Saturday, February 14, 2015

No price increase in Brandon . . . Franchise record for Bow . . . Blades stun Hitmen








F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed for the rest of this season with Zug (Switzerland, NL A). He was released by Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga) on Friday for financial reasons. He was the Pelican’s leading scorer, with 31 points, including nine goals, in 48 games. . . . Řepík will replace F Josh Holden (Regina, 1994-98), who is starting a five-game suspension for slashing in a game against Kloten on Jan. 31. . . .
F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) has been released by Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga) for financial reasons. This season with the Pelicans, Redenbach had 29 points, including six goals, in 40 games. He was second in team scoring. . . . According to a Pelicans’ news release, Redenbach has signed with Davos (Switzerland, NL A) but there hasn’t been confirmation from Davos. . . . Pelicans CEO Ilkka Kaarna said: "We released the import players for economic reasons. This season has been financially challenging. . . . These player transfers result in significant economic benefit for the club."
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The Brandon Wheat Kings won’t be raising season-ticket prices before the 2015-16 season gets here. Kelly McCrimmon, the team’s owner, general manager and head coach, informed fans of that news in a letter.
“Season-ticket prices for the 2015-16 season are unchanged, $425 if purchased in advance of the June early-bird deadline, and increasing to $450 after the early-bird deadline, identical to this current season,” McCrimmon wrote. “Renewing now allows you to save $25 and enjoy Wheat Kings hockey next season for under $12 per game, once again the least expensive season ticket in the entire Western Hockey League.”
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F Morgan Klimchuk and F Jayce Hawryluk of the Wheat Kings got to play the part of Zambonis on Thursday as they helped escape artist Dean Gunnarson prepare for the taping of an episode of his OLN series Escape Or Die that is to premiere in April. Today in Winnipeg Gunnarson will be hooked up to two Zambonis at the neck, arms and waist and, well, Graeme Bruce of the Brandon Sun has more right here.
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More than 25 years have passed since Tom Cochrane and Red Rider released an album that included the song Big League. It found an audience then and it continue to have an audience today. Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post sat down with Cochrane to talk about that song and the resulting story is right here. . . . By the way, Cochrane, who is from Lynn Lake, Man., has a new album, Take It Home, that dropped on Tuesday.
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You’re not yet tired of hearing or reading about Evander Kane? Good, because Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has more on Kane in his weekly 30 Thoughts. . . . The latest edition is right here.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Jake Hobson, 15, who was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. From Prince Albert, he is playing for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He has 21 points, including eight goals, in 40 games. . . . Jake is the son of Doug Hobson, who played four seasons (1984-88) with the Prince Albert Raiders and later coached with the Victoria Cougars, Prince George Cougars and Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Winterhawks also announced that they have signed D Jackson Caller, a seventh-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. Caller, from Kamloops, has 17 points, seven of them goals, in 22 games with the Pursuit of Excellence prep team that plays out of Kelowna.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES

B.C. DIVISION: Things tightened up as the Kamloops Blazers won in a shootout, the Prince George Cougars won in regulation and the Vancouver Giants lost. . . . When the night was done, Kamloops have moved past Vancouver and back into third place, which is the division’s last playoff spot. The Giants are a point behind the Blazers, with the Cougars two points behind Kamloops. . . . It is quite likely that only one of those three teams will make the playoffs.
U.S. DIVISION: Nothing changed as Everett, Portland and Spokane won, while Seattle lost in a shootout and Tri-City lost in regulation. The loser point left third-place Seattle five points ahead of Spokane, which holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Tri-City. . . . It still appears that all five U.S. Division teams will qualify for the playoffs.
EAST DIVISION: Brandon lost in OT and the loser point kept it within two points of Kelowna, which is atop the overall standings. . . . Swift Current beat Regina and now trails the second-place Pats by 10 points. Each team has 17 games left. . . . Moose Jaw won and now is eight points out of a playoff spot.
CENTRAL DIVISION: Medicine Hat, Calgary, Red Deer and Kootenay all lost. . . . Lethbridge won, again, and it’s OK to wonder if Peter Anholt is the Eastern Conference’s coach of the year.
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WHL team logoIn Regina, G Landon Bow set a Swift Current franchise record as the Broncos beat the Pats, 5-0. . . . Bow, who stopped 44 shots, has seven shutouts this season and that’s a franchise single-season record. . . . Bow had been sharing the record with Mark Friesen (2010-11), Ian Gordon (1993-94) and Bryce Wandler (1999-2000). . . . Bow has 10 shutouts in his career. . . . After the game, Gordon tweeted: “Congrats @LandonCBow on breaking my single season shutout record. @SCBronccos #greatmemories.” . . . Broncos G Jay Merkley scored his 14th goal at 7:00 of the first period and it stood up as the winner. . . . F Colby Cave scored three times, giving him 25 goals. . . . G Glenn Gawdin had two assists. . . . Broncos D Ayrton Nikkel didn’t get any points but finished plus-4. . . . Regina is without F Adam Brooks and F Taylor Cooper, two of its top scorers. Both have undisclosed injuries. . . . The Pats are second in the East Division, with the Broncos third. That means this very well may have been a first-round playoff preview. . . . Swift Current (26-24-5) is 10 points behind the Pats (30-18-7), who had been 4-0-2 in their previous six games. . . .

