Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winterhawks streak at 19; Cougars closer to playoff spot

Jeff Z. Klein of The New York Times reports that “four more former NHL players have joined the concussion lawsuit against the league.” . . . Bernie Nicholls, Bob Bourne, Scott Parker and Bruce Bell now are part of the suit that was filed in November by nine other players. . . . Klein’s report is right here.
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Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more on the situation involving the minor hockey team from that city and the fallout from its appearance at a peewee tournament in Vernon, B.C. Ryan Arnold, the team’s head coach, has been suspended and the investigation continues. Clarke’s story is right here.
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JUST NOTES:
The Kootenay Ice played a game on Friday in which they didn’t incur even one penalty. I then wondered in this space if that previously had happened with a Ryan McGill-coached team. Turns out it did. Jeff Hollick, the radio voice of the Ice, informs that it happened earlier this season. . . . On Oct. 13, the host Ice beat the Prince Albert Raiders 2-0 in a game in which referees Brett Montsion and Kyle Scrivens chose not to penalize either team.
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IF THE PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY:
Eastern Conference
Calgary (1) vs. Prince Albert (8)
Regina (2) vs. Brandon (7)
Edmonton (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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SUNDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Portland at Everett, 4:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Spokane, 5:05 p.m.
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MONDAY’S WHL GAMES:
None scheduled.
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TUESDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Lethbridge at Regina, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Prince Albert at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:
In Regina, G Daniel Wapple stopped 45 shots through OT and was near-perfect in the shootout as the Pats beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-4. . . . The Hitmen tied the game with two third-period goals. They outshot the Pats 22-5 in that period. . . . F Brady Brassart, with his 31st goal, got the Hitmen to within one at 4:27 and F Jake Virtanen, with his 40th, tied it on a PP at 13:23. . . . The skills competition went nine rounds, with F Logan McVeigh and D Colby Williams, Regina’s last two shooters, both scoring. Only D Jaynen Rissling was able to score for Calgary. . . . The Hitmen had won their previous nine games. . . . Regina is 7-0-1 in its last eight at home. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk had two goals, giving him 25, for the Pats. . . . Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 26 shots. . . . The Pats (34-22-6) lead the East Division by six points over Swift Current, so are the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. . . . The loser point lifted the Hitmen (41-15-7) atop the Eastern Conference standings, a point ahead of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who still hold three games in hand. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Victoria Royals got three assists from F Brandon Magee as they wrapped up a five-game East Division swing with a 6-3 victory over the Blades. . . . The Royals went 4-1-0 on the trip. . . . F Logan Nelson, with his 21st, and F Taylor Crunk, with his seventh, gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 1:03 and the Royals were never headed. . . . Nelson finished with two goals. . . . F Nikita Scherbak scored his 27th goal and added an assist for the Blades. . . . G Alex Moodie started for the Blades. He had been out since Jan. 18 with an injury. He left after two periods, having been beaten five times on 26 shots. . . . Victoria G Patrik Polivka stopped 17 shots. . . . The Royals (43-17-4) are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and appear headed to a third-place finish in the Western Conference. . . . The Blades (16-41-4) are 2-7-1 in their last 10. . . .

In Brandon, F Tim McGauley scored three times to lead the Wheat Kings to a 7-4 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Wheat Kings had lost eight in a row. . . . McGauley’s first WHL hat trick leaves him with 18 goals in 59 this season, one more than he scored in 66 games last season. He has 49 points; last season, he finished with 45. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle added two goals for Brandon, giving him 11, while D Ryan Pulock got his 20th goal and added two assists. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 41 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings (29-26-8) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Swift Current. . . . The Warriors (15-37-9) have lost five in a row. . . .

