Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rockets complete championship sweep . . . Tigers getting "pushed out" of The Hat? . . . New logo for Cougars?

F Ondřej Roman (Spokane, 2006-09) signed a two-year contract with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (Russia, KHL). This season, with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 13 goals and 28 assists in 52 games. An alternate captain, he led the team in assists.


In Kelowna, the Rockets broke open a scoreless game with shorthanded goals 19 seconds apart in the third period and went on to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-0. . . . The Rockets swept the WHL championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-0, outscoring Brandon 17-9 in the process. . . . Kelowna also won the WHL title in 2003, 2005 and 2009. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle, who is from West Kelowna, stopped 19 shots in earning his fourth shutout of these playoffs. . . . The Rockets opened the scoring at 1:10 of the third period when F Leon Draisaitl scored at 1:10, and F Rourke Chartier made it 2-0 at 1:29. . . . Kelowna F Dillon Dube was serving a delay-of-game penalty at the time of both goals. . . . Draisaitl’s goal was his 10th; Chartier had 13. . . . The Rockets scored four shorthanded goals over the series’ last three games. . . . Rockets F Nick Merkley iced it with his fifth goal at 14:30. . . . Chartier and Draisaitl each added an assist to their goals. . . . Draisaitl, who was named the playoff MVP, had a goal and an assist in each of the last three games. . . . Draisaitl, who was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders in a January trade that was dictated by the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, finished tied for the playoff scoring lead with F Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks, each with 28 points. . . . Merkley led in playoff assists, with 22, while Chartier, F Adam Tambellini of the Calgary Hitmen and Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand each scored 13 goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took the game’s first three penalties, but the Rockets came up empty on all three PPs. . . . Brandon was 0-for-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-for-2. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 27 shots. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Brett Iverson. . . . Brandon F Reid Duke was back in the lineup after an eight-game absence. With Duke in, F Braylon Shmyr was out. . . . The attendance was 6,428. . . . The last sweep in the WHL final came in the spring of 2008 when the Spokane Chiefs ousted the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Chiefs went on to win the Memorial Cup in Kitchener, Ont. . . . The Rockets will represent the WHL in the Memorial Cup in Quebec City. Also there will be the Quebec Remparts, Rimouski Oceanic and either the Erie Otters or Oshawa Generals.

Dan Lambert, the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets, will be a media favourite at the Memorial Cup when it opens in Quebec City on May 21.
For starters, Lambert, 45, guided the Rockets to the WHL title in his first season as their head coach. An assistant coach for five seasons, he moved up when Ryan Huska left to join the Calgary Flames organization as the head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Flames.
Lambert, who is from St. Malo, Man., also is bilingual, so you know that his French is going to get a workout at the four-team tournament.
On top of that, Lambert was selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the sixth round of the 1989 NHL draft. A highly skilled defenceman with Swift Current, he had 102 regular-season points in 1988-89, a season in which the Broncos won the Memorial Cup.
Lambert played 29 NHL games, all with the Nordiques, scoring six goals and adding nine assists.
A good piece of the credit for the Kelowna Rockets’ latest WHL championship should go to Lorne Frey, the assistant GM and director of player personnel, and his scouting staff.
The Rockets have 27 players on their playoff roster, with 16 of those having been selected by Kelowna in the WHL bantam draft. Take away imports Leon Draisaitl and Tomas Soustal and the percentage of players from the bantam draft is even higher.
Of the 20 players who were in uniform for last night’s championship-clinching victory, 11 were Kelowna bantam draft selections.
Of the remaining nine players, three were acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders (F Leon Draisaitl), D Josh Morrissey, F Gage Quinney, one from the Prince George Cougars (F Chance Braid), one from the Tri-City Americans (F Rodney Southam) and one from the Vancouver Giants (G Jackson Whistle).
G Michael Herringer was added to the Rockets’ list after being released by the Saskatoon Blades.
D Devante Stephens was a list player who wasn’t selected in the 2012 WHL bantam draft.
Soustal was acquired in the CHL’s 2014 import draft.

