Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Americans clinch West's last playoff spot with loser point

It’s your lucky day because if you click right here you will find the best essay you will read this week . . . this month . . . maybe this year. Written by Bryan Curtis at grantland.com, it’s all about the legendary Dan Jenkins. . . . At one point, Jenkins, referring to Tiger Woods, tells Curtis: “He is a hell of a talent. He just happens to be an asshole.”
F Tyler Benson, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft, joined the Vancouver Giants last week and was to play with them for the remainder of the season. However, it appears his season is over. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that Benson was on crutches Tuesday and had a brace on his left leg. He won’t need surgery, but Benson’s season is over. . . . Ewen’s report is right here.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Red Deer/Prince Albert (8)
Regina (2) vs. Brandon (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Kootenay (5)
(NOTE: Prince Albert and Red Deer are tied for eighth, each with 71 points. Each has three games left. A tie for a conference‘s final playoff spot will result in a tiebreaker game.)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Everett (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
WEDNESDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Everett at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings got goals from eight players as they dumped the Saskatoon Blades, 8-5. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock scored his 22nd goal and added two assists, while F Richard Nejezchleb got his 31st goal and also had two helpers. . . . The Wheat Kings broke open a 1-1 game with four straight goals. . . . F Nikita Scherbak and D MacKenzie Johnston each had two assists for the Blades, while F Chase Clayton scored his 10th goal and added an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Jayce Hawryluk, their leading scorer, who is serving a WHL suspension and won’t play again in the regular season. . . . Also missing was F Peter Quenneville. . . . F Nolan Patrick, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, played for Brandon. He was pointless but finished plus-2. . . . The Wheat Kings (32-29-9) moved into seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades (16-48-5) have lost nine in a row. . . .

In Calgary, F Brady Brassart drew three assists as the Hitmen dumped the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini scored his 17th goal and added an assist, while F Jake Virtanen notched his 43rd goal. . . . F Riley Sheen scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 18 goals. . . . Virtanen broke a 2-2 tie 7:56 of the second period, with D Kenton Helgeson scoring his 10th goal at 17:55. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner, the 17th overall pick in the 2013 WHL bantam draft, stopped 39 shots in his first WHL start. . . . Calgary (46-17-7) is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for first place in the Eastern Conference. . . . Lethbridge (12-53-5) has lost 12 straight. . . .

In Edmonton, G Tristan Jarry stopped 20 shots to help the Oil Kings to a 1-0 victory over the short-staffed Kootenay Ice. . . . The Ice dressed 16 skaters, two under the maximum. . . . Among the Kootenay scratches were D Landon Cross and D Landon Peel. . . . Jarry, who leads the WHL with 42 victories, has eight shutouts this season and 14 in his career. . . . Ice G Mackenzie Skapski turned aside 29 shots. . . . Edmonton F Henrik Samuelsson scored the game’s lone goal, his 33rd, just 15 seconds into the second period. . . . Edmonton D Cody Corbett picked up his 125th career assist, tying him with Mark Pysyk (2007-12) for the franchise record. . . . The Oil Kings (48-18-3) are tied with Calgary atop the Eastern Conference. Edmonton has the edge in victories (48-46), which is the first tiebreaker, and a game in hand. That game will be played tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice (39-26-4) is fifth in the conference, six points behind Medicine Hat and three in front of the Swift Current Broncos. . . .

In Moose Jaw, D Jesse Forsberg, F Jack Rodewald and F Tanner Eberle each scored twice to carry the Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Forsberg’s second goal, his 10th this season, came on a PP and broke a 3-3 tie at 2:05 of the third period. . . . Eberle then scored twice, the second one shorthanded and into an empty net. He’s got 22 goals. . . . Rodewald has 27 goals. . . . Raiders F Leon Draisaitl scored his 36th goal and also had an assist. . . . Warriors F Brayden Point drew three assists. . . . The Warriors (21-40-9) have won four in a row. . . . The Raiders (33-31-5) had a four-game winning streak snapped. They are tied with Red Deer for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff berth. . . .

In Portland, the Tri-City Americans lost 3-2 in OT to the Winterhawks, but the visitors were celebrating as the loser point allowed them to clinch the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic won it with his 38th goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Portland D Mathew Dumba forced OT with his sixth goal at 11:07 of the third period. . . . F Parker Bowles scored twice for the Americans, giving him 13. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 46 shots as he set the franchise‘s single-season record for most saves. . . . Portland G Brendan Burke turned side 18 shots in his first appearance since Feb. 10. He had been out with mononucleosis. . . . F Beau McCue had two assists for Tri-City. . . . Portland has won four in a row, while the Americans have lost four straight. . . . The loser point that went to the Americans was enough to eliminate the idle Prince George Cougars, who now are five points behind with just two games remaining. . . . Portland (51-13-5) will be the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed and will meet the No. 7 Vancouver Giants in the first round. . . . The No. 8 Americans (28-32-9) will open against the No. 1 Kelowna Rockets. . . .

In Kelowna, the Victoria Royals scored two third-period goals and beat the Rockets, 3-2. . . . D Ryan Gagnon tied the game 2-2 with his second goal of the season at 5:04. . . . Victoria F Axel Blomqvist -- was there a better addition via trade this season than this guy? -- scored his 24th goal at 16:40 to win it. . . . Victoria G Patrick Polivka kicked out 34 shots, one more than Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke. . . . Kelowna F Tanner Wishnowski scored his first goal at 2:18 of the first period. Wishnowski, who is from Oakbank, Man., turned 17 on Jan. 28 and was playing his first WHL game. He played this season with the major midget Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets. . . . Victoria F Brandon Magee tied it with his 25th at 16:23 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Cole Linaker scored his 11th goal, shorthanded, at 16:45 of the second. . . . The Royals have won six in a row. . . . The Rockets have lost just four home games this season, but three of those have come against the Royals. . . . Victoria penalty-killers were 35-for-35 as the Royals won the season series, 5-2-1. . . . The Royals (48-17-4) have 100 points for the first time in franchise history. They will finish third in the Western Conference. . . . The Rockets (54-11-4) lead the Western Conference by five points over Portland. Each team has three games left. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 6-4. . . . F Hudson Elynuik tied the game 4-4 with his third goal of the season, via the PP, at 15:51 of the second period. . . . F Mike Aviani got his 37th at 14:34 of the third and F Connor Chartier added an empty-netter, his 13th goal of the season, at 18:37. . . . The Chiefs have won three in a row. . . . Aviani scored twice. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg, the WHL scoring leader, had one assist. . . . Seattle won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . The Chiefs (39-24-6) are fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Seattle (40-23-6).

From Roger Shannon (@rogershannon): “Moncton Wildcats send well wishes and prayers to Kootenay Ice Forward Tim Bozon who is fighting for his life in his battle with Meningitis.”
From Helene Barbier Bozon (@Helene Bozon), Tim Bozon’s mother: “RIP Terry Trafford. Sad.”

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