Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tim Tisdale (left) and Darrin McKechnie took part in a pregame ceremony
in Regina on Friday night to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a bus
crash in which four members of the Swift Current Broncos - Trent Kresse,
Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff - were killed. Tisdale was on
that Broncos team, while McKechnie played for the 1986-87 Pats.

(Photos courtesy Regina Pats)

D Robby Sandrock (Spokane, Swift Current, Medicine Hat, Kelowna, 1994-99) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, 2.Bundesliga) after his release by mutual agreement by Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had two goals and three assists in nine games for Medvescak this season. . . .
F Marcel Hossa (Portland, 1998-2001) was released by Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had six goals and 11 assists in 35 games for Spartak this season.
The Seattle Thunderbirds have launched @TbirdsGameday it’s right here. . . . According to Ian Henry, the director of media and public relations, “The idea is to separate our live game updates from other news and info we put out via Twitter. We are using Twitter a lot and there could be some fans who want to get just news and info from us but don’t want us jamming up their Twitter feed on game nights with a bunch of updates. This way those that want lots of updates and want to communicate with the team on game night have a separate Twitter to do this.”
WHL TRADE TRACKER (since Dec. 27):
Trades made: 3
Players: 9
Draft picks: 3
In Saskatoon, F Lukas Sutter scored three times as his Blades skated past the Prince Albert Raiders, 9-4. . . . Sutter, who has 14 goals, also had an assist and finished plus-5. . . . Saskatoon F Michael Burns had one assist and was plus-6. He wasn‘t able to beat Prince Albert G Cole Holowenko on a second-period penalty shot. . . . D Dalton Thrower had a goal and two assists in the first period as the Blades assumed a 4-1 lead. He finished with two goals, giving him six, and three helpers. . . . Saskatoon G Alex Moodie, in his first start, stopped 34 shots. . . . The Raiders had won five in a row. . . . Prince Albert F Kellan Tochkin was given a boarding major and game misconduct at 3:52 of the third period. . . .

In Brandon, F Michael St. Croix had two goals and an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the Wheat Kings, 7-1. . . . F Dylan Wruck added a goal and two assists. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit stopped 41 shots. . . . St. Croix has 22 goals. . . . Brandon G Brandon Anderson, making his sixth straight start, left after two periods. Curtis Honey, 17, made his WHL debut with 10 saves on 12 shots. . . . Edmonton has won 14 of its last 16 games. . . . Congratulations to Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings on 880 CKLQ. He was honoured before the game for having called 1,300 regular-season games. He has been the voice of the Wheat Kings since 1993 and, including playoffs and Memorial Cup games, has called 1,533 games. Luebke is the longest-serving play-by-play man in Wheat Kings’ history. . . .

In Regina, F Jordan Weal had a goal and three assists to lead the Pats to a 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The game was played on the 25th anniversary of the bus crash in which four Broncos players were killed. On Dec. 30, 1986, the Broncos were headed for Regina and a date with the Pats when their bus left the highway just east of Swift Current. . . . Weal has 58 points, including 21 goals, in 38 games. This was his 250th regular-season game. He has 327 career points, including 115 goals. . . . Freshman F Coda Gordon scord his 16th goal for the Broncos. . . . Regina G Matt Hewitt stopped 31 shots. . . .

In Cranbrook, D Brendan Kichton scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the host Kootenay Ice. . . . Spokane F Liam Stewart forced OT with his fourth goal, on the PP, at 7:02 of the third period. . . . Spokane G Mac Engel stopped 40 shots, two more than the Ice’s Mackenzie Skapski. . . . F Todd Fiddler, acquired Thursday from the Prince Albert Raiders, had a goal for the Chiefs. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers won their fifth straight game, beating the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 29 shots in improving to 21-8-4, 2.43, .925. He will be a candidate as the conference’s player of the year. . . . Lethbridge GM/head coach Rich Preston got tossed with 4:52 left in the third period so will be making a Happy New Year donation to the WHL office next week. . . . Medicine Hat F Curtis Valk gave his club a 3-1 lead just 10 seconds after Preston exited. . . . Lethbridge D Adam Henry got it to 3-2 at 17:56 but Bunz closed the door after that. . . .

