Saturday, February 7, 2015

More on Mr. Hockey . . . DeBrusk on fire . . . 'Canes sweep Tigers . . . Soy fills his hat


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Scott Burnside of ESPN.com was in Saskatoon on Friday night when the folks there honoured Gordie Howe. Burnside’s story is right here.
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Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com also was in Saskatoon for the Gordie Howe testimonial. LeBrun spoke with Wayne Gretzky about his relationship with Mr. Hockey. That piece is right here.
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Here’s one more story from Gordie Howe’s night. This one is from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, and it’s right here.
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The OHL has approved the sale of the Plymouth Whalers to a group that will relocate the franchise to Flint before another season gets here. . . . The team will be renamed and, as Aaron McMann of mlive.com reports right here, the new owners have registered Tropics, Pride, Phoenix, Sparks and Vikings with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. . . . The franchise also is running a name-the-team contest. I'm still partial to Flint Flontbombers. . . .
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Maureen Dowd of The New York Times has weighed in on the controversy that is in the process of swallowing Brian Williams of NBC-TV. Dowd’s piece is right here.
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:

WHL team logoIn Swift Current, F Jake DeBrusk scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . DeBrusk, who has 33 goals, and D Brett Lernout scored PP goals in the first period as the home side took a 2-1 lead. . . . DeBrusk, who has eight goals and two assists in his last six games, upped that to 3-1 at 11:38 of the second. . . . D Max Lajoie and F Coda Gordon each had two assists for the Broncos. . . . DeBrusk has 20 goals in his last 23 games. . . . D Brycen Martin had two assists for Saskatoon. . . . D Jake Kustra, 15, made his WHL debut with the Blades and piked up an assist. A second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, he has nine points, three of them goals, in 30 games with the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos. His brother Matt, a goaltender, has signed with the Prince George Cougars, who selected him in the eighth round of the 2012 bantam draft. They are the sons of G Damon Kustra (Spokane, Saskatoon, 1987-88, 1989-90). The Kustras are from Yorkton, Sask. . . . Broncos G Landon Bow stopped 35 shots, as did Brock Hamm of the Blades. . . . The Broncos (25-23-5) have won two in a row. They are third in the East Division, nine points ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . The Blades (15-33-3), who are at home to Calgary tonight, have lost two straight. . . .

