Friday, September 30, 2016

Lethbridge d-man quits hockey . . . Chiefs move out goaltender . . . Cougars win fifth straight




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D Nick Watson of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has left the team and has decided to “stop playing hockey,” according to a news release. . . . “I’ve been struggling with this for the past three or four
weeks,” Watson said in the news release, “ but I tried to tough it out because hockey has been my life the whole way through. But, at the end of the day, I had to make a decision that makes me happy. Hockey is hockey, it’s a sport, but if you’re not happy playing it then there no reason to play it.” . . . From Delta, B.C., Watson was a second-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, as a freshman, he had one assist in 33 games. He was pointless in one game this season. . . . “First of all,” said Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, “this is bigger than the game of hockey, it’s a life decision for Nick, not anything to do with hockey other than he’s lost his passion to play the game. It puts it in perspective of how hard this game is to play for the guys that do stick it out. It’s not easy to lose a quality 17-year-old defenceman, but we will have to do our best to back fill in any way we possibly can.” . . . Watson agreed that he has lost his passion for the game. “I don’t think it’s fair to my team or to my coaches that if I go out there and I’m not enjoying it and giving it half effort, I just don’t think it’s fair to the team,” he said. “My plan is to go back to school back home and improve my marks and hopefully get into post-secondary and pursue my dream of entering into the sports medicine field. I need to set myself up for the future and see what happens.”
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Former WHL player and coach Bob Lowes, 53, has left the Ottawa Senators for the NHL’s Las Vegas franchise, where he will be the assistant director of player personnel. . . . Lowes, who played for the Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats (1982-84) and was head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings (1992-2001) and Pats (2001-04) and Brandon Wheat Kings, had been with the Senators since 2006-07. He had been Ottawa’s chief amateur scout for the past two seasons. . . . As the coach in Brandon, he worked under Kelly McCrimmon, who now is the assistant GM in Las Vegas.
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The three-year entry-level contract that D Ondrej Vala of the Kamloops Blazers signed with the NHL’s Dallas Stars has a maximum value of US$2,040,000, according to generalfanager.com. . . . The contract carries NHL-level salaries of $630,000 in 2016-17, $705,000, and $705,000, with an AHL salary of $60,000 each season. . . . There is a $165,000 signing bonus payable in three instalments. . . . Vala, 18, is from Czech Republic. He signed with the Stars as a free agent. He is into his second season with the Blazers.
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The Spokane Chiefs are down to 26 players, including two goaltenders, after dropping G Matt Berlin, 18, from their roster on Friday. Berlin is expected to join the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. . . . Berlin, from Edmonton, got into six games with the Chiefs last season, going 1-1-2, 4.38, .851. . . . The move leaves the Chiefs with two goaltenders — Jayden Sittler, 20, and Dawson Weatherill, 17 — both of whom are from Red Deer. Sittler was acquired over the summer from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Weatherill came over from the Red Deer Rebels earlier this week. . . . The Chiefs also are carrying nine defencemen and 15 forwards.
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Fred Marsh died Wednesday in Kamloops at the age of 81. You may never have heard of him but his handiwork is in evidence almost every time a hockey game is played on a regulation or Olympic-size ice surface. Marsh invented the Marsh Flexible Goal Peg system. . . . Adam Williams of Kamloops This Week has more on Marsh right here.
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JUST NOTES:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Hayden Clayton, 16, to a WHL contract. From Red Deer, Clayton is an undrafted list player who earned a contract with his performance in this season’s training camp. Last sason, with the minor midget Red Deer Northstar Chiefs, he had 24 points, including 16 goals, in 34 games. . . . The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is expected to play this season with the midget AAA Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped F Garan Magnes, 19, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. He had two assists in 12 games with Seattle last season after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 61 games with Edmonton over three seasons, he had two goals and five assists. . . . Seattle gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft for Magnes. . . . 
F Nolan Patrick, 18, who is into his third WHL season, has been named the 59th captain in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ franchise history. . . . F Tyler Sandhu, 20, has been named captain of the Tri-City Americans. He is into his fifth WHL season, having also played with the Everett Silvertips and Red Deer Rebels. He played his 100th regular-season game with the Americans on Sunday. . . . F Keegan Iverson, 20, is the 19th captain in the history of the Portland Winterhawks. The native of St. Louis Park, Minn., was given the ‘C’ on Friday as he prepared to start his fifth WHL season.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:

