Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wheaties, Pats deal . . . Ice, Thunderbirds win again . . . Royals end Chiefs' streak

D Tomáš Slovák (Kelowna, 2001-03) has signed for the rest of the season with Brynäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and 15 assists in 30 games.


F Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers was a healthy scratch Friday night as the NHL team lost 2-1 in a shootout to the host Colorado Avalanche. Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal writes that “Draisaitl will travel with the team to Edmonton on Saturday and will be assigned (to the WHL) before the Oilers play the New York Islanders on Sunday night.” . . . Ireland’s story is right here.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Morgan Klimchuk, a two-time 30-goal scorer, from the Regina Pats. In return for Klimchuk, 19, the Wheat Kings have up sophomore F Jesse Gabrielle, 17. . . . Klimchuk, from Calgary, was selected by the Calgary Flames with the 28th overall pick of the NHL’s 2013 draft. He had 76 points, including 36 goals, in 72 games in 2012-13. Last season, he put up 74 points, 30 of them goals, in 57 games. . . . This season, he has 30 points, 14 of them goals, in 27 games with Regina. . . . In 228 regular-season games, he has 217 points, including 98 goals. . . . Klimchuk was the fifth overall selection in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. . . . In his final game with Regina, he scored the OT winner as the Pats beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1, on Wednesday. . . . Klimchuk is expected to be in Brandon’s lineup tonight against the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Gabrielle, a fifth-round pick by Brandon in the 2012 bantam draft, had 25 points, 13 of them goals, in 33 games this season. The native of Moosomin, Sask., was in Regina’s lineup last night against visiting Moose Jaw.
Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, general manager and head coach, woke up Friday with his club having won four straight and owning just seven losses. While observers have long felt that McCrimmon was building for a serious run next season, he no doubt feels that there is an opportunity there right now.
“We’ve lost seven games up until New Year’s Day, so as much as people talk about our team being a next-year team, we owe it to this group to try to position ourselves to win also,” McCrimmon told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun. “We’re real comfortable with what our team looks like next year, but at the same time, our focus is on this year’s team. And when you go back and look at the history of deals, players like Morgan Klimchuk being moved, a lot of time the first piece (in return) is a first-round pick (in the WHL bantam draft), so for us to give up one player for one player, we like that aspect of it.”
Meanwhile, the Pats’ reasoning is quite simple: They have given up a few months of Klimchuk for a whole lot more of Gabrielle, who is one of those players you hate to play against buy love to have on your team. He also is capable of playing in all situations and can create offence.
Gabrielle told Henderson that the trade was “a mutual decision.”
The Pats and Wheat Kings next meet on Jan. 24 in Brandon.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more on the trade right here.

F Max Gerlach, a 16-year-old from Flower Mound, Texas, has commited to the U of North Dakota. He was a sixth-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . Gerlach is playing with the U16 Colorado Thunderbirds. He has 21 goals and 17 assists in 19 games.


In Regina, F Dryden Hunt set up three goals as the Pats beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-4. . . . Hunt extended his points streak to nine games. . . . The Pats led 3-0 at 6:21 of the second, but the Warriors tied it on F Brett Howden’s 11th goal at 19:34 of the second period. . . . Regina F Connor Gay put his guys back in front at 8:13 of the third and F Pavel Padakin added insurance with a shorthanded goal at 9:22. He’s got nine goals. . . . Moose Jaw F Tanner Eberle got his second of the game, and 21st of the season, at 10:52 to get his guys to within one. . . . Regina D Nathan Mortlock scored his first goal at 15:47 to put it away. . . . Gay also had two assists. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle, acquired earlier in the day from Brandon, was in Regina’s lineup. He was pointless in his Pats debut. . . . The Warriors, who have lost 11 straight games to Regina, were 0-for-8 on the PP; the Pats were 1-for-5. . . . Warriors D Tyler Brown returned after missing 14 games with a hand injury. . . . Moose Jaw F Noah Gregor, playing his second game after returning from a 27-game absence, left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Moose Jaw was without D Alexey Sleptsov, who was injured while blocking a shot in Wednesday’s 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Pats. . . . The Pats (24-12-2) have won four in a row. . . . The Warriors (15-20-4), who are at home to Prince Albert tonight, have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . .

