Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rebels, Wheat Kings, Raiders in quite a battle

One night, F Mitch Lipon of the Saskatoon Blades and one of his best friends, F Tim Bozon of the Kootenay Ice, were at a Goo Goo Dolls concert. Three nights later, Bozon was in critical condition in a Saskatoon hospital, leaving Lipon to wonder what had happened to his friend. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.
SPHLG Shannon Szabados, who is a double Olympic gold medallist, will sign with the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths. Szabados, 27, plans on finishing this season with the Cottonmouths. . . . According to The Canadian Press: Szabados previously played provincial college hockey (at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) with current Cottonmouth players Jordan Draper, Andy Willigar and captain Kyle Johnson. She will become the first woman to play in the SPHL since its inception 10 years ago.” . . . Szabados expects to officially sign her contract on Thursday, at which time she will be introduced at a news conference. . . . The Cottonmouths’ head coach is Jerome Bechard (Moose Jaw, 1985-90). . . . Szabados, then 16, was in training camp with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans prior to the 2002-03 season, getting into some preseason action. She later played 50 seconds in one regular-season game.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Brandon (8)
Regina (2) vs. Red Deer (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Kootenay (5)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Everett (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
SATURDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Regina at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
At Prince Albert, F Leon Draisaitl scored twice and added two assists to lead the Raiders to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Draisaitl, who has 34 goals, broke a 2-2 tie at 19:08 of the second period on the PP. He later added an empty-netter. . . . In 16 games since Feb. 1, Draisaitl, a sophomore from Cologne, Germany, has 36 points, including 15 goals. He has 12 multi-point games in that stretch and has been held pointless just once. . . . Raiders D Josh Morrissey scored his 26th goal and added an assist. . . . F Jake Virtanen scored twice, giving him 42, for Calgary. . . . Prince Albert G Nick McBride, making his fourth start in five games, stopped 32 shots. . . . A note from Andrew Schopp of the Prince Albert Daily Herald: “McBride is the first 16-year-old keeper since Aaron Sorochan in 2001 to remain on the (Raiders’) roster for an entire season.” . . . The Hitmen, who were playing the fourth game on a five-game road trip that ends tonight in Saskatoon, had been 3-0-0 against the Raiders this season. . . . The Raiders (32-30-5), who have won three straight, are ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Red Deer Rebels and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings are in Prince Albert tonight. . . . The Hitmen (44-17-7) have lost two in a row and now are two points behind the conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

At Saskatoon, D Dallas Valentine scored twice to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the Blades. . . . Valentine, who has three goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 5:45 of the second period. . . . A 17-year-old from Lousana, Alta., Valentine went into the game with one goal in 77 regular-season games over two seasons. . . . Warriors G Zach Sawchenko stopped 25 shots. . . . Warriors F Bryson Gore scored his ninth goal and added two assists, while F Tanner Eberle picked up his 20th goal of the season and added an assist. . . . G Brandon Kegler made his first WHL appearance when he came on to relieve Troy Trombley to start the third period. Kegler was beaten twice on 11 shots; Trombley had given up four goals on 22 shots. . . . Saskatoon D Ayrton Nikkel left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . Blades head coach Dave Struch summed things up when he told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “Two fundamental parts of the game – stopping the puck and scoring a goal – we had a real tough time with tonight.” . . . The Warriors (19-40-9) are 10th in the Eastern Conference, 10 points ahead of the Blades (16-46-5). . . .

At Brandon, F Mads Eller and F Curtis Lazar each scored twice as the Edmonton Oil Kings doubled up on the Wheat Kings, 6-3. . . . The Oil Kings led 4-0 before the game was 13 minutes old, with three of the goals coming in a span of 1:47. . . . Eller has eight goals; Lazar has 38. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots in winning for the 41st time this season. . . . Jarry is 67-23-4 in 101 career regular-season appearances. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost 11 of their past 14 games. . . . Brandon F Peter Quenneville missed his eighth straight game with an undisclosed injury, while F Jens Meilleur sat out his third straight game. . . . F Jayce Hawryluk, who leads Brandon in assists (40) and points (64), was ejected after taking a charging major at 11:15 of the second period. . . . Edmonton (47-17-3) leads the Eastern Conference by two points over Calgary. The Oil Kings have three more victories and a game in hand. . . . The Wheat Kings (31-28-9) are tied for seventh with the Red Deer Rebels in the Eastern Conference. . . .

