Saturday, October 8, 2011

Connor Rankin (27) of the Tri-City Americans and Zach Franko (9) of the
Kelowna Rockets battle for position Friday night in Kennewick, Wash.

(Photo courtesy John Allen/Tri-City Americans)
F Emerson Etem scored four times but it wasn’t enough as his Medicine Hat Tigers dropped a 5-4 decision to the Royals in Victoria. The Tigers, who are to play the Giants in Vancouver tonight, had beaten the host Royals 4-2 on Thursday. . . . On Friday, Victoria D Hayden Rintoul, the team captain, broke a 4-4 tie with 24 seconds left in the third period. Rintoul, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice over the summer, had two goals and two assists, while F Kevin Sundher, healthy after fighting off a flu bug, had four assists. . . . The Tigers have scored 22 goals in six games; Etem has 11 of those scores in just five games. Etem could have had five goals but came up short on a second-period penalty shot on G Keith Hamilton. . . . With 11 goals and no assists (11-0), Etem is an early favourite for the Cy Young Award. . . . Etem has had two four-goal games in his career, the other coming in his freshman season. . . . Medicine Hat was without F Cole Grbavac, its captain, on Friday. He apparently has a minor injury of some kind. . . . The Royals, already without D Tyler Stahl (concussion), now are without D Zach Habscheid, who is believed to have a concussion after being hit from behind by Medicine Hat F Kale Kessy on Wednesday night. Kessy, who was given a double minor, now is under one of those TBD suspensions. . . .
In Kent, Wash., the Prince Albert Raiders got three goals from D Tyler Vanscourt as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-0. The Thunderbirds slipped to 0-3-0 with the loss. . . . Raiders G Eric Williams stopped 36 shots for his first shutout this season and the second of his career. . . . Vanscourt, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs last month, scored his first three goals of the season. He went into the game with five goals in 90 regular-season games. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Kelowna Rockets lost for the first time i four games this season as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Tri-City Americans. . . .  Tri-City got two goals from F Adam Hughesman and 27 saves from freshman G Eric Comrie. . . . The Rockets were the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to taste defeat this season. . . .
F Michael Ferland had three goals as the host Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the Prince George Cougars, 6-3. . . . It was the second three-goal regular-season game of Ferland’s career. He also has two playoff hat tricks. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone had three assists. He leads the WHL scoring race with 16 points in six games. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock, who is in his second season but isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2013, had a goal and two assists. . . . The Wheat Kings now are headed out on a 13-day swing during which time they will play seven games. They open Wednesday in Spokane against the Chiefs. . . .
Mark Ferner picked up his first victory as head coach of the Everett Silvertips as they beat the visiting Portland Winterhawk, 4-2, behind 40 saves from G Kent Simpson. . . . The Silvertips now are 1-1-2. . . . Portland had D Joe Morrow and D Tyler Wotherspoon in its lineup for the first time this season. Morrow had been with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins; Wotherspoon is had offseason shoulder surgery. . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Martin Gernat scored twice to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Warriors. Gernat, in his first season, has 10 points, including five goals, in six games. . . . D Collin Bowman was in the Warriors’ lineup for the first time this season, having returned from the AHL’s Connecticut Whale. . . . The Oil Kings are without D Griffin Reinhart, who is under a TBD suspension for a kneeing major in a game against the visiting Kootenay Ice on Wednesday. . . .
In Regina, the Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-4 in a shootout. . . . The Hurricanes tied the game 4-4 when F Brody Sutter scored on a penalty shot at 18:24 of the third period.
JUST NOTES: Hockey Canada has added Scott Walker, who is in his first season as the head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm, to the coaching staff of the national junior team. Walker replaces Pascal Vincent, who now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Don Hay of the Vancouver Giants is the national junior team’s head coach, while the other assistants are George Burnett of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls and Ryan Huska of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . F Logan Harland, who was reassigned earlier in the week by the Vancouver Giants, now is with the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades have F Darian Dziurzynski back after he was returned by the AHL’s Portland Pirates. Dziurzynski, 20, had 57 points, including 35 goals, and 125 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. . . . His return leaves the Blades with four 20-year-olds, the others being F Michael Burns, F Jesse Paradis and F Jake Trask. . . . The WHL’s 20-year-old declaration day is Oct. 13, but the Blades will have 14 days after Dziurzynski’s return to make their decision because he is coming back from a professional team.
Jim Thomson, a former NHL enforcer, found himself in Don Cherry’s crosshairs on Thursday night. Thomson then came out Friday and blasted fighting in hockey. He also can’t understand why major junior hockey is working to elminate headshots but still allows fighting.
As he told Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo! Sports:
“How does it make sense that we’re taking these headshots out but I’m still allowed to drop my gloves and land three bombs on your melon – hit you square in the skull with three punches – but we’re taking head shots out?”
Sapurji’s complete story is right here.
Today’s good read comes from John Blanchette, a columnist with the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Blanchette writes about Joe Tofflemire, who went from Post Falls, Idaho, which is near Spokane, to an NFL career as an offensive lineman.
He was buried Monday, dead at 46, another former NFLer who left this world far too soon.
Blanchette’s piece is right here.
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