Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tigers into conference final; Williamson dumped by Hitmen

F Tim Traber (Chilliwack/Victoria, Vancouver, 2009-14) has signed a one-year-plus-option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). This season, with Vancouver, Traber had 23 points, including 12 goals, in 64 games. According to a Genève-Servette news release, Traber has dual Canadian-Swiss citizenship. . . .
D Nick Ross (Regina, Kamloops, Vancouver, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia, Erste Bank Liga), Ross had 28 points, including eight goals, in 39 games. On Feb. 17, he moved to Asiago (Italy, Serie A), where he had seven points, two of them goals, in six games. . . .
F Tyson Mulock (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Regina, 1999-2003) has signed a two-year contract with Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had 33 points, 16 of them goals, in 48 games. . . .
D Patrick Baum (Swift Current, 1997-98) has signed a one-year contract with the Ravensburg Towerstars (Germany, DEL2). This season, Baum played with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2), getting 13 points, including three goals, in 47 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .
F Sean O'Connor (Moose Jaw, 1999-2002) signed a one-year extension with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). He started this season with Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL), getting six points, five of them goals, in 13 games. He signed with Schwenningen in December, and put up 13 points, including eight goals, in 24 games. . . .
F Daniel Boháč (Spokane, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Boháč began the season with Slovan Ustecti Lvi (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), putting up 23 points, including 12 goals, in 35 games. He was loaned to Ceske Budejovice in December, where he had seven points, three of them goals, in 16 games. . . .
F Brad Moran (Calgary, 1995-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Linz (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 50 games, he had 51 points, including 16 goals. . . .
F Matt Pettinger (Calgary, 1999-2000) signed a one-year extension with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany, DEL). This season, in 47 games, he had 28 points, 12 of them goals.
There now are three WHL teams looking for head coaches, with the Calgary Hitmen having started searching on Wednesday.
The Hitmen went 48-17-7 and finished tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Edmonton Oil Kings (50-19-3), who held the tiebreaker with more victories. However, the Hitmen weren't able to get out of the first round of the playoffs, losing in six games to the Kootenay Ice.
Calgary head coach Mike Williamson paid the price on Wednesday when the Hitmen announced they won't exercise the option on his contract for 2014-15.
Mike Moore, the team's general manager and vice-president of business operations, made the announcement.
“Under Mike’s leadership, the Calgary Hitmen were a team that challenged for the top position in our conference,” Moore said in a news release. “It was a difficult decision for us today, but we believe that a change is necessary in order for our team to reach the next level of success."
Williamson just completed his fifth season as head coach of the Hitmen. In his first season, 2009-10, they won the WHL championship and reached the Memorial Cup semifinal in Brandon.
Williamson put up a 210-129-13 reglar-season record with the Hitmen, who made the playoffs in four of his five seasons. They twice lost out in the first round and once were beaten in the Eastern Conference final.
According to the news release, "Associate coach Brent Kisio, assistant coach Joel Otto and goaltending coach Darcy Wakaluk will remain with the team."
The Hitmen, who are owned by the NHL's Calgary Flames, are preparing for their 20th anniversary season.
George Johnson of the Calgary Herald has more on Williamson's departure right here.
The Kamloops Blazers and Saskatoon Blades also are looking for head coaches, and you have to think someone from both organizations will be contacting Williamson, if they haven’t already. His 429 head-coaching victories have him in 11th spot on the all-time list.
The Blazers have yet to clarify the status of Dave Hunchak, who didn't complete his first season as head coach. He left the team on Jan. 10 and the Blazers announced Jan. 12 that he was on a leave of absence. General manager Craig Bonner has since admitted that he is looking for a head coach, but nothing more has been said on Hunchak's situation. Hunchak’s contract with the Blazers runs through the 2014-15 season.
The Blades underwent an ownership change during the season and will need a new coaching staff, with head coach Dave Struch, assistant coach Curtis Leschyshyn and goaltending coach Tim Cheveldae all gone.
Colin Priestner, the Blades’ governor and managing partner, has told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he doesn’t expect to hire a general manager or a head coach before the bantam draft that is scheduled for May 1.

The NHL now is facing three concussion-related lawsuits. A third one, featuring retired players Bill Bennett, Dave Christian and Reed Larson, was filed this week in federal court in Minneapolis. There is more right here.
D Keegan Kanzig of the Victoria Royals will finish his season with the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Kanzig was a third-round pick by the Flames in the 2013 NHL draft. . . . Kanzig had eight points, three of them goals, in 63 games with the Royals this season.
The Heat also has added D Eric Roy of the Brandon Wheat Kings for the rest of this season. . . . Roy had 44 points, 11 of them goals, in 66 games with Brandon this season. He was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2013 draft.

