Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pat Conacher, the head coach of the Regina Pats, has been fined $500 for comments he made to the Regina Leader-Post’s Greg Harder after a 3-2 OT loss to the visiting Kootenay Ice on Wednesday.
It always is interesting when someone associated with a team is critical of the officials because it hardly ever happens in the vanilla world of the WHL.
In the interests of clarity, here’s what happened. . . . The Pats lost 3-2 on a PP goal by Sam Reinhart scored on a back-door play at 3:32 of exta time. Regina D Brandon Davidson was in the penalty box at the time.
Anyway, here’s what Harder wrote (that applause you hear is coming from other WHL coaches, none of whom are likely to help Conacher pay the fine despite their feelings):
Afterwards, Pats head coach Pat Conacher was less-than impressed with the work of referees Chris Crich and Cole Hamm.
“Those guys don’t work hard enough to get down the ice and they’re definitely not together. They’re lazy getting up the ice,” said Conacher, who referred to the penalty against Davidson as a “very bad call both ways.”
“There should have been an interference call on Jordan Weal (late in the third) and there could have been a holding call on Dyson Stevenson at the blue line. Then they come down and call that on Brandon. I’m going, ‘Come on guys, give us a break.’ ”
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, hit D Dylan McIlrath of the Moose Jaw Warriors with an eight-game suspension on Friday, the result of a check to the head of Victoria Royals D Jesse Zgraggen on Wednesday.
As a result, McIlrath sat out the Warriors’ 6-5 OT victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Friday night. Zgraggen, who is concussed, sat out the Royals’ 6-4 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert.
The WHL doesn’t do video explanations, but here is what was posted: “Primary contact was made to the head of the opponent. The hit resulted in an injury to the opponent. This is the second suspension the player has received this season.”
Doerksen is going to be busy for the next day or two, as well.
Three players left games last night with major penalties and game misconducts.
In Swift Current, Broncos D Colby Cave took a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Edmonton Oil Kings F Mason Geertsen, who left the ice on a stretcher and was taken to hospital.
In Prince Albert, Raiders F Austin Bourhis was given a charging major and a game misconduct.
In Calgary, D Alex Roach of the Hitmen took a major and game misconduct for a check to the head.
You often hear WHL players say something about “Living the life.” Oftentimes it is said with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Like this Friday afternoon tweet from Edmonton Oil Kings D Mark Pysyk before a game in Swift Current against the Broncos:
“If you absolutely love pasta I challenge you to join a hockey team for a year, and see if you still feel the same. #breakfast #lunch #dinner”
And then there was this Twitter exchange between Regina D Brandon Davidson and Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz, both of whom are Edmonton Oilers’ draft picks . . . It went like this:
Bunz: “Game in Regina tonight against @bdavy3 . Keep your head up kid;) #throwingbows”
Davidson: “@tylerbunz wondering where to shoot tonight? Ill see if u got a quick chest first and go from there #cheese?;)”
Bunz: “@bdavy3 last time you went Chee it didn't go to well;) maybe if you shoot through screens like you always do you'll bury again #shothaseyes”
Davidson: “@tylerbunz ahhh true...true. Don't remind me :s #seeyaafter”
So what happened later? Well, Davidson had one assist and Bunz stopped 32 shots. And the Tigers won 3-2 in OT.
In the OHL, F Brody Silk of the Sudbury Wolves drew a 12-game suspension for a “blow to the head of an unsuspecting player.” Silk punched F Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs in the head during a scrum on Jan. 13. Strome, selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the NHL’s 2011 draft, ended up with multiple facial fractures and a broken nose. He has undergone surgery. Strome played for Canada at the recently completed World Junior Championship. . . . In the BCHL last night, the Penticton Vees ran their winning streak to 24 games with a 4-0 victory over the visiting Westside Warriors. The Vees next play Sunday when they are at home to the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . .
F Brett Connolly of the Tampa Bay Lightning played six minutes 28 seconds over 11 shifts in a 2-1 victory over the host Dallas Stars last night. He played six shifts in the first period, three in the second and two in the third. He didn’t have any shots on goal, but took two tripping minors. . . . Hello, Steve, this is Bob Tory calling. Yeah, Tri-City Americans. . . .
In Regina, F Cole Grbavac’s OT goal gave the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Pats. . . . Grbavac, the team captain, scored his seventh goal of the season at 2:07 of extra time. . . . Regina F Lane Scheidl forced OT with his 16th goal at 8:18 of the third. . . . F Emerson Etem got his 40th goal of the season for the Tigers. . . . Emerson now has at least one goal in nine straight games, the longest such streak in all of the CHL this season. . . . The Tigers are at home to the Swift Current Broncos tonight. . . . F Jordan Weal had a goal, his 29th, and an assist for Regina. . . . The Pats have lost three in a row. . . .

