Friday, February 21, 2014

Pats increase East lead; Portland streak at 18


F Shawn Limpright (Moose Jaw, 1998-2002) has been released by Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) by mutual agreement. He suffered a concussion  on Dec. 13 and missed more than a month of play. Since returning, he has not gotten back to form. This season, in 26 games, he had 19 points, six of them goals.
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The Prince Albert Raiders won on Friday night, moving their record to 28-28-4 and getting them back to the .500 mark. That means that as of right now 17 of the WHL’s 22 teams boast of a winning percentage of .500 or better. . . . Explain that to your Grade 10 math teacher. . . .
G Alex Moodie is expected to start for the Saskatoon Blades tonight as they play host to the Victoria Royals. Moodie last started on Jan. 18; he has been out since then with a groin injury. In his absence, Troy Trombley has made 12 straight starts. . . . By the way, it’s Wendel Clark Bobblehead Night in Saskatoon on Saturday.
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IF THE PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY:
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Red Deer (8)
Regina (2) vs. Brandon (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Kootenay (5)
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Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Everett (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Vancouver (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
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SATURDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Calgary at Regina, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Vancouver at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Kamloops at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.
Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Prince Albert at Portland, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Everett at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:
In Regina, G Daniel Wapple stopped 31 shots as the Pats beat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . The Pats, who have won three in a row, scored three second-period goals to take a 3-0 lead and then hung on as the Royals scored twice in the third. . . . Wapple had started eight straight games before Dawson MacAuley played in a 4-2 victory over the host Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. . . . The Royals had won nine in a row on the road and seven in a row overall; this also was their first regulation-time loss in 15 games. . . . Victoria is 3-1-0 on a five-game swing that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . F Chandler Stephenson scored his 28th goal of the season and added an assist for Regina. . . . The Royals got a goal, his 32nd, and an assist from F Austin Carroll. . . . F Boston Leier was among the Pats’ scratches. He has 66 points, including a team-leading 31 goals. . . . Regina, 8-1-1 in its last 10, continues to lead the East Division, now by six points over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Royals (42-17-4) are third in the Western Conference. . . .