THE SECOND ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton wins, 4-1)
Season series: Edmonton, 3-1-0; Brandon, 1-2-1.
Thursday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 5 (5,899)
Saturday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 3 (7,115)
Tuesday: Edmonton 5 at Brandon 2 (3,522)
Wednesday: Edmonton 2 at Brandon 5 (3,246)
Friday: Brandon 1 at Edmonton 5 (6,356)
(Medicine Hat wins, 4-3)
Season series: Medicine Hat, 3-3-0; Kootenay, 3-3-0.
Saturday: Kootenay 4 at Medicine Hat 2 (3,750)
Sunday: Kootenay 2 at Medicine Hat 5 (3,755)
Wednesday: Medicine Hat 1 at Kootenay 3 (2,461)
Thursday: Medicine Hat 4 at Kootenay 7 (2,578)
Saturday: Kootenay 2 at Medicine Hat 9 (3,624)
Monday: Medicine Hat 2 at Kootenay 1 (2,732)
Wednesday: Kootenay 1 at Medicine Hat 4 (4,006)
(NOTE: Kootenay plays home games in Cranbrook, B.C.)
Medicine Hat: F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
Kootenay: F Tim Bozon, indefinite; F Ryan Chynoweth, indefinite; D Landon Cross, day-to-day; D Tanner Faith, 3-5 months.
(Kelowna wins, 4-0)
Season series: Kelowna, 2-1-1; Seattle, 2-1-1.
Thursday: Seattle 2 at Kelowna 6 (4,581)
Saturday: Seattle 3 at Kelowna 6 (5,675)
Tuesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 4 (5,029)
Wednesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 2 (2,219)
(Portland wins, 4-1)
Season series: Portland, 1-1-2; Victoria, 3-1-0.
Friday: Victoria 2 at Portland 8 (6,152)
Saturday: Victoria 3 at Portland 6 (10,947)
Monday: Portland 1 at Victoria 2 (6,505)
Tuesday: Portland 4 at Victoria 3 (6,745)
Thursday: Victoria 1 at Portland 5 (8,083)
THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)

Season series: Kelowna, 4-0-0; Portland, 0-4-0.
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7:30 p.m. (Sportsnet)
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, April 25: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, April 27: Kelowna at Portland, 5 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.

Season series: Edmonton, 5-0-1; Medicine Hat, 1-5-0.
(All games on Shaw TV)
Friday: Medicine Hat/Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Medicine Hat/Kootenay 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 Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
WHL Playoffs
In Medicine Hat, F Trevor Cox scored twice to break a 1-1 tie and the Tigers went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-1, in Game 7 of a second-round series. . . . The No. 4-seeded Tigers move into the Eastern Conference final that will open in Edmonton against the No. 1 Oil Kings on Friday night. Shaw-TV will televise all games in that series. . . . The Ice held a 3-1 lead in this series but wasn't able to get that fourth victory. . . . Cox, an 18-year-old from Surrey, B.C., scored his seventh goal of these playoffs 11 seconds into the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. He added a second goal at 11:19. . . . F Cole Sanford, who assisted on both of Cox's goals, iced it with an empty-netter at 17:49. . . . The Tigers' line of Sanford, Cox and Curtis Valk combined for 37 points, including 17 goals, in the seven games. . . . Ice D Landon Peel scored the game's first goal, just 41 seconds into the first period. . . . Medicine Hat F Steve Owre tied it at 6:44. . . . Cox has 21 points in 13 playoff games. He is one point off the playoff scoring lead held by F Sam Reinhart of the Ice. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer stopped 43 shots and was the first star in the building. . . . Ice G Mackenzie Skapski turned aside 24 shots. . . . The Tigers had the only two PP opportunities of a scoreless first period, but the Ice ended up with a 16-8 edge in shots. . . . The Tigers were 0-for-2 on the PP; the Ice was 0-for-1. . . . The Ice was 1-for-22 on the PP in the seven games. . . . The Tigers are 5-1 in Game 7s over the past 12 playoff years. . . . In franchise history, the Ice is 1-4 in Games 7s.

From WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): “0 - This was the first time since 2000 that we went an entire round without having a single overtime game (excluding the WHL final).”
From Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) of Yahoo! Sports: “Death. Taxes. Inconsistent OHL justice. Questionable Q reffing. WHL brawls. #CircleOfLife”

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