In Kamloops, F Calder Brooks had a goal and two assists to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 6-3 victory over the Blazers. . . . Brooks has three goals this season. . . . The Hitmen erased a 1-0 Kamloops lead with five straight goals, three of them in the first period. . . . Kamloops D Austin Madaisky scored the game’s first goal; he has goals in four straight games. . . . The Blazers had won six in a row at home. . . . G Cam Lanigan was in goal for Kamloops, his first start since Dec. 2. He was gone after one period, though, having given up three goals on 10 shots. . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen, the first overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, got his first WHL goal to erase the Blazers’ 1-0 lead. . . . Kamloops D Jordan Thomson scored his first WHL goal in his third game. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, Thomson will be returning to midget AAA after a New Year’s Day game against the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . .

In Portland, F Ty Rattie had three goals and an assist to move into the WHL scoring lead as the Winterhawks snuck past the Victoria Royals, 7-6. . . . Portland beat visiting Victoria 6-3 on Wednesday night. . . . Portland has won 11 in a row at home. . . . Rattie has had three hat tricks this season. He now leads the WHL in goals (36) and points (67). . . . After playing to a 2-2 first-period draw, the teams combined for seven second-period goals, with Victoria emerging with a 6-5 lead on F Jamie Crooks’ third goal of the game and 20th of the season. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic tied it at 4:41 of the third on the PP and D Derrick Pouliot got the winner at 6:14. . . . Leipsic had two goals and two assists for Portland. His first goal, at 7:12 of the second, was the 11,000th in franchise history. . . . Portland F Brad Ross came up short on a late-second period penalty shot. The Winterhawks are 0-7 on penalty shots this season. . . . Ross did have three assists and now has a seven-game point streak going. . . . Victoria G Keith Hamilton stopped 47 shots, while Portland’s Mac Carruth turned aside 33. . . . Attendance was 8,836, giving Portland three straight home crowds of more than 8,000. . . .
In Vancouver, D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen scored his first WHL goal and it was the winner as the Giants beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-1. . . . Vannieuwenhuizen was playing in his 104th career game. . . . After the teams played through a scoreless first period, the Giants scored four second-period goals to take a 4-1 lead. . . . Vannieuwenhuizen also had an assist and was plus-3. . . . The Giants are 5-3-0 with assistant coach Glen Hanlon at the controls while head coach Don Hay is with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Calvin Pickard stopped 40 shots as his Seattle Thunderbirds blanked the Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-0, for their third straight victory. . . . The Warriors had won four in a row; they also had beaten Seattle in each of their last five meetings. . . . Pickard has three shutouts this season and 10 in his career and they haven’t been easy. He has stopped 43, 37 and 40 shots in them. . . . F Tyler Alos scored his second goal of the season at 18:46 of the second period, with F Burke Gallimore gettings his 16th, via the PP, at 1:37 of the third. . . . The game was the first of Moose Jaw’s U.S. Division swing. The Warriors meet the Everett Silvertips tonight.
F Chance Braid, Prince Albert.
D Tyler Yaworski, Prince Albert.
F Brendan Hurley, Kootenay.
F Daulton Siwak, Prince George.
In LaSalle, Ont., G Tristan Jarry (Edmonton) stopped 34 shots as Team Pacific beat the Czech Republic 4-0 to go to 2-0 at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . F Sam Reinhart (Kootenay) scored twice and leads the tournament with four. . . . F Curtis Lazar (Edmonton) and D Kyle Burroughs (Regina) also scored. . . . F Greg Chase (Calgary) had two assists. . . . Team Pacific plays Russia this afternoon in LaSalle. . . . Team West, which didn’t play Friday, will play the Czechs in Tecumseh, Ont., tonight. . . .
Tim Tisdale, a former member of the Swift Current Broncos, took part in a ceremonial faceoff prior to last night’s game in Regina. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post talked with Tisdale and that story is right here.
The legendary Ernie (Punch) McLean is in the news these days.
Here is the first paragraph of Darah Hansen’s story from the Vancouver Sun:
“An 84-year-old widow is suing a British Columbia Hockey Hall of Famer, alleging she gave him thousands of dollars in gold and silver and he won't give it back.”
Hansen’s complete story is right here.

Tony Hand, who gave the WHL a whirl back in the day, has been named head coach of the Great Britain national team. That story is right here. Hand had eight points in three games with the Victoria Cougars in 1986-87 before choosing to return home.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star weighs in on the impact of speed on the NHL’s concussion problem. That piece is right here.

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