Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ernie (Punch) McLean to coach again

D Nathan Deck (Vancouver, Prince Albert, 2005-11) signed with the Ravensburg Towerstars (Germany, DEL2) for the rest of this season. He had been with the Stockton Thunder (ECHL), having put up 19 points in 40 games. He is expected to arrive in Ravensburg on Monday.

MJHLThe MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers edged the visiting Steinbach Pistons 3-2 on Friday night, running their winning streak to 20 games. That set a new franchise record, erasing the mark set by the 1974-75 team, and tied the MJHL record. The Steelers are scheduled to meet the host Portage Terriers tonight. . . . At 40-6-2, the Steelers boast the league’s best record.
TODAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Calgary at Kootenay (Cranbrook), 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Going in, one team had 40 victories, the other had 40 losses. So we shouldn’t have been surprised at the outcome.
The Kelowna Rockets got out to a 4-0 lead and went on to beat the host Kamloops Blazers, 4-2. That improved the Rockets’ record to 41-7-3, the best in the WHL, while the Blazers slid to 11-36-5 and into a tie with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (11-38-5) for the WHL’s poorest record, each with 27 points.
Still, the Rockets needed some big stops from G Jackson Whistle down the stretch in order to preserve their victory.
F Myles Bell and F Justin Kirkland each scored twice for the Rockets, who led 4-0 midway through the second period. Bell, with 31 goals, has back-to-back 30-goal seasons, the seventh player in Kelowna franchise history to do that. Kirkland, a 17-year-old sophomore from Camrose, Alta., has 12 goals. He also had an assist, giving him 30 points in 50 games.
The Blazers got back into this one with a pair of goals from F Cole Ully, the first at 12:20 of the third on the PP, and the second at 18:13. Ully, who is having a solid season despite the team’s record, has 24 goals.
Ully’s second goal came following a video review, after Whistle, who is 12-3-0, appeared to make two saves with the paddle of his stick while sprawled on the ice. The first of those stops came at 18:13, but play wasn’t stopped until 19:34, at which time coincidental minors were issued to Kelowna D Madison Bowey and Kamloops F Matt Bellerive.
At that point, the officials went to video review, and the first of Whistle’s apparent saves was ruled to have been a goal. So the clock was reset at 18:13. Interestingly, the coincidental minors were then given that same time -- 18:13.
Whistle finished up with 34 saves, which was far more than he might have expected to make, especially when his guys held a 12-7 edge in shots with less than three minutes to play in the first period.
The 18-year-old Kelowna native made a handful of stops on shots by Kamloops F Chase Souto, a 20-goal man who was snakebit in this one. Whistle also came up with a glove save at 11:34 of the third period that left Kamloops F Matt Revel talking to himself.
While the Blazers didn’t show much consistency over 40 minutes, they certainly didn’t quit and, in the end, it was a combination of Whistle and the Kelowna PP (it was 3-for-5) that decided this one.
The injury-ravaged Blazers had four 1997-born players (G Cole Kehler, D Cam Reagan, F Nick Chyzowski and F Deven Sideroff) along with F Jake Kryski, 15, in their lineup. Kehler backed up G Bolton Pouliot. Sideroff was their best player, showing no signs of being intimidated at this level. Kryski, playing with C Joe Kornelsen and RW Matt Bellerive, was minus-1 after one shift, but went on to have a pretty good night that included a couple of scoring chances.
The same two teams meet again tonight, this time in the Little Apple.
SOME NOTES: The Blazers scratched F Eric Krienke, F Matt Needham, F Luke Harrison, F Tyson Ness and G Justin Myles, all of whom are injured, and D Matt Thomas. . . . Kamloops has lost five in a row and is 1-7-1 since Guy Charron replaced Dave Hunchak as head coach. . . . The Rockets are 6-0-0 against the Blazers this season and have outscored them 27-11. Kamloops has yet to score more than two goals in a game against the Rockets this season. . . . Bell has eight two-goal games this season. He has scored 10 goals in his last 13 games. He scored 12 times in January. . . . Kelowna D Madison Bowey had two assists, giving him 98 career points in 180 regular-season games. . . . With 85 points, the Rockets hold a 10-point lead over the Portland Winterhawks atop the overall standings. . . .