In Brandon, the Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to nine games as they beat the Wheat Kings, 5-4. . . . It seems that a late-game play -- Brandon F Rihards Bukarts hit the cross-bar with a second left in regulation -- was under video review but that was unbeknownst to almost everyone. A tweet from Wheat Kings radio voice Bruce Luebke: “Teams off ice, stars announced and sticks taken to dressing room before Steve Papp emerged with no goal call.” . . . The Wheat Kings are winless in eight games. . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen had a goal, his 39th, and two assists, while F Brady Brassart picked up an assist and now is riding a 12-game point streak. . . . Calgary opened a 3-0 lead and the Wheat Kings were forced to chase the game after that. They got to within 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 but weren’t able to pull even. . . . G Chris Driedger made his first start since being suspended by the Hitmen for being in violation of team rules. He finished with 24 saves. . . . Brandon, which had 12 shots through two periods, scored three times in 17 shots in the third. . . . The Wheat Kings got F John Quenneville and F Jayce Hawryluk back from injuries, but were without F Richard Nejezchleb, D Rene Hunter and F Peter Quenneville (all injured) and D Colton Waltz (suspended). . . . The Hitmen (41-15-6) have as many points (88) as the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings, who have the edge in winning percentage (.746-.710) and hold three games in hand. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-26-8) are seventh in the converence, two points head of the Red Deer Rebels. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Medicine Hat Tigers struck for four goals in a span of four minutes 16 seconds en route to a 6-0 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Tigers went 4-0-0 versus the Warriors this season. . . . Tigers G Marek Langhamer stopped 34 shots, including 16 in the third period, for his second shutout this season and the fourth of his career. . . . With the score 6-0 in the second period, Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald tweeted: “Five of the Tigers' six goals have been scored by players who are 5-foot-9 or shorter. Speed skills.” . . . Medicine Hat got two goals from F Chad Butcher, who now has four this season, and a goal, his 28th, and two assists from F Cole Sanford. . . . F Trevor Cox also had a goal, his 21st, and two assists. . . . F Curtis Valk, who had an 18-game point streak snapped in his last game, got his 35th goal and added an assist. . . . Among Medicine Hat’s scratches were D Tommy Vannelli and D Ty Stanton. . . . The Tigers (37-21-3) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Warriors (15-36-9) are 10th in the conference. . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings ran their winning streak to three games with a 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Oil Kings, who have won 20 of 23, fell behind 1-0 on F Colby Cave’s 28th goal, shorthanded, at 2:54 of the first period, but scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar got his 34th of the season. . . . D Griffin Reinhart, the Oil Kings’ captain, played in his 200th regular-season game. . . . The Broncos are spending the weekend without F Nathan Burns (undisclosed injury). . . . Edmonton (43-14-2) leads the Eastern Conference. . . . The Broncos (29-24-8) are sixth, eight points behind the Kootenay Ice. Furthermore, the Broncos now are six points behind the East Division-leading Regina Pats. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels ended a five-game home-ice losing skid with a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Rhyse Dieno had two goals, giving him 20, and an assist for the Rebels. . . . Since joining the Rebels last season, Dieno, 20, has 114 points, including 47 goals, in 103 games. . . . F Cain Franson scored twice for Vancouver, giving him 27. . . . F Jackson Houck had three assists for the Giants. . . . Dieno’s first goal, at 13:21 of the second period, on the PP, tied the game, 2-2. . . . F Conner Bleakley’s 27th gave the Rebels the lead at 18:18 of the second. . . . Dieno’s second goal came into an empty net at 19:00 of the third. . . . The Giants were without veteran defencemen Dalton Thrower and Brett Kulak. . . . Ch-ch-ch-ching! There was a multi-fight situation at 19:42 of the third period. . . . Red Deer, which had lost three in a row and 10 of 11, is 29-29-4 and holds down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Giants (29-24-10) are sixth in the Western Conference, two points up on the Everett Silvertips. . . .

In Cranbrook, D Rinat Valiev scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Kootenay Ice a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Valiev, who was shown on the on-line score sheet as the game’s first star before the overtime period started, was the ninth shooter in a five-round skills competition. . . . The Ice led 2-0 only to have the Chiefs tie it on two goals by F Keanu Yamamoto, who has nine goals this season. Yamamoto, a 17-year-old from Spokane, has three goals in his last two games and four in his last five outings. . . . Yamamoto’s second goal, at 15:45 of the second period, forced OT. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 40 shots. G Mackenzie Skapski of the Ice turned aside 25 and then was clean in the shootout. . . . The Chiefs took all five of the game’s minor penalties. . . . Just wondering, but when was the last time a Ryan McGill-coached team didn’t take even one penalty? . . . The Ice was 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . F Connor Chartier and F Marcus Messier each had two assists for Spokane. . . . D Jagger Dirk scored his seventh goal and added an assist for the Ice. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart ran his point streak to 19 games. . . . That is two games shy of the franchise record that is held by F Mike Comrie, who did it Sept. 23 to Nov. 10, 2000. . . . Reinhart’s point streak is the longest in the WHL this season. He also is riding a 12-game assist streak. . . . The Ice dressed nine forwards and seven defencemen. . . . F Luke Philp was among the Ice’ scratches. . . . The Ice (35-22-4) is fifth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Chiefs (34-21-6) are fifth in the Western Conference. . . .

