Monday, March 9, 2015

Santos cashes in . . . Winterhawks have line for Silvertips . . . WHL playoff picture

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) has signed a one-year extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). In 37 games this season, he has 19 goals and 25 assists. Breitkreuz holds dual Canadian-German citizenship.

And the winner is . . . Anthony Santos.
You have to think that Santos has some new-found friends today after he came forward with the winning ticket for the 50/50 draw from Saturday’s game in Prince George between the Cougars and Victoria Royals.
The Cougars had guaranteed the largest payout in franchise history and that’s exactly what happened as Santos picked up $33,533 on Monday afternoon following the draw at the team’s office.
(That’s Santos in the photo, flanked by Cougars general manager Todd Harkins and Andy Beesley, the vice-president of business.)
Cougars president Greg Pocock purchased $25,000 worth of tickets, all of which were given to fans at the game — free of charge. The winning ticket wasn’t one of the freebies; Santos purchased it midway through the first period.
The game drew 5,404 fans.
The other half of the money went to the Shelly L. Mrkonjic ALS Research Fund. Shelly, the mother of Cougars F Tyler Mrkonjic, died of ALS in 2006.
“The support from our fans who wished to purchase additional 50/50 tickets was so overwhelming,” the Cougars reported, “that we had to stop ticket sales so that our machines were able to handle and process the vast amount of tickets requested. We printed nearly 84,000 50/50 tickets on Saturday which is completely unprecedented for Prince George.”
If the Portland Winterhawks are to finish atop the U.S. Division for a third straight season, they likely are going to have to beat the Silvertips in Everett on Wednesday night.
The first-place Silvertips go into the game with a four-point lead on the Winterhawks. Portland has eight games remaining; Everett has six left to play.
Both teams lead the 10-game season series. Seriously! The Silvertips can say they are 5-3-1, while the Winterhawks will say they lead 4-3-2.
If the Silvertips are to win this game, they are going to have to at least limit the damage inflicted upon them by the Portland line that has Nic Petan between Oliver Bjorkstrand and Paul Bittner.
Bjorkstrand has 52 goals in 51 games this season and is the first Portland skater with back-to-back 50-goal seasons since Dennis Holland did it (1987-89). Bjorkstrand also has 97 points, three behind Medicine Hat Tigers F Trevor Cox, who leads the WHL scoring race.
Petan, meanwhile, has 20 points over his last six games -- all of the assists. On the season, he has 77 points, including 66 assists.
Bittner is coming off a three-goal game on Saturday. He also had two assists, giving him a career-high five points. Bittner, who will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2015 draft, has a career-high 63 points, including 32 goals.
Whichever team finishes atop the U.S. Division will draw the Western Conference’s first wild-card team in the first round of the playoffs.


1. Brandon (6 games remaining) — Will finish atop the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1995-96. Wheat Kings get conference’s second wild-card team in first round. . . . Two points behind Kelowna (6) in chase for first place overall. . . . At home to Moose Jaw tonight.
2. Regina (7) clinched second in division. Will meet third-place team in first round. . . . In Prince Albert tonight in a makeup for a game that was postponed due to weather from Feb. 14.
3. Swift Current (6) has lost six in a row and now leads Moose Jaw (6) by two points. . . . At home to Regina on Wednesday.
4. Moose Jaw (6) is two points behind Swift Current. . . . Has won three straight and is 7-2-1 in last 10. . . . In Brandon tonight.
5. Prince Albert (7) is six points behind Moose Jaw. . . . At home to Regina tonight.
6. Saskatoon (6) is in Edmonton tonight.
1. Medicine Hat (6) is tied with Calgary atop the division. Medicine Hat has more victories (41-40) at the moment. . . . Next plays Friday in Cranbrook.
2. Calgary (6) has two games left in a franchise-record 11-game road trip. . . . Plays Friday in Red Deer.
3. Red Deer (6) is five points off the pace. . . . At home to Saskatoon on Wednesday.
4. Kootenay (6) holds down the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . At home to Lethbridge tonight.
5. Edmonton (5) is in the second wild-card spot, one point behind Kootenay. . . . At home to Saskatoon tonight
6. Lethbridge (7) is out of the playoffs and in Cranbrook tonight.
1. Kelowna (6) has clinched first place in the Western Conference and will play the second wild-card team in the first round. . . . Leads the overall standings by two points over Brandon. . . . At home to Victoria on Wednesday.
2. Victoria (6) will finish second and meet the division’s third-place team in the first round. . . . In Kelowna on Wednesday.
3. Prince George (6) is third, thanks to a 5-0-1 run. It is 7-1-2 in its last 10. . . . Prince George is four points ahead of Kamloops (6) and six up on Vancouver (6). . . . In Kamloops on Wednesday.
4. Kamloops (6) will meet Prince George four times in the next two weeks — Wednesday in Kamloops, March 18 and 20 in Prince George, and March 21 in Kamloops. . . . The Blazers also are two points behind Tri-City (6), which holds down the conference’s second wild-card berth.
5. Vancouver (6) has lost six straight and is two points behind Kamloops and four behind Tri-City. . . . At home to Spokane tonight.
1. Everett (6) leads the division by four points over Portland (8). . . . Key game Wednesday when Portland drops in for a visit.
2. Portland (8) is on an 8-0-2 roll as it heads for Everett and Wednesday’s game.
3. Seattle (6) trails Portland by eight points. . . . At home to Everett on Friday.
4. Spokane (8) is in the first wild-card spot, nine points behind Seattle and seven ahead of Tri-City (6). . . . In Vancouver tonight.
5. Tri-City (6) is in the second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and four up on Vancouver. . . . Entertains Prince George on Friday.


Eastern Conference
Brandon vs. Edmonton
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay
Regina vs. Swift Current
Calgary vs. Red Deer
Western Conference
Kelowna vs. Tri-City
Everett vs. Spokane
Victoria vs. Prince George
Portland vs. Seattle
(NOTE: Team with home-ice advantage shown first.)


No Games Scheduled


(all times local)
Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Vancouver, 7 p.m.


(all times local)
Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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