In Swift Current, D Mark Pysyk scored twice and added an assist to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . The victory was Edmonton’s 31st of the season, tying the modern franchise record that was set last season. . . . Pysyk has five goals this season. . . . The Oil Kings scored the game’s first six goals and took a 5-0 lead into the second period. . . . Edmonton F Tyler Maxwell opened the scoring for the fourth straight game. He finished with two goals, giving him 27. . . . Edmonton F Mason Geertsen was injured late in the game when he took a hit from D Colby Cave in front of the Oil Kings’ bench. Geertsen received attention from both trainers, a doctor and EMT personnel before leaving the ice on a stretcher. . . . Cave was given a charging major and game misconduct, so almost certainly is looking at a suspension. . . . The Broncos took 93 of the game’s 151 penalty minutes as handed out by referee Nathan Wieler. . . . There were eight fighting majors. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry, getting into his eighth game of the season, stopped 21 shots. Jarry, 16, is 5-2-0, 2.60, .906 . . . Shortly after the game had ended, the Oil Kings tweeted: “Mason Geertsen has gone to the hospital, hes conscious and alert the early indications seem positive.” . . . That was followed shortly after by: “Word from the Trainers is everything is OK with Mason Geertsen will remain in observation over night. #GetWellSoonMase” . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Andrew Johnson scored twice, including the OT winner, as the Warriors dumped the Kootenay Ice, 6-5. . . . Johnson, who has 13 goals, got the winner at 2:27 of OT. . . . Moose Jaw D Joel Edmundson tied the game with 51 seconds left in the third period. That was his first goal of the season. . . . F Brock Montgomery, who is from Moose Jaw, had given the Ice a 5-4 lead on the PP at 18:53 of the third. . . . F Jonathon Martin of the Ice had two goals, giving him four. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart scored his 16th goal of the season, setting a franchise record for 16-year-old skaters. F Nigel Dawes had scored 15 in 2001-02. . . . The Ice was 2-3 on the PP; the Warriors were 2-4. . . . For a second straight game, the Warriors went without G Luke Siemens. After he sat out Wednesday’s game, head coach Mike Stothers said Siemens needed to get “re-focussed.” . . . Hmmmm. . . . G Spencer Tremblay is expected to make his third straight start for the Warriors tonight in Regina, with Siemens backing him up. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Victoria Royals scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Raiders, 6-4. . . . F Austin Carroll broke a 4-4 tie at 7:48 of the third period and F Logan Nelson added insurance at 12:30 with his 19th score this season. . . . The Raiders had pulled into a 4-4 tie with two goals early in the third period, F Anthony Bardaro getting his 21st goal 40 seconds in and D Tyler Yaworski equalizing at 1:27. . . . Nelson and F Jamie Crooks each had a goal and two assists for the Royals, who are 2-3-0 on an East Division swing that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Raiders F Justin Maylan celebrated his 21st birthday with three assists. He has 59 points, including 40 helpers, in 46 games. . . . The Royals were without F Tim Traber, who was injured in a fight on Wednesday in Moose Jaw, and D Jesse Zgraggen, who was injured on that hit from Moose Jaw D Dylan McIlrath. But D Zach Habscheid, who also left Wednesday’s game early, was back in the lineup. . . . Raiders F Austin Bourhis was given a charging major and game misconduct nine minutes into the second period. . . .

In Saskatoon, D Kyle Schmidt’s first goal of the season stood up as the winner as the Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . The teams split a doubleheader, as Brandon had won 6-4 there on Wednesday. . . . That was Schmidt’s first goal in 36 games this season. He had three goals in 65 games with the Calgary Hitmen last season. Oh, he turned 19 on Friday. . . . Brandon G Brandon Anderson stopped 43 shots. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone got his 31st goal. . . . The Blades had a 20-8 edge in shots in the second period. . . . Saskatoon had F Josh Nicholls (knee) back in the lineup, but G Andrey Makarov (concussion) remains out. . . . G Alex Moodie stopped 33 shots for the Blades and was named the game’s first star. He is expected to rejoin the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild next week when Makarov returns to game action. . . .  Moodie has beaten Brandon twice in three starts while filling in for Makarov. . . .

