Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Troy Bourke of the Prince George Cougars, here getting tight coverage
from Patrick Holland (41) of the Tri-City Cougars, beat goaltender
Ty Rimmer twice on Tuesday night.

(Photo by John Allen /
F Zdenek Blatny (Seattle, Kootenay, 1998-2001) signed a one-year contract with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had 20 goals and 26 assists in 47 games this season with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga).
The NHL in Saskatoon? Why not?
Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun spent 10 days in Saskatoon covering the Tim Hortons Brier (aka the Canadian men’s curling championship) and takes an extensive look at Toontown and the NHL right here.
A note from a WHL fan who lives in Sudbury, Ont.:
“Is there any precedent in the WHL in giving coach of the year honours to someone whose team never made the playoffs?
“Because I think Jesse Wallin really deserves it.
“I can't think of any coach who's managed to keep his team together with all the injuries he's had to endure.
“The Rebels have won road games in tough buildings on a regular basis with 14 or 15 skaters.
“I don't know if coaches or media vote on this, but it would make a
real statement about the integrity of this league if he got the plaque.”
Can’t argue with that!
And as if to empasize the point, the Rebels, who won’t make the playoffs, went into Medicine Hat and beat the Tigers 4-2 last night.
F Dylan Wruck of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who suffered a shoulder injury in a 7-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels, won’t play until at least the start of playoffs. Head coach Derek Laxdal has told Chris O’Leary of the Edmonton Journal: “He’s doing OK. . . . We’re hoping to have him back for Game 1 of the playoffs, but it’s a wait-and-see approach right now.” . . . The Oil Kings, who will finish atop the Eastern Conference, have three games remaining and are a point behind the Tri-City Americans, who lead the overall standings. Should the Oil Kings win out, they will finish first overall. The Oil Kings are on the road against the Kootenay Ice tonight, the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday and Red Deer on Saturday.
The Kelowna Rockets expect to have F Colton Sissons, their captain, back in their lineup on Friday night as they open a season-ending home-and-home series with the Vancouver Giants. They’ll play in Vancouver on Friday and in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Sissons, who has been out with a concussion since Feb. 11, skated with contact on Tuesday. . . . Meanwhile, F Spencer Main, who also has been concussed, has skated, albeit without contact, and will see a doctor this week. Main hasn’t played since Oct. 23. . . . Neither will play tonight against the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier reports that D Mitchell Chapman is likely to miss the Rockets’ last three regular-season games with an undisclosed injury. He should be ready to go when the playoffs open.
If you think there’s a war going on with Brian Burke, the man who runs the Toronto Maple Leafs, and anyone in the media, well, forget it. It’s nothing. Howard Berger, who has been around the Leafs for a long time, has a piece right here that is all about the way it used to be . . . when Harold Ballard was around.
The QMJHL’s Baie Comeau Drakkar have fired head coach Mario Pouliot. The axe fell with three games left in the regular season and the Drakkar 2-7-1 in its last 10 games and tumbling from ninth to 14th place. Pouliot spent 114 games as the head coach, winning just 37. . . . General manager Steve Ahern has taken over as head coach.
F Sven Baertschi of the Portland Winterhawks scored his second goal in three games with the NHL’s Calgary Flames last night. He got the game’s second goal in the Flames’ 3-2 victory over the visiting San Jose Sharks. . . . Former Chilliwack Bruins F Roman Horak drew an assist on Baertschi’s goal. . . . Interestingly, the Flames returned F Krys Kolanos to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat after the game, while keeping Baertschi on emergency recall. Kolanos was a healthy scratch last night. . . . Baertschi played 20 shifts, including two in OT, totaling 14:06. . . . Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald has the details of Baertschi’s latest game right here.
In Tampa Bay, G Dustin Tokarski, a product of the Spokane Chiefs (2006-09), stopped 33 shots as the Lightning beat the Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins, 6-1. That was Tokarski’s first NHL victory. He was named the game’s second star. . . . This was his fifth appearance with Tampa Bay, three of which have come this season. This season, he is 1-1-0, 2.64, .906. . . .
I got a phone call on Tuesday from a fan of the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?), pointing out that I missed D Brandon Manning’s NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers last week. Manning played three games, finishing plus-2. He played 14:59, 14:01 and 13:57 against visiting Florida, in Toronto and in New Jersey, respectively. . . . With D Kimmo Timonen returning from injury and playing in last night’s 3-0 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils, Manning was a healthy scratch. But he took part in the morning skate and is still with the Flyers, at least as of last night.
In Saskatoon, F Matej Stransky had a goal and four assists as the Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 11-5. . . . The game was televised by Shaw and featured a third-period line brawl. . . . Prince Albert D Josh Morrissey tied the game 5-5 on a PP just 37 seconds into the third period. . . . The Blades then scored six straight goals. . . . Stransky, 18, has 77 points, including 37 goals, in 68 games. Last season, he finished with 26 points, 14 of them goals, in 71 games. . . . Saskatoon got two goals from each of F Ryan Olsen, who has 15, Jake Trask, who has 22, and Travis McEvoy, who has six. . . . Prince Albert F Joey Santucci scored his first WHL goal while killing a penalty. Santucci, 17, is from Coquitlam, B.C. He was playing in his eighth game. . . . Saskatoon was 4-6 on the PP. . . . Referees Adam Byblow and Reagan Vetter gave the Raiders 86 of the game’s 165 penalty minutes. Ch-ch-ching! They handed out 85 minutes from a line dance at 14:37 of the third period. . . . Because of injuries, the Blades dressed only four defencemen. . . . The victory lifted the Blades one point ahead of Kootenay and Regina, into fifth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

