Friday, April 18, 2014

Oil Kings, Rockets draw first blood

D Michal Plutnar (Tri-City, 2011-14) has signed three-year contract with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 12 points, three of them goals, in 51 games with the Americans.

If the WHL’s Western Conference final between the Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks needs a Game 6, it will be played in the Rose City on Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m. Originally, the game had been scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. . . . The time change should make things easier on fans as an NBA playoff game between the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers is to start at 6:30 p.m., at the Moda Center. . . . The hockey game would be played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The finalists for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the WHL's player of the year are F Mitch Holmberg of the Spokane Chiefs and F Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, as voted on by, according to the WHL, “general managers, coaches, broadcast and media representatives of all WHL member clubs.”
Reinhart, 18, who represents the Eastern Conference, had 105 points, including 36 goals.
Holmberg, 20, represents the Western Conference. He won the WHL scoring title with 118 points, including a WHL-leading 62 goals.
The WHL’s awards luncheon is scheduled for April 30 in Calgary.
The WHL, for whatever reason, chose to release this news on Good Friday, the same day that both of its conference finals began.
Everyone knows that governments release bad news on Friday afternoons. The WHL chooses to release good news on the afternoon of a holiday Friday. Why not hold on to the release until Monday and do it when both of its conference finals are enjoying a day of rest?

THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton leads, 1-0)
Season series: Edmonton, 5-0-1; Medicine Hat, 1-5-0.
(All games on Shaw TV)
Friday: Medicine Hat 3 at Edmonton 8 (7,694)
Sunday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Tuesday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, April 26: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Monday, April 28: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Edmonton: D Blake Orban, day-to-day.
Medicine Hat: F Anthony Ast, day-to-day; F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
(Kelowna leads, 1-0)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-0-0; Portland, 0-4-0.
Friday: Portland 4 at Kelowna 5 (6,218)
Saturday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
x-Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, April 27: Kelowna at Portland, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings scored twice in the game’s first 66 seconds and went on to an 8-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final is scheduled for Sunday in Edmonton. . . . Oil Kings F Curtis Lazar scored his fourth goal of these playoffs just 32 seconds into the game and D Cody Corbett, with his fifth, made it 2-0 at 1:06. . . . The first two goals came with the teams playing 4-on-4. . . . Edmonton built a 7-0 lead before the game was half over. . . . Corbett scored twice, while teammates F Henrik Samuelsson, F Reid Petryk, F Mads Eller and F Edgars Kulda each had two assists. . . . According to a tweet by Edmonton radio voice Corey Graham, Lazar has 22 career playoff goals, the “most in modern Oil Kings history.” . . . Medicine Hat F Curtis Valk scored twice, giving him a playoff-leading 12 goals. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots. . . . The Tigers started Marek Langhamer, switched to Nick Schneider and later brought Langhamer back. Langhamer gave up five goals on 22 shots; Schneider was beaten three times on eight shots. . . . The Tigers were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-for-2. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and went on to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-4. . . . Game 2 in the Western Conference final is to be played tonight in Kelowna. . . . After the Rockets cut the deficit to 3-2, the Winterhawks were a split second away from a 4-2 lead as F Oliver Bjorkstrand was that close to his third goal as the first period ended. Replay showed that time expired with the front edge of the puck just starting to cross the top of the goal line. . . . Portland D Keoni Texeira gave his side a 4-2 lead at 15:43 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Rourke Chartier, perhaps the best forward on the ice, cut that to 4-3 at 16:26 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Justin Kirkland tied it at 4:17 of the third, via the PP, and D Jesse Lees gave the home side its first lead with his first goal at 5:59. . . . The Rockets outshot the visitors 14-4 and outscored them 2-0 in the third. . . . Bjorkstrand scored 33 seconds into the game and added his 11th of the playoffs, on the PP, at 5:49. . . . Portland F Chase De Leo made it 3-0 on another PP, at 12:19. . . . The Rockets got on the board when F Tyson Baillie scored at 13:08 of the first. . . . Kelowna D Madison Bowey may have scored his side’s biggest goal when he got a shorthanded tally off a 2-on-1 break at 19:33. . . . Kelowna G Jordon Cooke stopped 22 shots, nine fewer than Brendan Burke of Portland. . . . The Winterhawks were 2-for-5 on the PP; the Rockets were 1-for-4. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic and D Derrick Pouliot each had an assist as they ran point streaks to 10 games. They now share the franchise record for longest playoff point streak. . . . Pouliot’s assist was his 46th career playoff helper, breaking the franchise record that he had shared with F Ty Rattie, who is finishing up his freshman season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves . . . . The Rockets continue to be without F Myles Bell (leg), a 42-goal man in the regular season.

From Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks): “As we count down to Game 1, consider that Hawks and Rockets are two of just 18 teams to win 54 or more games in a season in WHL history.”

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