In Brandon, F Liam Stewart scored 27 seconds into OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Stewart scored his 20th goal of the season off a Tyson Helgeson rebound. . . . The Chiefs erased a 4-1 deficit and Stewart drew the primary assist on the last two goals. . . . The last two of those goals came via the PP, with F Markson Bechtold getting his seventh goal at 8:08 of the third period and F Dominic Zwerger getting his 13th at 17:09. . . . Zwerger had two goals. . . . The tying goal came after Brandon was penalized for having too many men on the ice. . . . The Chiefs were 3-for-4 on the PP; Brandon was 2-for-8. . . . Spokane D Jason Fram drew an assist on each of his club’s last three goals. . . . F Ryan Duke scored twice for Brandon, giving him 20. He is the fifth player on the roster with at least 20 goals. . . . Duke’s second goal gave Brandon a 4-1 lead at 17:27 of the second period. . . . Brandon F Tim McGauley had two assists, running his point streak to 12 games. He has 25 points, including 16 assists, over those 12 games. . . . Spokane G Tyson Verhelst, a freshman from Brandon, stopped 33 shots, as did Brandon G Jordan Papirny. . . . F John Quenneville returned to Brandon’s lineup after sitting out four games with a suspected concussion. . . . The Wheat Kings are still without G Alex Moodie (suspected concussion), D Ivan Provorov and F Jayce Hawryluk, the latter two with undisclosed injuries. . . . The Chiefs (27-24-4) are 3-2-0 on an East Division swing that ends tonight in Swift Current. . . . The Wheat Kings (41-9-6), who had won six straight, are 12-0-2 in their last 14 outings. . . .

In Calgary, G Nik Amundrud stopped 35 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Calgary had won its previous nine games. . . . The Hitmen had won six in a row at home, outscoring the opposition 39-6 in the process. . . . Saskatoon D Schael Higson broke a 2-2 tie with his first goal at 14:52 of the second period. . . . F Cameron Hebig added insurance with his 14th goal at 10:40 of the third. . . . Hebig also had two assists. . . . Saskatoon F Mitch Skapski had two assists. . . . Calgary F Terrell Draude scored his ninth goal and also had an assist. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields, on his 20th birthday, turned aside 21 shots. . . . The Blades (16-35-3) snapped a four-game losing skid. . . . The Hitmen (32-18-5) won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Calgary is second in the Central Division, five points ahead of Red Deer. . . . Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun has a game story right here. . . .

In Red Deer, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored two first-period goals and went on to a 2-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Jamal Watson scored his 21st goal at 16:25 and F Florian Baltram got his fifth, shorthanded, at 17:38. . . . Red Deer F Preston Kopeck got his 16th goal, on a PP, at 4:18 of the third. . . . Watson also had an assist. . . . Lethbridge G Jayden Sittler, who is from Red Deer, stopped 26 shots. . . . The Hurricanes didn’t list a backup goaltender on the online game sheet, so perhaps Stuart Skinner is injured. . . . Red Deer F Conner Bleackley, the team captain, is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Lethbridge (17-32-6) is 5-1-1 in February. . . . The Rebels (28-18-8) have lost three in a row. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Brody Willms stopped 32 shots to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Willms, 16, was making his fourth career WHL start. . . . F Tanner Eberle and F Brayden Point each scored twice for Moose Jaw. . . . Eberle’s first goal, 28 seconds into the second period, was shorthanded. He’s got 29 goals. . . . Point has 23 goals. . . . Ice F Austin Vetterl’s ninth goal, while shorthanded, ended Willms’ shutout bid at 10:38 of the third period. . . . Warriors F Axel Blomqvist scored his 21st goal and added an assist. . . . The Warriors were 0-for-7 on the PP; the Ice was 0-for-4. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin surrendered four goals on 20 shots in 44:43. Declan Hobbs, who was brought in from the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts for the weekend, came on to stop all 10 shots he faced. . . . Ice G Keegan Williams, who usually backs up Hoflin, was a healthy scratch. . . . Moose Jaw had F Jesse Shynkaruk back from a three-game suspension and F Jaimen Yakubowski returned from a four-game injury-related absence. . . . The Ice was without head coach Ryan McGill for a second straight game with what the team is calling “general body soreness.” In his absence, assistant Jay Henderson ran things. . . . The Warriors (22-29-4) had lost their previous two games. They are 1-1-0 on a seven-game road trip. . . . The Ice is 28-27-1. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Prince George Cougars scored three first-period goals en route to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . Cougars G Ty Edmonds stopped 41 shots. . . . The Cougars scored their first three goals on only four shots as they lead 3-0 at 7:24 of the first period. . . . F Zach Pochiro scored two of the early Cougars goals, giving him 12. . . . The Tigers got the deficit to 3-2 when F Steve Owre scored his 14th at 8:28 of the third. . . . Cougars F Jari Erricson got the insurance into an empty net at 19:25. He’s got 19 goals. . . . Medicine Hat F Mark Rassell was penalized for high-sticking at 15:13 of the first period. It was his first penalty of the season and came in his 48th game. . . . F Chase Witala had two assists for the Cougars. . . . The Cougars had dropped seven straight games to the Tigers. . . . Prince George (22-32-4) had lost its previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Tigers (36-17-3) have lost two in a row. . . .

