Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Portland Winterhawks will visit the Chiefs in Spokane tonight for what will be the last game for both teams before the Christmas break.
It also will be the last game that old friend Dave Trimmer will cover for the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Trimmer, the man on the Chiefs’ beat for the newspaper, is taking an early retirement.
Here’s hoping the two teams give him something memorable about which to write.
Make it a good one, Trim!
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JUST NOTES:
After getting F Oliver Gabriel back from the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, the Portland Winterhawks had two weeks to move one of their four 20-year-olds players. They did Friday, losing F Charles Wells on a waiver claim by the Moose Jaw Warriors. Wells had seven points and four penalty minutes in 31 games with Portland. . . . Wells, perhaps having seen the writing on the wall, had left the Winterhawks on Wednesday and was on their suspended list. . . . His departure leaves Portland with Gabriel, F Dillon Wagner and D William Wrenn as its 20-year-old players. . . . The Warriors now have three on their roster, in Wells, F Brett Lyon and F Kenton Miller. . . .
The Vancouver Giants will be adding Russian F Alex Kuvaev, 18, to their roster after Christmas. He is expected to be in Vancouver in time to play against the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 27. Kuvaev played last season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes but was released after the season. His right were picked up by Kootenay, but the Ice dropped him when he said he was going to play in Russia. When that didn’t work out so well, he decided to return to the WHL, by which time the Giants had added him to their protected list. . . . 
The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their winning streak to 17 on Friday night, beating the visiting Westside Warriors, 5-1. Penticton tied a franchise record with the victory and can break the record tonight when they play host to the Powell River Kings. It should be a good match. The Vees go into the game with a 29-3-0-2 record; the Kings are 18-10-2-2 and just three points behind the Coastal Conference-leading Cowichan Valley Capitals. . . . The Kings boast the BCHL’s best defensive record, giving up just 2.34 goals per game. The Vees are scoring 5.29 times per game; they are the only team in the 16-team league scoring more than four goals a game. . . .
The NHL’s New Jersey Devils retired the number (27) that was worn by retired D Scott Niedermayer, who is a product of the Kamloops Blazers. Think about this for a moment: Niedermayer has won six different championships — Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Cup of Hockey, World Championship, World Junior Championship and Memorial Cup. . . . I mean, seriously, think about that for a moment! . . .
Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos, reported early this morning that  F Trevor Cameron, 19, who was released by the club earlier in the week, has joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.
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FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:
In Brandon, F Colin Smith broke a 2-2 tie at 3:29 of the third period as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . Smith’s goal came with the Blazers shorthanded; it was their WHL-leading 12th shorthanded goal of the season. They scored four all of last season. . . . Smith has 39 points, including 18 goals, in 34 games. Last season, in 72 games, he finished with 50 points, 21 of them goals. . . . Brandon has allowed a shorthanded goal in each of its last three games. . . . Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave stopped 29 shots as he ran his record to 16-4-1. He is an 18-year-old freshman from Calgary who was the AJHL’s rookie of the year last season with the Drumheller Dragons. He has started seven straight games and 14 of 15. . . . Kamloops is 3-2-0 on an East Division swing that concludes tonight against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Blazers associate coach Dave Hunchak spent the previous four seasons as Moose Jaw’s head coach. His contract wasn’t renewed after last season. . . . Brandon F Alessio Bertaggia sat this one out with a shoulder injury. Health permitting, he will play for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship. . . . Kamloops remains without F Jordan DePape (shoulder, out until at least March), F Chase Schaber (leg) and F Matt Needham (head). . . . DePape joined the Blazers for part of the road trip, but returned home to Winnipeg after the game in Brandon. . . .
 
In Prince Albert, F Michal Hlinka ended the sixth round of a shootout with a goal to give the Raiders a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Raiders have won five in a row at home. . . . The Rockets led this one 1-0 and 2-1, before Prince Albert F Mark McNeill tied it at 9:18 of the third period with his 15th goal of the season. . . . F Justin Maylan had a goal, his 18th, and an assist for the Raiders. . . . Kelowna is 1-2-2 on its East Division trek. It wraps up tonight against the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Blades, 4-2. . . . F Brett Brooks, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, scored his first goal – it came in his 21st game – and it stood up as the winner. He broke a 2-2 tie at 12:54 of the second period. . . . The Blades had F Jake Trask back in the lineup after he served a two-game WHL suspension. . . . Moose Jaw G Luke Siemens stopped 37 shots. . . . Among Moose Jaw’s scratches was F Cody Beach, who was serving a one-game WHL suspension for accumulation of embellishment penalties. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Elgin Pearce scored the lone shootout goal as the Kootenay Ice edged the Swift Current Broncos, 5-4. . . . Pearce, who scored three times in regulation time, was the only scorer to score in the shootout. . . . He has 14 goals this season. . . . The Ice went into the game having won just once in its previous six outings. . . . Pearce forced OT with his third goal of the game, at 17:03 of the third. . . . Swift Current F Taylor Vause scored his 21st goal of the season; it was his 150th career point. . . . During the game, the Ice lost F Joe Antilla and F Max Reinhart with undisclosed injuries. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Brady Ramsay scored at 1:22 of OT to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . It was Ramsay’s 13th goal this season. . . . Lethbridge D Daniel Johnston scored his first goal of the season at 6:47 of the third period to forge a 4-4 tie. Johnston, a 19-year-old from Calgary, also had two assists for the first three-point game of his career. He had had seven career two-point games. This was the 173rd regular-season game of his career. . . . Johnston has five points over his last two games; he has 11 points in 20 games this season. . . F Phil Tot also had a goal and two assists for Lethbridge. . . . The Royals got two goals and an assist from D Jesse Pauls. . . . The Hurricanes have won three in a row and seven of 10. . . .

