Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tiebreaker Tuesday belongs to Raiders

Czech-ELHF Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) had his club option picked up by Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for next season. This season, Vlach had seven points, four of them goals, in 36 games with Liberec. While on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six points, including three goals, in nine games.
F Tim Bozon of the Kootenay Ice continues to make progress as he battles Neisseria meningitis in Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital.
Bozon, who is to turn 20 on Monday, has been in hospital since March 1. His parents, Helene and Philippe, have been with him since arriving from their home in Switzerland on March 2.
While there has been no official news this week, someone familiar with the situation told me that “Tim is improving each and every day” and that there are “lots of positives of late.”
The WHL has established a trust fund to help Tim and his family with medical and rehabilitation costs. You are able to contribute at any BMO Bank of Montreal in Western Canada. . . . Should you live outside of that area, please mail donations to:
Western Hockey League
c/o Tim Bozon
Father David Bauer Arena
2424 University Drive NW
Calgary AB
T2N 3Y9
The Regina Pats are expected to be fined by the WHL office after they ran a closed practice earlier this week. As Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports in today’s paper, closing practices is in violation of the league’s media policy that states all regular-season and playoff “practice sessions and game-day skates” must be open to the media. . . . “We’ve clarified that with them and we’ll take the appropriate action,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison told Harder. Robison also said that “in all likelihood there will be a fine” to the Pats. “They’re entitled to close to the general public but not media. (Restricted public access) is pretty common, especially at this time of year.”
Harder also reported that the Pats may be without F Dyson Stevenson, their leading scorer, when they open a first-round series against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. Stevenson has a broken hand and, according to Harder, his “status depends on whether he’s cleared to use a playing cast.” . . . D Kyle Burroughs, the team captain, is expected to play in Game 1, while D Colby Williams is day-to-day. G Daniel Wapple (sprained ankle) may not be ready.

D Brett Kulak of the Vancouver Giants has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Kulak, from Stony Plain, Alta., was a fourth-round selection in the NHL’s 2012 bantam draft. . . . This season, he put up 60 points, including 14 goals, in 69 games. In his third WHL season, he had career highs in goals, assists and points. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades just completed one of the most futile seasons in the franchise’s history. Of course, it was somewhat predictable after they sold the farm, the village and the rural municipality in an attempt to win the Memorial Cup on home ice last season. . . . But what of general manager Lorne Molleken and head coach Dave Struch? Molleken has two years left on his contract; Struch’s contract is up in a few months. . . . Majority owner Mike Priestner says there will be meetings on Friday and decisions may be made from there. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.
Les Lazaruk, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades, is of the opinion that the Blades’ new owners should keep head coach David Struch. Lazaruk explains his thinking right here.
General manager Brad Robson of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has told Dylan Purcell of the Lethbridge Herald that head coach Drake Berehowsky and assistant coach Mike Craig will be back for 2014-15. Both just completed their first seasons as the Hurricanes missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season. Robson, a long-time scout and assistant GM, also completed his first season as GM. He said his future is up the team’s board of directors. . . . That story is right here.
Chances are that when the San Jose Sharks’ season comes to an end, whenever that may be, head coach Todd McLellan won’t be putting money on the line when he’s on the golf course with his son, Cale, 14. . . . Earlier this week, Cale scored back-to-back aces while playing a tournament on a 913-yard short course. . . . The evidence is right here.
F Spencer Bast, a list player, has signed with the Kamloops Blazers. Bast, who turned 17 on Jan. 5, is in his second season with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars. He was second in this season’s scoring race with 68 points, 31 of them goals, in 44 games. . . . From Macklin, Sask., Bast is leading the Saskatchewan Midget AAA league’s playoff scoring race with 15 points, seven of them goals, in six games. The Stars are 6-0 in the playoffs and have advanced to the championship final. They will meet the Regina Pat Canadians or Notre Dame Argos, who are to meet tonight in Game 5 of a best-of-five semifinal.
There’s another Helgesen in the WHL. . . . D Tyson Helgesen, 16, has joined the Spokane Chiefs from the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, whose season is over. Helgesen was a fifth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He had five assists in 55 games with Whitecourt this season. . . . Tyson’s older brother, Kenton, plays for the Calgary Hitmen.
G Travis Child has joined the Swift Current Broncos. He was a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. Child, who will turn 17 on June 13, is from Killam, Alta. He played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings. . . . The WHL’s bantam draft lottery is scheduled to be held this morning at the league’s office in Calgary. The Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Saskatoon Blades, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince George Cougars and Red Deer Rebels will be taking part. They are the non-playoff teams. . . . D Jesse Forsberg, who completed his WHL eligibility with the Moose Jaw Warriors this season, has signed an ATO with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Former Brandon Wheat Kings captain Ken Schneider has stepped down after four seasons as head coach of the midget AAA Wheat Kings. According to a tweet from the midget AAA team’s account, it had a .724 winning percentage under Schneider’s guidance.
In Red Deer, they called it Tiebreaker Tuesday. It just as easily could have been Heartbreaker Tuesday. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders scored three third-period goals to erase a 3-2 deficit and beat the Rebels 5-3 in a game that decided the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. . . . The two teams had finished the regular season in a tie for eighth place. . . . The Raiders now will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings, the conference’s No. 1 seed, in the first round. That series will open in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. . . . F Jayden Hart gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period, with Red Deer equalizing at 11:52 on a goal by F Wyatt Johnson. . . . Hart also had two assists. . . . F Evan Polei gave Red Deer the lead at 7:43 of the second period, only to have Prince Albert F Reid Gardiner tie it at 11:1. . . . Red Deer F Rhyse Dieno gave his side the lead on a PP at 13:57. . . . The Raiders then took the lead again, this time with two quick goals early in the third period. F Collin Valcourt, a Red Deer native who was celebrating his 21st birthday, scored at 2:21, on the PP, and F Dakota Conroy broke the tie at 4:43. . . . Raiders F Leon Draisaitl drew assists on the tying and winning goals. . . . Raiders D Josh Morrissey iced it with an empty-netter at 19:45. . . . Raiders G Nick McBride stopped 27 shots, while Red Deer’s Patrik Bartosak turned aside 42. . . . This was the fifth tiebreaker in WHL history and the first one to be decided by more than one goal. . . . The Rebels had forced the tiebreaker with a 5-0 victory in Edmonton on Sunday. The Oil Kings scratched a number of veteran players from that game, something that no doubt will provide the Raiders with at least some motivation. . . . Prince Albert’s roster includes five players from Edmonton and surrounding area.
THE FIRST ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)