In Edmonton, the Vancouver Giants scored three first-period goals and went on to beat the Oil Kings, 5-1. . . . Vancouver won twice on a three-game trip into Alberta. . . . F Jackson Houck scored two PP goals for the Giants. He’s got 30 goals this season. . . . The Giants were 3-for-6 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 1-for-7. . . . With D Dalton Thrower and D Brett Kulak out, the Giants had D Ryely McKinstry play his second WHL game. He was a second-round selection in the 2013 banta draft. . . . Giants G Payton Lee turned aside 32 shots. . . . Vancouver (30-24-10) are sixth in the Western Conference, six points behind Spokane. . . . The Oil Kings (43-15-2) slipped to third in the Eastern Conference. . . .

In Red Deer, the Swift Current Broncos struck for three third-period goals and beat the Rebels, 5-3. . . . The Rebels held a 3-1 lead late in the second period, only to have F Coda Gordon score at 19:27. . . . F Jay Merkley, with his 25th goal, pulled the Broncos even at 1:12 of the third and F Andrew Johnson gave them the lead, with his seventh, at 12:33. That was Johnson’s second goal of the game. . . . Gordon added his 22nd into an empty net at 19:45. . . . F Graham Black continued his superb season with the Broncos by drawing four assists. He has 80 points, 51 of them assists, in 59 games. . . . Swift Current D Julius Honka didn’t pick up a point, but finished at plus-4. . . . The Broncos went in having lost eight of 10, while the Rebels now have lost 11 of 13. . . . The Broncos (30-24-8) are sixth in the Eastern Conference, six points in back of Kootenay. . . . The Rebels (29-30-4) are tied with Prince Albert for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Kamloops Blazers scored two shootout goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . Seattle F Alexander Delnov forced OT with his 25th goal, via the PP, at 5:01 of the second period. . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk and F Matt Bellerive scored for Kamloops in the skills competition; F Branden Troock had scored for Seattle. . . . Kamloops G Cole Kehler stopped 33 shots in 57:57 of play. He came on at 7:03 of the first period with his side trailing, 1-0. Starter Bolton Pouliot had to leave after being involved in a goalmouth collision with Seattle F Russell Maxwell, who was steered in that direction by Kamloops D Sam Grist. . . . G Taran Kozun, appearing against his former team, turned aside 28 shots. . . . Kamloops is 6-21-1 on the road, with two of those victories in Kent. The Blazers won 7-1 there on New Year’s Eve. . . . At home, the Blazers beat the Thunderbirds 3-1 and then dropped a 3-2 decision. . . . Kamloops (13-44-5) is 2-8-0 in its last 10. . . . Seattle (37-19-6) is fourth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Spokane. . . . The Thunderbirds staged their 2014 Hockey Challenge on Saturday, with six charity games wrapped around their game with the Blazers. The late game featured Team Furness vs. Team Shea, and included former Seattle players Mark Parrish, Brendan Witt, Chris Wells, Jesse Wilson, Jamie Huscroft, Brett Duncan, Regan Mueller and Danny Lorenz. . . . Also featured were actors Michael Mantenuto, who played Jack O’Callahan in Miracle, and former pro hockey player/scout/executive-turned-actor Mike Butters. Interestingly, Mantenuto, according to a Thunderbirds news release, “is a Sergeant in the US Army with the 1st Special Forces Group stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash.” Butters, meanwhile, “is a character actor who has appeared in over 50 movies, including the Saw franchise and D2 – The Mighty Ducks, 100 commercials and 20 television shows.” . . . The Hockey Challenge, which began in 1998, is a fund-raiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington and Alaska. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Miles Koules scored twice and added an assist as the Tigers dropped the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . His first goal, 56 seconds into the game, came via a penalty shot. . . . Koules, the son of Oren Koules, who had a stint with the Tigers (1979-80), has 23 goals. Dad had 13 points, six of them goals, in 33 games with the Tigers. The next season, with the Spokane Flyers, Oren put up 73 points, including 28 goals, in 67 games. Miles, 19, has 45 points in 61 games as a sophmore. Last season, he had 40 points, 19 of them goals, in 69 games. . . . It’s worth noting that the Medicine Hat roster also includes F Blake Penner, whose father, Craig, played for the Tigers (1982-86) and F Gavin Broadhead, whose father, Curt, also played in The Hat (1977-81). As well, the Tigers have D Gabe Bast, 17, on their list. His father, Tom, played four seasons with the Tigers (1973-77). . . . Medicine Hat was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . The Tigers (38-21-3) are the only team in the WHL not to have lost in a shootout. They are fourth in Eastern Conference, five points ahead of Kootenay. . . . Lethbridge (12-46-5) has lost five in a row. . . .

