Sunday, February 1, 2015

Saturday in the WHL: Four shutouts, three shootouts and a six-point game



There was a lot of hockey news during the week, a lot of it involving the AHL and ECHL. Mark Spector of Sportsnet takes a look at what all transpired and also tosses in a few notes. That’s all right here.
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So . . . there were these two high school girls hockey teams playing a game in Fargo, N.D., on Friday. Spectators and school officials noticed the Zamboni wasn’t being operated in the usual smooth way. It wasn’t long before police arrived, arrested the driver for suspicion of DUI. . . . There is more right here.
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If you’re into numbers, here’s a Saturday night NHL note for you. G Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks wears No. 31. He stopped 31 shots in a 2-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. It was Niemmi’s 31st career shutout. He is 31 years of age. Saturday was Jan. 31. . . . Seriously.
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:

In Calgary, G Mack Shields stopped 26 shots to lead the Hitmen to a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Shields has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . F Jake Virtanen had a goal, his 14th, and three assists. . . . F Adam Tambellini scored twice, giving him 37, and added an assist. He’s got 14 points, 11 of them goals, in his last seven games. . . . D Jake Bean tied the Calgary franchise record for points in a freshman season. Bean had one assist, giving him 32 points in 40 games. Bean now shares the record with Matt Kinch (1996-97). . . . F Connor Rankin’s 26th goal, at 1:42 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . “We were reluctant to get traffic and reluctant to put pucks on net,” Steve Hamilton, the Oil Kings’ head coach, said on the team’s website. “Quite honestly, just didn’t have a ton of time or space today, and it’s a credit to Calgary. They did a good job of executing their game plan, and we didn’t generate much.” . . . The Hitmen (29-17-5) have won a season-high six in a row and now are second in the Central Division, one point ahead of Red Deer. Calgary has put up three shutouts in its past five games. . . . The Oil Kings (24-22-6) had won their previous two games. . . .

In Moose Jaw, D Ivan Provorov earned four assists, all on the PP, as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Warriors, 6-0. . . . He’s got 50 points, including 39 assists, in 45 games. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 21 shots as he picked up his 30th victory of the season and his fourth shutout. In his career, he has five shutouts. He is 30-7-4 this season. . . . Wheat Kings F Tim McGauley drew three assists. He also got into a scrap with Moose Jaw F Brayden Point. . . . Brandon F Steve Patrick scored his 23rd goal. Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun notes: “Patrick has 23 goals in his first WHL season, matching the number scored by his father, Steve, in his rookie season with Brandon in 1978-79.” . . . Brandon was 4-for-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-4. . . . Moose Jaw F Jesse Shynkaruk took an interference major and game misconduct at 10:23 of the third period. Brandon F John Quenneville was the victim on that play. He left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Wheat Kings beat the visiting Warriors 6-4 on Friday. . . . G Alex Moodie was among Brandon’s scratches after suffering an undisclosed injury on Friday. He has an undisclosed injury. . . . Thomas Spence, an 18-year-old from Moose Jaw, served as Brandon’s backup last night. Spence, who plays for the junior B Regina Capitals, spent a night on the Calgary Hitmen bench on Jan. 6. . . . The Wheat Kings (37-9-5) are 8-0-1 in their last nine games. . . . The Warriors (20-27-4) have lost three in a row and are seven points out of a playoff spot. . . .

In Saskatoon, G Nik Amundrud stopped 29 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-0 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . He’s got three shutouts this season. . . . D Brycen Martin, who came to Saskatoon from the Broncos, and F Brett Stovin each had a goal and two assists as the Blades scored three PP goals. . . . Martin has five goals; Stovin has 20. . . . The Blades were 3-for-9 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-for-5. . . . The Broncos remain without D Dillon Heatherington (4-6 weeks), F Coda Gordon (1-3 weeks), D Jordan Harris and F Cole Johnson. The latter two are out indefinitely. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here. . . . The Blades improved to 15-31-3 and now are 2-3-0 in the season series. . . . The Broncos (23-23-5) had beaten the visiting Blades 6-2 on Friday and are 3-1-1 in the season series. . . . Swift Current is third in the East Division, seven points ahead of Moose Jaw. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . He’s got 17 points, including seven goals, in 11 games since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Draisaitl was selected third overall by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2014 draft. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart was selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres. He had his 10-game point streak ended by the Rockets. . . . Kelowna G Rourke Chartier opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 5:22 of the first period. He’s got 41 goals, moving him back into a tie with Medicine Hat F Cole Sanford for the WHL lead. . . . Rockets D Riley Stadel and F Tyson Baillie each had two assists. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle stopped 25 shots as he earned his 30th victory of the season. He is 30-7-3. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . . The Rockets (39-8-4) are 5-0-1 in their last six outings. They continue to lead the overall standings by three points over Brandon. . . . The Ice (27-24-1) holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Edmonton. . . .

