Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The WHL’s history is full of stories. Lots and lots of stories. . . . and here’s one for your reading enjoyment.
I have been exchanging recent emails with Doug Allan, who played goal with the New Westminster Bruins in 1973-74.
He recalls a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first round of that season’s playoffs . . .
“In one game in The Hat, their little sniper of a forward, Morris Lukowich, was standing in front of the net attempting to screen me. So I did what most targets do — I chopped his ankles or gave him a shot in the back.
“Also in the Tigers’ lineup that season were two of the three Gassoff brothers (Ken and Brad).
“In the third period, some of the Tigers were taking exception to my swipes at their star player. During a break in the action in our end, one of the Gassoffs (I’m sure it was Ken) skated past me and said, ‘I’m going to get you, you SOB!’
“I said something back, like, ‘Screw you!’
“A few minutes later, they dumped the puck into the corner to my right. I was hugging the post and focused on the puck when — WHAMMO! — Mr. Gassoff hit me on the side of the head with a stick-clenched fist and dropped me like a pile of dirt! I was on the ice seeing virtual stars!!
“Shortly, I looked up and saw my pal, Donnie Hay, scrapping with the perpetrator.
“We beat those damn Tigers that series, so I guess I was somewhat vindicated for taking ‘one for the team’.”
That, of course, would be the same Don Hay who now is head coach of the Vancouver Giants.
The Bruins took out the Tigers in six games that spring, before going on to lose in five to the Calgary Centennials. Calgary was then swept by the Regina Pats who went on to win the Memorial Cup right in the Calgary Corral.
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The folks who run the Southern Professional Hockey League don’t fool around when it comes to discipline. F Aaron McGill of the Augusta RiverHawks for the rest of this season and the playoffs for a punch that broke the jaw of F Mark Van Vliet of the Knoxville Ice Bears.
That story is right here.
Meanwhile, the Ice Bears, according to Dave Link of knoxnews.com, plan to sign D Mike Gauthier (Prince Albert, Kamloops, 2002-08). Gauthier spent last season with the CIS’s Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks.
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Craig Hartsburg, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, acted quickly on Monday to clear up any confusion that may have existed.
He told the Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci that he is not interested in returning to the OHL’s Soo Grehyounds.
That story is right here.
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The outdoor game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Monday will be carried live on Rogers Sportsnet, with Peter Loubardias calling the play and Sam Cosentino providing analysis. Roger Millions will don the blades and will conduct on-ice interviews.
Interestingly, Millions and Loubardias once worked together at CKCK, a now-defunct Regina AM radio station.
Game time will be noon PT.
This game will be the first CHL game to be played outdoors in Canada. Of course, the Kootenay Ice and Spokane Chiefs played the CHL’s first outdoor game in Spokane on Jan. 15.
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When Dustin Byfuglien was marauding around WHL arenas with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars (2001-05), how many fans looked into their crystal ball and envisions a five-year contract worth US$26 million.
The NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers signed Byfuglien, 25, to a contract extension on Tuesday.
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Scott Sepich takes a look at Portland Winterhawks F Ty Rattie, who is having a grand season and should be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2011 draft. That story, from The Oregonian, is right here.
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F Quinton Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors has been named the CHL’s player of the week. He had nine points in three games last season. . . . G Adam Iwan is on his way back to the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives as the Spokane Chiefs now show G James Reid (hip) as day-to-day. Reid, 20, hasn’t played since Jan. 23. He missed 10 games. In Reid’s absence, the Chiefs have been riding Mac Engel. . . . The Chiefs play the Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . .  The B.C. Division’s top two teams meet tonight in Vancouver as the Giants entertain the Kelowna Rockets. Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports that Giants C James Henry (knee) and D Joel Rogers (concussion) were on the ice Tuesday but neither is expect to play through the weekend. The Giants go into tonight with a two-point lead on the Rockets. . . . The Giants travel to Kelowna for a Saturday night game. . . . In Regina, the Pats and Prince Albert Raiders will meet tonight for the seventh time since the middle of December. The Pats, with a game in hand, are 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Raiders, who hold down the final playoff spot. . . . Here’s an interesting stat from the QMJHL: F Tomas Jurco, an 18-year-old Slovakian who is in his second season with the Saint John Sea Dogs, is 13-for-16 in shootouts.
