Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goaltender Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans comes up with the save off
Luke Lockhart of the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday at the Toyota Center
in Kennewick, Wash. Comrie shut out the T-Birds, 4-0.

(Photo courtesy Doug Love / Tri-City Americans)
The Kootenay Ice is scheduled to play in Regina tonight, which normally means leaving Cranbrook and riding the bus for 10 hours.
However, this time it was just a little bit different.
This time, the Ice got to Sparwood and discovered that No. 3 Highway through Crowsnest Pass was closed due to snow and blowing snow.
With no indication as to when it would re-open, the Ice sat in a Sparwood parking lot for about 11 hours.
Still with no idea when the highway would re-open — in fact, there was talk that it might remain closed for another 24 hours — the Ice had breakfast and then chose to return to Cranbrook.
“We have back-tracked to Cranbrook,” reported G Mackenzie Skapski, “and are taking the Invermere route through Banff and then through Calgary. So, all-in-all, at the end of the day it’ll probably be a 15-hour bus ride.”
It should be pointed out that Skapski was more than gracious in keeping in touch with Keeping Score during this not-so-excellent adventure.
At one point, he noted that the movie selection on the bus was “very good. . . . It was almost (as though this was) meant to be.”
By the time the Ice arrived in Regina, at about 3 a.m. CT, what normally is a 10-hour ride had taken about 26.
“It’s funny,” Ice head coach Kris Knoblauch told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post from the bus, “all the games that I’ve been with Kootenay, we only had one cancelled and that was when we were on a road trip in Saskatchewan (two seasons ago). We played in Prince Albert and the highway closed from Saskatoon to Regina. We had to postpone that game. Now we’re coming from B.C. and we’re in the same situation but we should be able to play (tonight).”
Ahh, life in the Dub. To steal a line from an Armed Forces commercial, “There’s no life like it.”
The Ice arrived in Regina about 3 a.m. CT. When they arrived in the Saskatchewan capital, No. 3 highway still was closed at Sparwood.
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F Brett Connolly played 6:45 over nine shifts on Tuesday night as his Tampa Bay Lightning beat the visiting Boston Bruins, 5-3. He had three shifts in the first period, four in the second, and two in the third. Of that 6:45, 1:31 came with his club on the PP. . . . Connolly also had two shots on goal. . . . Hello, Steve, this is Bob Tory calling from the Tri-City Americans. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings welcomed G Corbin Boes back to practice on Tuesday. He has been out since suffering a broken hand on Dec. 8 in a 7-3 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon reports that Wheat Kings D Ryley Miller and D Ryan Pulock, both of whom were injured during an 8-2 loss to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Sunday, were on the ice Tuesday. D Rene Hunter, who missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, also practised. However, D Eric Roy is listed as being out two weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . .
F Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks is the only player in all of the CHL to have scored 40 goals. He got there in Monday’s 5-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. F Nino Niederreiter scored 41 for the Winterhawks last season, the most since F Josef Balej notched 51 in 2001-02. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth leads the WHL with 28 victories. The Winterhawks have 27 games remaining and he is within reach of Brent Belecki’s franchise single-season record of 35, set in 1997-98. Also in franchise history, only Darrell May Sr. (105) and BeleckI (79) have more career victories than Carruth (73). . . .
F Jarid Hauptman, 17, has left the Spokane Chiefs. Hauptmann, from Morinville, Alta., had 11 points, including four goals, in 32 games. With the Jan. 10 signing deadline having passed, Hauptmann can’t be reassigned to another team, nor is he able to play for another team in any league.
“For us, he was doing well,” Chiefs GM Tim Speltz told Jess Brown of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “It’s a process and it’s not easy and he had a bright hockey future ahead of him — but it isn’t what he wants and there’s no way he could pretend that it was. It’s a huge commitment, and his decision was kind of consistent with what we’d already experienced with him.
“It doesn’t seem to be a good move timing-wise, but he has to do what he thinks is right for him.”
Hauptman started training camp with the Chiefs, but left the team, only to return six weeks later. So obviously this wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision.
The Regina Pats have agreed to serve as the lead sponsor for Hockey Regina’s annual peewee tournament. The event now will be known as the Regina Pats Peewee Classic. . . . This year’s tournament is scheduled for Jan. 26-29. . . . The tournament’s eight divisions have been named after former Pats players — Jordan Eberle, Josh Harding, Mike Sillinger, Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard, Jamie Heward, Dale Derkatch and Derek Morris. . . . By the way, it’s Wiener Wednesday in Regina tonight as the Pats play host to the Kootenay Ice. That means it’s 2-for-1 hotdogs, and it doesn’t get any better than that. . . .
Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reported Tuesday afternoon that Silvertips F J.T. Barnett has had his season ended by “a torn lateral collateral ligament in his knee. Freak injury prior to Saturday's game in Kamloops.” . . . Barnett, 19, was a healthy scratch on Friday night when the Silvertips beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs 4-3 in overtime. On Saturday in Kamloops, he tweaked a knee during pregame scratching, took the warmup, got taped up and played. He had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 loss to the Blazers, and then didn’t play in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Barnett started the season with Kamloops but was dealt to Everett on Nov. 14. . . . He had 12 points in 20 games with Everett. . . .
There are reports — I believe Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey blog was first with the news — that F Luke Voltin has been dropped by the U.S. National Team Development Program. Voltin, who will turn 17 on April 13, is from Blaine, Minn. He has committed to North Dakota; his WHL rights are held by the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Voltin has been playing for the U.S. U-17 team and has 12 points, including five goals, in 25 games. He played in the recent U-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring once and adding one assist.
From Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for the Vancouver Province: “Elevator is out of service at the Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver Giants listing it as week to week, upper body injury.”
In Swift Current, G Jon Groenheyde stopped 38 shots as the Broncos dumped the Victoria Royals, 3-1. . . . F Taylor Vause had a goal, his 24th, and an assist for the Broncos. . . . Vause broke a 1-1 tie at 18:22 of the second period. . . . D Reece Scarlett provided insurance with a PP goal at 11:55 of the third. . . . The Broncos have won two in a row, while the Royals are 1-2-0 on their East Division swing. . . .

