Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Tri-City Americans have signed F Fraser Bulbuc, 17, and he will spend the next week with the club. Bulbuc, 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, is from Sherwood Park, Alta., and plays for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has seven points and 127 penalty minutes in 43 games this season. Last season, with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings, he had 14 points and 16 penalty minutes in 25 games.
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The Vancouver Giants have signed Alec Baer, a forward who, according to a Giants’ news release, is “the No. 1-rated player” from Minnesota. Baer, 15, had been playing high school hockey with Benilde-St. Margaret's. According to the news release, “Baer was rated as the #1 Freshman in Minnesota by Western College Hockey SB Nation.” . . . He had 16 points in 19 games as a freshman with Benilde-St. Margaret's. . . . More from the Giants’ news release: “Baer participated in the Giants' Rookie Training Camp last August and finished camp as the leading scorer. The numbers Baer put up at camp haven't been seen at a Giants' camp since Gilbert Brule.”
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The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton vs. Lethbridge
Saskatoon vs. Swift Current
Calgary vs. Medicine Hat
Prince Albert vs Red Deer

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Portland vs. Seattle
Kelowna vs. Everett
Kamloops vs. Tri-City
Spokane vs. Victoria
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:
In Moose Jaw, the Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals and beat the Warriors, 3-1. . . . The Blades now have won 10 in a row. . . . Saskatoon G Andrey Makarov stopped 37 shots. . . . The Blades were 2-for-3 on the PP. . . . Saskatoon F Matej Stransky had a goal, his 31st, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 10 games. . . . Warriors F Bryson Gore was tossed in the first period with a checking-from-behind major for a hit on Saskatoon F Josh Nicholls, who wasn’t injured. . . . The Blades are back in a tie with the Prince Albert Raiders atop the East Division standings. . . .

In Regina, G Eetu Laurikainen stopped 28 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 2-1 victory over the Pats. . . . F Adam Lowry scored his 37th goal, at 19:53 of the first period, for the Broncos, while F Levi Bews got his 17th at 9:04 of the second. . . . F Colton Stephenson scored his 12th for Regina, at 19:44 of the second on the PP. . . . The Broncos remain seenth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

In Brandon, F Jayce Hawryluk broke a 2-2 tie at 15:56 of the third period, on the PP, and the Wheat Kings beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Hawryluk, who has points in each of his last seven games, had sat out Brandon’s last game for school-related issues. . . . He has 16 goals. . . . F Tim McGauley had two assists for Brandon. . . . D Ryan Pulock scored his 13th goal and added an assist for Brandon. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 27 shots for his first WHL victory. . . . The Ice is three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers ran their winning streak to five games with a 5-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Prince George has lost five of six. . . . F Curtis Valk had a goal and two assists for the winners, who erased a 3-2 second-period deficit. . . . Valk broke a 3-3 tie with his 36th goal 28 seconds into the third period. . . . F Colin Jacobs scored three times for the Cougars, giving him 21. . . . With G Brett Zarowny (concussion) still out of action, the Cougars had Matt Kustra, a 15-year-old from Yorkton, Sask., on the bench in support of starter Mac Engel. Kustra, a 2012 draft pick of the Cougars, plays for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer stopped 37 shots. . . .

In Red Deer, F Rhyse Dieno scored the only goal of the circus as the Rebels got past the Victoria Royals, 2-1. . . . F Tim Traber, with his fourth, scored for the Royals at 4:28 of the third. . . . Red Deer D Mathew Dumba tied it, with his 13th goal, on a PP at 17:29. . . . In an intriguing battle of Czech goaltenders, Red Deer’s Patrik Bartosak stopped 44 shots through OT, seven more than Victoria’s Patrik Polivka. . . . The victory pulled the Rebels to within a point of fourth place in the Eastern Conference. . . . Earlier Friday, the Rebels were among hundreds of people to attend the funeral of Kale Williams, the 17-year-old son of Dean Williams, the club’s vice-president of marketing and sales. Kale, who died last weeked, was a close friend with Rebels players. “Obviously, it’s been an emotional few days for a lot of people in the community, for our hockey team and our staff,” Brent Sutter, the Rebe’s owner, general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. “But full marks to the kids. They stayed with it and showed a lot of resiliency tonight. They just kept working and found a way to tie it, and to win the game in a shootout just puts an exclamation mark on it. I’m proud of these kids. Really, I don’t have any words for it.” . . .

In Kamloops, F Brendan Ranford had a goal and two assists as the Blazers won their sixth in a row, beating the Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . F Colin Smith had two assists for the Blazers. . . . F Dylen McKinlay scored his 20th goal of the season for Kelowna. . . . Kamloops closed to within five points of B.C. Division-leading Kelowna. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . .

In Portland, G Troy Trombley stopped 41 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Trombley, 18, was making his first start this season with the Americans after two relief appearances. He joined the Americans last month from the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires after starter Eric Comrie (hip) was lost for the season. For the most part the 6-foot-6 Trombley has been backing up Luke Lee-Knight. . . . The Americans fell behind 1-0 and then scored six straight goals. . . . Trombley stopped 22 shots in the first period, which ended 1-1. . . . F Justin Feser and D Zach Yuen each had a goal and two assists for the Americans. Feser’s 32nd goal was a shorthanded effort. . . . F Connor Rankin got his 20th goal for the Americans. . . . Tri-City is sixth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Victoria Royals. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Arvin Atwal scored 23 seconds into OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent). . . . Atwal has three goals in 18 games this season. . . . Vancouver F Cody Franson had tied the game 2-2 with his 22nd goal at 11:54 of the third. . . . F Luke Lockhart had a goal, his 16th, and an assist for Seattle. . . . The Giants had D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, their captain, back after he missed a month with a hand injury. . . . The loser point moved eighth-place Seattle three points ahead of Prince George in the Western Conference. . . .

In Everett, F Alessio Bertaggia returned from injury to score twice and help the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . He had played in only two games for Spokane since being acquired from Brandon on Jan. 10. . . . Bertaggia’s first goal gave the Chiefs a 2-0 lead at 10:57 of the first period. His second goal, into an empty net, was his 20th of the season. . . . F Kohl Bauml scored twice for Everett, giving him 19. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg scored his 34th goal. . . . Spokane has three defencemen injured, so moved F Blake Gal back to the blue-line. . . . The Chiefs moved past Victoria and into fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Everett, which has lost nine in a row, is seventh, two points ahead of Seattle, which has lost seven in a row. The Thunderbirds are in Everett tonight.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
F Bryson Gore, Moose Jaw (major)
D Jesse Lees, Kelowna
D Damon Severson, Kelowna
F Taylor Peters, Portland (major)
D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, Vancouver
F Justin Hickman, Seattle

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None
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From Melissa Willick (@MJWillick), the mother of Kamloops Blazers captain Dylan Willick: “Nice! One of the drunk college students in front of us just puked everywhere. Love alcohold sales @blazerhockey games. #NOT #funtimes”
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From Taylor Blake Ward (@taylorblakeward): “testicular cancer survivor @bdavy3 scores both goals for the #thunder including the OT game winner to beat the #Reign 2-1”
Former Regina Pats D Brandon Davidson, who was diagnosed earlier this season with testicular cancer, helped the Stockton Thunder get past the Ontario Reign in an ECHL game last night.

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