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SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM TUESDAY’S GAMES:
In Brandon, F Mark Stone enjoyed a six-point night as the Wheat Kings dumped the Saskatoon Blades, 7-4. . . . Stone had two goals and four assists, with his 30th goal and three assists coming via the PP. . . . Brandon was 4-for-6 on the PP; the Blades were 3-for-6. . . . F Scott Glennie had three goals for Brandon, giving him 26, as the Wheat Kings ran their home-ice winning streak to seven games. In their late-season playoff push, they now have won nine of their last 12 games. . . . The Blades had their 11-game winning streak snapped. It was their first loss since acquiring Schenn from Brandon on Jan. 10. . . . F Shayne Wiebe had a goal, his 33rd, and two assists. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock, 16, continued his fine season with three assists. . . . Brandon F Matt MacKay had a goal and an assist. He has goals in five straight and points in 14 in a row. . . . The Blades got two goals from F Jake Trask, giving him 23, while D Stefan Elliott had a goal and two assists. . . . Trask also missed on a second-period penalty shot against G Liam Liston, who finished with 23 saves. . . . Saskatoon starter Steven Stanford surrendered four shots on 16 goals as his record slipped to 31-4-0. Tyler Oswald came on in relief and stopped 15 of 17. . . . Saskatoon F Brayden Schenn, in his return to Brandon, drew three assists but finished minus-2. . . . The teams combined for 11 goals, with the middle seven all coming via the PP. . . . Attendance was 4,122. . . . The Wheat Kings are seventh in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades lead the Eastern Conference by six points over the Red Deer Rebels. . . .
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In Prince Albert, G Eric Williams stopped 29 shots for his first WHL shutout as the Raiders beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . It was the first shutout post this season by a Prince Albert goaltender. . . . Williams has taken over the starter’s role as Jamie Tucker recovers from a cut to his right thumb. . . . F Jonathan Parker opened the scoring with his 37th goal at 5:08 of the first period. . . . F Brandon Herrod, with his 21st, D James Bettauer (5) and F Mark McNeill (22) also scored. . . . Calgary G Brandon Glover stopped 40 shots. . . . F Todd Fiddler, D Antoine Corbin and F Justin Maylan each had two assists. . . . The Hitmen, who have been blanked six times this season, lost for the ninth time in 11 games. . . . Attendance was 2,012. . . . The Raiders are seventh in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Brandon and two ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . .
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In Kamloops, F Brendan Ranford and F Colin Smith scored shootout goals to give the Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Ranford, who was playing in his 199th regular-season game, left the game in the first minute with a shoulder injury after missing a check on D Matt MacKenzie. Ranford was back early in the second period. . . . Kamloops F Thomas Frazee played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Kamloops G Jeff Bosch was solid, with 26 saves, and two more in the shootout. . . . Tri-City G Chris Driedger also stopped 26 shots. Driedger, 16, was making his fifth career WHL start. . . . The report on Tri-City G Drew Owsley, who suffered a knee injury Friday, is that the injury isn’t as serious as originally thought. No word on how long he’ll be out, but the Americans were making arrangements Tuesday to return G Cam Gorchynski to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. . . . The victory lifted the Blazers back into eighth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Chilliwack Bruins, who hold four games in hand. . . . The loser point lifted the Americans into a tie with the Spokane Chiefs for third. They are five points behind first-place Portland and the Americans hold three games in hand.
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TUESDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None.
gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
     
gdrinnan.blogspot.com
     
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