|Goaltender Drew Owsley of the Tri-City Americans looks for the puck, while Spokane Chiefs |
forward Matt Marantz tries to get a stick on it.
(Photo by Gary Peterson / www.actionsportsimages.smugmug.com)
The Salmon Kings went on the road to beat the Bakersfield Condors 2-0 on Friday and 3-2 in overtime on Saturday to win the best-of-five first-round series, 3-1.
The Condors (41-27-4) had finished second in the Western Conference; the Salmon Kings (32-36-4) were seventh. Victoria actually finished 18 points behind Bakersfield, which won the Pacific Division so was the conference’s No. 2 seed, behind the Alaska Aces, who received a first-round bye.
The Salmon Kings next will play either the No. 3 Stockton Thunder of No. 6 Utah Grizzlies in a best-of-seven conference semifinal.
We mention this, of course, because it could be that the WHL won’t announce the transfer of the Chilliwack Bruins to Victoria until the Salmon Kings are done.
The WHL has confirmed the conditional sale of the Bruins, but hasn’t yet stated officially just who has purchased the franchise or where it is headed.
It is generally believed that Vancouver-based RG Properties, which owns the Salmon Kings, has bought the Bruins and will move the WHL team to Victoria in time for the 2011-12 season.
It is doubtful that an announcement would be made while there still are Salmon Kings’ tickets to sell.
If you are interested in signing a petition aimed at keeping the Bruins in Chilliwack, you are able to do that right here.
The Ottawa Senators didn’t waste time in letting Cory Clouston know that he wouldn’t be back as the NHL team’s head coach. Bryan Murray, the team’s general manager, got a three-year extension on Friday. He dumped the head coach Saturday, after a 3-1 loss to the Bruins in Boston.
Clouston is the third Ottawa head coach to be dismissed by Murray since he returned to Ottawa in 2007 from a stint with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Senators finished 32-40-10, which left them 19 points out of a playoff spot.
Clouston, 41, spent five seasons as head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. He left the Ice for the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, and moved up as head coach of the big club on Feb. 2, 2009. He replaced Craig Hartsburg, who now is head coach of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.
Clouston was 95-83-20 with Ottawa.
And you can bet that there are some WHL teams — some with a head coach, some without — keeping an eye on Clouston.
As the NHL season wore on, and as speculation grew that Cloutson was in trouble, his name was mentioned with more and more frequency in WHL circles.
Who knows whether Clouston will return to the WHL or not, but right now there are two teams, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds, without head coaches.
Assistant coach Brad Lauer, a former WHL player who has ridden shotgun with Clouston for a while now, also lost his job Saturday in Ottawa.
OK. What’s going on? Is it the water? . . . There have been six games played in the second round of the WHL playoffs and the road team has won every one of them. . . . There will be two games played today, with the Kelowna Rockets meeting the Winterhawks in Portland and the Tri-City Americans in Spokane to play the Chiefs. The visiting team in both series is up 1-0. . . . The Winterhawks will be without suspended F Brad Ross, who took a charging major for a hit on Kelowna F Zach Franko in the first period. Franko was left with a broken nose, a scraped face and a suspected concussion. He won’t play tonight. . . .
Meanwhile, on Saturday night . . .
In Saskatoon, F Joe Antilla scored at 18:32 of OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 3-2 victory over the Blades. . . . The Ice had won the opener 4-1 in Saskatoon on Friday. . . . They’ll play Games 3 and 4 in Cranbrook on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . The Blades were 32-3-1 at home in the regular season; the Ice, which lost all four of its regular-season games against Saskatoon, was 20-13-3 on the road. . . . The Blades forced OT when F Brayden Schenn scored at 18:56 of the third period. . . . Ice G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 50 shots, nine more than Saskatoon’s Steven Stanford. . . . The Ice was 0-or-2 on the PP; the Blades were 0-for-6. . . . Attendance was 8,064. . . . F Max Reinhart had a goal and two assists for the Ice. . . . His younger brother, Sam, who played Friday, wasn’t in the Ice lineup for Game 2. Hockey Canada ruled that should Sam Reinhart play he would be ineligible to rejoin his major midget team, the Vancouver-North West Giants, for the national championship tournament later this month in St. John’s, Nfld. Reinhart, 15, was a first-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft. WHL rules allow 15-year-olds to play five games before their club team’s are done; Reinhart player his fifth game in the series opener. Of course, their are loopholes; for example, F Matt Needham, Kamloops’ first pick in 2010, played 13 games with the Blazers this season, some under emergency conditions. . . . Gotta think Ice management will have been most unhappy with this ruling, especially when you consider the number of players and coaches it has given up to various Hockey Canada-sanctioned teams and events. . . . Jeff Hollick, the radio voice of the Ice, has his take on the Reinhart situation right here. . . . The Ice scratched F Brock Montgomery (mononucleosis), F Drew Czerwonka (upper body) and Sam Reinhart, and had D John Neibrandt helping out up front. . . . Saskatoon, which had F Ryan Olsen back from injury and used D Tanner Sohn as a forward, went without F Levi Bews, D Tommy Stipancik and F Alex Elliott.
In Red Deer, G Tyler Bunz stopped 33 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory over the Rebels. . . . The Tigers won the opener 9-1 on Friday. . . . Now it’s down to Medicine Hat for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . The Tigers were 2-for-4 on the PP; the Rebels were 0-for-9. . . . Red Deer G Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves. . . . Medicine Hat F Cole Grbavac had two goals and an assist. He has 14 points, including seven goals, in eight playoff games. He had 28 points in 67 regular-season games. . . . F Linden Vey had a goal and an assist, and now has a WHL-leading 18 points. Grbavac, Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem, Tigers D Jace Coyle and Kelowna Rockets F Shane McColgan are next, at 14. . . . Vey and Kootenay Ice F Matt Fraser lead in goals, each with eight. . . . Attendance was 6,091. . . . The Rebels went 26-7-3 at home during the regular season, while the Tigers were 22-9-5 on the road. . . .
In Spokane, G Drew Owsley turned aside 34 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 3-1 series-opening victory over the Chiefs. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Spokane. . . . Tri-City has won its last eight games, five of them in the playoffs. . . . The Americans took a 2-1 lead out of the first period and nursed it until F Jordan Messier provided some insurance at 9:38 of the third. . . . Spokane G James Reid stopped 15 shots. That included a third-period penalty shot by F Carter Ashton. The Americans were leading 2-1 at the time. . . . F Kruise Reddick had a goal and an assist for Tri-City. . . . F Tyler Johnson, who had missed Spokane’s last two games with a concussion, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs were 27-7-2 at home, while the Americans were 17-16-3 on the road during the regular season. . . . Attendance was 8,215. . . . The Americans had been 0-3 in their last three trips to Spokane. The Chiefs had outscored the visitors 15-4 in those three games. . . . “That was a real good playoff game,” Spokane head coach Don Nachbaur told Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Both teams battled like a bugger for space. We had the chances to make a game of it. . . . The difference was that they buried their chances and we didn’t. We had some pretty good looks.”
SATURDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
Today’s good read comes from George Vecsey of The New York Times. It deals with the high price of tickets to sporting events in the Big Apple. And it’s right here.
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