By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers will be without defenceman Austin Madaisky for Games 3 and 4 of their first-round WHL playoff series with the Victoria Royals.
The Blazers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 going into Game 3 tonight at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. The fourth game is scheduled for there on Wednesday. If necessary, Game 5 will be played at Interior Savings Centre on Friday.
Madaisky, the Blazers best all-around blue-liner, was suspended Monday for two games for a hit that occurred early in the Blazers’ 7-4 victory on Saturday night.
The play in question occurred at 1:28 of the first period when Madaisky checked Victoria forward Zane Jones. Madaisky was given a checking-to-the-head minor penalty for the hit.
At some point after the game, the Royals requested supplemental discipline from the WHL office, meaning they sent in video of the hit and $500. If the league acts on it, as was the case here, a team gets its money back. If not, it pays the money as a fine, which is what happened to the Regina Pats when they requested supplemental discipline for a hit by Moose Jaw Warriors forward Cody Beach in Game 1 of their series. (Beach was suspended for one game Monday, for a comment he directed at the Regina bench during Game 2.)
The Royals had started the series’ first game on Friday by going hard to the body. Madaisky said last night from Victoria that he was expecting the same thing in Game 2, so he was prepared to counter that.
“For the first three or four minutes of (Game 1), it seemed that they were just trying to run us out of the building,” Madaisky said. “The energy level was getting pretty high. I was expecting to be one of the guys they were targeting . . .”
When Game 2 started, he said he “wanted to go out there and take the body to show them that we weren’t going to shy away . . . and it just happened.”
Asked to describe the play, Madaisky recalled:
“It was a 50-50 puck that bounced off the boards and I saw Jones coming. I know he’s one of their players who will always take the body. It seemed that he was reaching for the puck . . . he’s a left-handed player . . . he kind of opened himself up and was in a bit of a vulnerable position.
“I watched the replay and I did make contact with his head. I mean, I didn’t mean to . . . it’s not like I was targeting his head. It just happened to be in a position where I did clip it a bit.”
Jones, a 17-year-old freshman from Olds, Alta., is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. He had 30 points, including 14 goals, and 64 penalty minutes in 62 regular-season games. He wasn’t injured on the play.
Madaisky, 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, added that he “was definitely surprised to get two games.” But he had been forewarned by head coach Guy Charron and associate coach Dave Hunchak.
“I was told to expect something,” Madaisky said. “I was told to expect one, maybe two, and it happened to be two.”
Madaisky, who turned 20 on Jan. 30, said he was disappointed with the league’s decision.
“Especially at this time of year,” he said. “It’s never fun sitting out. You kind of feel like letting the team down by not being in the lineup. Hopefully, we’re a deep enough squad that we have guys who are able to come into the lineup and do a good job.”
Madaisky played quite well in the first two games, picking up three assists and going plus-4. He and Tyler Hansen have been used in a shutdown role for much of the season, playing against the opposition’s best offensive line. Madaisky also plays a point on the first power-play unit and kills penalties.
Madaisky’s absence means Landon Cross, a 17-year-old in his first WHL season, is likely to check into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three straight games.
This is the second suspension of the season for Madaisky, who served a two-game sentence after taking a cross-checking major against the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Feb. 18.
Madaisky’s suspension was one of six handed out by Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, on Monday.
* F Manraj Hayer of the Everett Silvertips drew a ‘tbd’ after taking a double minor for checking from behind against the host Tri-City Americans on Saturday night. The teams are scheduled to play in Everett tonight and Wednesday. Tri-City D Drydn Dow, who was hit by Hayer, suffered an injury to his right arm on the play and isn’t expected to play again in this series.
* Everett F Ryan Harrison also won’t play tonight after taking a one-game sentence for an interference major he incurred on Saturday.
* The Silvertips also were fined $500 for being in “violation of the WHL Social Media and Networking Policy” after Saturday’s game. That was for a tweet by Everett F Cody Fowlie, who was ejected with a checking-from-behind major on Saturday. The tweet contained a couple of obscenities, one of which referred to “bullshit refing.” Interestingly, Fowlie wasn’t suspended for the major penalty.
* F Brett Bulmer of the Kelowna Rockets is on a ‘tbd’ after taking a kneeing major in Game 2 against the Winterhawks in Portland on Saturday. He won’t play in Game 3 tonight in Kelowna. Bulmer’s penalty came for a hit on Portland D William Wrenn, who is the Winterhawks’ captain. The WHL may be waiting to see if he plays tonight before deciding on the length of Bulmer’s suspension.
* F Oliver Gabriel of the Winterhawks will sit out tonight after being suspended for one game. He took a slashing minor on Saturday, and then was given a game misconduct. At this point, no one is saying what he did that warranted a game misconduct.
* F Cody Beach of the Moose Jaw Warriors was hit with a one-game suspension for a “derogatory comment to the Regine bench” during Game 2 of that series on Saturday. Interestingly, the Pats had requested supplemental discipline for a Beach-delivered hit during Game 1, a request that was turned down by the WHL. That cost the Pats $500.
Alan Millar, the Warriors’ director of hockey operations, told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald that he “received an email from Richard Doerksen saying that (Regina head coach) Pat Conacher had sent in a complaint to the league after the game regarding something Cody had said to their bench and that he asked the league to review the matter,”
No one seems to be too eager to repeat what Beach said and the Warriors chose not to make him available to the media on Monday.
“It was something we thought was over the limit of what would be classified as hockey talk,” Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.
This is Beach’s fourth suspension of the season. He will have sat out 11 games in suspensions when he misses tonight’s game in Regina.
According to Gourlie, the Warriors are 8-1-1 with Beach serving suspensions.
The Warriors tied the series with an 8-1 victory in Game 2. Beach had two goals and an assist, and was selected as the game’s first star.
Meanwhile, Scott Sepich, writing for Yahoo! Sports, points out that while Fowlie’s tweet was taken down about an hour after it was posted, a tweet from Everett F Jordyn Boyd remains in cyberspace.
That tweet was posted after Game 2 and reads: “This is actually a joke. Never seen a team dive so much in my life.”
And to think the playoffs are only a few days old!
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