In Red Deer, F Alex Gogolev scored twice as the Calgary Hitmen dumped the Rebels, 5-1. . . . The Hitmen now have won eight in a row. . . . D Mathew Dumba gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead with his 12th goal of the season at 4:09 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen then scored two second-period goals tto take the lead. . . . Gogolev has 18 goals this season. . . . Calgary F Greg Chase scored his second goal of the season, in his 33rd game, and added two assists. . . . Calgary has won five straight road games and opens a five-game homestand tonight against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Eric Comrie stopped 16 shots as the Tri-City Americans beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0. . . . Comrie, in his first WHL season, has three shutouts. He is 15-3-0. . . . The Thunderbirds have lost their last 20 games in the Toyota Center. . . .  The Americans, who had lost two straight, now have won 14 straight games on home ice. . . . F Patrick Holland ran his point streak to 13 games with a goal and an assist. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard, winless in 14 starts in Kennewick, stopped 36 shots. . . . F Adam Hughesman had two assists, moving him to 305 points and past Terry Degner (304) and into fourth place on the Tri-City career points list. . . . F Brendan Shinnimin also had two assists to get to 272 points, moving past Bill Lindsay (271) and into ninth place. . . . Comrie and Ty Rimmer have combined for eight shutouts, one shy of the franchise record set in 2009-10. . . . F Jesse Mychan, who was acquired by Tri-City from Everett last week, scored his third goal in five games with the Americans. . . .

In Vancouver, F Philip Tot had two goals and three assists as the Lethbridge Hurricanes got past the Giants, 5-3. . . . Lethbridge was coming off a doubleheader loss to the Cougars in Prince George last weekend. The Hurricanes are in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Jay Merkley scored twice for the Hurricanes, who three times took leads and had the Giants come back to tie them. . . . F Jaimen Yakubowski broke a 3-3 tie at 1:20 of the third period. . . . Tot, an 18-year-old from Calgary, has 26 points, including eight goals, in 36 games. Last season, as a sophomore, he had 21 points, six of them goals, in 58 games. . . . F Nick Buonassisi had a goal and two helpers for Lethbridge. . . . Vancouver D Blake Orban had a goal and an assist. He went into the game without a point in 25 games. . . . Lethbridge G Liam Liston, making his first start since Dec. 9, stopped 38 shots. . . . The Hurricanes have won five road games this season — two in Vancouver, two in Medicine Hat and one in Red Deer. . . . The Giants, who gave up 15 shots in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Saturday, surrendered 18 shots in the first period against Lethbridge.
D Spencer Humphries, Calgary.
F Jaimen Yakubowski, Lethbridge
In a piece headlined ‘Are ice hockey enforcers the toughest guys in sport?’ Alex Capstick of BBC World Service brings Jim Thomson’s story to another part of the world.
That piece is right here.


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