Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cougars on top of CHL heap . . . Blades add veteran forward . . . Tigers stun Warriors in OT

The Prince George Cougars went to bed on Wednesday night knowing — apologies to Frank Sinatra — they are kings of the hill, top of the heap. . . . At No. 8 in the CHL rankings a week ago, the 
Cougars were No. 1 when the latest list was released yesterday. . . . Under new head coach Richard Matvichuk, who must be the most popular man in Prince George these days, the Cougars are 6-0-0, the first such season-opening streak in franchise history. They won their first four games on the road, then took a doubleheader from the visiting Kelowna Rockets last weekend. . . . Next up for the Cougars? A visit from the Vancouver Giants. They’ll play Friday and Saturday nights. The Giants, who lost 3-2 to the visiting Victoria Royals last night, now are 1-5-0. . . . Other WHL teams in the top 10: 5. Brandon Wheat Kings (1-1-1); 8. Regina Pats (3-0-1). . . . The Everett Silvertips, who beat the visiting Tri-City Americans 3-1 last night to go to 4-0-1, garnered an honourable mention. . . . The rankings are selected by a panel of anonymous NHL scouts.
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The Prince Albert Raiders placed F Kolten Olynek, 20, on waivers and the arch-rival Saskatoon Blades claimed him on Wednesday. The two teams are scheduled to meet tonight (Thursday) in Saskatoon and Olynek, who skated with the Blades on Wednesday, is expected to play. . . . This season, Olynek, who is from Saskatoon, had two goals and an assist in three games with the Raiders. . . . Olynek was a second-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2011 bantam draft. He also has played with the Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors and Spokane Chiefs. In 189 regular-season games, he has 20 goals and 31 assists. . . . With Olynek’s arrival, the Blades have four 20-year-olds on their roster, although F Ryan Graham has yet to play this season, thanks to an undisclosed injury. He is likely to be out for a few more weeks. . . . The two other 20s are D Bryton Sayers and F Jesse Shynkaruk. . . . Olynek and Shynkaruk were teammates with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . . The Raiders put Olynek on waivers in order to get down to the maximum three 20s — F Austin Glover, G Rylan Parenteau and F Tim Vanstone. The Raiders also have F Reid Gardiner on their roster, but he is in camp with the AHL’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins.
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The Regina Pats have dropped F Erik Gardiner, 17, from their roster and he will join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Gardiner was a second-round selection in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Last season, the Humboldt native led the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League in scoring, with 59 points, including 21 goals, in 43 games. . . . Gardiner was pointless with the Pats this season, having dressed for two of their four games. . . . He is the younger brother of F Reid Gardiner, 20, who played the past four seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders.
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BCHLRich Murphy, a Minnesota-based businessman, is in the process of finalizing the purchase of majority ownership of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. For $600,000, Murphy will get 90 per cent of the franchise; the non-profit society that has been operating the team will retain 10 per cent. The Smoke Eaters are about $400,000 in debt. . . . The team has been community-owned, but the society wasn’t able to find a local buyer. Murphy is the president and CEO of Midwest Railcar Corp. . . . His son, Ryan, 18, has two goals in eight games in his freshman season with the Smokies. . . . Kari Lee Campbell has more right here from the Nelson Daily.
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JUST NOTES:

The Everett Silvertips have named F Noah Juulsen as the 13th team captain in franchise history. Juulsen, 19, is from Surrey, B.C. He is into his fourth season with the Silvertips. . . .
Nathan Van Oosten of Vancouver, who is a WHL linesman, has been selected to work at the 2017 World Junior Championship. The tournament runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Montreal and Toronto. . . . 
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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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Coaching
BCHLRick Lanz, a former assistant and head coach with the Tri-City Americans, has joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. He replaces Colin Hemingway, who left the team for family reasons. . . . Lanz, who also is a former Eagles head coach, will work with Blaine Neufeld, Surrey’s GM and head coach. . . . Nick Greenizan of the Peace Arch News has more right here.
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Check out this video of illusionist Darcy Oake in action . . .  

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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:


At Everett, D Noah Juulsen, named the captain earlier in the day, had a goal and an assist to help the Silvertips to a 3-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . This was the second of three straight games between these teams. The Americans won 3-2 at home on Sunday. They will play the third game on Friday in Everett. . . . Last night, F Max James gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 14:41 of the first period. . . . The Silvertips pulled even when F Dominic Zwerger scored a PP goal at 1:31 of the second period. . . . Everett (4-0-1) won it with two third-period goals. F Graham Millar’s fifth goal, at 14:40, proved to be the winner. . . . Juulsen added an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Everett G Carter Hart blocked 15 shots. At the other end, Back Warm turned aside 30. . . . The Americans (2-3-0) were 0-2 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-4. . . . Everett is without F Eetu Tuulola (shoulder). He was injured in a game against the host Americans on Sunday and will be out for up to a month. . . . Announced attendance: 2,733.
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At Lethbridge, the Kelowna Rockets exploded for five goals in the third period as they beat the Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . Rockets F Calvin Thurkauf’s PP goal forged a 2-2 tie at 2:33 of the third. . . . Lethbridge F Tyler Wong snapped the tie with a PP goal at 9:05. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind tied it at 11:23 and Thurkauf’s second goal of the game, at 13:22, proved to be the winner. . . . Thurkauf added an assist to his brace of goals, while F Tomas Soustal had a goal and an assist. . . . The Rockets (2-4-0) welcomed F Nick Merkley back to their lineup. He picked up one assist. Merkley, 19, last played on Feb. 5 against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. He suffered a torn ACL during that game and needed surgery on his right knee. He did play in two exhibition games with the Arizona Coyotes, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. . . . At the same time, though, the Rockets are without F Dillon Dube, 18, who suffered a sprained knee while with the Calgary Flames. He could be out for a month. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 24 shots, three more than Stuart Skinner of the Hurricanes (3-2-0). . . . The Rockets were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 2-8. . . . Announced attendance: 3,099.
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At Medicine Hat, the Tigers, who trailed 4-0 early in the third period, got a goal from F Max Gerlach at 1:25 of OT to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs’ fourth goal, at 19:37 of the second period, gave the visitors a 4-0 lead. . . . The Tigers got rolling with three goals in a span of 43 seconds in the third period. F Zach Fischer got it started with his fourth goal, at 5:03. F John Dahlstrom scored at 5:24 and F Mason Shaw got the home boys to within a goal at 5:46. . . . Fisher tied it with a PP goal at 17:48. . . . Shaw added an assist to his goal, while F Steve Owre had two assists. . . . The Warriors got a goal and an assist from F Nikita Popugaev and two assists from F Noah Gregor. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 18 shots for the Tigers (4-1-0), while Zach Sawchenko turned aside 56 for Moose Jaw (3-0-2). . . . The Tigers held a 27-6 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Each team was 1-2 on the PP. . . . Announced attendance: 3,845.
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At Prince Albert, F Cody Glass scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . The Winterhawks (4-2-0) are 1-1-0 on their East Division tour. They lost 7-3 to the Swift Current Broncos on Tuesday. . . . Glass, a 17-year-old sophomore, had 27 points, including 10 goals, in 65 games last season. This season, he has a WHL-leading 12 points, nine of them assists, in six games. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s first four goals and took a 4-0 lead into the third period. . . . The Raiders (2-3-0) then scored three times, cutting the deficit to 4-3 on F Simon Stransky’s fourth goal at 10:28. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld got the empty-netter at 18:39. . . . Blichfeld also had an assist, while F Keegan Iverson had two assists. Portland F Colton Veloso ran his goal streak to three games. . . . The Winterhawks got 25 saves from G Cole Kehler. . . . Prince Albert starter Rylan Parenteau gave up four goals on 22 shots in 33:17. Ian Scott came on to block all 17 shots he saw. . . . Portland was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . Raiders D Loch Morrison was back after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Winterhawks scratched Latvian F Rodrigo Abols, 20, for a third straight game. . . . Portland D Jake Hobson, in his first WHL season, is from Prince Albert. He is the son of Doug Hobson, who played on the Raiders’ 1985 Memorial Cup-winning team. . . . Announced attendance: 1,859.
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At Red Deer, the Rebels erased a 3-0 first-period deficit with five straight goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-0 on two goals by F Deven Sideroff in the first five minutes of the first period. . . . Kamloops F Matt Revel upped the lead to 3-0 at 19:37. . . . Red Deer F Austin Pratt cut into the lead with goals at 10:11 and 10:50 of the second period. . . . F Akash Bains pulled the Rebels (2-2-2) even with 57.9 seconds left in the period. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel scored shorthanded at 5:36 of the third period, and D Josh Mahura got the eventual winner at 9:32. . . . F Rudolfs Balcers got the Blazers (2-4-0) back to within a goal at 18:38. . . . Red Deer G Riley Lamb, an 18-year-old freshman from Rivers, Man., came on in relief to start the second period and stopped 32 of 33 shots. Starter Trevor Martin gave up three goals on 14 shots. . . . Kamloops got 34 saves from G Connor Ingram. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . Announced attendance: 4,123.
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At Langley, B.C., F Jack Walker scored three goals to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Walker, who went into the game without a goal in his first two games, opened the scoring just 14 seconds into the game. . . . The Giants then took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Ty Ronning, at 3:40, and F Brendan Semchuk, his third, at 5:45. . . . Walker tied the score on a PP at 10:29 of the second. He got the eventual winner at 2:04 of the third period. . . . It was the third three-goal game of Walker’s career. The 20-year-old from Edina, Minn., had one in each of the past two seasons. . . . D Ryan Gagnon had two assists for the Royals (2-4-0). . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for Victoria, while Ryan Kubic blocked 25 for the Giants (1-5-0). . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-3. . . . Announced attendance: 3,127.
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THURSDAY’S GAME (all times local):

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

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