In Portland, F Keegan Iverson broke a 2-2 tie with his 20th goal of the season at 5:27 of the third period and the Winterhawks went on to beat the Kamloops Blazers 4-2 for their 18th straight victory. . . . The Winterhawks are 18-1-1 since Jan. 4. . . . Portland now has seven players on its roster with at least 20 goals. The Medicine Hat Tigers (1985-86) and the Winterhawks (1980-81) share the single-season record, at 12. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-1 after the first period on goals by F Matt Revel, his 14th, and F Carson Bolduc, his fifth. . . . Portland F Taylor Leier, with his 32nd, tied it 42 seconds into the second. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic added insurance with his 34th at 9:05 of the third, via the PP. . . . Kamloops G Benoit Pouliot stopped 42 shots, 28 more than Portland’s Corbin Boes. . . . F Matt Needham, the team captain, was back in the Blazers’ lineup after being out with an undisclosed injury. It was his first game in February and his second of 2014. . . . Portland F Nic Petan, who leads the WHL points race, had one assist. He’s got 103 points, three more than Spokane Chiefs F Mitch Holmberg, who was blanked last night. . . . Petan is riding a 14-game point streak, while F Oliver Bjorkstrand, who had an assist, has put together a 12-game streak. . . . The Winterhawks will go for 19 in a row tonight against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Portland (44-12-5) is seven points behind the Western Conference-leading Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (12-44-5) is two games into a 10-game road trip. . . .

In Prince George, G Jackson Whistle turned aside 35 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . With the victory, the Rockets became the first team in the CHL to reach 100 points this season. . . . D Mark McNulty scored his 17th goal of the season, on a PP, 19 seconds into the second period to give the home side a 1-0 lead. . . . Kelowna D Damon Severson tied it at 17:41 of the second, on the PP, and F Justin Kirkland gave the Rockets the lead at 19:10. They’ve each got 13 goals. . . . F Todd Fiddler got his 41st goal of the season for the Cougars. . . . Prince George G Adam Beukeboom stopped 40 shots. . . . The Cougars had D Peter Kosterman, 20, back in their lineup after he missed 25 games with a broken jaw. . . . The Cougars remain without F Jari Erricson, F Alex Forsberg, F Brett Roulston, F David Soltes, F Chase Witala and G Brett Zarowny. . . . The Rockets are without D Tyson Baillie (leg) and D Jesse Lees (undisclosed). . . . Let’s play three: These two teams will meet again tonight in Prince George and they’ll clash again Tuesday, this time in Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (48-8-4) lead the WHL’s overall standings. . . . The Cougars (25-31-8) are two points out of the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Draisaitl, who has 28 goals, broke a 2-2 tie at 18:06 of the second period, via the PP. . . . Raiders F Shane Danyluk upped the lead to 4-2 with a shorthanded goal at 3:46 of the third and the visitors were never headed. . . . Danyluk has six goals, three of them in his last two games. . . . The Raiders have opened this six-game road trip with three straight victories. . . . Tri-City got two goals and an assist from D Mitch Topping. He’s got seven goals this season. . . . Topping has 33 goals in 306 career regular-season games. This was the first two-goal game of his career. . . . At one time in the second period, the Raiders held a 16-4 edge in shots. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 30 shots, eight more than P.A’s Cole Cheveldave. . . . The Raiders (28-28-4) are two points behind Red Deer, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . The Americans (27-27-6) are eighth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Prince George. . . .

In Everett, D Mirco Mueller’s fourth goal of the season stood up as the winner as the Silvertips got past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Mueller’s goal, at 10:45 of the third period, gave the home boys a 2-0 lead. He also drew the lone assist on F Dawson Leedahl’s sixth goal at 1:41 of the first period. . . . Seattle F Justin Hickman got his 20th at 18:57 of the third period. . . . Mueller’s sister, Alina, scored the game-winner as Switzerland beat Sweden 4-3 to win the bronze medal in women’s hockey at the Olympic Winter Games on Thursday. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 17 shots, nine fewer than Seattle’s Taran Kozun. . . . A note involving a pair of Silvertips from Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “Goaltender Daniel Cotton and winger Darcy DeRoose, who were suspended by the team indefinitely last week for violating team rules, are no longer listed on either the game-day or permanent rosters.” . . . Everett (29-23-8) is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind Vancouver. . . . Seattle (37-19-5) is a comfortable fourth in the conference.
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From Brad Fay (@SNBradFay) of Sportsnet: “There are more tweets of concern about bars being open before dawn Sunday, than about opposition Swedes."
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From Portland Winterhawks F Brendan Leipsic (@bleipsic), after a 4-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers: “Someone get bolton pouliot a contract!! #iceyveins”


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