In Prince Albert, G Carter Hart stopped 26 shots to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the Raiders. . . . Hart, a 16-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., posted his second WHL shutout and his second this season. . . . Everett D Ben Betker scored his second goal, on a PP, at 19:07 of the second period. . . . Everett F Carson Stadnyk added an empty-netter at 19:40 of the third. Stadnyk, who had a game-high six shots, has 13 goals this season. . . . Raiders G Rylan Parenteau stopped 41 shots. . . . The Silvertips scratched D Kevin Davis with an undisclosed injury, so had D Jantzen Leslie, a 15-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., in their lineup. . . . As Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) pointed out, Davis’s absence meant that Cole MacDonald had “a new partner for the first time in at least 34 games.” . . . The game was Everett’s first on a six-game East Division tour. . . . Prior to the game, the Raiders announced that Czech D Tomas Andrlik will miss up to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. They also sent D Curtis Roach to the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. He was pointless in seven games with Prince Albert. . . . The Silvertips (22-11-4) had lost their previous two games. They are in Saskatoon tonight. . . The Raiders (16-22-1) have lost four in a row. They play visiting Moose Jaw tonight. . . .

In Edmonton, G Patrick Dea stopped 27 shots to help the Oil Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton D Aaron Irving broke a 1-1 tie with his sixth goal at 9:47 of the third and F Brett Pollock made it 3-1 with his 16th at 15:18. . . . Lethbridge D Kord Pankewicz got his fourth at 19:26. . . . Hurricanes F Taylor Cooper scored his 11th goal. . . . Lethbridge D Andrew Nielsen picked up a headshot major and game misconduct at 6:03 of the second so undoubtedly will be hearing from the WHL office. . . . After the game, Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton told Brian Swane of the Edmonton Sun that Koep was “not great. He’s going to be our for a while.“ . . . The Oil Kings (18-16-5) have won two straight. They are at home to Kootenay tonight. . . . The Hurricanes (9-23-5), who have lost three in a row, entertain Red Deer tonight. . . .

In Red Deer, the Kootenay Ice opened up a 5-1 third-period lead and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Jon Martin had two goals, giving him six, and an assist for the Ice. . . . His first goal, at 11:32 of the second, gave the Ice a 3-0 lead. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau scored his 21st goal. . . . Ice F Matt Alfaro had two assists. . . . Kootenay G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 38 shots. . . . F Brooks Maxwell scored twice for the Rebels, giving him 12. . . . Red Deer F Adam Musil returned after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Ice (21-17-1), which plays in Edmonton tonight, is 6-0-1 in its last seven. . . . The Rebels (20-14-5) had been 2-0-1 in their last three. They play in Lethbridge tonight. . . .

