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.

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.
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)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Everett (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Vancouver (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
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.
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.

From Brad Fay (@SNBradFay) of Sportsnet: “There are more tweets of concern about bars being open before dawn Sunday, than about opposition Swedes."
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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