In Regina, F Jesse Gabrielle scored twice to help the Pats to a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Riley Whittingham gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead at 1:12 of the first period. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Gabrielle then scored twice, at 10:37 of the first on a PP and at 9:42 of the second, to give his guys the lead. . . . He’s got 17 goals. . . . Regina F Sam Steel added his 14th at 9:17 of the third. . . . Spokane F Adam Helewka got his 28th, shorthanded, at 14:14. . . . Regina had F Jake Elmer, a 16-year-old from Calgary, in their lineup and he picked up an assist. It was his first WHL point and came in his third game. . . . Pats G Daniel Wapple stopped 29 shots, seven more than Spokane’s Garret Hughson. . . . Regina (30-17-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Chiefs (25-23-4) are 1-1-0 on a six-game East Division swing. They are fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Seattle. But the Chiefs hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Pavel Karnaukhov scored twice as his Calgary Hitmen got past the Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Simon Stransky gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with his ninth goal, at 13:56 of the first period, on a PP. . . . The Hitmen scored the next three goals, with Karnaukhov, who has 19 goals, getting the first two of those, both via the PP. . . . F Chase Lang, with his 22nd, upped the lead to 3-1 at 16:24 of the third. He also had two assists. . . . Raiders F Craig Leverton got his 16th just 14 seconds later. . . . Calgary G Brendan Burke stopped 26 shots, four fewer than Nick McBride of the Raiders. . . . The Hitmen (30-17-5) have won seven in a row and now are eight points behind Central Division-leading Medicine Hat. Calgary visits Saskatoon tonight. . . . The Raiders (21-31-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). They are 11 points out of a playoff spot with 18 games remaining. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com has a game story right here. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Jordan Papirny stopped 31 shots to lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Wheat Kings lost D Ivan Provorov to an undisclosed injury early in the third period. . . . Brandon scored the game’s first three goals. . . . F Tim McGauley had a goal, his 34th, and an assist for Brandon, as did F Nolan Patrick, who has 25 goals. . . . Brandon F Morgan Klimchuk scored his 21s goal and F Rya Duke got his 18th, both striking on the PP. . . . Brandon was 2-for-4 on the PP; the Ice was 0-for-4. . . . The Wheat Kings had beaten the Ice 5-3 on Friday. . . . Brandon (40-9-5) is 11-0-1 in its last 12 games. It leads the Eastern Conference by 12 points over Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice (27-26-1) has lost three straight and holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card berth, one point behind Edmonton. . . . The Ice and Wheat Kings will complete their four-game season series in Brandon, Feb. 27 and 28. . . . The Wheat Kings play their fourth game in five days in Lethbridge today. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story from Saturday’s game right here. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Lethbridge Hurricanes completed a weekend sweep of the Tigers by winning, 4-1. . . . On Friday night, the host Hurricanes got past the Tigers, 4-3. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes took a 3-0 lead into the third period. . . . F Ryley Lindgren got Lethbridge started with his fifth goal, at 16:32 of the first period. . . . D Kade Jensen, with his fourth, and F Jamal Watson, with his 18th, had second-period goals for Lethbridge. Watson, playing his 250th game, scored shorthanded at 16:01. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford scored his 43rd goal at 1:49 of the third, giving him the WHL goal-scoring lead by one over Kelowna F Rourke Chartier. Later, in Kamloops, Chartier scored to move back into a tie. . . . At one point in the second period, the Hurricanes were leading 1-0 despite being outshot 19-1. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner stopped 39 shots, 23 more than Medicine Hat’s Nick Schneider. . . . This was the Hurricanes’ last visit to The Arena. Medicine Hat’s new building is due to open in time for next season. . . . The Hurricanes (15-31-6), who entertain Brandon today, have won three in a row. . . . The Tigers (35-15-3) have lost four straight (0-3-1) for the first time this season. Their lead atop the Central Division has shrunk to eight points over Calgary. . . .

In Kamloops, the Kelowna Rockets scored three PP goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . It was Kelowna’s 17th straight regular-season victory over Kamloops. The Blazers last beat the Rockets on March 3, 2013. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 7-0-0. . . . F Justin Kirkland scored twice and added an assist for the Rockets. He’s got 21 goals, the third Rockets skater to get to 20. . . . Kelowna scored four times in the first period to take a 4-1 lead into the second. . . . The Blazers’ second goal came off the stick of F Jake Kryski, on a PP, at 1:26 of the second period. . . . When Kryski scored, Kamloops head coach Don Hay had him on the PP with Jesse Zaharichuk and Joel Hamilton. Consider that Kryski, who now has eight goals, had gone 28 goals without scoring, and that Zaharichuk has two goals this season, and that Hamilton hasn’t scored in 20 games. . . . Kelowna F Tyson Baillie got his 32nd goal, while F Rourke Chartier got his 43rd. That put him back into a tie for the WHL goal-scoring lead, with Medicine Hat F Cole Sanford, who had scored earlier in the evening. . . . Kamloops F Quinn Benjafield took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Baillie at 14:42 of the third period. Baillie got off the ice under his own power but headed to the dressing room. . . . Kelowna was 3-for-8 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-for-3. . . . One night earlier, the host Rockets beat the Blazers, 5-3. . . . The Rockets (41-8-4), who are to entertain Prince George on Monday afternoon, have points in eight straight (7-0-1) and lead the overall standings by one point over Brandon. . . . The Blazers (20-29-6), who are at home to Tri-City on Monday afternoon, have lost three in a row. They are third in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of Vancouver and Prince George. . . .