In Red Deer, the Prince Albert Raiders got the shootout’s only two goals to beat the Rebels, 6-5. . . . Red Deer trailed 5-2 early in the third period but staged a three-goal comeback to force OT. . . . F Riley Sheen scored twice, giving him 15, and F Conner Bleackley tied it 5-5 with his 24th goal at 13:13. . . . The Raiders got shootout goals from F Simon Stransky and F Reid Gardiner to win it. . . . Gardiner scored twice in regulation, giving him 24 goals. . . . Raiders D Jesse Lees drew three assists. . . . Sheen also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . D Colton Bobyk had three assists for the Rebels and F Connor Gay had two. . . . The Raiders were 2-for-4 on the PP; the Rebels were 2-for-3. . . . Prince Albert was without D Mackenze Stewart. He got a ‘tbd’ suspension after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Friday’s 10-1 loss in Calgary. . . . The Raiders (21-28-1) are eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Rebels (27-15-8) have lost three in a row (0-1-2) and now are third in the Central Division, one point behind Calgary. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Austin Wagner’s two goals helped the Regina Pats to a 6-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . F Pavel Skumatov got the Hurricanes on the board first, scoring his fifth goal at 19:56 of the first period. . . . The Pats took control with four goals in 6:01 in the second half of the second period. . . . F Adam Berg got it started with his first goal at 10:24. Wagner, who has 16 goals, gave Regina the lead at 13:30 and F Sam Steel gadded his 12th goal, on the PP, at 15:01. F Patrick D’Amico ended the onslaught with his 15th at 16:25. . . . Regina F Taylor Cooper scored his 20th goal on a third-period penalty shot. . . . Lethbridge was able to dress only 16 skaters. Included in its scratches was F Tyler Wong. . . . The Pats held a 48-30 edge in shots. . . . The Pats (27-17-6) snapped a six-game losing skid (0-3-3) and appear headed to a second-place finish in the East Division. . . . The Hurricanes (12-31-6) have lost two in a row. . . .

In Vancouver, the Kamloops Blazers scored on their first two shootout attempts and took a 3-2 victory over the Giants. . . . F Cole Ully and F Jake Kryski gave the Blazers a 2-0 lead in the shootout and that was that. . . . Ully had scored his 25th goal at 1:38 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson tied it with his 12th goal at 19:57. . . . Blazers D Marc McNulty got his sixth goal at 13:18 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Zane Jones forced OT with his 24th goal at 14:10 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 32 shots, two more than Vancouver’s Cody Porter. . . . The Blazers had D Ryan Rehill back after a one-game suspension, but D Michael Fora and D Patrik Maier remain out with undisclosed injuries. . . . The Blazers (20-26-6) are third in the B.C. Division, three points ahead of Vancouver and four up on Prince George. . . . The Giants (20-28-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . .

In Prince George, G Taran Kozun stopped 20 shots to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kozun has eight shutouts in his career, two this season. . . . F Ryan Gropp scored his 20th goal of the season 15 seconds into the second period. . . . Seattle F Calvin Spencer scored his fifth goal at 10:10 of the first and it proved the winner. . . . Seattle D Shea Theodore had one assist, moving him into a tie with Craig Channell for the franchise record for most career points by a defenceman. . . . The Cougars were without F Josh Anderson and D Josh Connolly, both of whom drew ‘tbd’ suspensions for incidents in Friday’s game that was won, 9-2, by the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle (25-19-6) has won two in a row and is third in the U.S. Division. . . . The Cougars (20-31-2) have lost 12 straight (0-10-2). . . .

In Portland, F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored three goals and added three assists as the Winterhawks doubled the Everett Silvertips, 6-3. . . . The Silvertips took a 2-1 lead into the second period and nursed it until Bjorkstrand scored his second goal at 19:50. . . . Portland then outscored the visitors 4-1 in the third, with Bjorkstrand getting his 35th goal and drawing assists on the other three goals. . . . Winterhawks F Nic Petan scored once, his 10th, and added three assists, while F Paul Bittner, the third member of that line, had three assists. . . . Portland F Chase De Leo had two goals, giving him 26. . . . Only five Winterhawks earned at least a point. . . . Bjorkstrand has 70 points in 40 games. A truly gifted offensive talent from Herning, Denmark, he has 242 points, including 116 goals, in 174 regular-season games. Including 42 playoff games, he has 296 points, 140 of them goals. . . . The Silvertips got a goal, his sixth, and two assists from D Noah Juulsen. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 22 shots, eight fewer than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . Portland was 1-for-2 on the PP; Everett was 2-for-4. . . . The Winterhawks (31-19-3) have won eight in a row and now are one point behind the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips (31-15-4). . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., D Jack Walker had the only goal of a shootout to give the Victoria Royals a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Tri-City F Richard Nejezchleb forced OT when he scored with 52.1 seconds left in the third period and G Eric Comrie on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Nejezchleb scored twice in this one, giving him 15. . . . Victoria F Greg Chase had given his side a 2-1 lead with his 15th goal at 1:39 of the third period. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 22 shots, seven fewer than Tri-City’s Eric Comrie. . . . The Royals (28-20-4) are headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . The Americans (24-24-3) have lost three in a row. They are fifth in the U.S. Division but hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . .

In Spokane, D Jason Fram came through in a big way for the Chiefs as they got past the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Fram forced OT with his ninth goal of the season on a PP at 11:04 of the third period. He then scored the game-winner in the shootout. . . . F Dryden Hunt scored for the Tigers in the shootout, with F Dominic Zwerger scoring for the Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs had been outscored 18-1 in their previous five games. . . . Chris Derrick of the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported that Spokane forwards “had been scoreless for more than 344 minutes, back to a Jan. 16 game at Everett.” . . . F Liam Stewart ended that dry spell at 17:29 of the first period. . . . That goal ended a team scoreless drought of more than 223 minutes. . . . Talk about high drama! Tigers F Cole Sanford, who is tied for the WHL lead with 41 goals, was presented with a penalty shot with 28 seconds left in the third period and the score 3-3. Spokane G Garret Hughson stopped him. . . . Medicine Hat D Ty Stanton had a goal, his sixth, and two assists. . . . The Chiefs (24-21-4) had been 0-6-1 in their previous seven games. They had been blanked in three straight games. . . . The victory lifted Spokane into sole possession of fourth place in the U.S. Division, four points behind Seattle and one ahead of Tri-City. . . . The Central Division-leading Tigers (35-12-3) had a six-game winning streak snapped.

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