Friday, March 14, 2014

Trust fund established to help Bozon family; Pats clinch East pennant

The Kamloops Blazers, many of them former teammates of Tim Bozon's,
pose with a banner that was signed by fans at their last two home games.
Last night, fans donated $1,078 to the Tim Bozon Trust Fund.

The Kootenay Ice are wearing a decal on
their helmets as a show of support for
teammate Tim Bozon.

The WHL has announced details of a trust fund to assist Kootenay Ice F Tim Bozon and his family with medical and rehabilitation costs.
According to a WHL news release, folks are able to “make donations at any BMO Bank of Montreal branch in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.” (Note to WHL: Just wondering, but is there a way for American or overseas fans to make donations via PayPal or electronically?)
Bozon, who was in his third WHL season, has been in Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon since March 1. He played, and a scored a goal, the previous night in Saskatoon. The following day, he diagnosed with Neisseria Meningitis, admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and placed in a medically induced coma as doctors worked to slow the advance of the meningitis.
Late this week, with his condition critical but stable, doctors began getting him out of the coma. His condition has been improving and his parents, Helene and Philippe, said Thursday that their son was responding to verbal stimuli.
Czech-ELHF Petr Nedved (Seattle, 1989-90) announced his retirement after Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) was eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday. This season, Nedved finished fourth in the league’s scoring race, with 50 points, including 19 goals, in 49 games. He also was the team captain. . . .

D Ryan Russell (Kootenay, 2003-07) has signed a one-year extension with Leksand (Sweden, SHL). He had eight points, including two goals, in 51 games this season.
G Shannon Szabados will start for the SPHL’s Columbus, Ga., Cottonmouths tonight. Karen Crouse of The New York Times has more right here, and it‘s a pretty good read. . . . The Cottonmouths are coached by former Moose Jaw Warriors tough guy Jerome (Boom-Boom) Bechard.

Dr. Mary Smith, the Spokane Chiefs’ team dentist since 1985, was presented with a WHL Distinguished Service Award prior to a game against the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night. . . . According to a news release, “With almost 30 years as part of the organization, Smith is the longest-serving member of the Spokane Chiefs.” . . . More from the news release: “Smith has been instrumental in keeping the Chiefs players safe, by equipping them in the most current protective mouth guards, preventing dental injury. All Chiefs players are fitted for mouth guards every training camp, at the expense of Smith and her clinic.” . . .
The Tri-City Americans have signed F Morgan Geekie, 15, to a WHL contract. Geekie, from Strathclair, Man., was a fifth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the midget AAA Yellowhead Chiefs, putting up 53 points, including 25 goals, in 44 games. . . . The Americans have signed four of their first five picks in the 2013 draft.
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)
(NOTE: A tie for a conference's final playoff spot will result in a tiebreaker game. Prince Albert, with one game left, is tied with Red Deer, which has two to play.)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Everett (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
(NOTE: Kelowna-Tri-City and Portland-Vancouver are locked in as first-round series.)
SATURDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Regina at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.
Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
SUNDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Medicine Hat at Lethbrige, 4 p.m. (rescheduled from Friday)
Red Deer at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.
Seattle at Tri-City, 5:05 p.m.
In Cranbrook, F Jake Virtanen scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Calgary Hitmen a 5-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Virtanen was the only one of 12 shooters to score in the skills competition. . . . Calgary scored the game's first three goals, only to have the Ice come back with four in a row. . . . Calgary F Greg Chase forced OT with his 33rd goal at 8:16 of the third period. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart had a goal, his 35th, and two assists. He finished the night with 102 points, becoming the second player in franchise history with 100 points in a season. The first was F Jarret Stoll in 2000-01. . . . Reinhart, who scored his 100th career goal, also set the franchise's single-season assists record, with 67. Stoll had 66 in 2000-01. . . . Reinhart has 251 career points in 202 regular-season games. . . . Virtanen also scored once in regulation, giving him 44, while F Brady Brassart got No. 35. . . . Ice F Luke Philp scored twice, giving him 30, and added two helpers. . . . The Ice, which remains without veteran defencemen Landon Cross and Landon Peel, has lost three in a row. . . . Calgary (47-17-7) is tied with the idle Edmonton Oil Kings (49-18-3) for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Oil Kings have two more victories and a game in hand. . . . The Ice (39-27-5) is tied for fifth with the Swift Current Broncos. The Ice has the tiebreaker (39-37, in victories) and each team has one game remaining. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders struck for three first-period goals and went on to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 7-2. . . . F Calder Brooks, with his 15th, and F Leon Draisaitl, with his 37th, got the Raiders rolling at 1:06 and 1:38 of the first period. . . . Raiders F Collin Valcourt scored twice, giving him 27, and added two assists, while Draisatil finished with his 37th goal and three assists. Draisaitl now has 103 points this season. . . . The Raiders also got a goal and two assists from each of D Josh Morrissey and F Dakota Conroy. Morrissey has 28 goals; Conroy has 29. . . . Raiders G Nick McBride stopped 18 shots. . . . Prince Albert (34-32-5) is tied with the idle Red Deer Rebels for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Red Deer has two games remaining, while the Raiders have on. A tie for the last playoff spot would necessitate a tiebreaker game. . . . The Blades (16-50-5) have lost 11 in a row. . . .