At Lethbridge, F Ryley Lindgren broke a 4-4 tie at 18:47 of the third period as the Hurricanes got past the Kootenay Ice, 5-4. . . . The Hurricanes (2-1-0) actually led this one 3-0 when F Jesse Zaharichuk, an off-season acquisition from the Ice, scored at 17:13 of the first period. . . . However, the Ice scored three times in the second period, tying it on a goal by F Zak Zborosky at 5:54. The three goals came in a span of 1:26, with F Kaeden Taphorn and F Barrett Sheen, who went the other way in the Zaharichuk deal, scoring the other two. . . . D Brennen Menell put the home side out front again at 6:43 of the third period, but Sheen tied it again at 12:16. . . . Zaharichuk added three assists to his goal, while Lindgren, F Colton Kroeker and F Brayden Burke had two assists apiece, and F Egor Babenko had a goal and an assist. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner made 25 saves, while Payton Lee stopped 41 shots for the Ice (1-1-2). . . . The Hurricanes were 1-4 on the PP; the Ice was 0-1. . . . Announced attendance: 2,986.
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At Medicine Hat, the Tigers unleashed a 45-shot attack en route to a 5-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat F Ryan Chyzowski broke a 1-1 tie with his first WHL goal at 9:50 of the second period. . . . F Matt Bradley and F Ryan Jevne each had a goal and an assist for the Tigers (2-1-0), while F Caleb Fantillo had two assists. . . . Medicine Hat G Nick Schneider stopped 23 shots. The Blades (1-2-0) got 40 saves from Logan Flodell. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-1 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-3. . . . Announced attendance: 4,014.
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At Moose Jaw, F Evan Polei’s goal at 1:09 of OT gave the Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Warriors. . . . It was the third time in as many games that the Rebels (1-0-2) couldn't settle things in regulation time. . . . After F Jeff de Wit gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 8:12 of the first period, the Warriors (1-1-0) scored three straight goals. F Noah Gregor tied it at 19:49, with F Brett Howden making it 2-1 at 4:19 of the second period and D Jett Woo upping the lead to two at 7:09. . . . Red Deer D Josh Mahura scored a PP goal at 5:06 of the third period and F D-Jay Jerome tied it, at 12:30, with his third goal of the season. . . . Red Deer G Riley Lamb stopped 33 shots, while Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko turned aside 17. . . . Moose Jaw held a 31-12 edge in shots through two periods. . . . The Rebels were 1-2 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-4. . . . Announced attendance: 3,087.
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At Prince George, F Brad Morrison’s two goals led the Cougars to their fifth straight victory, 4-1 over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Cougars are 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history. . . . Their first four victories came on the road, so this one was their home-opener. . . . F Colby McAuley and F Brogan O’Brien each had two assists for the home boys, with F Yan Khomenko scoring once and adding an assist. . . . Khomenko, an 18-year-old Russian, had five goals and three assists in 46 games with Everett last season. He’s got two goals and two assists in five games with the Cougars. . . . F Jake Kryski gave the Rockets (1-3-0) a 1-0 lead at 2:45 of the first period, marking the first time the Cougars have trailed this season. . . . Morrison tied it at 17:21 and got the eventual winner, on a PP, at 2:34 of the second period. . . . G Ty Edmonds stopped 15 shots for the victory, while Kelowna’s Michael Herringer made 40 saves. . . . The Cougars were 3-10 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-3. . . . Announced attendance: 5,282.
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At Portland, F Graham Millar’s goal with 13.2 seconds left in the second period broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Everett Silvertips on to a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . F Patrick Bajkov gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 11:48 of the first period. . . . Portland F Alex Overhardt tied it, shorthanded, four minutes later. . . . F Matt Fonteyne provided the visitors with insurance at 3:09 of the third period. . . . Everett G Carter Hart blocked 31 shots, one more than Michael Bullion of Portland. . . . Everett (3-0-0) was 1-5 on the PP; Portland (2-1-0) was 0-3. . . . D Mackenzie Dwyer, 19, was in Everett’s lineup for the first time since Jan. 18. . . . Announced attendance: 4,151.
