Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday . . .

It's here!!! It's here!!! The New Scoreboard!!! #WH... on Twitpic
The Lethbridge Hurricanes tweeted this photo on Wednesday as workers began
to install the new scoreclock, with video screens, at the city's ENMAX Centre.

D Trevor Johnson (Kootenay, Seattle, Tri-City, 1998-2003) signed a two-year contract extension with Valpellice (Italy Serie A1). He had eight goals and 19 assists in 30 games for Valpellice this season. Johnson was a member of Italy's national team which won their group of the World Championships Division 1 and promotion to the World Championships next season. . . .
D Renat Mamashev (Moose Jaw, 2000-01) signed a two-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). He had six goals and 14 assists in 50 games for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) this season.

That one had to hurt.
On Saturday night, Kootenay Ice F Matt Fraser needed help getting off the ice in Portland. He was unable to put any weight on his left leg after a collision with Winterhawks F Brad Ross and there was speculation Fraser might not play again in the series.
However, Fraser, a 20-year-old from Red Deer, didn’t miss a game.
And there he was on Wednesday night, scoring from the back door off a pass from F Jesse Ismond at 13:08 of OT — on the PP — to give the host Ice a 5-4 victory in Game 5 of the WHL’s championship series. Ross was serving the second of a two-game suspension for the Game 2 hit on Fraser.
“It was kind of a broken play by their defenceman,” Fraser said. “They tried to pass it up and I managed to glove it down and bring the puck into the zone. I heard (Max) Reinhart coming in there and he made a great move to get by the first defender and slid it to Izzy and he made one heck of a pass to find me back door and it was pretty easy from there.”
The Ice, which has won 14 of its last 15 games, including eight straight at home, now holds a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. Kootenay’s first opportunity to wrap it up comes Friday night in Portland.
The Ice actually led 4-2 with time winding down in the third period, only to have the Winterhawks force OT on goals by F Ryan Johansen, his 13th of the playoffs, at 16:25, and F Ty Rattie, his ninth, at 19:43.
Kootenay had gotten two goals from each of F Jesse Ismond, who has four, and F Cody Eakin, who has 11. Eakin’s second, at 12:30 of the third, gave the Ice a 4-2 lead in front of 3,593 fans, Kootenay’s largest home crowd of the season.
Johansen scored twice for Portland, with D Troy Rutkowski getting the other.
Ismond added two assists, and Eakin had one, while Ice D Joey Leach drew three helpers.
“It’s a career game for me,” Ismond said. “It’s a huge swing game in the series and to come out with the win and effort like that is big for the team.”
Kootenay G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 31 shots, two fewer than Portland’s Mac Carruth. The Ice outshot the visitors 11-4 in the OT.
The referees were Matt Kirk and Derek Zalaski. The Ice was 1-for-4 on the PP, with two of those coming in OT as Rattie went off for delay of game and F Sven Bartschi for roughing. The latter was in the penalty box when Fraser scored.
All told, Portland took seven of 13 minors, with F Nino Niederreiter, who has been relatively quiet in the final, going off twice with coincidental minors, once with D Brayden McNabb (cross-checking) and the other time with F Kevin King (roughing).
Travis Green, Portland’s assistant GM/assistant coach, offered: “We’re obviously disappointed. Our guys battled back from two two-goal (deficits). (The referees) let a lot of stuff go this whole game and all of a sudden they tighten things up in overtime. I really don’t understand that and it’s disappointing for our guys to battle back and have the game end like that.”
Jeff Bromley, whose blog Ice Chips is over there on the right, has Portland GM/head coach Mike Johnston talking about the Bartschi penalty in OT:
“It was a bad call. That’s my thoughts on it. I watched the video just to make sure. I thought (Kootenay) were getting the penalty. We were yelling for our goaltender to (come to) the bench. We thought we had the power play because (King) interfered with Bartschi coming around the net. Bartschi tried to jump out of the way of the hit. I’m not sure how a roughing call was called there but certainly I was surprised that an overtime call would go like that.”
NOTES: Ross will be eligible to return for Game 5. . . . Portland F Tayler Jordan was back in the lineup, having sat out Game 3 with a one-game suspension. . . . Kootenay D James Martin wasn’t suspended for the charging major he incurred for a hit on Portland D Troy Rutkowski in Game 3. . . . Bartschi’s five-game goal-scoring streak came to an end. . . . Three of the four games now have gone to OT, with the Ice winning back-to-back contests in extra time. Portland won the opener in OT. Of course, that means the Ice now has won three in a row. . . . If needed, Game 6 would be played Sunday in Cranrook with a seventh game the next night in Portland.
Here is another note from Jeff Bromley:
“I would be remiss if I didn't mention the lack of suspension of James Martin from the blindside check to the head on Troy Rutkowski. I thought it should have been a game but I also thought (Riley) Boychuk should've got some time too. The explanation I was given is that the WHL has yet to adopt a check-to-the-head rule like the NHL and the OHL or Q. It will likely be put in place over the summer but, as of now, it's not there. Thus the non-suspensions on both checks.”
Ken Hodge, who holds the WHL record for career coaching victories, is alive and well and, as he says, he has to “cut the calluses off my hands on a regular basis.” Yes, he’s golfing his way through retirement. But, as Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune, writes in a story posted today, Hodge also remains active with the Winterhawks.
That story is right here.
In the QMJHL, the visiting Saint John Sea Dogs got a goal from F Ryan Tesink at 19:05 of the second OT and beat the Gatineau Olympiques, 4-3. . . . The Olympiques enjoyed a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:23 in the first OT but weren’t able to score. . . . The Sea Dogs hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven league final and can wrap it up at home on Friday. . . . Former WHL G Jacob DeSerres stopped 35 shots for the Sea Dogs. Tesink’s goal came on Saint John’s 64th shot of the game.
The gang at reports that Czech F Roman Horak, who signed a three-year deal with the New York Rangers earlier this month, will have an AHL salary of US$62,500 in each of the three seasons. His NHL salaries will be $605,000, $605,000 and $620,000. He got a $240,000 signing bonus over three years. Horak, who played with the Chilliwack Bruins for the last two seasons, was a fifth-round pick of the Rangers in the NHL’s 2009 draft.
The Central league’s Quad City Mallards announced Wednesday that they “have suspended operations effective immediately. “ In a news release, team president Chris Presson said: "We've worked extremely hard to make the Mallards a successful franchise, but in our current position we felt this was the proper decision given the uncertainty in the landscape of the industry." . . . The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, the host team for the 2012 RBC Cup, have added two former WHLers to their roster. F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) and F Robbie Ciolfi (Prince George, Seattle, 2008-10) came over as the future considerations in a deal with the Yorkton Terriers. Breitkreuz and Ciolfi were Yorkton’s two leading scorers and helped the Terriers get to the SJHL final, where they lost out to the La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . .
Matthew Wuest of the Halifax Metro takes a look at the best and worst of the CHL, over the last three seasons, and there are some interesting numbers right here.
The BCHL has made some meaty changes to its schedule, playoffs and roster sizes. For starters, the regular season will begin later and end later, and only eight teams, down from 14, will make the playoffs. Rosters are being trimmed from 23 to 21 players, with each team required to have at least one 16- and one 17-year-old on their roster.
For more, see this story right here by Susan Quinn of the Alberni Valley News that lays it all out right here.
Tweet of the day — This one comes from Wade Klippenstein, the Prince George Coguars’ assistant GM and director of player personnel: “Very thoughtful of my 4 year old son's teeball coach to stand at the far end of the dugout when he smokes! #lifeinasmalltown”
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