In Prince George, the Vancouver Giants scored three third-period goals and beat the Cougars, 3-2. . . . The Cougars took a 1-0 lead into the third period. . . . Vancouver F Jackson Houck broke a 2-2 tie with his fourth goal of the season at 10:19. . . . F Cain Franson had a goal, his 12th, and two assists for the Giants. . . . The Cougars had won three in a row. . . . Vancouver G Adam Morrison stopped 19 shots as he posted his 20th victory. . . . The start of the game was delayed after a pane of glass was broken in the pregame warmup. This is the third time in the last four games that the Giants have gone through this. . . . The Giants have brought in F Brodyn Nielsen and D Tyler Morrison to help them through the weekend. They are without F Brendan Gallagher (Canada) and F Marek Tvrdon (Slovakia), both of whom are preparing for the World Junior Championship, while D David Musil (Czech Republic) is to leave today. . . . Nielsen, 17, plays for the North Vancouver Wolf Pack of the junior B Pacific International league. He had 20 points in 24 games going into the weekend. Morrison, 16, is playing midget AAA in Sherwood Park, Alta. . . . The Cougars were without D Martin Marincin, who will play for Slovakia in the WJC. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Brendan Shinnimin had two goals and two assists as the Tri-City Americans beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1. . . . F Patrick Holland and F Adam Hughesman each had a goal and two assists. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 23 shots. The 16-year-old has a record of 12-3-0. . . . Seattle took 53 of 96 penalty minutes in a game that featured six fighting majors. The teams play again tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . . The Americans were 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . Hughesman’s goal was his 113th with the Americans, tying him with Dylan Stanley for seventh on the franchise’s career list. Hughesman moved ahead of Taylor Procyshen and Eric Johansson last night. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips ended their 10-game losing skid with a 6-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett G Kent Simpson stopped 44 shots, 19 of them in the second period when his side was outshot 21-4. . . . The Silvertips trailed 2-1 after the first period but then scored three times in the second and twice in the third. . . . Everett F Josh Winquist scored twice, giving him seven this season. . . . Spokane took 44 of 86 penalty minutes in a game that included four scraps. . . . Former Everett G Leland Irving made his NHL debut last night, stopping 39 of 41 shots for the Calgary Flames as they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the host Florida Panthers. . . . Irving was selected as the game’s first star. . . . Former Spokane D Jared Cowen, who is 20, had a goal and three assists to help the Ottawa Senators to a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played 28:11 and was plus-3. . . .

In Calgary, G Matt Hewitt stopped 32 shots as the Regina Pats beat the Hitmen, 3-2. . . . F Trevor Cheek gave Calgary a 1-0 lead in the first period. . . . The Pats got the next three goals, with F Jordan Weal tying it with his 18th at 6:51 and F Justin Kirkland giving the Pats the lead with his first at 17:18. . . . Kirkland, who played three games with the Kelowna Rockets earlier this season, was playing his first game with Regina. . . . According to the WHL website, Kirkland was born on Nov. 30, 2011, meaning he was 16 days old when he scored his first goal. . . . Actually, Kirkland is a 15-year-old from Camrose, Alta., who has 16 points in 26 games with the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos in Wilcox, Sask. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . (As you can see from the two comments on the end of this, Kirkland was, in fact, playing for the Kelowna Rockets. Apparently, the Pats' goal scorer was Lane Scheidl. Just another error with the WHL website.) . . . Calgary F Brady Brassart was given a match penalty for attempt to injure late in the third period. He likely can expect a call from the WHL office. . . .
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FRIDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Dylan McIlrath, Moose Jaw.
D Sam Grist, Tri-City (double minor).
D Tyler King, Spokane.

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