The MacBETH REPORT:
F Justin Keller (Kelowna, 2003-06) agreed to a transfer for the rest of this season from Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) to the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had nine goals and 14 assists in 29 games for Red Bull this season. The Capitals have six forwards out with injuries and approached Red Bull and Keller to gauge their interest in a move.
The WHL in Nanaimo?
Sorry, Chilliwack, but it would appear to be closer than it has ever been.
Robert Barron of the Nanaimo Daily News had a story late in the week involving meetings between Mayor John Ruttan, city staff and RG Properties, owners of the WHL‘s Victoria Royals. RG Properties also is in the arena management business.
RG Properties, you may recall, purchased the franchise that was the Chilliwack Bruins and relocated it to Victoria.
"We're at the very early stages to determine how interested the city is in pursuing this," Graham Lee of RG Properties told Barron. "It would create an interesting rivalry between Victoria and Nanaimo if a WHL team was established here. It would be a good fit for the two cities and the league."
You can bet the message to the good people of Nanaimo is: Build it and we will come.
As soon as an arena with at least 5,000 seats is built there will be a WHL team calling Nanaimo home, either via relocation or expansion. Bet on it!
Many of the WHL’s other 21 teams aren’t all that thrilled with having to travel to Vancouver Island with only one team over there. It is a costly proposition — if you play a night game, you can't get off the ferry until the next morning and that means a hotel night — and the logistics caused by travel are most problematic.
Barron’s complete story is right here.
If you haven’t already seen this piece by Charles P. Pierce of Grantland, it is linked here for your Sunday morning reading enjoyment. This pretty much sums up how it is that the NHL got to where it is today.
In Moose Jaw, the Brandon Wheat Kings scored three third-period goals and beat the Warriors, 4-2. . . . The Wheat Kings had beaten the Warriors 4-2 in Brandon on Friday. . . . This is Brandon’s first two-game winning streak since it open the season at 4-0-0. . . . Last night, Moose Jaw F Sam Fioretti’s 19th goal gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 15:09 of the second period. . . . Brandon F Chad Robinson tied it at 14:52 of the third, with F Taylor Cooper’s second goal of the season, at 17:52, standing up as the winner. . . . Robinson added an empty-netter, his seven goal this season. . . . Moose Jaw freshman F Josh Uhrich’s first WHL goal just 36 seconds into the game launched the teddy bears. . . .
In Saskatoon, the Blades ran their winning streak to six games with a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Blades played those games over an eight-day stretch. . . . Saskatoon F Matej Stransky scored twice, giving him 21 goals this season. He has at least one goal in each of his last seven games. . . . F Nathan Burns had a goal and two assists for the Blades. . . . Saskatoon G Alex Moodie stopped 25 shots in running his record to 4-0-0 since taking over for Andrey Makarov, who is with Russia’s national junior team. . . .
In Calgary, G Mack Shields stopped 18 shots to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 2-0 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Shields, a 17-year-old from Saskatoon, record his first career shutout as he improved his record to 5-2-1. He backs up Chris Driedger with the Hitmen. . . . F Greg Chase got the game’s first goal, at 1:46 of the first period. . . . F Cody Sylvester, who drew the lone assist on Chase’s eighth goal, added his 19th, shorthanded, at 19:18 of the third period. . . . Regina was 0-for-10 on the PP. . . .
In Spokane, G Eric Comrie turned aside 36 shots as the Tri-City Americans edged the Chiefs, 2-1. . . . F Justin Feser, with his 19th, and F Malte Strömwall, with his 11th, gave Tri-City a 2-0 lead with early third-period goals. . . . It was Teddy Bear Toss night and the Chiefs were in danger of being blanked before D Reid Gow scored at 16:46 of the third. . . . Comrie had lost his last six decisions before this game. . . .
In Edmonton, the Oil Kings erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight second-period goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 5-2. . . . F Steven Hodges gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 2:56 of the second period, but Edmonton F Michael St. Croix tied it at 5:24, on the PP, and F T.J. Foster put the home side out front at 7:50. . . . The teams combined for an even 100 penalty minutes, with Edmonton taking 55 of those. . . .