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At Prince Albert, F Glenn Gawdin broke a 2-2 at 17:33 of the second period and the Swift Current Broncos went on to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. . . . The game marked the return of Emanuel Viveiros, the Broncos’ first-year head coach, to the Art Hauser Memorial Centre. Viveiros starred with the Raiders for four seasons (1982-86) and was an integral part of the team that won the 1985 Memorial Cup. He played for three seasons with Raiders associate coach Dave Manson and two seasons with Curtis Hunt, now Prince Albert’s general manager. . . . Broncos F Arthur Miller added insurance at 16:22 of the third period and F Lane Pederson, who had two assists, got the empty-netter, at 19:59. . . . Gawdin also had an assist. . . . G Austin Glover and F Simon Stransky each had a goal and an assist for the Raiders (1-2-0). . . . G Travis Child stopped 21 shots for the Broncos (2-1-0), while Ian Scott turned aside 30 at the other end. . . . The Broncos were 0-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . Raiders D Cody Paivarinta, an 18-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., played only his second game since Jan. 5. An undisclosed injury limited him to one game after Jan. 5 last season. . . . Announced attendance: 2,173. . . . The Broncos are at home to the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight (Saturday). Jamie LeBlanc, the Broncos’ trainer, will work his 1,000th CHL game.
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At Regina, F Sam Steel, in his first game after returning from the camp of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, scored twice to help the Pats to a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Steel’s first goal, just 14 seconds into the second period, gave the Pats (2-0-1) a 3-1 lead. . . . The Oil Kings tied it on goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky, at 1:12, and F Lane Bauer, shorthanded, at 9:43. . . . Regina F Filip Ahl broke the tie at 11:18 and F Luc Smith added insurance at 12:08 of the third period. . . . Steel got his second goal at 15:22. . . . F Riley Woods and Ahl each had a goal and an assist for Regina, with F Nick Henry and F Rykr Cole each earning two assists. . . . F Tyler Robertson had two assists for Edmonton (2-1-0). . . . G Jordan Hollett stopped 34 shots for Regina, two fewer than Edmonton’s Patrick Dea. . . . Hollett stopped Edmonton F Davis Koch on a second-period penalty shot. The Pats were leading 3-2 at the time. . . . Regina was 2-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-for-3. . . . Announced attendance: 3,749.
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At Langley, B.C., F Matthew Wedman scored two goals to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Radovan Bondra, who scored both Vancouver goals, opened the scoring at 4:56 of the first period. . . . Wedman tied it at 12:58 and F Alexander True gave the visitors the lead at 1:09 of the second period. . . . Wedman got what turned out to be the winner at 13:50. . . . D Anthony Bishop had two assists for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds improved to 1-1-0, while the Giants fell to 0-4-0. . . . Seattle G Carl Stankowski stopped 15 shots as he won in his WHL debut. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck turned aside 17 shots. . . . The Thunderbirds were 0-3 on the PP; the Giants were 0-1. . . . The Giants had F Thomas Foster and F Alex Baer back from injuries, while F Ty Ronning, who had been in camp with the NHL’s New York Rangers, also played. . . . Announced attendance: 3,483.
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At Victoria, F Matt Phillips scored the game’s only goal as the Royals beat the Kamloops Blazers, 1-0. . . . Phillips, freshly returned from the camp of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, struck on a breakaway, at 10:20 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse of the Royals (1-2-0) stopped 34 shots for his first shutout this season and the fifth of his career, which is into its second season. . . . G Connor Ingram, in his first start since returning from the camp of the Tampa Bay Lightning, blocked 23 shots for the Blazers (1-2-0). . . . Each team was 0-6 on the PP. . . . Announced attendance: 3,980.
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SATURDAY GAMES (all times local):

Red Deer at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Saskatoon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Calgary at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

SUNDAY GAMES (all times local):

Swift Current at Brandon, 4 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince Albert, 4 p.m.
Red Deer at Regina, 4 p.m.
Everett vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m.

Kamloops vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 4 p.m.

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