In Regina, the Pats wrapped up first place in the East Division and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a loser point as they lost 4-3 in OT to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . D Eric Roy won it with his 11th goal, on the PP, at 2:18 of OT. . . . Brandon F Peter Quenneville, who had missed the previous 10 games with an undisclosed injury, forced OT when he scored his second goal of the game and his 18th of the season with 35.3 seconds left in the third period and the Wheat Kings net empty. He also had an assist. . . . Regina held 2-0 and 3-1 leads in this one. . . . Brandon F Richard Nejezchleb scored his 32nd goal at 6:47 of the second period, on the PP, got get his side to within one. . . . Brandon was 2--for-2 on the PP; Regina was 2-for-3. . . . F Chandler Stephenson had two assists for Regina but was in the penalty box when the winner was scored. . . . The victory was No. 363 as Brandon's head coach for Kelly McCrimmon, tying him with Bob Lowes for the franchise record. Lowes, who now scouts for the NHL's Ottawa Senators, spent the night in Kamloops, watching the Blazers beat the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Pats were without D Kyle Burroughs, F Dyson Stevenson, G Daniel Wapple and D Colby Williams, all out with injuries. . . . The Wheat Kings also welcomed back veteran F Jens Meilleur, who had missed five games. . . . With the victory, Brandon (33-29-9) has clinched at least a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. A tie for the final playoff spot would mean a tiebreaking game. . . . The Wheat Kings are in solve possession of seventh in the conference, two points ahead of Red Deer and Prince Albert. . . . The Pats (39-25-7) are two points ahead of Swift Current but hold the tiebreaker (39-37, in victories) with each team having one game to play. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jay Merkley scored twice to help the Broncos to a 5-4 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Merkley, who has 33 goals, tied the game 2-2 at 4:50 of the second period, then gave his side a 4-3 lead just 36 seconds into the third period with a shorthanded tally. . . . F Bryson Gore scored twice for the Warriors, giving him 11. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Point got No. 36, while F Sam Fioretti got his 20th. . . . The Broncos have won their last three games. . . . Swift Current (37-25-9) is tied with the Kootenay Ice for fifth in the Eastern Conference, but the Ice holds the tiebreaker (39-37, in victories). . . . The Warriors (21-41-9) had their four-game winning streak snapped. . . . 

In Kamloops, F Deven Sideroff and F Collin Shirley scored 42 seconds apart early in the third period to spark the Blazers to a 5-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Cougars may have been playing their second-last game under Rick Brodsky's ownership. He is negotiating the sale of the franchise with a group headed up by a local businessman. . . . The Blazers and Cougars will conclude their seasons in Prince George tonight. . . . Sideroff, who turns 17 on April 14, scored his first goal of the season in his 11th game. . . . The Blazers got scoring from some unexpected sources. Besides Sideroff, F Nick Chyzowski got his third goal and F Nathan Looysen got his second. . . . Kamloops G Bolton Pouliot was stellar again, this time with 35 saves. . . . F Troy Bourke scored his 28th goal for the Cougars. That gives him 232 career points, one shy of the franchise record held by Eric Hunter (2002-07). . . . The Blazers (14-52-5) had lost their previous eight games. . . . The Cougars (26-37-8) have lost six in a row. . . .

In Spokane, F Liam Stewart, playing his first game since Jan. 29, scored in the shootout to give the Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Americans led 2-0 in the first period on two goals from F Jessey Astles, who has 10. . . . The Chiefs then scored three in a row, including No. 62 from F Mitch Holmberg. That was Holmberg’s 147th career goal, breaking the franchise record (146) that had been held by Pat Falloon (1988-91). . . . Holmberg also is the first WHLer to 62 goals since F Layne Ulmer of the Swift Current Broncos scored 63 in 2000-01. . . . Tri-City F Parker Bowles forced OT with his 14th goal, via the PP, at 19:29 of the third period. G Evan Sarthou was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . The Americans are 0-3-2 in their last five. . . . Holmberg leads the WHL with 118 points, eight more than Portland Winterhawks F Nic Petan. . . . The Chiefs (40-25-6) moved into a tie for fourth with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Conference. Seattle has two games remaining; the Chiefs have one. Each team has 40 victories. . . . The Americans (28-32-10) will finish eighth and meet the Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . .

In Victoria, the Everett Silvertips broke a 3-3 tie with two goals 27 seconds apart in the third period as they beat the Royals, 5-3. . . . The Silvertips have won eight in a row and have points in 11 straight, while the Royals have lost their last two games. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz ran his winning streak to eight with 23 stops. . . . Victoria G Patrik Polivka, who stopped 26 shots, suffered his first loss in nine starts. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy tied the game 3-3 with his 14th goal at 9:07 of the third period. . . . The Silvertips then got scores from F Manraj Hayer, his 15th, at 11:42, and F Ivan Nikolishin, his 18th, at 12:09. . . . Nikolishin also had two assists, as did F Josh Winquist. . . . Winquist now has 91 points this season, two off the franchise record of 93 set by F Zach Hamill in 2006-07. . . . Everett (38-23-9), with two games left, is sixth in the Western Conference, one point behind Seattle and Spokane. . . . The Royals (48-19-4) will finish third in the conference. . . .

In Vancouver, the Kelowna Rockets got off to a 6-1 lead and then hung on to beat the Giants, 6-5. . . . The Giants ended up using Ryan Kubic, 16, in goal after starter Payton Lee was injured in a goalmouth collision. Jared Rathjen, the Giants' other goaltender, is out with an undisclosed injury. Kubic, who turned 16 on Jan. 7, is from St. Andrews, Man. He was the 39th overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft. Kubic made 24 saves in his third appearance for the Giants this season. . . . Kelowna D Madison Bowey also was injured in that goalmouth collision and left the game with an apparent cut to an arm. . . . Bowey was back for the start of the second period, while Lee made his way back to the Giants' bench. . . . Bowey later scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season, setting a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. Tyson Barrie set the previous record in 2009-10. . . . Those two goals allowed Kelowna to take a 6-1 lead into the third period. . . . Vancouver F Jackson Houck scored his 32nd goal, shorthanded, at 18:27 to leave the Rockets with a 6-5 lead. . . . F Ty Ronning scored twice for the Giants, giving him nine in his freshman season. . . . The Rockets also got two goals, one shorthanded, from F Justin Kirkland, who has 17, and a goal, his 42nd, and two assists from F Myles Bell. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle, a former Giants stopper, made 29 saves. . . . The Rockets tied a WHL record for most road victories (29) in one season. The Portland Winterhawks set the record last season. . . . The Rockets (56-11-4) will finish atop the overall standings. . . . The Giants (32-28-11) will finish seventh and meet the No. 2 Portland Winter Winterhawks in the first round. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks got two goals and two assists from F Oliver Bjorkstrand as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . Bjorkstrand has 106 points, including 47 goals. . . . The Winterhawks have won five in a row and are 10-1-0 in their last 11. . . . F Brendan Leipsic got his 39th goal for Portland as the Winterhawks got off to a 3-0 lead. That also was his 300th career point and came in his 259th game. . . . Seattle F Ryan Gropp, with his 18th, and F Roberts Lipsbergs, with his 33rd, cut the deficit to one before Bjorkstrand scored his second goal at 2:47 of the third. . . . Portland G Brendan Burke stopped 30 shots, 16 fewer than Seattle’s Taran Kozun. . . . F Reed Morrison, a 15-year-old list player from Calgary, made his WHL debut with the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle F Branden Troock was ejected with a charging major at 10:18 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks have 25 road victories, the second-best in franchise history. They set a record last season with 29; that record was tied last night by the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Portland (52-13-5) will be the Western Conference’s second seed when the playoffs begin. . . . Seattle (40-24-6) is tied for fourth with Spokane in the conference.

From Roman Jedlicka (@jedli): “Petr Nedved after his last game in career: ‘Hockey was everything to me. I don’t know if I will ever find something so beautiful as hockey.’ "
From Darryl Wolski (@darrylwolski): “Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Josh Derko agrees to terms with Gwinnett in the @ECHL @gwtgladiators.”
From Portland Winterhawks D Josh Hanson (@HansoloCup4): “Congrats to my fellow '94 @bleipsic on his 300th career WHL point. I'd need to play in this league til I'm 58 to get there. #Milestone #300.”

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