Sunday, January 18, 2015

WHL playoff picture . . . Tambellini fills his hat . . . Magee moves to Royals' top rung

If the regular season had ended Sunday, these would be the first-round playoff matchups (top three teams from each division and top two wild cards get in):
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Brandon vs. Kootenay
Medicine Hat vs. Edmonton
Regina vs. Swift Current
Red Deer vs. Calgary
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THE STANDINGS . . .
East Division
Brandon 70
Regina 56
Swift Current 47
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Central Division
Medicine Hat 62
Red Deer 58
Calgary 53
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Wild Card
Edmonton 50
Kootenay 45
Moose Jaw 42
Prince Albert 39

NOTES: With the schedule heading into the last 25 games, only Saskatoon and Lethbridge are out of the playoff picture. . . . Under the new playoff format, the Brandon Wheat Kings, with the conference’s best record, would get rewarded by having to ride the bus to Cranbrook. . . . With loser points, eight of the Eastern Conference’s 12 teams have winning percentages of .500 or better, but only five actually have more wins than losses.
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The first-round matchups in the west would look like this:
WESTERN CONFERENCE
Kelowna vs. Tri-City
Everett vs. Seattle
Victoria vs. Prince George
Portland vs. Spokane
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B.C. Division
Kelowna 71
Victoria 53
Prince George 42
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U.S. Division
Everett 60
Portland 53
Spokane 50
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Seattle 49
Tri-City 46
Vancouver 40
Kamloops 38

NOTES: As things stand right now, all five U.S. Division teams would be in the playoffs. . . . If Vancouver and/or Kamloops is to qualify, they likely are going to have to do it inside the B.C. Division, rather than through the wild-card route. . . . The Giants, who open a six-game Central Division trip on Tuesday in Cranbrook, are two points behind Prince George and six points from the final wild-card spot. . . . In these days of three-point games, six points is a lot to overcome with 28 games remaining. . . . Kamloops is four points behind Prince George and eight points from the second wild-card spot. . . . Seven of 10 Western Conference teams, including all five in the U.S. Division, have winning percentages above .500. Six teams, four of them in the U.S. Division, actually have more wins than losses.
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Bob Green, the architect of an Edmonton Oil Kings team that has played in three straight WHL championship finals, has been promoted by the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Green now is the Oilers’ director of player personnel. The move had been rumoured to be in the works for the past month. . . . Green, who had been director of free agent scouting, will “oversee all aspects of our scouting department,” Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said in a news release. . . . Green moved from the Medicine Hat Tigers to take over as the Oil Kings’ general manager and built the Oil Kings into a team that won two WHL titles in three years. . . . Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun has more on this story right here.
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SUNDAY’S GAMES:

In Calgary, F Adam Tambellini scored three times to lead the Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . F Austin Wagner gave the Pats a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal at 6:18 of the first period. . . . Calgary scored the next four goals, with Tambellini getting three of them. He’s got 29 goals now. . . . He tied the score at 7:23 of the first period and D Keegan Kanzig gave Calgary the lead with his first goal of the season at 5:42 of the second. . . . Tambellini then scored at 13:12 and again at 13:55, the latter on a PP. . . . Calgary F Connor Rankin scored his 24th goal and added two assists, and D Ben Thomas had two assists. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields was sharp, making 31 stops. . . . Prior to the game, Calgary inducted F Ryan Getzlaf as the inaugural member of Forever A Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen (24-17-5) snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1). . . . The Pats (26-16-4) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . .

In Edmonton, F Greg Chase scored at 3:24 of OT to give the Victoria Royals a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Chase, who scored twice in this one, has 12 goals. . . . The Royals had taken a 3-1 lead into the third period, only to have Edmonton score two goals 10 seconds apart late in the period to force OT. . . . F Lane Bauer scored his 17th goal at 16:15 and F Luke Bertolucci got his sixth at 16:25. . . . Victoria F Brandon Magee drew an assist on F Alex Forsberg’s goal at 15:40 of the first period to set a Chilliwack/Victoria franchise record for career points. . . . Magee now has 242 points in 293 regular-season games. The previous record (241) had been held by F Kevin Sundher (2007-12). . . . Victoria G Justin Paulic made 37 saves, 11 more than Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry. . . . One night earlier, Paulic, who was acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors at the trade deadline, stopped 20 shots in a 4-1 victory in Calgary. . . . The Royals (25-19-3), who won three games in 48 hours in Alberta, have won five straight. . . . The Oil Kings are 22-18-6. . . . Edmonton next plays on Thursday morning — yes, morning — in its annual CN Hockey Hooky game. The Kootenay Ice will provide the opposition with game time set for 11:30.
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