Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Blades stun Wheaties . . . Ferguson sharp for Blazers . . . Pats win battle of leaders

D Filip Novák (Regina, 1999-2002) has signed for the rest of this season with České Budějovice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Earlier this season, he had a goal and two assists in nine games with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), and three assists in 11 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). . . .
F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been loaned by mutual agreement by Banská Bystrica to Dukla Trenčín (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had a goal and three assists in 17 games with Banská Bystrica.
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I have the same thought every year as the World Junior Championship gets rolling: Boy, there are some bad games in this tournament and we always forget about them in the excitement of its approach. . . . Turns out I’m not alone in such a thought. . . . Actually, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News goes a step or two further right here, where he wonders if the WJC has “jumped the shark.”
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Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press writes that it’s time for Hockey Canada to take the World Junior Championship back to where it belongs — cities that support major junior hockey. That piece is right here.
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F Josh Uhrich, who has played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Saskatoon Blades and Seattle Thunderbirds, has signed with the Miramichi Timberwolves of the junior A Maritime Hockey League. . . . Uhrich, 20, put up 59 points, including 26 goals, in 264 regular-season WHL games. This season, with the junior B Saskatoon Quakers, he had 54 points, 21 of them goals, in 21 games. . . . His brother Brayden, 19, joined the Timberwolves last season, and put up 28 points, 15 of them goals, in 19 games. This season, he’s got 39 points, including 24 goals, in 29 games. . . . Brayden has played seven WHL games, all with the Blades. . . . The Uhrich boys are from Rosetown, Sask. . . . The Timberwolves (17-10-2) are tied with the Dieppe Commandos for first place in the six-team North Division.
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Mike Fraser, a veteran WHL scout who now works with the Brandon Wheat Kings, also writes a weekly column for the Brandon-based Westman Journal. This week, Fraser, a former goaltender, takes a look at the pressure Canadian hockey fans place on the national junior team’s goaltenders. That piece is right here.
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Rob Vanstone is the sports columnist at the Regina Leader-Post. Tim Vanstone is the captain of the Prince Albert Raiders. They connected the other day following a game in Regina. Are they related? The results are right here.
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Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet/Hockey Night in Canada filed his weekly 30 Thoughts on Tuesday and it’s right here.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:

