Wednesday, October 26, 2011

F Brett Connolly will be staying in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. General manager Steve Yzerman gave Connolly the news after a 4-3 victory over the host Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
That was Connolly’s ninth NHL game of the season. His contract kicks in once he dresses for a 10th game. Had the Lightning decided not to keep the sixth overall pick in the NHL’s 2010 draft, he would have had to be returned to the Prince George Cougars.
Connolly, playing on a line with veterans Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis, made a key play on Tampa Bay’s first goal last night as it came back from a 2-0 deficit. He got in strong on the forecheck, separating a defender from the puck. St. Louis then centred to Lecavalier, who scored to spark the comeback.
Meanwhile, F Ryan Johansen, who has to play with the Columbus Blue Jackets or return to the Portland Winterhawks, had a goal and an assist last night in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
Johansen was the fourth overall selection in the 2010 NHL draft.
He has played five games, totalling a goal and two assists, with those points all coming in his last two games.
F Jason Trott scored twice as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Hitmen 7-1 in Calgary on Tuesday night. Trott now has four goals in 14 games this season, after scoring twice in 32 outings last season. . . . Trott also had an assist last night — he got that with eight seconds left to play — and then completed the Gordie Howe hat trick by getting into a scrap four seconds later. . . .
F Cain Franson set up four goals as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Prince George Cougars 6-2. The teams, who will play a doubleheader in Prince George this weekend, combined for 182 minutes in penalties, 98 of those going to Vancouver. All told, referee Sean Raphael handed out 12 fighting majors and seven game misconducts. Vancouver has won three in a row. . . . Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun was at the game. His report is right here. . . . The Cougars, who have lost six straight, meet the Rockets in Kelowna tonight. The Rockets have lost eight of nine. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., referee Trevor Hanson wasn’t quite as busy, handing out five minors as the Victoria Royals got past the Tri-City Americans, 5-4. The Royals, who got 41 saves from G Keith Hamilton, were 2-for-3 on the PP. Tri-City G Eric Comrie, coming off two shutouts, was lifted seven minutes into the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots . . .
JUST NOTES: The WHL handed out three suspensions on Tuesday. Vancouver Giants D Blake Orban got four games for an interference major he incurred for a hit on Kelowna Rockets F Carter Rigby in Kelowna on Oct. 20. Orban has served three games. . . . D Kyle Verdino of the Seattle Thunderbirds got two games under supplemental discipline for an incident in a game at Everett on Oct. 21. . . . Kelowna F Filip Vasko got one game for a boarding major and game misconduct against the visiting Victoria Royals on Oct. 22. . . . Meanwhile, the OHL hit F Zack McQueen of the Windsor Spitfires with a 10-game sentence for a check to the head. A video explanation of that suspension is available on the OHL’s web site. . . . G Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans has been named the CHL’s goaltender of the week. He posted two 1-0 shutouts over the Cougars in Prince George on the weekend.
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