F Todd Fiddler broke a 1-1 tie at 11:30 of the third period to give the Prince George Cougars a 2-1 victory over the host Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Fiddler, 20, played for the Warriors earlier in the season, before being dropped from their roster and ultimately traded to the Cougars. He's got 32 goals this season. . . . Fiddler also drew an assist on D Mark McNulty's 13th goal at 3:21 of the second period. . . . Fiddler has 57 points, including 30 goals, in 34 games with the Cougars. . . . Josh Uhrich got his sixth for the Warriors at 6:41 of the second. . . . The Cougars (21-26-7), now six points shy of the Western Conference’s last playoff spot, have won three in a row and have one game left, in Swift Current tonight, on their East Division swing. . . . The Warriors (13-30-8) are out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. . . .

In Regina, G Daniel Wapple stopped 16 shots to help the Pats to a 6-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . It was Wapple's second shutout this season -- he has one with Medicine Hat and one with Regina -- and the third of his career. . . . Saskatoon G Troy Trombley turned aside 41 shots. . . . Regina broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . Regina F Chandler Stephenson scored twice, giving him 23, while F Dryden Hunt had a goal, his 15th, and two assists. . . . Among Saskatoon's scratches was F Nikita Scherbak, the league's leading freshman. He sat out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina (26-21-5) is tied for sixth with the Red Deer Rebels in the Eastern Conference; they are a point back of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Blades (14-35-4) are 11th and out of the playoff picture. . . .

In Swift Current, F Graham Black scored three times as the Broncos beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-3. . . . Black, who has 26 goals, two more than he scored last season, gave his guys a 4-2 edge at 17:57 of the third period. . . . It was Black’s first WHL three-goal game. . . . F Curtis Sanford scored twice for the Tigers, giving him 24. . . . Broncos D Julius Honka drew two assists. . . . Medicine Hat F Alex Mowbray, a 17-year-old from Calgary, scored his first WHL goal in his 18th game of the season. . . . Medicine Hat F Curtis Valk had his goal-scoring streak snapped at eight games, the longest in the league this season. . . . The Broncos (26-18-8) have points in their last five games (3-0-2) and are back atop the East Division, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Tigers (29-18-3) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Brandon. . . .

The host Edmonton Oil Kings scored three second-period goals and beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar scored his 28th goal of the season to get the Oil Kings rolling. . . . F Brian Williams got Tri-City's goal, his 32nd, on the PP, at 19:33 of the third. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots, seven fewer than Eric Comrie of the Americans. . . . The Oil Kings (36-13-1) lead the Eastern Conference and are atop the Central Division by three points over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans (25-22-5) are eighth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice scored the game's last four goals and beat the Raiders, 4-1. . . . Ice F Luke Philp scored his 20th goal, giving the Ice a 2-1 lead at 2:35 of the third period, as he ran his point streak to 12 games, the longest in the WHL right now. . . . Philp also had an assist. . . . F Dakota Conroy scored his 20th goal for the Raiders late in the second period, only to have F Zach Franko tie it with his 15th just 41 seconds later. . . . The game's lone fight featured Prince Albert D Josh Morrissey and Ice F Sam Reinhart, who were teammates on Canada's national junior team. It was the first fight of Reinhart's WHL career and came in hi 182nd game. He has 33 career penalty minutes, nine of them this season. . . . The Ice (26-21-4) is eighth in the Eastern Conference, seven points ahead of the Raiders, who have lost three straight. . . . The Ice is 7-2-1 in its last 10. . . .

