Wednesday, March 21, 2012

THE MATCHUPS
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Moose Jaw (2) vs. Regina (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Brandon (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Saskatoon (5)
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Western Conference
Tri-City (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kamloops (2) vs. Victoria (7)
Portland (3) vs. Kelowna (6)
Vancouver (4) vs. Spokane (5)
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THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Stefan Ulmer (Spokane, 2007-10) has signed a three-year contract extension with Lugano (Switzerland, NL A). He had one goal and eight assists in 44 games with Lugano this season. The contract extension runs through the 2014-2015 season.
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F Brad Ross of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2010 draft. Ross had career highs in goals (42) and points (82) this season. He has 245 points, including 109 goals, in 270 games with the Winterhawks. . . . There are four other players on the Portland roster who have NHL contracts — F Sven Baertschi (Calgary), F Oliver Gabriel (Columbus), D Joe Morrow (Pittsburgh) and F Marcel Noebels (Philadelphia).
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G Jon Groenheyde, who concluded his WHL career this season with the Swift Current Broncos, has signed on with the Central league’s Allen Americans. They are coached by former WHLer Dwight Mullins.
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They’ve got a pretty good deal going on in Saskatoon these days where they are choosing some all-time Blades all-star teams.
It’s all the brainchild of the host committee for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
Fans may visit a website and select the Team of the Millennium (200-present) by April 14. After that, fans will have the opportunity to vote for Teams of the Decade  from the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s.
The poll now is open right here.
Cast a ballot and get entered to win game tickets to the 2013 Memorial Cup.
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F Mark McNeill and D Harrison Ruopp of the Prince Albert Raiders will finish up their seasons with AHL teams. . . . McNeill, a first-round selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2011 draft, will join the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs, who are six points out of a playoff spot with 12 games left to play. . . . Ruopp, a third-round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in the NHL’s 2011 draft, is off to join the Portland Pirates, who are two points out of a playoff spot.
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The Brandon Wheat Kings will open against the Hitmen in Calgary on Thursday, with Game 2 there on Friday. With the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair having taken over Westman Communications Group Place, the teams will play Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on March 25, 27 and 29. . . . The Wheat Kings are 10-4-0 at the MTS Centre; however, in playoff games, they are 3-3. . . . Over the years, the arrival of the Winter Fair has meant the Wheat Kings have played 22 playoff games in Winnipeg. They also played 16 at the Winnipeg Arena, where they were 11-5. . . . Calgary took three of four from the Wheat Kings this season.
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Lorne Molleken, the GM/head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, has told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he expects to have D Dalton Thrower, F Michael Burns and F Chris Collins back for their opener against the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . Thrower and Burns have been out with injuries, while Collins missed three games due to personal reasons.

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