Sunday, April 26, 2015

Coulter OT hero in Brandon . . . Petan wins it for Portland . . . Johnston staying in Pittsburgh

F Milan Jurik (Prince Albert, 2006-07) has signed a one-year extension with Mulhouse (France, Division 1). This season, in 23 games, he had nine goals and 12 assists. . . .
F Michal Pšurný (Medicine Hat, Kootenay, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract with Mulhouse (France, Division 1). This season, with the Manchester Phoenix (England, Premier), he had 19 goals and 34 assists in 41 games.


In Brandon, F Tyler Coulter scored 51 seconds into OT to give the Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Wheat Kings won the opener, 9-4, on Friday. The teams now head for Calgary and games Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Brandon scored nine times on 41 shots in Game 1; last night, it scored three times on 46 shots as Calgary G Brendan Burke was stellar. . . . Coulter, who is from Brandon, tipped in a point shot from D Ryan Pilon for the winner, his fourth goal of these playoffs. . . . Coulter told Rob Henderson, the sports editor of the Brandon Sun, that the goal pretty much came in
self-defence. The puck, Coulter said, “actually hit the shaft of my stick going in. I thought it was coming for my face, so I put (the stick) up to guard it and it just hit me and went in.” . . . The Hitmen now are 4-3 in OT in these playoffs. Seven OT games in one playoff year ties the franchise record from 2013 when they were 5-2. . . . Brandon is 4-0, with each winning score having been 3-2. . . . Calgary D Michael Zipp forced OT with his first playoff goal, at 6:51 of the third period. . . . For the second night in a row, Calgary erased a two-goal deficit. . . . Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk, who opened the scoring early in Game 1, got last night’s first goal at 3:49 of the first period. He’s got seven. . . . F Peter Quenneville upped it to 2-0, at 11:03, while Brandon enjoyed a 5-on-3 PP. He’s got goals in five straight games and six in the playoffs. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini got his guys on the board at 16:48 with his 10th goal. . . . The teams played a scoreless second period. . . . Burke, who came on in relief on Friday night, got the start for Calgary after Mack Shield had started six in a row. . . . Burke, who made 43 saves, had last started in Game 6 of Calgary’s first-round series. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny turned aside 22 shots as he ran his record to 10-2. . . . Brandon was 1-for-2 on the PP; Calgary was 0-for-1. . . . The referees were Derek Zalaski and Jeff Ingram. . . . Pilon and F Tim McGauley each had two assists for Brandon. . . . This was the sixth straight game in which Brandon had at least 40 shots at the opposing goaltender. . . . The Hitmen were without F Jake Virtanen, who is under a ‘tbd’ suspension for a headshot on Brandon F Tanner Kaspick early in the third period of Game 1. . . . Kaspick was scratched last night, perhaps with a concussion, while D Kale Clague, who left in the first period on Friday, also was out. . . . Brandon added F Mark Matsuba and F Stelio Mattheos for this one. . . . Calgary scratched F Chase Lang, who was injured in Game 1 when he crashed awkwardly into the end boards, and F Connor Rankin. Those two and Virtanen accounted for 187 points, including 78 goals, in the regular season. . . . Attendance was 5,004, down 24 from Friday night. . . . Brandon’s Kelly McCrimmon now has 62 career playoff victories, leaving him alone in ninth spot on the WHL’s all-time list. Next on the list? Don Nachbaur of the Spokane Chiefs, at 65. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. . . . Laurence Heinen filed this game story for the Calgary Herald.

In Kelowna, F Nic Petan broke a 2-2 tie at 19:12 of the second period and the Portland Winterhawks went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Kelowna had won the opener, erasing a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory, on Friday night. . . . The scene now shifts to the Moda Center in Portland for games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Game 5 is scheduled for Kelowna on Friday. . . . As it did in Game 1,
Portland opened a 2-0 lead, with F Paul Bittner getting his third goal, on a PP, at 16:33 of the first period and F Dominic Turgeon scoring his seventh goal at 11:46 of the second. . . . The Rockets erased that 2-0 deficit with a pair of second-period PP goals, F Rourke Chartier scoring his ninth goal at 13:29 and F Dillon Dube getting his second at 15:51. . . . Nic Petan ran his point streak to 13 games with his eighth goal, on a Serge/Denis Savard-ian spin-o-rama at 19:12 of the second. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 38 shots, nine more than Kelowna’s Jackson Whistle. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 1-for-4. . . . The referees were Sean Raphael and Reagan Vetter. . . . F Nick Merkley had two assists for Kelowna. . . . In the third period, Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier was speculating on Twitter that Rockets F Leon Draisaitl may be playing hurt. At one point, Fisher tweeted that “Draisaitl didn't look right on that shift. Rockets trainer Scott Hoyer went and talked to him on bench after he came off.” . . . Draisaitl had one assist on Friday and was pointless last night. In five games in the second round, he put up 11 points. . . . Kelowna inserted D/F Riley Stadel into the lineup, replacing F Gage Quinney, who apparently suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday. . . . Kelowna F Tomas Soustal struggled to get to the bench after going hard into the end boards in the third period. . . . The last nine times Portland has opened a series with a loss, it has come back to win Game 2. . . . Portland freelancer Scott Sepich reports that Portland now has played 19 straight series without falling behind 2-0. . . . Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche’s executive vice-president and general manager, was in the house. He and Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert were teammates for two seasons (1985-87) with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Attendance was 5,681, down 190 from Friday.

For whatever reason, there was recent speculation that Mike Johnston, the former GM and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks, was on the hot seat as his first season as head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins wound down. Well, Pittsburgh was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the New York Rangers on Friday night, and the Penguins quickly gave Johnston a vote of confidence. . . . Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more right here.
The U.S. beat Canada 7-2 in one semifinal game at the IIHF U-18 World championship in Zug, Switzerland, on Saturday. . . . Canada, which finished third a year ago, will play Switzerland for bronze today, while the U.S. will meet Finland in the championship game. . . . F Auston Matthews, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, had two goals for the U.S. Boston University F Jack Eichel, who is expected to be the second overall selection in the NHL’s 2015 draft in June, had 10 points, including five goals, in seven games at this tournament last season. Matthews has 14 points, eight of them goals, in six games this time around.
The Telus Cup, for Canada’s midget AAA championship, will be decided today when the Grenadiers de Châteauguay meet the Toronto Young Nationals in the final in Riviere-du-Loup, Que. . . . Interestingly, the Grenadiers’ head coach is Steve Hartley, the son of Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley, who is busy with the Stanley Cup playoffs these days. Steve is in his first season with the Grendadiers. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads when they won the 2013 Memorial Cup. . . . F Owen Sillinger of the Regina Pat Canadians, who lost out in a semifinal, was the tournament’s leading scorer, top forward and MVP. He is the son of former NHLer/WHLer Mike Sillinger.
Almost two years have gone by since Jordan Chartier of Saskatoon, who had yet to see his 24th birthday, jumped out of a speeding vehicle and died. Chartier’s family, along with friends, including Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, are helping a mental-health program called the Neural Health Project that has been launched in Saskatoon. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.

During his NHL career, Mike Peluso was an enforcer. As such, he suffered numerous concussions. . . . “At no time in my NHL career did anyone — a doctor, trainer, coach or league representative — ever tell me that I could be at risk for seizures or other long-term neurological diseases and disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s,” he writes in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. “I loved playing hockey, but wish someone had sat us all down to have an honest conversation about how our brains would feel years into the future.” . . . Peluso’s first-person piece is right here.

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