The host Calgary Hitmen blew a 3-0 lead and then broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-4. . . . Calgary F Chase Lang gave his guys a 3-0 lead with his sixth goal, on the PP, at 19:09 of the first period. . . . Brandon came back with three second-period goals, tying it on F Quintin Lisoway's fifth goal at 19:56. . . . Calgary F Greg Chase broke the 3-3 draw with his 29th goal at 5:32 of the third and F Adam Tambellini added insurance with his fourth at 12:26. . . . Brandon got a goal, his eighth, and two assists from F Ryley Lindgren. . . . According to Brad Curle, the radio voice of the Hitmen, Calgary his seven posts. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost three in a row. . . .

In Red Deer, the Lethbridge Hurricanes got the only goal of a five-round shootout and beat the Rebels, 6-5. . . . F Kolten Olynek, who scored his fourth goal on a PP in the third period, got the winner during the skills competition. . . . Olynek cut the Red Deer lead to 5-4 at 7:30 and F Reid Duke pulled his side even at 12:03. Duke, who scored twice and added an assist, has 11 goals. . . . The Hurricanes (11-38-5) now are tied with the Kamloops Blazers (11-36-5), each with 27 points, at the bottom of the WHL standings. . . . The Hurricanes actually continue to occupy the cellar, their winning percentage of .250 just a bit poorer than the Blazers’ .260. . . . Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes assigned G Jarrod Schamerhorn to the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. Lethbridge had acquired Schamerhorn from the Portland Winterhawks at the trade deadline for a 2014 seventh-round bantam draft pick. . . . The Hurricanes got 36 saves from former stickboy Jonny Hogue last night, while Stuart Skinner, the 17th overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, backed up. The reassignment of Schamerhorn might indicate that G Teagan Sacher has recovered from an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Victoria, F Cain Franson's shootout goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory over the Royals. . . . Victoria F Logan Nelson had forced OT with his second goal of the night, and his 15th of the season, at 9:51 of the third period. . . . Victoria F Joe Hicketts had two assists and was plus-2 as he returned from arm surgery. He had last played on Oct. ??. . . . Victoria F Brandon Magee got his 19th goal and also had an assist, the 100th of his career. . . . Vancouver F Dalton Sward scored his 16th goal, a shorthanded effort at 8:00 of the second period. That tied the franchise's single-season record that had been held by James Henry (2009-10). . . . The Giants (26-19-8) have won two straight and are sixth in the Western Conference, six points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Royals (33-16-3) are tied for third with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks ran their winning streak to nine games with a 6-0 blanking of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . G Brendan Burke put up his second shutout this season, stopping 32 shots. He has six shutouts in his career. . . . The Winterhawks, who led 1-0 and 4-0 at the intermissions, got two goals from F Oliver Bjorkstrand, who now has 36. . . . Portland D Mathew Dumba had one assist and was plus. The Winterhawks are 7-0-0 with Dumba in the lineup. He has eight points, including six assists, and is plus-16. . . . Porltand F Brendan Leipsic ran his goal-scoring streak to seven games, the longest active such run in the league right now. . . . The Winterhawks (35-12-5) are 10 points behind the Western Conference-leading Rockets. . . . The Chiefs (31-16-4) are fifth, three points in back of Seattle. . . .

In Everett, F Ryan Gropp’s PP goal at 7:21 of the second period broke a 1-1 tie as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Silvertips, 2-1. . . . F Mathew Barzal gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 13:34 of the first period. Barzal, the first pick in the 2012 bantam draft, has eight goals. . . . Everett F Josh Winquist got his 32nd at 19:07 of the first, via the PP. . . . Gropp has 13 goals with Seattle. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 24 shots in running his record to 7-0-0. He’s got a 1.25 GAA and a .956 save percentage. In seven games with Seattle, Kozun is seeing an average of 29.1 shots per game. In 29 appearances with Kamloops this season, that number was 38.3. With the Blazers, he was 5-19-3, 3.95, .897. . . . Seattle (32-15-5) is tied for third in the Western Conference with Victoria, while Everett (25-19-8), which has lost six in a row, is seventh, two points behind Vancouver.

From the New Westminster Salmonbellies (@Salmonbellies): "Ernie (Punch) McLean back at QPA Arena, will be at the helm for the @Salmonbellies and @NewWestPD vs Canuck Alumni March 14th 7PM.``

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