Sunday, November 4, 2012

Not even a broken right ankle is able to keep
Kamloops forward Dylan Willick from smiling.

(Melissa Willick photo)
Guy Charron, the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, confirmed earlier reports Saturday evening that veteran F Dylan Willick, 20, is expected to miss up to six weeks with a broken right ankle.
Willick was injured during a 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Friday night.
Willick doesn’t need surgery and the ankle will be placed in a cast at some point next week, once swelling subsides.
The Blazers were nearing the end of their sixth game in eight days, and their 11th in 20 days, when Willick went down in overtime. While killing a penalty, he got knocked down and caught up in traffic during a scramble in the Kamloops crease.
Willick is the most versatile of the Blazers' forwards, able to play any forward position. He also is perhaps their top penalty-killing forward and gets some power-play time. In his fourth season with the Blazers, he played 71, 72 and 72 games in his first three.
This season, he has 14 points, six of them goals, in 19 games.
A six-week absence would cost Willick close to 20 games and take him almost to the Christmas break. Should he not play again until after Christmas, he would miss his team's next 19 games.
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F Mathew Barzal, the first selection in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft, says he has yet to make up his mind whether he will sign with the Seattle Thunderbirds or take the NCAA route.
"The WHL is a great league and that's where I hope to play," Barzal, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., told Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald during the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup. "But right now, I'm still talking with my family and my agent about my decision.
"I know what I want to do and I think the WHL is the best route. But I want to look at every avenue possible."
Barzal is the captain of Team BC at the Challenge Cup.
He plays for the major midget Vancouver-North East Chiefs for whom he has 30 points, including 10 goals, in 11 games.
(We will assume that someone will tell Barzal that he doesn’t have an agent, but he does have a family advisor. Wink! Wink!!)
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:
F Marek Tvrdon scored two goals and added two assists as the visiting Vancouver Giants beat the Kootenay Ice, 6-3. . . . G Payton Lee, who is from Cranbrook, got the victory with 21 saves. Lee, 16, left the junior B Richmond Sockeyes on Friday and joined the Giants in Cranbrook. . . . F Kale Kessy added a goal and two assists for the Giants. . . . The Giants meet the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., tonight, while the Ice is in Medicine Hat to play the Tigers. . . .

F Greg Chase picked up three assists to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 4-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Hitmen led 3-0 when F Brooks Macek got his 10th goal at 16:00 of the first period. . . . The Hitmen, who beat the Pats 4-1 in Regina on Friday, meet the Warriors in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got two goals in the circus and beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . F Alex Delnov and F Riley Sheen had Seattle shootout goals, while F Brayden Point scored for the Warriors. . . . Seattle F Brendan Rouse forced OT with a PP goal at 14:43 of the third. . . . Rouse also had two assists. . . . Seattle G Brandon Glover, who played in 32 games with the Warriors (2008-11), got the victory. . . . D Kendall McFaull, who missed a Friday game in Brandon with the flu, was back, but F Justin Kirsch, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Brandon, didn’t dress. . . .

F Jay Merkley scored the only goal of the circus to give the host Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Merkley was the fifth shooter and the game ended when Saskatoon F Matej Stransky was unable to beat G Ty Rimmer, who has played every minute of Lethbridge’s season to this point. . . . He stopped 24 shots in this one, 16 fewer than Saskatoon’s Andrey Makarov. . . . The Hurricanes forced OT with two goals late in the third period — F Remi Laurencelle scored at 15:13 and F Craig Leverton equalized at 17:59. . . . F Josh Nicholls scored his 15th goal for the Blades, while F Adam Kambeitz got his first. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Justin Feser and F Brian Williams each scored twice as the Tri-City Americans beat the Red Deer Rebels, 5-2. . . . Feser just happens to be from Red Deer. . . . The Americans had lost three in a row to the Rebels. . . . The Americans are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight. . . . Red Deer F Charles Inglis (flu) didn’t play. . . .