In Red Deer, the Kelowna Rockets improved to 4-0 on an Alberta swing as they beat the Rebels, 6-1. . . . F Dylen McKinlay had three assists for the Rockets. . . . The Rockets are 3-0 versus Red Deer this season, with G Jackson Whistle putting up all three victories. . . . F Myles Bell scored his 20th goal of the season for Kelowna, which gave up the game’s first goal and then scored six in a row. . . . D Mitchell Wheaton got the Rockets started with his first WHL goal in his 32nd game. . . . Whistle stopped 28 shots in improving his record to 7-1-0. . . . Kelowna, which has won six straight, is six points behind the second-place Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference and holds four games in hand. . . . The Rockets will use up one of those games when they play in Calgary this afternoon. . . .
In Prince George, G Brett Zarowny stopped 23 shots and F Chase Witala had four points as the Cougars blanked the Vancouver Giants, 6-0. . . . The Giants had beaten the visiting Cougars 2-1 on Friday night; the teams play again this afternoon in Prince George. . . . Zarowny, a 17-year-old freshman from Edson, Alta., has two shutouts this season. . . . Witala had a goal, his fourth, and three assists. . . . F Colin Jacobs, just back from a six-game suspension, scored the game’s first goal, his 11th. Jacobs, who also had two assists, hadn’t played since Nov. 30. . . . Prince George D Rinalds Rosinskis played his last game before joining the Latvian national junior team. . . .
In Medicine Hat, D Dylan Busenius scored a PP goal in OT to give the Tigers a wild 7-6 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Busenius got his sixth goal of the season at 3:01 of OT with Kamloops F Tim Bozon off for tripping. . . . Kamloops, which gave up 10 power plays in a 4-2 loss in Lethbridge on Friday, ran into penalty problems again in this one. The Tigers were 3-for-8 with the man advantage; the Blazers were 0-for-3. . . . Medicine Hat D Ty Stanton, who went into the game with a goal and two assists in 21 games, had a goal and three helpers in this one. . . . Kamloops D Joel Edmundson had a goal and three assists. . . . Stanton gave Medicine Hat a 6-4 lead at 1:50 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Matt Needham cut into the lead with a shorthanded gol at 11:26 and Edmundson tied it at 14:34. . . . The Blazers lost F Aspen Sterzer at 7:26 of the third period when he was hit with a major penalty and game misconduct for checking to the head after a hit on F Trevor Cox. Sterzer was playing his fourth game since he served a one-game suspension for a checking-to-the-head major on Dec. 7 against the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Sterzer’s departure left the Blazers with nine forwards. . . . There was a situation during this game in which the Blazers scored a goal but play went on until the next stoppage, after which it went to video review. The stoppage was to hand out three minor penalties. The goal was awarded to Kamloops, meaning time was reset back to that point. But the penalties were handed out, just the same. I got caught by this rule last season and it was pointed out to me that the penalties are called. Under rule 78.6, “Any penalties signalled during the period of time between the apparent goal and the next stoppage of play shall be assessed in the normal manner, except when a minor penalty is to be assessed to the team scored upon, and is therefore nullified by the scoring of the goal. If an infraction happens after the first stoppage of play following an apparent goal (infraction after the whistle) by either team, it is assessed and served in the normal manner regardless as to the decision rendered by the Video Goal Judge.”
In Portland, F Taylor Leier scored the game’s first two goals and the Winterhawks went on to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle took 99 of the game’s 163 penalty minutes. Merry Christmas! . . . Seattle made a goaltending change at 5:01 of the first period, with Brandon Glover, who was beaten twice on four shots, leaving in favour of Danny Mumaugh, a 16-year-old from Denver who was making his WHL debut. He stopped 29 of 31 shots. . . . Leier’s first goal was for the Teddy Bears. . . . Portland F Nic Petan had two assists and now is tied for second in the WHL scoring race. He and F JC Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers are at 57 points, five behind F Colin Smith of Kamloops. . . . The victory lifted the Winterhawks to the top of the overall standings. They have 55 points, one more than Kamloops which has played five more games. . . . The Winterhawks are in Everett this evening.
F Bryson Gore, Moose Jaw
F Lukas Sutter, Saskatoon
D Jagger Dirk, Kootenay
D Tanner Faith, Kootenay
D Ashton Sautner, Edmonton
D Landon Cross, Kamloops
F Connor Honey, Seattle
D Marc McNulty, Prince George
F Cody Sylvester, Calgary
F Aspen Sterzer, Kamloops (major)
F Elgin Pearce, Medicine Hat
Erin in PDX (@girlonavespa21): “Coaches Travis Green and Steve Konowalchuk got up close and personal with each other at the end of the Winterhawks/T’birds #whlrivalrytilt”
Two more WHL coaches exchange late-game Christmas greetings. In this instance, both drew bench minors, albeit at game’s end.
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