Norm Johnston is stepping back from coaching, at least for now. Johnston, a veteran coach if ever there was one, spent the last five seasons as head coach of the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. The club got to the second round of playoffs and when it was over, even though it was the team’s most-successful season under him, Johnston decided it was time. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
(Edmonton wins 4-1)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Medicine Hat wins 4-0)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
(Calgary wins 4-1)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)
(Red Deer wins 4-0)
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Game 1, Friday, in Edmonton)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
(Game 1, tonight, in Calgary)
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
(Portland wins 4-2)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
(Kelowna wins, 4-3)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
(Kamloops wins 4-2)
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
(Spokane wins 4-1)
Portland (1) vs. Spokane (4)
(Game 1, Friday, in Portland, Veterans Memorial Coliseum)
Kelowna (2) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Game 1, Saturday, in Kelowna)
(Shaw TV will show this series)
Some notes from a Spokane news release:
The Western Conference semifinal series is the 10th time Spokane and Portland have met in the postseason.
Five of the series, including four of the last six, have gone the distance.
The Winterhawks won a nine-game series in 1985-86.
The Chiefs won a seven-game series in 1996 as they became the first team in WHL history to rebound from a 0-3 deficit.
Portland won in 1998 and went on to win the Memorial Cup in Spokane.
The Chiefs took Game 7 in 2003.
Their 2010 first round matchup, won by Portland, became the first in WHL history to have the road team win each game. Portland earned an overtime victory in Game 7 in the Spokane Arena.
Spokane had to win Game 6 in each seven-game series to force Game 7.
The Winterhawks won the last series, in 2011, in six games.
In Kelowna, F Tyson Baillie scored three times as the Rockets beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-2 in overtime. . . . Baillie got the winner at 5:10 of extra time, tapping in a pass to the backdoor from D Madison Bowey for the winner. . . . Seattle F Luke Lockhart had forced OT with a goal at 19:53 of the third period. . . . Five of the seven games needed overtime. Seattle won Games 1, 2 and 3 in OT; the Rockets won Games 6 and 7. . . . The Rockets are the second team in WHL history to win a series despite losing the first three games. Their series-clinching victory came exactly 17 years after the Spokane Chiefs completed such a comeback against the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna was without seven regulars as D Jesse Lees, who took a check to the head from Seattle F Justin Hickman in Game 6, was scratched. . . . When Lees was injured, the Rockets were left with four defencemen. Last night, they added D Joe Gatenby, a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. Gatenby, who is from Kelowna, made his WHL debut in this one. . . . Seattle was without Hickman and F Connor Honey, both of whom were serving WHL suspensions. . . . It isn’t likely that any of Kelowna’s scratches will be back for the second round – Lees, F J.T. Barnett (ill), F Rourke Chartier (back), D MacKenzie Johnston (shoulder), F Carter Rigby (shoulder, foot), F Colton Sissons (shoulder) and D Mitchell Wheaton (shoulder). . . . By the time the Rockets have played Game 4 of the second round, they will have played six games in nine nights.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (12):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (4):
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