These are interesting times in Medicine Hat where the Tigers have vacated their long-time home, the Arena, and are to begin play in the brand new Regional Event Centre next season. Except that there is his matter of a lease. . . . “We’re concerned certainly and we would like to get this done,” Dave Andjelic, the Tigers’ senior director of marketing and public relations, tells CHAT-TV.“But the situation is the City of Medicine Hat needs to step in here and move this forward.” . . . Andjelic says the Tigers tried to convince the City to get a lease signed even before construction began. And what if a lease isn’t agreed to when the next season arrives? . . . “The thing is, and what we don’t want to see is — and it’s the worst thing for everybody — is if something doesn’t come together and we’re pushed out of Medicine Hat,” Andjelic says. . . . CHAT-TV’s story is right here.
Might the Prince George Cougars have a new logo ready for the start of a new season? The Cougars, of course, changed hands prior to the start of this season. The new owners kept the team’s logo — that’s it there on the left. . . . Now you have to wonder if they are at least thinking about unveiling a new logo, something that would help cut the cord with the previous regime. . . . Chris Creamer of reports that the Cougars have trademarked a new logo. . . . Take a look right here.
Chico will continue to be the man in Prince George. The Cougars have signed equipment manager Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal to a contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Dhanhal, from Saskatoon, is preparing for his eighth season with the Cougars. This season, on March 13 in Kennewick, Wash., he worked his 500th regular-season game.
After 16 seasons as the voice of the Kootenay Ice, Jeff Hollick has decided to turn the page. Hollick announced Wednesday that he won’t return for a 17th season; however, he didn’t say anything about what might be in his future. . . . On his blog, Between The Lines, he wrote: "I have been extremely fortunate to cover three WHL championship teams and a Memorial Cup-winning team. Whenever I am asked for my favourite all-time moment or game, I have at least a dozen to choose from and can never narrow it down to just one. It has been an amazing, remarkable and unforgettable time." . . . Hollick spent 16 seasons calling games on Jim Pattison Broadcast Group stations The Drive 102.9 FM and B-104 Total Country. . . . The Ice and The Drive will begin a new three-year contract with the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Vancouver Giants have signed F Tyler Popowich, who was the third overall selection in last week’s WHL bantam draft. Popowich, from Surrey, B.C., had 57 points, including 25 goals, in 47 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Penticton. . . . Popowich’s signing means that the first three selections in the 2015 bantam draft are signed. Earlier in the week, the Spokane Chiefs signed D Ty Smith, the first pick, and the Lethbridge Hurricanes signed D Calen Addison, who was No. 2.
The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Devan Harrison, whom they selected in the second round of last week’s bantam draft. Harrison, from Dysart, Sask., had 35 points, 10 of them goals, in 31 games with the bantam AA Prairie Storm. He was the team captain. . . . Harrison also had one goal in five games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals.


QMJHLFabian Joseph has left the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats “to pursue head-coaching opportunities,” according to a news release. Joseph had been the team’s associate coach. He had been with the Wildcats through eight seasons, first as an assistant coach. He had been associate coach for four seasons. . . . Joseph, who is from Sydney, N.S., played two seasons (1982-84) with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars. . . . The Wildcats now are accepting applications for the positions of assistant coach, co-ordinator of goaltending development, and head equipment manager.
John Harrington is the new head coach of the women’s hockey team at Minnesota State U-Mankato. . . . Harrington, who played on the 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s team, has been scouting for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche for the past four seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach at St. John’s (1993-2008). . . . According to a news release, “Other finalists for the job were former UMD women's hockey assistant coach Laura Schuler and Hibbing, Minn. native Amber Fryklund, who is currently an assistant coach with the Bemidji State women's program.”

In the OHL, F Cole Cassels scored at 8:19 of OT as the visiting Oshawa Generals beat the Erie Otters, 6-5. . . . The Generals lead the championship final 3-1 and have their first opportunity to end it on Friday night at home. . . . The winner came on the PP after Erie was hit with a delay-of-game penalty for a puck over the glass from the defensive zone. . . . Attendance was 6,629. . . . Oshawa D Josh Brown, the team captain, tied the game 5-5 when he scored with 0.6 seconds left in the second period. It was his second goal of the playoffs. . . . Erie F Connor McDavid had a goal, his 21st, and three assists. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Rimouski Oceanic scored a 4-2 victory over the host Quebec Remparts. . . . That series is 2-2 with the road team having won each game. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Rimouski on Friday. . . . The Remparts scored two PP goals before the game was eight minutes old. . . . The Oceanic tied it before the end of the period and then added two second-period goals. . . . Attendance was 9,843.

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