At Cranbrook, F Jaedon Descheneau had a goal and two assists to help the Kootenay Ice to a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Descheneau has set career highs with 41 goals, 50 assists and 91 points, in 65 games. Last season, in 69 games, he had 78 points, including 30 goals. . . . F Sam Reinhart had two assists for the Ice, while F Zach Franko scored his 21st goal and added an assist. . . . D Tommy Vannelli, who hadn’t played since Feb. 14, scored his 14th goal for the Tigers. . . . Ice G Mackenzie Skapski stopped 30 shots. . . . The teams evenly split six games this season, each winning three times at home. . . . The Ice (38-25-4) clinched a playoff spot for the 16th straight season. Kootenay is fifth in the Eastern Conference, six points behind the Tigers (41-23-4). . . .

At Lethbridge, the Regina Pats got 30 saves from G Dawson MacAuley as they dropped the Hurricanes, 5-2. . . . MacAuley has become the Pats’ go-to guy with G Daniel Wapple sidelined by a sprained right ankle. . . . G Tyler Fuhr of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, who was added to Regina’s list earlier this season, is backing up. The Ice Wolves didn’t qualify for the SJHL playoffs. . . . F Dyson Stevenson scored his 36th goal and added two assists for Regina. . . . The game was 1-1 going into the second period when the Pats scored four times, including a shorthanded effort by F Braden Christoffer that broke that tie. . . . Regina D Cody Williams got his ninth goal of the season at 19:53 of the second, giving his guys a 5-1 lead. . . . F Josh Derko scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 11 goals. He hadn’t played since Dec. 28 as he missed 27 games with a knee injury. . . . After the game, Regina play-by-play man Phil Andrews tweeted: “Pats head coach Malcolm Cameron says Chandler Stephenson will play (tonight) against KTN. Not sure about Williams and Burroughs.” . . . Stephenson was injured in the first period last night, while Williams left in the third period after absorbing a hit from Derko. D Kyle Burroughs left the game in the third after getting the worst of a collision with Lethbridge F Carter Folk. . . . The Pats (38-24-6) lead the East Division by five points over the Swift Current Broncos, with each team having four games left. . . . The Hurricanes (12-51-5) have lost 10 in a row. . . .

At Red Deer, G Patrik Bartosak turned aside 33 shots and the Rebels scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . Swift Current F Graham Black got his 31st goal at 10:41 of the first period. . . . F Wyatt Johnson tied the game at 19:27 of the first and F Aspen Sterzer broke the tie at 17:56 of the second. . . . Johnson has 12 goals; Sterzer has 27. . . . The Rebels also scored in the last minute of the second as F Adam Musil got his ninth goal at 19:03. . . . The Rebels (33-30-5) are 4-0-1 in their last five. They are tied for seventh with Brandon in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

At Portland, F Brendan Leipsic scored twice and added two assists, helping the Winterhawks to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Leipsic has 36 goals and 49 assists in 55 games this season. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 44th goal and added two assists. He has 100 points, the third WHLer to get there this season. . . . Portland D Mathew Dumba scored twice and set up another. . . . Dumba has 17 points, including five goals, and is plus-23 in 22 games since coming over from the Red Deer Rebels after the World Junior Championship. . . . The Winterhawks are 6-2-2 against the Thunderbirds this season. . . . Portland D Derrick Pouliot had two assists, giving him 201 points in 243 career regular-season games. He has 66 points, 49 of them assists, in 54 games this season. The 49 assists are a career high, one more than he had in 72 games in 2011-12. . . . F Mathew Barzal had two assists for Seattle, which tied the game 3-3 on second-period PP goals from D Shea Theodore, his 19th, and F Ryan Gropp, his 16th. . . . Bjorkstrand broke the tie with a PP goal at 19:22 of the second and Dumba added insurance at 5:35 of the third. . . . Portland G Corbin Boes left the game in the second period. He was shaken up during a scramble, stayed in for a bit and then departed. That allowed Adin Hill, a 17-year-old from Calgary, to make his second WHL appearance. Brendan Burke was Portland’s starter before coming down with mononucleosis. . . . Hill, who entered a 3-3 game, stopped all 12 shots he faced and got the victory. He now is 2-0 and has allowed one goal on 41 shots. . . . The Winterhawks were 3-for-5 on the PP; Seattle was 3-for-7. . . . The Winterhawks (49-13-5), the Western Conference’s second seed, appear headed for a first-round matchup with the Vancouver Giants, who are in Portland tonight. . . . Seattle (39-21-6) is fourth in the conference, four points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

