Saturday, December 3, 2011

THE COACHING GAME:
The OHL’s Guelph Storm has extended head coach Scott Walker's contract through 2013-14. Walker took over as head coach a year ago; the team is 30-22-6 under him. He will serve as an assistant coach under Don Hay with Canada’s national junior team later this month. . . .
Bob Woods (Brandon, 1987-89) now is an assistant coach under Bruce Boudreau with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Woods started the season with Boudreau and the Washington Capitals. When Boudreau was fired earlier this week, Woods was on the bench for new head coach Dale Hunter’s first game, but was let go after that game as the Caps brought in Jim Johnston to work with their defence. . . .
With head coach Dale Hunter having moved up to the NHL, the OHL’s London Knights have had to shuffle their coaching deck. Mark Hunter now is the head coach and former NHL D Rob Ramage has moved from his eye-in-the-sky role to the bench. That move has caused some controversy in London. Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the situation right here.
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JUST NOTES: F Matej Stransky of the Saskatoon Blades isn’t one of the 23 forwards on the Czech Republic’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old, who had 26 points in 71 games last season, has put up 28 points in his first 27 games this season. That, apparently, did impress anyone in his homeland. . . .
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In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored four third-period goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 7-5. . . . The Ice led this one 4-1 at 10:02 of the second and 5-3 going into the third. . . . F Mark McNeill scored three times for the Raiders. He tied it 5-5 at 2:25 of the third while shorthanded and got the winner at 12:11. He has 12 goals this season. . . . McNeill also had two assists and was plus-4. . . . F Justin Maylan scored the Teddy Bear goal, at 10:10 of the first period. . . .

In Regina, the Vancouver Giants broke a 1-1 tie with three third-period goals and beat the Pats, 4-1. . . . Vancouver F Brendan Gallagher scored his 23rd of the season into an empty net. . . . Vancouver is 3-1-1 on its East Division swing. . . .

In Calgary, F Victor Rask scored twice, including the OT winner, as the Hitmen got past the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Spokane F Darren Kramer forced OT with his 11th goal at 3:35 of the third. . . . Rask got the winner at 2:26 of extra time. He has a team-high 15 goals. . . . F Alex Gogolev scored Calgary’s other goal, his 11th. . . . Calgary has 25 goals from its two import players. . . . The Chiefs are 1-1-1 on their Central Division tour. . . . Spokane G Luke Lee-Knight, playing in his hometown, stopped 27 shots. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Josh Nicholls scored a PP goal in overtime to give the Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . The Blades had lost their previous three games, all at home. They’ve now won six in a row on the road. . . . Nicholls got his 19th goal at 1:06 of OT. . . . F Hunter Shinkaruk, with his 26th, gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead just 2:55 into the first. . . . Nicholls tied it at 19:21 of the second. . . . Shinkaruk is one off the WHL’s goal-scoring lead, that is shared by Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem and Portland F Ty Rattie. . . .

In Brandon, F Darian Dziurzynski scored three times to lead the Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . It was the third three-goal game of his career and the second since being acquired from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season. He’s got 18 goals this season, 15 in 19 games with Brandon. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock had a goal and two assists. His score was the Teddy Bear goal, at 1:24 of the second period. . . . Red Deer D Matt Dumba took a puck in the mouth in the first period and left the game, but returned early in the second period. . . . The Rebels, who now have lost eight in a row, played without six regulars — D Alex Petrovic and F Turner Elson are serving WHL suspensions, while D Aaron Borejko, F Josh Cowen, F Daulton Siwak and F Adam Kambeitz are injured. . . . Red Deer had F Dexter Bricker, 16 of the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires and D Kevin Pochuk, 16, of the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild in the lineup. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone, the WHL scoring leader, was held to one assist. He has 61 points and an eight-point lead over Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem. . . .

In Portland, F Oliver Gabriel did the Gordie Howe hat trick in his first game back with Portland as the Winterhawks beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-1. . . . Gabriel, 20, returned to the Winterhawks this week from the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . Gabriel scored the game’s first goal, just four minutes into the first period. He later added an assist and got into a scrap. . . . Portland has won eight in a row at home. . . . F Josh Birkholz scored for Everett to extend his points streak to a season-high nine games. . . . Everett has lost five in a row. . . . In the NHL, F Nino Niederreiter, a 19-year-old whose rights belong to Portland, scored his first goal of the season for the New York Islanders. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that Silvertips D Ryan Murray, who has been out with a high ankle sprain since Oct. 19, “suffered a small setback during the week and will be given a few extra days to recover.” The Silvertips had hoped he would play this weekend. . . . Also according to Patterson, Everett F Zach McPhee had arthroscopic surgery on a knee on Thursday and won’t play again until the new year. . . .

In Kelowna, F Robin Soudek scored twice as the Victoria Royals got past the Rockets, 2-1. . . . Soudek got his 15th at 8:02 of the second and scored again, on the PP, at 8:12 of the third. . . . In between, F Colton Sissons got his 15th, via the PP, for Kelowna. . . . The game included eight fighting majors, four of them in the game’s first five minutes. . . . As well, Kelowna F Jessey Astles took a major and game misconduct for a check to the head. . . . The Royals went into this one winless in six. They now go into Kamloops for their fourth meeting in nine nights with the Blazers. Kamloops won the first three games in this series and is 4-0 against Victoria this season. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Justin Feser had a goal and two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Americans improved to 20-7-0, as they became the first team to 20 victories this season. . . . F Adam Hughesman got his 20th goal and set up another for the Americans.
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FRIDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Harrison Ruopp, Prince Albert
F Trevor Cheek, Calgary
F Mason Wilgosh, Tri-City
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Bill Burke, who owns the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, has told the city of St. Catharines, to build it or we will leave. With that in mind, Sunaya Sapurji over at Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the OHL and the possibility of moving franchises. That piece is right here.
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Today’s good read comes from Gregg Doyel, the national columnist at CBSSports.com. Every coach who has to deal with the media would be well-served to pay attention to this . . . and it’s right here.
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gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
     
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