Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday . . .

The exodus of WHL players to the pro ranks has begun now that some teams have had their seasons come to an end.
G Brandon Anderson of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has been recalled by the NHL’s Washington Capitals and assigned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
Anderson, 18, was an undrafted free agent when he attended Washington’s training camp last fall. By the time his stint there ended, he had signed a three-year contract with the Capitals.
The Capitals added another WHLer to their stable on Saturday when they announced the signing of F Garrett Mitchell of the Regina Pats.
Mitchell, 19, was a sixth-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft. He played in his 264th regular-season game with the Pats on Saturday night in Saskatoon.
Mitchell finished this season with career highs in goals (18), assists (34) and points (52) in 70 games.
F Max Domi, the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs toughie Tie Domi, has told OHL teams not to bother drafting him because he is headed south. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reports that Max, 15, will play next season in the USHL. He was expected to be an earlier selection in the OHL’s 2011 draft.
“I played junior but (Max’s mother) Leanne and I want our kid to go to college,” Tie Domi told Simmons. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but for us, it was the right decision.”
There are four regular-season games remaining.
Here’s what is left to be decided:
1. Who will finish fifth and sixth in the Western Conference? The Chilliwack Bruins are fifth and are out of games. The Vancouver Giants, with one game left, are one point behind the Bruins. The Giants are at home to the Everett Silvertips tonight. . . . The fifth-place finisher plays the No. 4 Tri-City Americans in the first round; the sixth-place finisher draws the No. 5 Spokane Chiefs. . . . Whichever team gets Spokane will open with two games at home as the Chiefs’ home arena isn’t available next weekend.
2. Who will finish ninth and 10th in the Western Conference? The Kamloops Blazers are out of games and have 64 points. The Seattle Thunderbirds are a point back with one game left. They are at home to the Tri-City Americans tonight. The Americans are 8-0-0 against Seattle this season.
Here are the matchups that have been decided:
1. The Saskatoon Blades, who finished on top of the WHL’s overall standings, will face the Prince Albert Raiders, who wound up eighth in the conference. The Blades are 9-0-1 in their last 10; the Raiders have won three straight, including a weekend sweep of the 11th-place Swift Current Broncos.
2. The Red Deer Rebels finished atop the Central Division so are the conference’s No. 2 seed. They get the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round. The Rebels took two from the Oil Kings on the weekend, winning 4-3 on the road Friday and 3-1 at home Saturday.
3. The Medicine Hat Tigers have one game left but have clinched the conference’s third seed. They will play the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. . . . Brandon finished strong, going 7-2-1 in its last 10, but will have to play its first-round home games in the MTS Centre in Winnipeg as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair takes over the Keystone Centre. . . . The Tigers finish up this afternoon in Calgary. . . . Medicine Hat F Linden Vey goes into the final day leading the scoring race by two points over Spokane F Tyler Johnson.
4. The Kootenay Ice will finish fourth in the conference, which means a first-round matchup with the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Ice has been red hot, going 6-0-1 in its last seven.
1. The Portland Winterhawks clinched first place in the U.S. Division and the conference last night as they ran their winning streak to five. They will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round.
2. The Kelowna Rockets finished atop the B.C. Division so are the No. 2 seed for the first round. Remember that the survivors are reseeded by points after the first round. The Rockets will go up against the No. 7 Prince George Cougars in the first round.
It’s worth noting that two key players were ejected with major fouls on Saturday night, and their cases will be on the desk of Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s disciplinarian, in the morning.
F Shayne Wiebe of the Brandon Wheat Kings took a boarding major during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Before leaving, Wiebe scored his 44th goal.
In Kelowna, Rockets F Evan Bloodoff, one of their heart-and-soul guys, was tossed with a charging major during a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants.
Neither Brandon nor Kelowna has any regular-season games remaining, so any suspensions would mean playoff games lost. A suspension to either of those players could turn into a key factor in a first-round series.
In Brandon last night, F David Toews had two goals and two assists as the Wheat Kings doubled the Moose Jaw Warriors, 8-4. . . . G Hampus Gustafsson had four assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings lost F Shayne Wiebe, their captain and a 44-goal man, with a boarding major and game misconduct at 19-01 of the first period. . . . Toews reached the 20-goal mark with his two scores. . . .
In Cranbrook, F Cody Eakin scored two goals and set up another as the Kootenay Ice dropped the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 7-1. . . .
In Swift Current, F Igor Revenko’s 23rd goal at 19:54 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 4-3 victory over the Broncos. . . .
In Saskatoon, F Marek Viedensky had a goal and an assist, leading the Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Blades G Steven Stanford picked up the victory to finish at 40-5-0. . . .
In Medicine Hat, G Deven Dubyk stopped 27 shots to help the Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . F Curtis Valk scored the game’s only goal, his eighth, at 3:14 of the first period. . . . That was Dubyks’ first career shutout. . . . G Mike Snider stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . F Linden Vey drew an assist on Valk’s goal, giving him 115 points this season. He leads the WHL scoring race by two points over F Tyler Johnson of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers are in Calgary today, while the Chiefs play in Portland. . . .
In Red Deer, F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice as his Rebels got past the Edmonton Oil Kings, 3-1. . . . Nugent-Hopkins finished with 31 goals. . . .
In Chilliwack, the Lucas Gore Show continued its run as the Bruins goaltender stopped 37 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Earlier in the week, Gore established WHL records with 72 saves through three periods and 77 saves through OT in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . He has five shutouts this season and 10 in his career. . . . Everett has been blanked nine times this season. . . . F Kevin Sundher scored twice for the Bruins -- he has 24 -- and added an assist. . . .
In Prince George, D Sena Acolatse had a goal and three assists as the Cougars dumped the Kamloops Blazers, 5-1. . . . Cougars F Brett Connolly added a goal, his 46th, and two assists. . . . The Blazers, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night when they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the visiting Cougars, finished the season on an eight-game losing streak (0-6-2). . . . Kamloops had Cam Lanigan in goal, ending Jeff Bosch’s run of 23 straight starts. . . . Attendance was 4,770. . . .
In Kelowna, the Vancouver Giants snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . F Andrej Stastny won it with his 10th goal, breaking a 3-3 tie at 10:48 of the third period. . . . Stastny also had two assists. . . . The Rockets lost F Evan Bloodoff at 10:22 of the first period when he was ejected with a charging major and game misconduct. . . . Bloodoff’s hit was on D Joel Rogers, who recently returned from a concussion. Rogers was taken off the ice on a stretcher and checked out at hospital. . . . Doyle Potenteau has lots more on that game right here at DubNation. . . .
In Kent, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks overcame a 3-2 deficit with three straight goals and then hung on to beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard stopped 48 shots. . . . The Winterhawks will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. Portland won nine of 10 games from Everett in the regular season. . . . F Pearce Eviston scored for Portland in his WHL debut. Eviston, 18, signed with the Winterhawks after putting up 38 points in 44 games with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., F Kruise Reddick and F Brendan Shinnimin each had two goals and two assists to lead the host Tri-City Americans to a 6-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans had lost five straight games to the Chiefs. . . . F Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist for the Chiefs, giving him 113 points, two off the league lead. Medicine Hat F Linden Vey has 115 points. . . . Spokane had a nine-game winning streak end. . . . Johnson and the Chiefs are in Portland tonight; Vey and the Tigers finish up in Calgary. Johnson has a WHL-high 52 goals.
Six minors:

Moose Jaw F Antonin Honejsek
Kootenay D Joey Leach
Calgary D Alex Roach
Everett F Ryan Harrison
Portland F Brendan Leipsic
Tri-City F Jordan Messier

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