At Prince George, the Spokane Chiefs scored four third-period goals and beat the Cougars, 4-2. . . . The Cougars took a 2-0 lead into the third period on second-period scores from F Troy Bourke, his 27th, and F Todd Fiddler, his 46th. . . . Fiddler’s goal ran his point streak to 19 games. . . . Spokane F Adam Helewka got his guys started with his 22nd goal, on the PP, at 3:32 of the third. . . . F Mike Aviani tied it at 4:48 and F Keanu Yamamoto gave the Chiefs the lead with his 10th goal at 14:59. . . . Aviani got his 34th into an empty net to add insurance. . . . Chiefs G Garret Hughson stopped 34 shots. . . . Spokane D Reid Gow had three assists. The 19-year-old from Killarney, Man., has 59 points, including 53 assists, in 60 games. . . . Chiefs F Mitch Holmberg picked up two assists, giving him a WHL-leading 109 points. He holds a two-point lead over Portland F Nic Petan. . . . The Chiefs (37-24-6) are fifth in the Western Conference, four points behind Seattle. . . . The Cougars (26-35-8) are ninth, four points out of the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

At Kennewick, Wash., the Everett Silvertips won their fifth straight game, beating the Tri-City Americans, 4-2. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 32 shots. . . . Everett F Ivan Nikolishin broke a 1-1 tie with his 17th goal, via the PP, at 8:30 of the second period. . . . F Logan Aasman made it 3-1 with his third goal at 18:31. . . . Americans G Eric Comrie stopped 34 shots. . . . Everett (35-23-9) is sixth in the Western Conference. It is 7-0-1 in its last eight and now trails Spokane by only one point. . . . The Americans (28-31-8) are eighth in the conference, four points ahead of Prince George, which has three games remaining. . . .

At Victoria, F Ben Walker drew four assists, leading the Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals took a 4-0 lead into the last minute of the second period, with Walker in on each of the goals. . . . Victoria was playing at home for the first time since Feb. 12. . . . The Royals went 8-1-0 on the road in February; at home, they were 11-1-1. In the process, they established franchise records for home and road victories in a single month. . . . Victoria leads the season series with Kamloops 6-1-0 with the final game on the Island tonight. . . . F Axel Blomqvist and F Brandon Magee each scored his 24th goal of the season for Victoria. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy, who is in his first WHL season, faced the Blazers for the 15th time in his young career, including preseason, regular season and playoffs. He was held off the scoresheet, but has eight points, five of them goals, in seven games against the Blazers this season. He also scored twice in a preseason game against Kamloops. . . . Victoria had a 40-18 edge in shots on goal. . . . The Royals have outscored the Blazers 9-0 in the third period of games in Victoria this season. . . . The Blazers have three players sidelined with broken jaws -- D Sam Grist, F Luke Harrison and F Tyson Ness. . . . The Royals (46-17-4) will be the No. 3 seed for the opening round of playoffs. . . . The Blazers (13-50-5) have lost six in a row. They are 3-21-1 since Guy Charron stepped in as head coach, replacing Dave Hunchak.

From James Peters (@Jamloops) of CFJC-TV in Kamloops: “In #Kamloops (Friday), I asked @adriandix what's wrong with the Canucks. Went on for 5 minutes. Said they should rebuild, like @blazerhockey.”
Adrian Dix is soon to be the former leader of the B.C. NDP.

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