In Medicine Hat, D Alex Petrovic scored twice to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . Petrovic broke a 1-1 tie 39 seconds into the third period with PP goal. . . . F Tyson Ness upped the visitors’ lead to 3-1 with his 20th goal at 10:00. . . . Petrovic has 12 goals. . . . Medicine Hat D James Bettauer scored his 21st goal of the season. . . . Red Deer G Deven Dubyk stopped 28 shots. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz turned aside 31 shots but was unable to pick up his 40th victory of the season. . . . The Tigers had six players out with injuries; the Rebels, who had lost four in a row, scratched nine injured players. . . . Jesse Wallin, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, watched the game from the press box. “I wanted to take in the game from a little different perspective,” Wallin told Greg Meachem, the sports editor of the Red Deer Advocate. “You kind of remove the emotion a bit when you’re sitting up top, it’s a different point of evaluation.” . . . The Tigers remained third in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Calgary. . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Calvin Pickard kicked out 41 shots to lead the host Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Pickard stopped Spokane F Steve Kuhn on a first-period penalty shot with the game still scoreless. . . . F Connor Honey scored twice, giving him eight this season, and F Seth Swenson ran his goal streak to three games with his 10th. Swenson also drew two assists. . . . F Brendan Rouse also had two assists for Seattle. . . . All three Seattle goals came via the PP as it went 3-4 with the man advantage. . . . The Chiefs’ PP was 0-6. . . . A note from @WHLFacts: “It's now been 150 games since someone not named Calvin Pickard has won a @SeattleTbirds game.” . . . The Thunderbirds are ninth in the Western Conference but now are just one point behind the Victoria Royals. Seattle has three games remaining, while Victoria has two to play. . . . The Chiefs are fifth, two points behind Vancouver. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., D Jesse Forsberg scored at 1:02 of OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The goal was Forsberg’s fifth this season. . . . F Troy Bourke scored twice for the Cougars, giving him 18, while F Spencer Asuchak, who began his WHL career with the Americans, had his 16th goal and an assist. . . . Prince George also got two assists from F Caleb Belter. . . . The Cougars erased a 3-1 deficit and took a 4-3 lead on Bourke’s second goal at 12:42 of the second. . . . Tri-City F Adam Hughesman forced OT with his 48th goal at 3:52 of the third. . . . Cougars G Drew Owsley stopped 31 shots, 12 more than Tri-City’s Ty Rimmer. . . . Owsley has 98 career victories, 76 of them with the Americans, who dealt him to the Cougars for Rimmer over the summer. . . . Hughesman scored twice, giving him nine goals in his last five games, and added an assist. . . . Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin scored his 58th goal and added an assist. The WHL’s leading scorer ran his point streak to 21 games and is the first WHLer to 130 points since F Pavel Brendl put up 134 with the Calgary Hitmen in 1998-99. . . . Tri-City F Patrick Holland had two assists, meaning he has at least one assist in 18 straight games. . . . Holland also finished minus-4. . . . The Cougars kept their playoff hopes alive. With two games remaining, they are three points behind eighth-place Victoria. . . . The Americans lead the overall standings by one point over Edmonton and are two points ahead of Portland atop the Western Conference. . . . Edmonton has three games left, while Tri-City has two to play. So if the Oil Kings run the table they would finish first overall.
D Jesse Forsberg, Prince George.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Brandon (8)
Moose Jaw (2) vs. Regina (7)
Medicine Hat (3) vs. Kootenay (6)
Calgary (4) vs. Saskatoon (5)
Western Conference
Tri-City (1) vs. Victoria (8)
Kamloops (2) vs. Everett (7)
Portland (3) vs. Kelowna (6)
Vancouver (4) vs. Spokane (5)
Moose Jaw at Brandon
Lethbridge at Calgary
Edmonton at Kootenay
Prince Albert at Regina
Everett at Kelowna
Kamloops at Spokane
Portland at Victoria

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