Sunday, April 8, 2012

The expressions and body language from Nathan MacMaster of the Tri-City
Americans and Cole Wedman and Eric Williams of the Spokane Chiefs
say it all in this photo from Saturday's game in Kennewick, Wash.

(Photo by John Allen /
F Mark Santorelli (Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a two-year contract extension with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 11 goals and 24 assists in 48 games with Tingsryd this season. . . .
F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year-plus-option contract with Djurgården Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 23 goals and 18 assists in 50 games with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan) this season. Djurgården GM and head coach Charles Berglund: "Dustin is a very good two-way centre who is good defensively and offensively, on the penalty kill and power play. He has delivered in Allsvenskan two years running. This is very important for us. He has been through this before and we need that kind of player on our team." Johner's 23 goals was fifth best in Allsvenskan this season. Djurgården was relegated to Allsvenskan from Elitserien earlier this week.
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“With former Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Doug Soetaert stupidly being cashiered as GM with the Western Hockey League Everett Silvertips, with a rebuilding team that still made the playoffs, where will he wind up? There’s talk that Marc Habscheid, who has the coach/GM job in Victoria, might want to just be coach. Maybe Soetaert will wind up there.” That’s from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. His complete weekend Hockey World is right here.
Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News wants to write hockey stories, but the Rockets are done for the season. So what does he do? He profiles referee Steve Papp right here.
The ECHL lost a franchise on Friday when the Chicago Express folded, effective immediately. The Express’ roster included a couple of former WHLers in D Taylor Ellington and F Ryley Grantham. . . . All players on the Express roster now are unrestricted free agents. . . . The ECHL is expected to add teams in Orlando and San Francisco for 2012-13.
In the AHL, the Norfolk Admirals ran their amazing streak to 25 straight victories last night as they dropped the visiting Binghamton Senators, 4-1. . . . F Tyler Johnson, who played out his eligibility with the Spokane Chiefs last season, scored his 31st goal of the season for the Admirals. . . . Former Spokane goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 30 shots for the victory. . . . The Norfolk roster also features D Radko Gudas (Everett), D Scott Jackson (Seattle) and F Brandon Segal (Calgary).
The Seattle Thunderbirds and their fans are mourning the death of Scott Lowe, one of their off-ice officials. Lowe was 54 when he lost a battle with ALS, which also is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He referee hockey for almost 40 years and worked as an off-ice official for WHL games for more than 20 years. . . . “He was a really nice guy and conscientious about his duties,” I was told last night. . . . A celebration of Lowe’s life is scheduled for April 22. . . . There are more details right here.
The gang in Prince George that is well on its way to turning the World Baseball Challenge into a major event on the international sporting calendar has been nominated for three Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance PRESTIGE awards. WBC co-chair Jim Swanson, who covered the Prince George Cougars for years as sports editor of the Prince George Citizen, is one of three nominees for the CSTA’s community service award. . . . Ted Clarke of the Citizen has more right here.

(If you want WHL facts and stats, get on Twitter and follow @WHLFacts)

Who would have thought the second round of the WHL playoffs would get off to such a bizarre start?
F Emerson Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers led the WHL with 61 regular-season goals. But he got tossed from Game 1 against the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Friday night after going knee-to-knee with F Torrin White. Before the game, Etem was hit was a ‘tbd’ suspension so wasn’t in the lineup last night as the Warriors won 6-1 to take a 2-0 lead in that series.
Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers, on the advice of a team doctor, didn’t dress G Cole Cheveldave for Game 2 against the Winterhawks in Kamloops. That meant that G Cam Lanigan, 19, made his playoff debut as the Blazers dropped a 4-1 decision. . . . Cheveldave, a second-team Western Conference all-star, was injured at 18:36 of the third period on Friday when he was hit by Portland F Oliver Gabriel, who was killing a penalty with a 4-3 lead. Cheveldave moved into the trapezoid to play the puck and an on-rushing Gabriel chose not to pull up and ran over the goaltender. Gabriel, like Etem, sat out last night with a ‘tbd’ suspension. . . . The Winterhawks Booster Club was selling ‘Free Ollie’ buttons at its table last night. . . . No one with the Blazers is using the ‘c’ word, choosing to say only that Cheveldave has an “upper-body injury.” . . .

