Monday, April 2, 2012

The EHC Liwest Black Wings Linz won the Erste Bank Eishockey Ligas championship on Sunday. That would be the Austrian championship. Former WHL coach Rob Daum is in his first season as head coach of the Black Wings. . . . They beat EC-KAC 3-1 to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1.
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The Tri-City Americans may be without F Marcus Messier (concussion) when they open the second round of playoffs at home to the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night. Messier was injured Wednesday in Game 4 against the host Everett Silvertips when he was hit by F Ryan Harrison in the third period. The Americans won the game to sweep the series. Harrison has since been hit with a ’tbd’ suspension by the WHL. . . . The Americans also are without D Drydn Dow (broken arm) and F Jesse Mychan (severed Achilles tendon).
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G Calvin Pickard (Seattle Thunderbirds) picked up a victory in his first professional start on Sunday, as his Lake Erie Monsters beat the host Texas Stars, 8-4. Pickard stopped 25 shots in the victory. . . . One night earlier, Pickard had come on in relief in the third period of a 4-0 loss to the Stars and stopped all eight shots he saw. . . . The Monsters set a single-game franchise record for goals in game in front of Pickard on Sunday.
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The Kamloops Blazers are expected to add D Jordan Thomson to their roster this week. Thomson was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft. He played this season with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars, who play out of Souris, Man., The Cougars lost 5-1 to the Saskatoon Contacts in the final of the Telus Cup West Regional qualifier in Virden, Man., on Sunday.
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THE COACHING GAME:
Troy Jutting, the long-time head coach of the Minnesota State Mavericks, won’t be back for a 13th season. The school has said he will be reassigned. His contract goes through next season. . . . Jutting has been with the Mankato, Minn., school for 26 years, including 10 as an assistant coach and 12 as head coach.
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SUNDAY’S GAME:
In Spokane, G Eric Williams continued his stellar play, stopping 26 shots as the Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-1, in Sunday’s lone WHL playoff game. . . . It also was the last first-round playoff game. The Chiefs, who lost the first two games, won four in a row to win the series, 4-2. . . . It was the first time all season that the Giants lost four in a row. . . . This was the only one of the eight first-round series to go more than five games. . . . The Chiefs will meet the Tri-City Americans in the second round. That series is likely to open Friday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Williams started the last four games for the Chiefs — the first time he has made four straight starts this season — and was chosen a star in each one. He has a 1.78 GAA and a .930 save percentage. . . . An 18-year-old from Langley, B.C., Williams was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Dec. 28. The Chiefs acquired Williams and F Todd Fiddler, 18, from the Raiders for F Anthony Bardaro, 19, G Luke Lee-Knight, 18, and a 2012 fifth-round bantam draft pick on Dec. 28. . . . While with the Raiders, Williams went the distance in a 4-3 victory over the Giants and was a star that night, too. . . . The Giants got on the board first, with F Cain Franson getting his fifth goal of the series at 1:40 of the first period. . . . The Chiefs tied it at 15:17 of the first when F Mike Aviani scored and took the lead on D Corbin Baldwin’s goal with 3.4 seconds left in the second. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg added insurance with his sixth goal of the series, off a faceoff win by Aviani, at 6:26 of the third. . . . Aviani added two assists to his goal as he was in on all three Spokane goals. . . . The Chiefs were without F Darren Kramer, their captain, who served a one-game suspension. D Brenden Kichton is out with a broken jaw suffered in Game 1. . . . Vancouver played the series without D David Musil (wrist).
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SUNDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None.
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SUNDAY’S CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None.

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