Friday, April 27, 2012

D Shaun Heshka (Everett, 2003-06) signed a one-year contract with Ässät Pori (Finland, SM-Liiga). He had one assist in 10 games with the Binghamton Senators (AHL) and four goals and 14 assists in 59 games with the Peoria Rivermen (AHL) this season. Ässät GM Mika Toivola: “Heshka is a puck-handling defender and he has good leadership characteristics. He brings to our power play more power and flexibility.” . . .
F Blake Evans (Spokane, Tri-City, Regina, 1996-2001) signed a one-year contract with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He had 15 goals and 37 assists in 45 games for Vålerenga Oslo (Norway, GET-Ligaen) this season.
If you are in Regina today and are able to make it to the Regina Inn, you should know that Ken Dryden and others will be there taking part in Brain Blitz, a round-table discussion on preventing brain injuries in sports. It runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.
The Seattle Thunderbirds hold the No. 1 selection in the WHL’s bantam draft and are expected to use it on F Matthew Barzal of the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins. In fact, I am told that Barzal is expected to visit Seattle this weekend. . . . F Ryan Gropp of Kamloops, who was taken sixth overall by the Thunderbirds in the 2011 bantam draft, has yet to sign with Seattle. He visited the University of Denver last weekend and also has visited Colorado College. His father, Brent, played at Colorado College. Ryan is believed close to a decision but his father has said they are looking at this process as a marathon as opposed to a sprint.
The junior B Richmond Sockeyes, who play in the Pacific International junior league, have signed Aaron Wilbur as their head coach. He spent this season as the head coach of a peewee A in Seafair on the Lower Mainland of B.C. His resume includes two seasons as GM/head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International junior league. He replaces Judd Lambert, who went 181-37-16 in regular-season games and 42-17 in the playoffs during five seasons with Richmond.
It’s official. The MJHL’s Winnipeg Saints have been sold and will relocate to Virden, a community about 45 miles west of Brandon on the Trans-Canada Highway.
There is more right here.
By now you no doubt are aware of the vile stuff that showed up on Twitter after G Joel Ward scored the OT Game 7 winner for the Washington Capitals that eliminated the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
There’s a piece right here from The New York Times that is worth a read.
Tweet of the day:
From Joel Ward, a former UPEI Panthers player: “Thanks everyone for all your support.. #42 is in my thoughts more than ever!! #rockthered #jackierobinson”
Harrison Mooney of Puck Daddy sums up the whole Ward story, and then some, right here.

The Portland Winterhawks are into the WHL’s championship final for a second straight season. Last season, the Winterhawks lost in five games to the Kootenay ice. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings will try to wrap up the Eastern Conference final tonight at home. They hold a 3-1 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . If Edmonton wins that series, the WHL final will open May 4 in the Alberta capital. Should the Warriors come back and win, the final will begin in Portland on May 4. . . . Moose Jaw D Kendall McFaull, who missed Game 4 after having his appendix removed Wednesday morning, is out of hospital but didn’t make the trip to Edmonton for Game 5. . . . The Oil Kings remain without F Dylan Wruck (shoulder), but there is speculation that F Kristians Pelss (leg) could return tonight.

In Portland, the Winterhawks advanced to the WHL championship series for a second straight season as they scored four third-period goals and beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . Portland swept the best-of-seven Western Conference final. . . . F Marcel Noebels scored the winner for Portland, coming onto the ice on a line change and beating G Ty Rimmer at 7:38 of the third period. . . . Portland F Cam Reid had tied the score just 56 seconds earlier. . . . Portland F Sven Baertschi got his seventh playoff goal at 16:57 of the third and F Brad Ross added his 12th goal of the spring just 26 seconds later. . . . F Brandon Leipsic had two assists for Portland. . . . Tri-City F Adam Hughesman opened the scoring for the second straight game, this time on the PP at 17:40 of the first period as he deposited a Brendan Shinnimin rebound that glanced off G Mac Carruth’s mask. . . . Shinnimin’s assist ran his point streak to 38 games. . . . One night earlier, Hughesman scored 1:16 into the first period, only to have Portland come back for a 3-1 victory, scoring once in the second and twice in the third. . . . Last night, Rimmer finished with 57 saves, the most by any goaltender in one game in these playoffs. He stopped 40 shots through two periods. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 39 shots. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie, who had one assist last night, was named the series MVP. He had four goals and two assists in the four games. . . . Rattie leads all playoff scorers in goals (17) and points (29).
Some notes from Dan Mulhausen of the Americans, all of them involving the club’s 20-year-olds: “Team captain Mason Wilgosh, a former list player who went on to play in a combined 331 WHL games with Tri-City, finishes his career with 132 points and a playoff-best 4 goals and 10 points in 15 games. . . . Shinnimin, another list player from Winnipeg, finished his overage season by becoming just the second Tri-City player to win a WHL scoring title and signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes.  Shinnimin, who finished on a 38-game point streak, combined for 401 points in 325 total games with Tri-City and leaves as the franchise’s all-time leading playoff scorer (64 pts). . . . Hughesman, who has played in a combined 410 games in an Americans jersey, departs with his name etched in the Tri-City record books. In 338 regular-season games (third all-time), Hughesman amassed 140 goals (third all-time), 210 assists (fourth all-time) and 350 points (fourth all-time). Additionally, Hughesman appeared in more playoff games (72) than any other Tri-City player. 
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