Cheveldave finished Game 1 but was re-examined by a team doctor following breakfast on Saturday. At that point, the doctor recommended that Cheveldave not play. . . . The Blazers had G Taran Kozun backing up Lanigan. Kozun started the season with the Blazers and made two starts before being assigned to the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. . . . Lanigan, in his fourth WHL season, joined the Blazers last season from the Edmonton Oil Kings in a deal that had G Jon Groenheyde go the other way. Lanigan ended up backing up Cheveldave after the latter, the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Drumheller Dragons last season, took the reins and wouldn’t let go. . . . Prior to last night, Lanigan last played on March 17 in the Blazers’ last regular-season game, a 4-2 loss to the Cougars in Prince George.
By the way, the Winterhawks also were fined $250 for what the WHL calls a warmup violation. The WHL didn’t identify a particular incident, but observers did see Portland F Sven Baertschi flip a puck in the direction of Kamloops F Tim Bozon. The two are friends from Switzerland.
In Edmonton, the Oil Kings won their 17th straight game, beating the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. . . . Edmonton leads the series 2-0 with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Brandon on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . The Wheat Kings, who played their first-round home games in Winnipeg, haven’t played in Westman Place since March 17. The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair was in the arena during the first round of WHL playoffs. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in 2:27 midway through the second period. . . . Edmonton F Kristians Pelss tied it with his second of the game at 8:28. . . . F Travis Ewanyk gave Edmonton the lead at 9:54 and F Jordan Peddle added another goal at 10:55. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock scored at 19:59 of the second to get Brandon to within one. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit stopped 26 shots, five fewer than Brandon’s Corbin Boes. . . . Each team was 0-for-3 on the PP. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Warriors scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-1. . . . The Warriors lead the series 2-0 with the next two games in Medicine Hat on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Hunter Shinkaruk gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 18:02 of the first. . . . Moose Jaw F Quinton Howden scored at 9:50 and 10:35 of the second and the Warriors were off and scoring. . . . Moose Jaw D Kendall McFaull had four assists and was plus-4. . . . Moose Jaw D Dylan McIlrath had one assist and also was plus-4. . . . The Warriors held a 40-15 edge in shots. Medicine Hat had four shots on goal in each of the last two periods. . . . In the two games, the Warriors hold an 83-32 advantage in shots on goal. . . . With F Emerson Etem suspended, the Tigers dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. . . . Moose Jaw F Torrin White, who was hit by Etem, didn’t play last night. . . . Medicine Hat F Dylan Bredo, who took a major for a check to the head in Game 1, wasn’t suspended. . . . The Warriors had D Travis Brown back in their lineup after he missed four games. . . . The Tigers dressed F Cole Sanford and D Kyle Becker. Sanford, 16, is from Vernon, B.C., and played for the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies. Becker, who turned 18 on Jan. 24, got into 11 games with the Tigers this season, but played most of the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans built up a 2-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . The series is 1-1 as it heads to Spokane for games on Wednesday and Friday. Game 5 is scheduled for Kennewick on Saturday. . . . F Adam Hughesman opened the scoring at 13:21 of the first period and F Justin Feser added another at 4:01 of the third. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg scored on a PP at 18:35 of the third period. Holmberg has eight goals in these playoffs. . . . The Chiefs had won five straight playoff games. . . . Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin drew a first-period assist, meaning he has at least one point in each of his last 29 games. . . . Tri-City G Ty Rimmer stopped 23 shots, eight fewer than Spokane’s Eric Williams, who lost for the first time in six starts. . . . The Chiefs came awfully close to forcing OT when D Corbin Baldwin’s point shot got past Rimmer at the game-ending buzzer. However, video review showed that time had expired before the puck entered the net. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks broke open a scoreless game with three goals in 2:01 and went on to beat the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1. . . . Portland takes a 2-0 series lead into Games 3 and 4 in Kamloops on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Portland F Sven Baertschi opened the scoring at 19:14 of the second period. F Taylor Leier made it 2-0 just 56 seconds into the third and F Cam Reid upped it to 3-0 at 1:15. . . . Baertschi finished up with two goals. . . . Linemates Ty Rattie and Marcel Noebels each had one assist. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth made 39 saves. . . . Kamloops was 0-7 on the PP and now is 0-11 in the series. . . . With F Oliver Gabriel suspended, the Winterhawks inserted F Jason Trott into the lineup and moved F Joe Baker into Gabriel’s usual spot alongside Taylor Peters and Taylor Leier. . . . The Winterhawks have scored nine goals in the two games, with seven of them coming in the two third periods.
For today’s good read, we take you to the Seattle Times where Danny O’Neil writes about the latest chapter in the life of Ryan Leaf. That piece is right here.


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