Season series: Edmonton, 2-1-1; Prince Albert, 2-2-0.
Saturday: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 1:30 p.m.
Sunday: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Tuesday: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Edmonton: F Brandon Baddock, 3-5 weeks; D Blake Orban, indefinite.
Prince Albert: D Graeme Craig, indefinite.

REGINA (2) vs. BRANDON (7)
Season series: Brandon, 5-3-0; Regina, 3-3-2.
Saturday: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Regina at Brandon, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 28: Regina at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Regina vs. Brandon, site TBA, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Brandon: None.
Regina: D Kyle Burroughs, day-to-day; D Tye Hand, indefinite; G Daniel Wapple, indefinite; D Colby Williams, day-to-day; F Dyson Stevenson, day-to-day.

Season series: Calgary, 4-4-0; Kootenay, 4-2-2.
Thursday: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Monday: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
x-Thursday, March 27: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Calgary: F Cal Babych, day-to-day; F Radel Fazleev, day-to-day; F Connor Rankin, day-to-day.
Kootenay: F Tim Bozon, indefinite; F Ryan Chynoweth, indefinite; D Landon Cross, 1 week; D Tanner Faith, 3-5 months; D Landon Peel, 1 week.

Season series: Medicine Hat, 2-2-0; Swift Current, 2-2-0.
Friday: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat: F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
Swift Current: None.

KELOWNA (1) vs. TRI-CITY (8)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-4-0; Regina, 0-3-1.
Saturday: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Tri-City at Kelowna, 5:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
x-Friday, March 28: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
(NOTE: Tri-City plays home games in Kennewick, Wash.)
Kelowna: F Tyson Baillie, 1-2 weeks; D Jesse Lees, indefinite.
Tri-City: F Phil Tot, day-to-day; F Taylor Vickerman, indefinite.

Season series: Portland, 4-0-0; Vancouver, 0-3-1.
Friday: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Portland at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Portland at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
x-Friday, March 28: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Portland at Vancouver, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Portland: F Adam de Champlain, day-to-day.
Vancouver: F Tyler Benson, indefinite; G Jared Rathjen, day-to-day; F Jakob Stukel, indefinite; D Dalton Thrower, indefinite; F Cain Franson, day-to-day.

Season series: Victoria, 1-3-0; Spokane, 3-1-0.
Saturday: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Spokane at Victoria, 5:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 27: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
x-Monday, March 30: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria: None.
Spokane: F Jacob Cardiff, day-to-day; D Colton Bobyk, week-to-week; F Adam Hascic, day-to-day; F Blair Oneschuk, week-to-week.

Season series: Seattle, 5-4-1; Everett, 5-4-1.
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Seattle at Everett, 4:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 28: Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
(NOTE: Seattle plays home games in Kent, Wash.)
Seattle: F Connor Honey, indefinite.
Everett: F Kohl Baum, indefinite.

From the Edmonton Oil Kings (@EdmOilKings): “Dear @PARaidersHockey, congratulations on your most important victory. We look forward to competing with you in the upcoming hockey matches.”
From Edmonton Journal sports columnist John MacKinnon (@rjmackinnon): “Well, #PARaiders beating Red Deer #Rebels makes #EdmOilKings benching half their lineup on Sunday a moot point, obviously. #Whew #WHL”

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