In Prince George, F Cole Benson scored off his own rebound at 2:12 of OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Cougars F David Soltes scored his 10th goal, on the PP, at 2:31 of the first period. . . . The home side nursed that lead into the third period when Edmonton D Ashton Sautner scored his 12th goal, on the PP, at 5:58. . . . On Friday night, the Cougars had ended a 12-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Last night, Edmonton G Patrick Dea stopped 15 shots, while Prince George’s Ty Edmonds turned aside 37. . . . Among Prince George's scratches were D Josh Connolly and F Aaron Macklin, both out with concussions. . . . Edmonton (25-24-6) had lost is previous three games. It now holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Oil Kings will play in Victoria on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars (21-31-3) are tied for fourth with Vancouver in the B.C. Division, one point behind Kamloops. It is looking more and more as though only one of those three teams will make the playoffs. . . . The Cougars play in Kelowna on Monday afternoon. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-3. . . . F Nikita Scherbak gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 15:44 of the first period. . . . The Americans then scored twice in the second and twice in the third to assume a 4-1 lead. . . . F Beau McCue got two of those goals, giving him 20. F Richard Nejezchleb got his 16th and F Lukas Nickles got No. 19. . . . Everett made it interesting with goals from F Dawson Leedahl, his ninth, at 10:53 of the third and F Remi Laurencelle, his 14th, at 14:00. . . . McCue also had an assist, while Nejezchleb had two of them. . . . Tri-City F Tyler Sandhu also earned two assists. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 31 shots, 10 more than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . Tri-City was 2-for-4 on the PP, while the Silvertips were 0-for-5. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the visiting Americans 4-1 on Friday night. . . . The Americans (25-25-3), who play in Kamloops on Monday afternoon, had lost their previous four games (0-3-1). They are fifth in the U.S. Division, but have possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. It would appear that all five U.S. Division teams will make the playoffs. . . . Everett (33-16-4) had won its previous two outings. The Silvertips are at home to Portland today with a five-point lead over the second-place Winterhawks. . . .

In Victoria, F Tyler Soy scored three times and added an assist to lead the Royals to a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . It was the first WHL hat trick for Soy, who has 20 goals. . . . He scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 6:58 of the first period. Then he got the game’s last two goals, the final one shorthanded into an empty net. . . . The Royals were 2-for-7 on the PP and scored two shorties. . . . Red Deer F Austin Adamson scored his fifth goal at 17:33 of the second period to get the Rebels to within one, at 3-2. . . . Victoria F Brandon Magee scored his 16th goal, shorthanded, at 19:43 to restore the two-goal lead. . . . The Rebels were without F Conner Bleackley, their captain, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday in Vancouver. . . . D Alexey Slepstov made his debut with the Royals. He was acquired from Moose Jaw at the trade deadline but was injured at the time. . . . The Royals (29-20-4), who are at home to Edmonton on Monday afternoon, have won three in a row and are a comfortable second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Rebels (28-17-8) have lost two straight. They went 1-2-0 in a three-game trip into B.C., and now are third in the Central Division, one point behind Calgary. . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Taran Kozun stopped 38 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kozun has three shutouts this season — all in his last five starts — and eight in his career. . . . F Corey Millette got Seattle started with his 14th goal, on a PP, at 2:03 of the second period. He’s got six goals in 12 games since being acquired by the Thunderbirds from Saskatoon at the trade deadline. . . . F Mathew Barzal had a goal, his ninth, and an assist. . . . D Evan Wardley had two assists. . . . Vancouver G Cody Porter stopped 39 shots. . . . With Payton Lee (hand) injured, the Giants had Griffin Baillie, an 18-year-old from Merritt, B.C., on the bench in support of Porter. Baillie plays for the junior B Aldergrove, B.C., Kodiaks. . . . Seattle (27-19-6) has won four straight and is third in the U.S. Division five points behind Portland. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is tied for fourth with Prince George in the B.C. Division, a point behind Kamloops. . . . Seattle will visit Vancouver on Monday afternoon.
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