Saturday, May 14, 2011

ICE . . . ICE . . . BABY!

It’s over.
The Kootenay Ice scored a 4-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday night to win the WHL’s best-of-seven championship, 4-1.
You can bet that this was an extra-special victory for the Ice, which was presented with the Ed Chynoweth Cup after the game. The late Ed Chynoweth was the Ice’s owner and governor at the time of his death on April 22, 2008.
Jeff Chynoweth, one of Ed’s two sons, is the Ice’s president, governor and general manager. After the game, in a moment for the ages, the Ice players stepped aside as D Brayden McNabb Jeff to be the first member of the organization to hoist the trophy.
The Ice began life in Edmonton but moved to Cranbrook after two seasons. In 13 seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice has won three WHL titles, this one joining the ones from 1999-2000 and 2001-02. The Ice also won the Memorial Cup in the spring of 2002.
Kootenay went 16-3 in these playoffs, meaning that the Ice has a postseason record of 87-59 over those 13 springs. That is a .596 winning percentage at the time when games are toughest to win.
And here’s another note from the last 13 seasons — the Ice has had playoff runs of 21, 11, 22, 11, 16, 10 and now 19 games.
The Ice also won the WHL title with head coach Kris Knoblauch in his first season in that position.
And there can be no doubt but that the Ice is the champion; after all, it took out three of the WHL’s top five regular-season teams — Portland, the Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers — over the last three rounds, losing one game in the process. And that loss, in Game 1 to Portland, was in OT.
Ice, Ice, baby. Ice, Ice!
Portland D Tyler Wotherspoon sent his guys out front at 2:26 of the first period but the Winterhawks wouldn’t beat G Nathan Lieuwen again. . . . Lieuwen, with 16 playoff victories, was named the playoff MVP. . . . That lead lasted until 15:47 of the first period when F Steele Boomer pulled the Ice even. . . . Ice F Matt Fraser scored the game’s next two goals, at 19:16 of the second period, on a PP, and at 14:15 of the third. . . . Fraser finished with a WHL-leading 17 playoff goals. He and teammate Max Reinhart, who had 15 goals, had 27 points, one shy of Porlland F Ryan Johansen, who led the league. Also at 27 points were Ice F Cody Eakin, Ice D Brayden McNabb and Portland Fs Sven Bartschi and Nino Niederreiter. . . Ice F Jesse Ismond, who had four points in Game 5, closed it out with an empty-netter. Ismond also had an assist, giving him six games over the last two games. . . . McNabb had two assists, giving him a WHL-leading 24. . . . Eakin, who was acquired by Chynoweth from the Swift Current Broncos in a blockbuster deal on Jan. 9, put up 27 points, including 11 goals, in 19 playoff games. In 45 total games with the Ice, he had 71 points, 29 of them goals, and was plus-25. In the five-game final, he had nine points, including three goals. . . . Lieuwen finished with 26 saves, 10 fewer than Portland’s Mac Carruth. . . . Referees were Pat Smith and Nathan Wieler. . . . The Ice was 1-for-2 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 0-for-2. . . . Attendance was 10,947 as the Rose Garden, in its hockey configuration, was sold out for a second straight game.
Jim Beseda of the Oregonian covered Game 5 of the WHL final series. His story is right here.
Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune was there, too, and his story is right here.
Portland GM/head coach Mike Johnston has agreed to a four-year contract extension. Travis Green, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and assistant coach Kyle Gustafson also have agreed to four-year extensions.
Kerry Eggers, the Tribune’s veteran sports columnist, has that and more right here.
F Duncan Milroy (Swift Current, Kootenay, 1998-2003) signed a one-year contract extension with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL). He had three goals and 12 assists in 32 games for Krefeld after starting the season with Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga), where he had three goals and three assists in 20 games. . . .
F Justin Kelly (Spokane, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with the DEG Metro Stars Dusseldorf (Germany, DEL). He had 11 goals and 18 assists in 52 games with the Krefeld Pinguinie (Germany, DEL) this season.
Steve Ewen is one of the good guys and not just in sports . . . one of the good guys. Period.
And it has finally happened — he is going back home. To live. Yes, he is finally using that Get Out of Jail Free card that he got for Christmas.
Ewen, who has covered the Vancouver Giants and the WHL for the Vancouver Province, has been in hospital and rehab since late November when he was diagnosed with a kind of cancer that only he knows how to spell. He also has gone — as he must have written in his previous life — “under the knife” on eight separate occasions.
Anyway . . . for the latest on his saga check out Crush The Tumour With Humour’s latest entries right here and right here.
And once you’ve read that stop whining about the officiating.
In the QMJHL’s final, the visiting Gatineau Olympiques scored a 3-2 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, to take the series to a sixth game. . . . The Sea Dogs, with a 3-2 lead, have another chance to wrap it up when they play in Gatineau on Sunday. . . . Gatineau G Maxime Clermont stopped 25 shots, five more than Saint John’s Jacob DeSerres. . . . Attendance was 6,488.
F Reed Linaker of the AJHL’s St. Albert Steel has committed to play for the Penn State Nittany Lions, who will begin play in the fall of 2012. Linaker, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, was a 10th round pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL’s 2006 bantam draft.
If you are a regular visitor here, you may have noticed that Blogger was having some technical problems. Anyway, this is stuff that didn’t show up due to those problems. . . .
In the OHL on Thursday night, the host Owen Sound Attack got 41 saves from G Jordan Binnington as it beat the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 3-2 to tie the championship final at 3-3. . . . Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Mississauga. . . . Of course, Mississauga is the host team for the Memorial Cup, so both teams already have berths in the four-team tournament.
D Martin Marincin of the Prince George Cougars signed a three-year deal with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers earlier this month. reports that his annual AHL salary will be US$67,500, with NHL salaries of $690,000, $690,000 and $900,000. He got a $270,000 signing bonus over three years. . . . Marincin was selected by the Oilers in the second round of the NHL’s 2010 draft.
Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press says the OHL draft is letting down the weaker teams and suggests that it’s time to stop the games being played by players, parents, agents, err, advisers and hockey executives.
That piece is right here.
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