Monday, January 27, 2014

Pochiro shoots way out of PG doghouse

D Bryce Lampman (Kamloops, 2002-03) has signed for the rest of this season with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen). This season, with Florida (ECHL), he had five points, including one goal, in eight games. . . .
F Kirill Starkov (Red Deer, 2006-07) has signed with Red Ice Martigny (Switzerland, NL B) for the rest of the season, with an option. (Red Ice contacted the Danish federation and inserted a termination clause should Starkov be suspended by the IIHF over a Danish betting case.)
George Johnson, the Calgary Herald’s sporting columnist, is one of Canada’s best wordsmiths. He was in attendance Sunday as the hometown Hitmen dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and his report is right here.
Things appear to be going from bad to worse for the Kamloops Blazers. They have the WHL’s second-poorest record (11-33-5) and have only one victory in their last 10 outings. And now, as they prepare to play four games in five nights, they have lost two veterans to what they are calling “long-term injuries.”
F Luke Harrison, 18, suffered an undisclosed injury during a 4-0 loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday. Harrison, who missed time earlier this season with a brain injury, was involved in a heavy collision with Tigers D Scott Allan at 14:13 of the third period. Harrison needed help from trainer Colin Robinson and left with gauze in his mouth.
One night earlier, F Tyson Ness, 20, suffered a broken jaw when struck by a puck during a 7-2 loss to the visiting Victoria Royals. Ness is expected to be lost for the remainder of the season, although he has told team officials that he badly wants to play in one more game.
The Blazers also are missing freshman F Eric Krienke and veteran F Matt Needham, their captain, with undisclosed injuries. According to the team, Krienke is out one to two weeks, while Needham is week-to-week.
With the injuries, the Blazers have added F Deven Sideroff, 16, to their roster for this week. He has 55 points, 26 of them goals, in 33 games with the midget prep team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
G Cole Kehler, 16, also has rejoined the Blazers and will stay with the team while G Justin Myles, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds at the trade deadline, recovers from an undisclosed injury. Kehler also attends the Okanagan Hockey Academy and plays for the midget prep team for whom he has a 19-4 record. He has gotten into six games with the Blazers this season.
The Blazers are at home to the Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday night, then visit the Giants in Vancouver on Wednesday. F Quinn Benjafield, the Blazers’ first pick, 19th overall, in the 2013 bantam draft, is expected to make his WHL debut in Vancouver, which happens to be his hometown. Benjafield, 15, has 34 points, including 14 goals, in 27 games with the major midget Vancouver-North West Giants.
The ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls folded on Monday. The Bulls had an ECHLaffiliation with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . “We regret to inform you that the SF Bulls are ceasing operations, effective immediately,” president/GM/head coach Pat Curcio wrote to season-ticket holders. “The team was hoping to secure new ownership, however the terms of an updated deal were unable to be finalized, cancelling the remainder of the season.” . . . Included on the roster was D Kalvin Sagert (Kamloops, Lethbridge, Regina, 2002-08). Sagert now is an unrestricted free agent, as are any Bulls players who don’t have AHL or NHL contracts.
Ron Judd of the Seattle Times starts your Super Bowl preparations -- it’s the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on Sunday -- with a piece that includes this: “Denver’s Gates Corporation is the world’s largest producer of automotive belts and hoses. Seattle’s Gates Foundation is the world’s largest curer of global hunger and disease.” . . . There’s more right here.

 The Portland Winterhawks, who have won seven in a row, have earned 17 of a possible 18 points since Jan. 4. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic has 20 points in the nine games he has played since serving a seven-game suspension. He has 63 points in 38 games this season. . . . If you were wondering, the Winterhawks are 5-0-0 since D Mathew Dumba joined them after getting some rest following the World Junior Championship. He’s got six points, including two goals, and is plus-10. . . .
Don’t look now but things are heating up in the WHL’s scoring derby. Spokane Chiefs F Mitch Holmberg continues to lead, with 85 points in 48 games, but Portland F Nic Petan is on the move, with 79 points in 41 games. . . . Holmberg leads the WHL in goals, with 43, and that’s 10 more than Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand, who is third in the points derby, with 70. . . . Petan leads the league in assists, with 55. . . . Leipsic and Petan shared the scoring title last season, each with 120 points. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings, who are 4-0-1 in their last five games, open a four-game road swing in Edmonton against the red-hot Oil Kings today. If you’re in the area, not that the game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Yes, they are calling it Hockey Hooky. . . .
Kootenay Ice F Luke Philp is on a 10-game point streak, with 16 points in that time, while F Tim Bozon is riding a nine-game tear. He has 15 points over that stretch. . . . Philp has the longest ongoing streak in the WHL at the moment. . . .
The Prince George Cougars were without three of their top eight scorers as they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Saturday night. Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen reports that “centre Alex Forsberg (concussion) and winger Chase Witala (upper body) were out with injuries and centre Zach Pochiro was scratched as punishment for his undisciplined play after he took three straight minor penalties in the first period of the Regina game.” . . . The Cougars had lost 8-0 to the Pats in Regina on Friday. . . .
In Prince Albert, F Zach Pochiro, back in the lineup after sitting out a game as a healthy scratch, forced OT and then won the game in the shootout as the Prince George Cougars beat the Raiders, 6-5. . . . Pochiro tied the game right off a faceoff with 15.4 seconds left in the third period. He then was the only one of eight skaters to score in the shootout. . . . F Todd Fiddler scored twice for the Cougars, giving him 30 goals this season. . . . The Raiders led five times in this one -- 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4. . . . The Raiders (23-23-3), who had scored five regulation-time goals in their previous five games, are ninth in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars (19-26-7) are ninth in the Western Conference, eight points out of the playoffs.

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