven Stanford stopped 25 shots to run his record to 31-3-0. . . . Saskatoon won the season series, 7-1. . . . The Blades were 3-for-5 on the PP. . . . Saskatoon GM/head coach Lorne Molleken was honoured in a pregame ceremony for having won his 500th game on Jan. 26 in Edmonton. . . . Attendance was 5,833. . . . Blades G Adam Morrison (mononucleosis) has been given the OK to practise. . . . Saskatoon is in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .

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In Brandon, F Michael Ferland completed his first WHL hat trick with a penalty shot score at 3:23 of OT to give the Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Brandon F Matt MacKay, who played last season with the Tigers, scored with 11.9 seconds left in the third period to force OT. . . . Ferland has 16 goals. . . . F Mark Stone had three assists for Brandon. . . . F Linden Vey scored his 37th and 38th goals for the Tigers. He leads the WHL scoring race with 90 points, one more than Spokane F Tyler Johnson. . . . The Tigers trailed 4-3 when Vey scored at 16:25 of the second and again at 3:24 of the third. . . . Brandon F Shayne Wiebe got his 31st and 32nd goals. He scored the first goal of the game for the 10th time this season. . . . In a game that featured 11 goals, there were only four minor and two major penalties. . . . The Tigers scratched F Tyler Pitlick and lost D Matthew Konan after a first-period hit by Wiebe. . . . Attendance was 4,288. . . . Medicine Hat moves over to Regina tonight, while Brandon meets visiting Edmonton. . . . The Wheat Kings now are seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Prince Albert and Swift Current. . . .
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In Lethbridge, F Brett Connolly and F Charles Inglis each scored twice, leading the Prince George Cougars to a 7-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Cougars scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Cougars G Ty Rimmer stopped 31 shots. . . . Connolly has 32 goals, while Inglis has 23. . . . Prince George F Nick Buonassisi had a goal and two assists. . . . Attendance was 3,423. . . . The Cougars are in Calgary tonight, while the Hurricanes are at home to Red Deer. . . . Prince George is sixth in the Western Conference, just four points behind Kelowna and three in front of Everett. . . . The Hurricanes are two points out of a playoff spot. . . .
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In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Red Deer F Byron Froese scored the game’s last two goals, both on the PP. He has 33 goals. . . . Red Deer F Brett Ferguson got his 19th goal and added two assists in running his point streak to 12 games. . . . Red Deer F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins drew two assists. He leads the WHL with 62 helpers. . . . Calgary F Brooks Macek scored on the PP at 6:17 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots. . . . The Rebels were 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . Red Deer D Alex Petrovic had a goal and an assist before being ejected in the second period with a checking-from-behind major for a hit on Calgary F Danny Gayle. . . . The Rebels already were without injured defencemen Matt Dumba and Justin Weller. . . . With three d-men gone, head coach Jesse Wallin moved Froese to the back end. . . . Attendance was 5,973. . . . The Rebels are in Lethbridge tonight and home to Prince George on Sunday. . . . Prince George is in Calgary tonight. . . .
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In Kelowna, the Chilliwack Bruins scored three times in the shootout and beat the Rockets, 5-4. . . . F Kevin Sundher, F Robin Soudek and F Jamie Crooks scored for the Bruins in what was a six-round shootout. . . . The Rockets held 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the second period. . . . F Ryan Howse pulled the Bruins into a 3-3 tie with two goals, giving him 37. . . . F Colton Sissons restored Kelowna’s lead at 6:29 of the third. . . . Chilliwack F Robin Soudek forced with his 18th goal at 16:52 of the third. . . . The last three third-period goals all came via the PP. . . . The Bruins were 2-for-12 on the PP, while the Rockets were 2-for-4. . . . Kelowna took 55 of the game’s 103 penalty minutes. . . . Rockets F Colton Jobke was tossed late in the second period with an interference major and a game of misconduct. . . . Attendance was 6,089. . . . The loser point lifted the Rockets to within two points of the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants and Kelowna has two games in hand. . . . The Bruins moved to within a point of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . The Rockets are in Chilliwack tonight for the rematch. . . .
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In Everett, G Mac Engel stopped 23 shots for his second WHL shutout as the Spokane Chiefs blanked the Silvertips, 2-0. . . . Engel is starting in place of the injured James Reid. Earlier, Engel blanked Everett, 3-0, making 18 saves. . . . The Silvertips have been blanked a WHL-high eight times. . . . F Dominik Uher scored the game’s first goal, at 15:20 of the first period, on a PP. . . . F Mitch Holmberg added an empty-netter at 18:51 of the third. . . . Spokane F Tyler Johnson had one assist. . . . Everett G Kent Simpson stopped 37 shots. . . . Attendance was 6,112. . . . The Chiefs stayed one point ahead of third-place Tri-City in the U.S. Division, although the Americans hold three games in hand. . . . Everett is seventh in the Western Conference, three points behind Prince George and three ahead of Kamloops. . . . The Chiefs are at home to the Americans tonight. . . .
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In Portland, G Drew Owsley stopped 30 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Owsley, who won his 30th game of the season, has four shutouts this season and nine in his career. . . . Owsley won 33 games last season. . . . Portland, which had won four straight, was blanked for the first time this season and was the last team to experience that feeling. . . .The Winterhawks had dropped the Americans 8-2 a week earlier. . . . The Americans are 5-2-1 against Portland and will win the season series for a seventh straight season. . . . F Adam Hughesman opened the scoring with his 36th goal of the season, on the PP at 8:35 of the first. . . . Hughesman also had an assist. . . . F Kruise Reddick had a goal and two assists, while F Brendan Shinnimin had two assists and F Connor Rankin had a goal and an assist. . . . The Americans were 2-for-15 on the PP. Yes, 2-for-15. . . . Portland took 51 of the 76 penalty minutes that were handed out. . . . The Winterhawks were 0-for-6. . . . Attendance was 6,352. . . . Portland continues to lead the Western Conference. It is five points ahead of Spokane and six up on Tri-City; the Chiefs hold two games in hand and the Americans five. . . . Portland is in Kent, Wash., to play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight, while the Americans are in Spokane.
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FRIDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
Five minors:
Calgary F Kris Foucault
Portland F Tayler Jordan
Portland D Taylor Wotherspoon (double minor)
Tri-City F David Conrad
One major:
Red Deer D Alex Petrovic

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