Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don Nachbaur, the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs, shares a moment with
forward Mason Wilgosh, the captain of the Tri-City Americans, after
Wednesday's playoff game in Kennewick, Wash.

(Photo by John Allen /
F Justin Taylor (Medicine Hat, Red Deer, 1999-2000, 2003-04) signed a one-year contract with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had 19 goals and 23 assists in 44 games for Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia, Austria Erste Bank Liga) this season. Villach head coach and ex-Winnipeg Jets F Hannu Järvenpää: "Justin is a very valuable player. He is an excellent centre but also plays the wing very well. He knows how to get the puck into dangerous positions in front of the net and gets there himself, too." . . .
F Carsen Germyn (Kelowna, Red Deer, 1998-2003) signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). He had 14 goals and 25 assists in 49 games for the Tigers this season. Tigers GM Jason Durham: "Carson generally had an extremely strong season and his plus/minus of +16 was outstanding. It is highly gratifying that Carsen will return, despite lucrative offers from other teams."
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada tops his weekly piece with some interesting thoughts on the NFL, the NHL and concussion-related litigation. It is right here.
Ellen Etchingham at Backhand Shelf offers up her take right here on what is happening in the NHL these days, and it’s well worth a read.
Evan Daum of the Edmonton Journal takes a look at the Moose Jaw Warriors and their ownership situation right here. They are one of the last community-owned teams left in the WHL.
D Brandon Manning, a product of the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?), is among the players recalled by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers from the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
Norm Johnston, a former head coach of the Regina Pats, will be returning for a fifth season as head coach the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.
From Drew Owsley, who played this season with the Prince George Cougars: “Philly, I’m a free agent . . . #justsayin.”

The WHL’s conference finals will feature the top two teams from each. . . . In the Western Conference, the Tri-City Americans will be at home Friday night to the Portland Winterhawks. Both teams advanced with sitrring Game 7 victories on Wednesday night. . . . In the Eastern Conference, it’ll be the Edmonton Oil Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors meeting in the Alberta capital on Friday night. . . . Tri-City, Edmonton and Moose Jaw all won division titles. . . . The other division winner, the Kamloops Blazers, lost 2-0 in Portland last night.

In Portland, G Mac Carruth stopped 32 shots to lead the Winterhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Carruth has two shutouts in these playoffs and three in his career. . . . F Marcel Noebels scored from the slot at 1:10 of the first period. . . . F Brendan Leipsic added insurance, finishing off a 2-on-1 with F Cam Reid, at 9:49 of the third. . . . The Blazers had lost the first three games of the series before roaring back to force a seventh game. . . . Kamloops G Cam Lanigan stopped 37 shots. . . . Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave, who suffered a concussion late in Game 1, didn’t play again in the series. He was back in uniform for this one, but only in a backup role. . . . The Winterhawks had won their first seven playoff games before losing three in a row to the Blazers. . . . A note from @WHLFacts: After Game 6 having the most combined goals in the playoffs (13), Game 7 between Portland & Kamloops had the fewest goals in this post season.” . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Brendan Shinnimin, who won the WHL’s regular-
Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin reacts after
scoring the game-winner.

(Photo by Doug Love / Tri-City Americans)
season scoring title, broke a 202 tie 15:42 of the third period as the Tri-City Americans edged the Spokane Chiefs, 3-2. . . . Shinnimin, who also had an assist, has at least a point in each of his last 34 games. . . . Tri-City F Malte Strömwall tied the score 2-2 at 14:38 of the third period. . . . F Dominik Uher gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 18:48 of the first, on a PP. . . . F Brian Williams tied it at 5:03 of the second. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg gave his guys a 2-1 lead with his 11th goal of the playoffs at 5:47 of the third. . . . Tri-City G Ty Rimmer stopped 17 shots. At the other end, Eric Williams, making his 11th straight start, turned aside 45. . . . The Americans had a 29-9 edge in shots after two periods. . . . Spokane F Mike Aviani came up empty on a penalty shot at 16:59 of the first period. The game was scoreless at the time. . . . This was the 27th playoff victory with the Americans for head coach Jim Hiller, tying him with Don Nachbaur for the most in franchise history. Nachbaur, of course, now coaches the Chiefs. . . . Nachbaur has won a franchise-record six series. . . . The Americans are headed to the Western Conference final for the second time in three seasons and the third time in five years. . . . Shinnimin has 59 career playoff points, tying him with Daymond Langkow for the Tri-City franchise record.
Here are a couple of interesting post-game tweets from Portland D Troy Rutkowski (@TRutter2):
“To any of our ‘fans’ who jumped off the bandwagon, don’t bother coming back. We don’t want you #pretenders great win boys! #allin.”
He followed that with:
“On the side to everyone who came out to support us tonight thank you. Best fans in the league #7thman #proudtobeahawk.”
Rutkowski also paid tribute to Kamloops D Bronson Maschmeyer, who played his final WHL game, with this tweet:
“Would like to acknowledge the great series and career @MashMellowMits had in the WHL. #classy guy #greatplayer #allthebesttoyou.”

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