In Kamloops, the Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third period, and beat the Blazers, 6-4. . . . The Rockets, the first WHL team to 30 victories this season, weren’t good for 40 minutes, but special teams bailed them out in the third period. . . . Kamloops D Dawson Davidson scored his second WHL goal in three games at 17:42 of the second, on a PP, for a 3-2 lead and D Josh Connolly upped that to 4-2 with his fifth goal, on a PP, at 4:56 of the third. . . . Kelowna F Gage Quinney started the comeback with a shorthanded goal at 8:37 of the third. He’s got nine goals. . . . The Blazers lost F Luke Harrison to a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on D Devante Stephens at 10:20. . . . Rockets F Cole Linaker tied the game with his sixth goal, on the PP, at 13:26 and F Nick Merkley, with his 12th, gave the visitors the lead 1:10 later, still on the PP. . . . F Tyson Baillie iced it with his second of the game, an empty-netter, at 19:17. . . . Baillie and Merkley, who took at least three heavy checks in this one, each had two goals and an assist. . . . “They didn’t make it easy on (Merkley),” Rockets head coach Dan Lambert told the Kelowna Daily Courier. “They were going after him. But he’s a kid that doesn’t back down from anything. It sometimes wakes him up, and he certainly stepped up.” . . . The Rockets went 4-for-7 on the PP; the Blazers were 2-for-4. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 18 shots to improve his record to 5-0-0. . . . The Rockets have beaten Kamloops in 12 straight games, eight last season and the first four of this season. . . . The Blazers were without veteran D Brady Gaudet, who was injured in a 4-2 loss in Kelowna on Dec. 27. . . . The Blazers had Heather McVie-Gaunt, an opera singer with Kamloops ties who lives in Pittsburgh, sing O Canada prior to the game. Give her the game’s first star! But I do wonder if there are leather lungs yelling Go Steelers when she performs in Pittsburgh, or is it a junior hockey thing? . . . The Blazers (13-23-5) have lost five straight and entertain Vancouver tonight, while the Rockets (30-6-3) return home to face Prince George. . . .

In Victoria, the Royals erased an early 1-0 deficit as they beat the Spokane Chiefs, 8-1. . . . D Travis Brown led the winners with his 14th goal and three assists, while F Greg Chase added his eighth goal and two assists, and F Tyler Soy drew three assists. . . . Victoria F Brandon Magee returned from an undisclosed injury and scored his 11th goal. . . . Spokane F Adam Helewka scored the game’s first goal, his 19th. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 32 shots. . . . F Scott Walford made his debut with the Royals. From Coquitlam, he was the 18th overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. He is playing at the Okanagan Hockey Academy. . . . Mike Boyle, the radio voice of the Chiefs, called his 1,000th WHL game. . . . The Royals (19-18-3) have won two straight. . . . The Chiefs (21-13-3) had a seven-game winning streak snapped. . . . The same teams meet in Victoria tonight. . . .

In Vancouver, the Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-4. . . . Vancouver D Mason Geertsen, who had two goals and an assist, broke a 4-4 tie at 16:41 of the third period with his seventh goal of the season. . . . Giants F Tyler Benson had tied the game with his eighth goal, on a PP, at 2:00 of the third. . . . Cougars F Chase Witala scored twice, his second goal, and 20th of the season, opening up a 4-1 lead at 2:53 of the second. . . . Vancouver D Brennan Menell had two assists. . . . Cougars F Jansen Harkins also had two assists. . . . Vancouver G Cody Porter relieved starter Payton Lee at 2:19 of the second after the visitors took a 3-1 lead. Porter went on to stop 13 of 14 shots. . . . Cougars D Shane Collins scored his first goal. . . . The Giants were 2-for-8 on the PP; the Cougars were 2-for-6. . . . Vancouver (18-19-1) has won two in a row and now is one point behind the third-place Cougars in the B.C. Division. . . . The Cougars slipped to 19-20-0. . . . The Giants visit Kamloops tonight, while the Cougars are in Kelowna. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the only two goals of the shootout and beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls scored his fourth goal, on a PP, at 19:31 of the second period for a 1-0 lead. . . . Tri-City F Lucas Nickles tied it at 3:59 of the third. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan gave his guys the lead with his fourth goal at 10:28. . . . Nickles scored his 12th of the season at 19:15 to force OT. . . . Seattle F Lane Pederson and Neuls scored in the shootout. . . . Seattle F Scott Eansor had two assists. . . . The Thunderbirds were without F Justin Hickman, who drew a two-game suspension for an incident he was involved in during a Wednesday game in Portland. . . . The Americans, meanwhile, were fined $750 for their part in a line brawl against the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday. That was the Americans’ second such incident this season. . . . The Thunderbirds (19-15-4) have won six straight. . . . The Americans (18-17-2) have dropped two in a row. They are in Portland tonight.

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