In Calgary, F Victor Rask scored twice to help the Hitmen to a 5-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Rask has 19 goals this season. . . . Prince George F Jordan Tkatch got his side to within one at 2:55 of the second period, but F Alex Gogolev scored his 19th at 8:46 on the PP and the Hitmen were on their way. . . . The game featured two former Tri-City Americans goaltenders, with Chris Driedger stopping 18 shots for the Hitmen and Drew Owsley making 39 saves for the Cougars. . . . The Cougars took 62 of 105 penalty minutes. . . . Calgary D Alex Roach took a major and game misconduct for a check to the head at 6:57 of the third period. . . . According to the online game sheet, Calgary F Rob Trzonkowski took a fighting major by himself at 16:11 of the first period, while Prince George F Campbell Elynuik took a fighting major and game misconduct by himself at 17:36 of the third period. Interesting. . . .

In Kelowna, F Brody Sutter scored twice to lead his Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . Sutter now has 20 goals on the season. . . . He also had an assist. . . . Lethbridge D Landon Oslanski set up two goals as the Hurricanes finished a B.C. Division swing at 2-3. . . . The Hurricanes scored the game’s first five goals. . . . The Rockets cut the deficit to 5-3 before Lethbridge F Graham Hood iced it with an empty-netter. . . . F Colton Sissons got his 25th goal of the season for the Rockets. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., D Brenden Kitchton broke a 1-1 tie at 10:56 of the third period and the Spokane Chiefs went on to a 3-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The loss was only the third of the season for the Americans on home ice. . . . F Brian Williams gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:19 of the first period. . . . Spokane G Mac Engel, who finished with 37 saves, shut the door after that goal. . . . F Dominik Uher added insurance with a shorthanded goal at 17:20 of the third period. . . . G Eric Comrie stopped 20 shots for the Americans. . . . F Connor Rankin returned to the Americans’ lineup for the first time since Dec. 17. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Kamloops Blazers ran their winning streak to eight games as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3. . . . The victory lifted the Blazers into first place overall, one point ahead of the Tri-City Americans. Those two will meet tonight in Kennewick, Wash. . . . They have played twice before this season — the Americans won 3-2 in OT at home on Nov. 19; the Blazers won 3-2 at home in regulation on Jan. 11. . . . F Chase Schaber scored twice for Kamloops, the second one into an empty net after Seattle had closed to within one, at 4-3, on F Seth Swenson‘s goal at 17:07 of the third. . . . F Colin Smith and D Bronson Maschmeyer each had a goal and an assist for Kamloops. . . . G Cam Lanigan stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. It was Lanigan’s 11th start this season, but just his first since Dec. 30 and his third over the Blazers’ last 27 games. . . . F Chance Lund scored twice for Seattle, which got 36 saves from G Daniel Cotton. . . . Seattle was 0-for-6 on the PP, including a 5-on-3 that took up the last 40 seconds of the second and the first 1:20 of the third. . . .

In Vancouver, G Payton Lee made 19 saves in his WHL debut as the Giants beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-3. . . . Lee was a second-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft by the Giants, who are without G Adam Morrison (concussion). . . . D Brett Kulak scored twice for the Giants, giving him six on the season. His second goal, at 16:50 of the second on a PP, gave the Giants a 4-2 lead. . . . Down 2-0 in the first period, the Silvertips took advantage of a 5-on-3 PP to score twice. . . . In an interesting piece of numerology, the scorers bagged goals No. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in this game. . . . Vancouver F Riley Kieser got his third, Giants F Anthony Ast got his fourth, Kulak looked after five and six, Everett F Cody Fowlie got his seventh and eighth, and Everett F Kohl Bauml got his ninth. . . . The Giants continue to be without F Brendan Gallagher (shoulder), F Dalton Sward (shoulder), D David Musil (wrist) and Morrison. . . . During the game, the Giants’ twitter account carried this: “Big Brett Kulak with the HOWITZER from the point! Puts in his 5th on the PP. Giants lead 2-0, 12:18 into the 1st.” . . . Dear Mr. Giant: Please look up howitzer in your dictionary. Thank you. . . .
Dylan Bumbarger, who blogs on all things Portland Winterhawks with a lot of WHL-related sidebars, has plotted the Western Conference race through games of Feb. 6. . . . His figurings make for an interesting read. Check it out right here.
The NFL has been hit with another class action law suit with former players claiming long-term problems associated with post-concussion syndrome. This news release goes so far as the provide the symptoms with which some of the former players are suffering.
If you’re looking for a good read, try this right here. It’s from Gene Pereira and the Barrie Examiner, and it’s all about the return of Bill Stewart, a coach who had been away from the OHL for 10 years. Why? Well, you could start with his twice putting a Ukrainian player in the luggage hold under the bus to get him over the U.S. border. . . . And it gets better from there.

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