In Portland, F Chase De Leo and F Oliver Bjorkstrand each scored twice as the Winterhawks dumped the Tri-City Americans, 7-1. . . . Tri-City scored the game’s first goal when F Jordan Topping got his seventh at 3:19 of the first period. . . . Tri-City took that 1-0 lead into the second period when Portland exploded for six goals in 13 minutes. . . . Bjorkstrand has 39 goals. . . . De Leo, who has 29, scored his 100th regular-season goal. . . . Portland F Miles Koules had a goal, his 23rd, and two assists, while D Blake Heinrich, F Nic Petan, D Brendan De Jong and F Evan Weinger each had two assists. . . . Portland D Josh Hanson scored his first goal of the season. He has five in 301 career regular-season games. . . . Portland D Keoni Teixeira was pointless but finished plus-4. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 41 shots, 23 more than Portland’s Adin Hill. . . . The Winterhawks (32-20-4) are 1-1-1 in their last three. . . . The Americans are 26-27-3. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the only two goals of the shootout and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . F Cole Ully and F Jake Kryski scored for Kamloops in the skills competition, while F Mathew Barzal and D Shea Theodore came up short for Seattle. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls forced OT with his sixth goal at 19:59 of the second period. Actually, he scored with 0.9 showing on the clock. . . . D Ethan Bear scored his 10th goal of the season for Seattle, on a PP, at 1:59 of the first period. . . . Kamloops got goals from F Joel Hamilton, his 11th, shorthanded, 59 seconds into the second and F Matt Needham, his 18th, at 13:53 of the second. . . . Hamilton had played 21 games without scoring. It was his first goal for Kamloops since being acquired at the trade deadline in January. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 26 shots, three fewer than Seattle’s Logan Flodell. . . . Flodell, who joined Seattle when G Danny Mumaugh chose to retire, made his fifth career start, his fourth this season. His first three starts were against Prince George. His fourth was against Vancouver. . . . Kamloops D Marc (Jimmy) McNulty had two assists in a solid effort. . . . This was a very uneven game with a lot of turnovers and about two month’s worth of poor passes. . . . Head coach Don Hay of the Blazers celebrated his 61st birthday with his 631st WHL victory. . . . The Blazers (22-29-6) have won two in a row. They are 3-0-0 against Seattle this season, with all three games decided by one goal. . . . The Thunderbirds are 28-20-7. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s first five goals and went on to a 7-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The game ended with a verbal exchange between the benches. . . . At game’s end, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, tweeted: “Royals forward Austin Carroll narrowly misses Lucas Johansen's head and fight breaks out. Lambert/Mallette have choice words for Dave Lowry.” That would be Kelowna head coach Dan Lambert and assistant coach Kris Mallette; Dave Lowry is the head coach of the Royals. . . . Kelowna F Rodney Southam opened the scoring with his eighth goal at 1:08 of the first period. But he is looking at a suspension after instigating a fight in the game’s last five minutes. . . . D Cole Martin and F Cole Linaker each had two goals for the Rockets. Martin, who finished plus-4, has five goals; Linaker has 12. . . . Kelowna F Leon Draisaitl had three assists, as did D Madison Bowey, while F Nick Merkley had two. . . . F Austin Carroll scored his 30th goal for the Royals. . . . Draisaitl has 23 points, including 16 assists, in 16 games with the Rockets. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 22 shots. . . . The Rockets again were without G Jackson Whistle (appendectomy) and F Tyson Baillie (concussion). . . . The Rockets (43-9-4) lead the overall standings by two points over Brandon. . . . The Royals (30-21-4) had their four-game winning streak come to an end. . . .

In Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 22 shots to lead the Silvertips to a 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Hart, a 16-year-old freshman from Sherwood Park, Alta., has three shutouts. . . . Everett F Remi Laurencelle scored twice, giving him 17. His first goal, 1:19 into the game, stood up as the winner. . . . He also had an assist. . . . Everett D Lucas Skrumeda scored his first goal, while D Tristan Pfeiffer got his second. . . . D Noah Juulsen, F Brayden Low and F Ivan Nikolishin each had two assists. . . . Everett was 2-for-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-4. . . . Everett (35-16-5) is 2-0-1 in its last three. . . . The Giants (23-30-3) had won their previous two games. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reported that the Giants were without D Arvin Atwal due to a “team-imposed suspension.” . . . Patterson’s game story is right here.
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SATURDAY’S GAMES

(all times local)
Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
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