At Brandon, D Libor Hajek scored twice early in the third period as the Saskatoon Blades erased a 2-1
LIBOR HAJEK
deficit and went on to beat the Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . Hajek, who was cut by the Czech Republic team prior to the World Junior Championship, tied the score at 2:31 of the third period and gave the Blades the lead at 4:11. He’s got three goals this season. . . . Saskatoon F Jesse Shynkaruk (13) opened the scoring 31 seconds into the second period. . . . Brandon F Connor Gutenberg, back after a one-game absence, pulled his guys into a tie with his seventh goal, on a PP, at 2:56. . . . D Jordan Wharrie (3) gave the Wheat Kings a 2-1 lead at 7:00. . . . F Braylon Shmyr iced it for the Blades with an empty-netter at 19:42 of the third period. He’s got 21 goals, eight of them in his last six games. . . . Shmyr also had an assist. . . . The Blades got 25 stops from G Brock Hamm, while Brandon’s Jordan Papirny turned aside 38 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were 1-5 on the PP; the Blades were 0-3. . . . The Blades are 2-3-1 in the season series. This was the fourth and final game in Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (15-20-6) is 2-0-2 in its past four games and has closed to within four points of a wild-card spot. . . . Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, reports that Saskatoon had been 0-7-1 in Brandon since last winning, 5-4 in OT, on Nov. 25, 2014. . . . Brandon (18-16-4) had won its previous three games and is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. Red Deer also is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for third in the Central Division. . . . F Nolan Patrick remains out of the Wheat Kings’ lineup. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reports: “Patrick is back in the Wheat City skating but no firm timetable has been set for his return.” . . . Announced attendance: 3,550.
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At Kamloops, G Dylan Ferguson stopped 36 shots to lead the Blazers to a 5-2 victory over the Tri-City
DYLAN FERGUSON
Americans. . . . Ferguson, 18, was making his 
11th straight start with G Connor Ingram (Canada) at the World Junior Championship. There were a number of NHL scouts on hand, at least some of them there they had had limited viewing of Ferguson in the past. He has a late birthday to will be eligible for the 2018 NHL draft. . . . Ferguson, the WHL’s goaltender of the month for December, stopped 15 shots in the third period when the Americans tried hard to get back into the game. . . . Kamloops scored three times before the game was nine minutes old. . . . F Travis Walton got his fourth goal at 2:05, with F Collin Shirley (17) scoring at 3:39, and F Jermaine Loewen getting his fifth, on a PP, at 8:22. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (28) got the Americans on the scoreboard at 17:19. . . . Kamloops F Nick Chyzowski (11) stretched the lead at 6:30 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Topping (4) got the Americans back to within two at 9:32. . . . The Blazers got the empty-netter from F Deven Sideroff (24) at 19:26 of the third period, while shorthanded. . . . Shirley added two assists to his goal, while Chyzowski and Sideroff added one each. . . . Topping also had an assist. . . . Tri-City G Evan Sarthou stopped 19 shots. . . . Kamloops was 1-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . Kamloops F Garrett Pilon was among the scratches. He’s out with an undisclosed injury, joining F Matt Revel. . . . Also missing from the Kamloops lineup were Ingram, F Rudolfs Balcers and D Ondrej Vala, all of whom are at the WJC. . . . This was the final game of the season series. The Blazers went 3-1-0, while the Americans were 1-2-1. . . . Kamloops (24-15-2) now is second in the B.C. Division, two points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kamloops on Friday and in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . The Americans (22-17-3) had won their previous two games. The Americans are second in the U.S. Division. . . . Kamloops head coach Don Hay recorded his 699th regular-season victory. . . . Heather McVie-Gaunt, a Pittsburgh-based opera singer with ties to Kamloops, made her annual appearance and sang both anthems. That was the highlight of this night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,290.
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At Medicine Hat, the Regina Pats scored three times before the game was seven minutes old en route to
SAM STEEL
a 6-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . The game featured the leaders of the East and Central Divisions. . . . Regina (26-3-7) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and leads the overall standings by three points over the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (27-12-1) have lost two in a row and trail Regina by four points. . . . Regina is 2-0-0 against Medicine Hat with two games left in the season series. . . . Regina F Sam Steel opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the game. F Jake Leschyshyn made it 2-0 with his 15th goal, at 4:44, and F Austin Wagner (19) added another at 6:18. . . . F Steve Owre got the Tigers on the scoreboard with his 11th goal, at 7:42 of the second period. . . . Regina responded with three more goals. . . . F Dawson Leedahl (16) counted on a PP at 8:54, D Connor Hobbs (16) scored at 10:59, and Steel got his 27th, on a PP, at 18:03. . . . Medicine Hat F Ryan Jevne (5) got the game’s last goal 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Steel also had an assist, while F Adam Brooks had two. They now are tied for the lead in the WHL scoring race, each with 65 points. . . . F Nick Henry added three assists for the Pats, while Leedahl had two and Hobbs one. . . . Owre also had an assist for the Tigers. . . . G Tyler Brown earned his 18th victory with 36 saves. . . . Medicine Hat starter Nick Schneider gave up three goals on five shots in 6:18. Michael Bullion, acquired Sunday from the Portland Winterhawks, stopped 25 of 28 shots in 53:41. . . . F Wyatt Sloboshan, acquired by the Pats from the Spokane Chiefs on Monday, was pointless in his Regina debut. . . . Regina was 2-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-6. . . . Announced attendance: 3,329.
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At Prince Albert, F Jayden Halbgewachs and F Nikita Popugaev scored shootout goals to give the Moose
BRAYDEN BURKE
Jaw Warriors a 6-5 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Burke scored three goals and added an assist for the Warriors. He gave his side a 1-0 lead just 36 seconds into the game, made it 2-1, on a PP, at 8:46, and broke a 4-4 tie at 11:45 of the third period, on another PP. He’s got 10 goals. . . . F Luke Coleman (7) gave the Raiders a 3-2 at 10:41 of the first period. . . . The Warriors went on top 4-3 on goals from F Brett Howden (18), on a PP, at 9:47 of the second period and F Tanner Jeannot (12), at 13:37. . . . F Curtis Miske scored for the Raiders at 9:24. It was his first game after being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. Miske drove from Spokane to Fernie, B.C., on Monday, then to Calgary on Tuesday, from where he flew into Saskatoon. . . . After Burke gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead, the Raiders forced OT when F Carson Miller scored his fifth goal, at 18:10. . . . Howden had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . Coleman and Miller each had an assist for the Raiders. . . . G Zach Sawchenko stopped 31 shots to earn the victory, while Prince Albert’s Nic Sanders blocked 32. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-6 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . The Warriors are 5-1-0 and the Raiders are 1-3-2 in the season series that has two games remaining. . . . Moose Jaw (22-9-7) has points in four straight (2-0-2) and is tied with the Swift Current Broncos for second in the East Division. . . . The Raiders (8-29-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Announced attendance: 1,755. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW has a game story right here.
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At Swift Current, the Broncos scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-4. . .
CALVIN SPENCER
. F Calvin Spencer gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:00 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes responded with four straight goals. . . . F Giorgio Estephan scored twice, at 4:39 and 15:27 of the first period, giving him 21 goals. . . . D Igor Merezhko’s first WHL goal, at 5:08 of the second, on a PP, gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. . . . F Tyler Wong, with his 26th, made it 4-1 at 7:13. . . . Broncos F Tyler Steenbergen began the comeback with No. 27, at 7:32. . . . D Max Lajoie got the Broncos to within one, at 4-3, with his seventh goal, at 13:42. . . . D Colby Sissons (5) tied it just 32 seconds later. . . . Spencer broke the tie with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 3:34 of the third period. . . . Steenbergen and Lajoie each added one assist. . . . F Colton Kroeker and D Brendan Menell had two assists each for the Hurricanes, while Estephan had one. . . . G Travis Child stopped 29 shots for the Broncos, nine fewer than Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner. . . . The Hurricanes were 2-3 on the PP; the Broncos were 2-6. . . . D Artyom Minulin, who scored the OT goal in the Broncos’ 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday, was scratched. . . . The Broncos (22-11-7) have won three in a row. . . . The Hurricanes (20-14-5) had won their previous two games. They are second in the Central Division. . . . Announced attendance: 1,669.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Vancouver at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

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