Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday . . .

Defenceman Tyler Schmidt has scored the OT winner and the Tri-City Americans and their fans explode in joy.
(Photo by Doug Love / Tri-City Americans)
In Kennewick, Wash., D Tyler Schmidt scored at 2:32 of the second overtime period to give the host Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . It was the night’s only WHL playoff game. . . . The series now is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Sunday in Kennewick with Game 6 in Spokane on Tuesday. . . . The Chiefs had won the previous two games in the series. . . . The goal was Schmidt’s first of these playoffs. He sat out Game 3 with a one-game suspension after taking a clipping major in Game 2. . . . “It felt good to get that overtime winner,” Schmidt told Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “I’ve never had one before in my career. I got lucky at the end. We needed this win.” . . . The Americans had a glorious opportunity to end it at 18:36 of the first OT when F Brendan Shinnimin was awarded a penalty shot. Spokane G James Reid kept it going with a right pad save. . . . Spokane F Tyler Johnson forced OT with his second goal of the game, via the PP, at 12:17 of OT. . . . The Chiefs led this one 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Americans score three goals before the period ended. . . . Reid finished with 46 saves, one more than Tri-City’s Drew Owsley. . . . Owsley set a franchise record with his 18th playoff victory, one more than Chet Pickard. . . . Attendance was 3,888.
One minor:
Spokane F Kenton Miller.
The Portland Winterhawks are at home tonight with a 3-1 lead over the Kelowna Rockets. The Winterhawks also will welcome back F Brad Ross, who has served a three-game suspension for a charging major he took in Game 1. Kelowna F Zach Franko, who took that hit by Ross, was left with a broken nose and a concussion, and isn’t expected to play.
Meanwhile, the Red Deer Rebels and Medicine Hat Tigers don’t play again until Saturday. The Tigers will take a 3-1 edge into the next game, which is to be played in Red Deer. The Rebels were without G Darcy Kuemper (ankle) for Game 4 — Dawson Guhle stopped 19 shots in a 1-0 victory — and it isn’t known yet if he will be able to dress, or play, in Game 5. The Rebels are still alive, despite having scored only three goals in four games.
The Kootenay Ice will spend the next few days enjoying what they have accomplished to this point in the WHL playoffs.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would have swept this series,” Ice president and general manager Jeff Chynoweth said via text shortly after his club had swept the highly favoured Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday night. “Having said that, in all my years with the Ice, that is probably as good a four-game stretch as we have ever had.
“We will enjoy it for a few days, rest up and heal a bit, and get ready for The Hat or Red Deer, because it will not get any easier from here on out.”
The Medicine Hat Tigers take a 3-1 lead into Red Deer for Game 5 with the Rebels on Saturday.
If you were wondering, the Ice was 2-5-1 against Red Deer during the regular season and 4-1-1 versus Medicine Hat.
If you’re wondering why the Blades went out the way they did, perhaps you should look no further than two statistics.
The Blades scored five goals in the four games and went 0-for-16 on the PP.
The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings assigned Saskatoon Blades F Brayden Schenn to the Manchester Monarchs, their AHL affiliate.
As Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times tweeted: “Kings decision to send Brayden Schenn to AHL is based on their desire that he not feel pressure to relace (Anze) Kopitar when he's different player.”
Jay Varady, a long-time member of the Everett Silvertips’ coaching staff, is leaving the WHL. Varady, who has been with Everett through all eight of its seasons in the league, has stepped down as associate head coach to sign on as head coach of the Ducs d’Angers, a club that plays in Ligue Magnus, which is France’s top professional league.
Varady, 33, was an assistant coach with the Silvertips (2003-07), before being named associate head coach. He helped the Silvertips to a Western Conference championship and three U.S. Division titles. The team also was in the playoffs in each of his eight seasons there.
The Cahokia, IL native won a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships with USA Hockey as the team’s video co-ordinator.
Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune takes a look at Mike Johnston and Travis Green, the braintrust behind the success the Portland Winterhawks are enjoying. That story is right here.
Willy Palov of the Halifax Chronicle Herald takes a look at the names being bandied about as at least four QMJHL teams look for head coaches. That piece is right here.
Today’s good read comes from Pulitzer Prize-winner Buzz Bissinger, who writes about Tiger Woods. That piece is good and it’s right here.
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