G Eric Williams stopped 26 shots as the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-0. . . . Williams has one shutout this season and three in his career. . . . The Silvertips, who were playing their fourth game in five nights, have lost five in a row. . . . Spokane D Brenden Kichton got Spokane’s fifth goal, meaning the fans got coupons for a free Doritos Locos Taco. . . . Everett is back in Spokane on Tuesday and the Silvertips are staying there until that game. . . . The Chiefs were without F Mitch Holmberg, D Tanner Mort and D Reid Gow, all out with undisclosed injuries. Gow was hurt Friday night. “I’m not sure when we’re getting anyone back,” Spokane head coach Don Nachbaur told Steve Christilaw of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Some of (the injuries) are long-term.” . . .

G Jackson Whistle earned the shutout as the host Kelowna Rockets dumped the Prince George Cougars, 5-0. . . . Whistle has two career shutouts, both against the Cougars. The first one came last season while he was with the Vancouver Giants. In three games with the Rockets, Whistle is 3-0-0, 0.82, .971. . . . Jordon Cooke, Kelowna’s other goaltender, blanked the visiting Kamloops Blazers 3-0 on Thursday. Cooke apparently suffered an undisclosed injury in Friday’s practice, so sat out last night. . . . G Cole Holowenko, released earlier by the Everett Silvertips, served as Kelowna’s emergency backup. He is from Penticton. . . . Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, notes that the Rockets have put up four home-ice shutouts already this season, as opposed to none all of last season. . . . Kelowna hasn’t allowed a goal in 175 minutes 21 seconds. . . . The Rockets have outscored opponents 12-1 in their last three games. . . . Kelowna next plays Wednesday when it entertains the Edmonton Oil Kings, who first play in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks ran their winning streak to eight games with a 6-2 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Winterhawks (12-3-1) swept a home doubleheader with the Royals, having won 6-2 on Friday, as well. . . . Victoria led this one 2-0 halfway through the first period. . . . Portland has a 44-12 edge in goals scored over its last eight games. . . . D Troy Rutkowski had two goals and an assist for Portland. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie ran his point streak to 10 games with his 11th goal, while F Nic Petan and F Brendan Leipsic each had a goal and two assists. . . . Petan has 17 points in a seven-game point streak. . . .

F Colten Mayor broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the Regina Pats went on to beat the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Mayor scored his sixth goal of the season at 6:54 of the second period. . . . The Pats iced it with goals 36 seconds apart, by F Dyson Stevenson and F Jack Rodewald, early in the third period. . . . Regina G Matt Hewitt stopped 36 shots. . . . The Raiders had won three straight. . . .

In Swift Current, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the last two goals and beat the Broncos, 2-1. . . . F Luke Bertolucci scored his first WHL goal in his ninth game to tie the score at 13:53 of the second period. . . . F Michael St. Croix got the winner, his 11th, at 8:17 of the third. . . . The  Broncos were 0-for-7 on the PP.
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BTW, 15 of the WHL’s 22 teams are at .500 or better, thanks to the loser point, after Saturday’s games. That’s down from 17 after Friday’s games.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
F Cody Fowlie, Kelowna
F Zach Pochiro, Prince George
F Dylen McKinlay, Kelowna
F Mike Aviani, Spokane

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
D Dalton Thrower, Saskatoon
F Mitch Deacon, Victoria
D Michal Plutnar, Tri-City
———
TWEET OF THE DAY:
From Seattle Thunderbirds G Brandon Glover (@BGlover31), who did a stint with the Moose Jaw Warriors a couple of seasons ago: “Awesome win in #moosejaw . . Sad to go thru town and notice that a certain building is missing on the left side of main st. #crushed can”
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TWEET OF THE DAY II:
From Prince Albert Raiders G Luke Siemens (@siems31): “Bus breaking down on way back to PA . . . classic #anybodyamechanic #funtimes”
A question: Does a team’s bus ever suffer a breakdown after a victory? The Raiders lost 4-1 to the Pats in Regina last night.

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