In Prince George, F Jansen Harkins broke a 1-1 tie at 8:26 of the third period as the Cougars got past the Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . Cougars F Klarc Wilson got his 25th goal, on a PP, at 14:10 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Rourke Chartier, with his 20th, tied it at 18:49 of the second. . . . Prince George G Ty Edmonds stopped 42 shots, 16 in the third period. . . . G Jordon Cooke of the Rockets turned aside 23 shots. . . . Prince George F Todd Fiddler ran his point streak to 15 games with an assist on Harkins’ goal. . . . Kelowna D Damon Severson had a nine-game assist streak snapped. . . . The Rockets had beaten the Cougars 4-2 on Friday, giving them their franchise record 25th road victory of the season. The previous record had been set in 2003-04. That victory also allowed the Rockets to have back-to-back 100-point seasons for the first time in franchise history. . . . The Cougars (26-31-8) closed to within a point of Tri-City, which holds down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. The Americans hold three games in hand. . . . The Rockets (48-9-4) lead the overall standings. . . .

In Portland, F Chase De Leo had two goals and two assists as the Winterhawks ran their winning streak to 19 games with a 6-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . De Leo has 34 goals. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and took a 2-1 lead into the second period. . . . Portland took control with four second-period goals. . . . Portland F Nic Petan scored twice, giving him 34, and running his point streak to 15 games. But he had his assist streak end at 14 games. . . . Petan leads the WHL points derby with 105 points, two more than Spokane Chiefs F Mitch Holmberg. . . . F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 42nd goal and added two assists for Portland. . . . Prince Albert D Josh Morrissey scored his 22nd goal and added an assist, while F Dakota Conroy scored twice, giving him 26, and F Leon Draisaitl had three assists. . . . Portland (45-12-5) is five points behind Kelowna, which has a game in hand and leads the overall standings. . . . The Raiders (29-29-4) are tied with Red Deer for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Spokane, Chiefs F Mitch Holmberg scored the game’s first three goals and his mates road that to a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Holmberg leads the WHL with 54 goals. . . . He scored at 10:17, 18:01 (pp) and 19:18 of the first period. . . . F Carter Proft added two goals for the Chiefs, giving him 10. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart had one assist as he ran his point streak to 20 games and his assist streak to 13 games. . . . Ice F Tim Bozon notched his 30th goal of the season. . . . Ice D Jagger Dirk played in his 300th regular-season game, all with Kootenay. . . . The Ice has had a flu bug in its dressing room. F Luke Philp returned after sitting out one game, while D Landon Cross and D Landon Peel were scratched. . . . It all meant the Ice dressed 15 skaters, three under the maximum. . . . The Chiefs (35-21-6) are fifth in the Western Conference and appear likely to finish there. . . . The Ice (35-23-4) appears headed to a fifth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Josh Winquist and F Patrick Bakjov scored in the shootout to give the Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . They were the only shooters Everett needed as only F Brian Williams could scored for the home side. . . . F Parker Bowles scored twice for the Americans, his second one, at 11:57 of the third period, forcing OT. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 39 shots through OT, 19 more than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . The Silvertips (30-23-8) have won their last two after a rocky stretch and are seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind Vancouver. . . . The Americans (27-28-7) are 2-6-2 in their last 10 and clinging to the conference’s last playoff spot, one point ahead of Prince George. The Americans have 10 games to play, three more than the Cougars.
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From WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): “.939 - Stopping all 5 (Friday) night, @WHLKootenayICE Mackenzie Skapski (@Skaps29) has saved 46 of 49 shootout attempts over the last 2 seasons.”

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