Sunday, October 16, 2016

Scattershooting on a Sunday evening . . . Patrick, Bean on the shelf . . . Popugaev leads Warriors

Scattershoot

It’s a quiet Sunday night, and we’re scattershooting while watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs chase baseball glory, the Indianapolis Colts chasing the Houston Texans, and the Carolina Hurricanes hanging on against the Vancouver Canucks. . . . 
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You can bet that NHL scouts are keeping a close eye on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ roster. That’s because F Nolan Patrick, the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL draft, has missed his club’s last two games. There has been talk that he was ill or that he was being given maintenance days. It seems, however, that his absence is related to the sports hernia surgery he had in July. . . . Whatever it is, here’s hoping that he’s back soon — and healthy — because the WHL can’t afford to have its best players on the shelf.
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It’s great to see F Tyler Benson healthy — fingers crossed, knock on wood and all that — and producing for the Vancouver Giants. He’s got eight points, including five goals, in his last four games and the Giants have won four in a row with the Saskatoon Blades in Langley on Wednesday. The Blades have points in each of their past five games (4-0-1).
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That brings us to the Calgary Hitmen, who were without D Jake Bean on Sunday afternoon when they lost 4-3 in OT to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. It seems that Bean suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury during a 7-2 loss to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday night. Calgary is saying that Bean will be out week-to-week.
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The Kelowna Rockets are 3-7-0 and have lost three in a row, including two straight — to East Division teams — at home. What’s up with that? “Obviously disappointing,” head coach Jason Smith told Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier after a 5-1 loss to the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday night. “We take penalty after penalty, and it takes away from any momentum we’re creating. We’re continuously making the same mistakes. We’ve got to take the steps to end it and get better. You’d think, at this point, we’d learn a lesson.” . . . The Rockets have scored five PP goals, while giving up 19 of them.
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It doesn’t get any easier for the Rockets because Kevin Constantine and the Everett Silvertips are in Kelowna on Wednesday night. If you haven’t noticed, the Silvertips are 8-1-1 in the early going. Oh, they also have won four in a row, three of those on the road.
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The Rockets’ start apparently has caused president and general manager Bruce Hamilton’s hair to go prematurely silver. Oh, wait . . . 
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The Seattle Thunderbirds, who beat the Rockets in last season’s Western Conference final, have slipped into last place in the WHL’s overall standings, at 2-4-1. Without F Mathew Barzal and with F Ryan Gropp just back in town and F Keegan Koleser on the shelf after some surgery, the Thunderbirds are still sorting out their roles. They have only scored 16 goals in seven games, but you can bet they are missing the two graduated defencemen — Jared Hauf and Jerret Smith — in a big way, too.
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If you’re keeping track, F Mathew Barzal, who is eligible to return to the Thunderbirds, wasn’t in the New York Islanders’ lineup for their home-opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. He has dressed for one of the Islanders’ first three games. . . . The Islanders won 3-2 in OT in front of a whole lot of empty seats at the Barclays Center.
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The QMJHL has a decision on its hands after the headshot that is viewable in the above tweet. That’s D Zachary Malatesta, 20, of the Moncton Wildcats hitting F Pascal Laberge, 18, of the Victoriaville Tigres. Laberge was a second-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL’s 2016 draft.
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If you’re Mike Johnston, the general manager and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks, you have to be pretty pleased these days. You’re 8-3-0 and your six-game East Division trip is over. Your team, which was supposed to struggle to score, also has bagged 50 goals. Oh, and G Cole Kehler, who was a confidence-deflating 4-18-2 with Kamloops, is 6-1-0, 2.57, .913.
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There will be an interesting matchup on Tuesday as the Swift Current Broncos, fresh off a 5-1 victory over the host Kelowna Rockets, meet the Cougars in Prince George. The Cougars (10-2-0) have followed two straight losses, both at home to the Everett Silvertips, with a pair of road victories. The Broncos (7-2-1) are 4-0-1 on the road. 
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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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SUNDAY’S GAME:


At Calgary, F Nikita Popugaev scored three times, including the OT winner, as the Moose Jaw
NIKITA POPUGAEV
Warriors beat the Hitmen, 4-3. . . . Popugaev, who has seven goals this season, won it at 1:35 of extra time. . . . The Hitmen overcame a 3-1 deficit on goals from F Tyler Mrkonjic, shorthanded, at 16:50 of the second period and D Aaron Hyman, at 11:28 of the third period. . . . The Hitmen (3-3-1) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Calgary held a 10-0 edge in third-period shots, but the Warriors had the only two shots in OT. . . . Warriors F Jayden Halbgewachs scored his ninth goal and added an assist. He has 14 points in 10 games after finishing last season, his second, with 41 points, including 15 goals, in 69 games. . . . Moose Jaw G Zach Sawchenko, who is from Calgary, stopped 27 shots. . . . Calgary G Kyle Dumba made 15 saves. . . . Moose Jaw (5-2-2) was 1-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-4. . . . The Warriors have won each of the last five meetings between these teams. . . . A Russian sophomore, Popugaev has 14 points in 10 games. Last season, he totalled 16 goals and 31 assists in 70 games. This was his first three-goal game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,153.
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MONDAY’S GAME (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

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