Monday, February 20, 2017

Scheduling quirks, quarks . . . CHL's last import goalie makes NHL debut . . . Leedahl leads tired Pats


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The Regina Pats escaped with a 3-2 OT victory over the host Prince Albert Raiders in Monday’s only WHL game.
The Pats, who have been the CHL’s No. 1-ranked team for much of this season, were playing their fifth game in seven days in seven different cities. Yes, that’s absurd, and here’s hoping the teenagers in this league get some relief from the schedule-maker next season.
“When you play five games in seven days, you can’t expect to have the energy,” John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s impossible. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Monday . . .
“I’m not making excuses for them or anything . . .”
Paddock admitted to being “happy with the two points,” but, as he added, “when you think of five games in seven days, that’s a tough schedule on anybody.”
The Pats went 2-3-0 in those games.
Go back a bit further and you discover that the Pats have played their past eight games in eight different cities in a span of 13 days. They have had five off days and you wonder how many really good practices Paddock has been able to hold in that stretch. Remember that the WHL is a development league. 
The schedule calls for the Pats to play 15 games in February’s 28 days.
They don’t play on March 1 or 2, but then will play three games in fewer than 48 hours. Oh, and they will finish the season by playing four games in five nights. This time, though, the first three of those will be at home.
What’s that? Oh, you want some more scheduling notes . . . 
The Vancouver Giants have 12 games left in their season.
The first three of those are against the Victoria Royals.
The next three are against the Portland Winterhawks.
Seriously.
Come on . . . you couldn’t make up something like that.
The Giants will play host to the Royals on Friday and then the teams will meet in Victoria on Saturday and Sunday.
On March 1, the Winterhawks will visit the Giants, and the teams are to clash in Portland on March 3 and 4.
A few more scheduling notes . . . 
The Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference by one point over the Seattle Thunderbirds, are to play seven of their final eight games on the road. They will play those eight games over 12 days. The seven road games will be played in six different cities; they’ll make two stops in Kennewick, Wash., for games with the Tri-City Americans. . . .
Everett and Seattle are to meet three more times, two of them in Kent, Wash., the home of the Thunderbirds. The first of those is Sunday in Kent, when Seattle will be enjoying its second straight three-in-three weekend. . . . 
The Americans are third in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Winterhawks. They will play Wednesday in Kennewick, Wash. The Americans are to finish up by playing five of six at home. But the last three, two of which are to be against the Spokane Chiefs, will be played in fewer than 48 hours. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers have 11 games remaining, with seven of those to be played at home. They trail the B.C. Division-leading Prince George Cougars by two points. The Cougars also have 11 games remaining. The Blazers and Cougars are to meet four more times, with three of those in Prince George. . . . 
The Cougars’ final 11 games include a one-game trek to Kelowna for a March 1 date with the Rockets, and a swing into the U.S. Division to play three games in four nights. . . . 
Don’t count out the Rockets, who are five points behind Prince George with two games in hand. The Rockets have 13 games left, with five of those against teams unlikely to make the playoffs. The Rockets also will finish up by playing six straight at home — over a 14-day period — before ending their schedule by visiting the Giants. In fact, three of Kelowna’s last five games will be against the Giants, who won’t make the playoffs for a third straight season. . . . 
The Royals, who are four points behind Kelowna, have an opportunity to get on a roll, with their next three games against Vancouver and then two in a row with the Chiefs, who are nine points out of a playoff spot. However, Victoria will finish by playing six of seven games on the road, including two each in Kamloops and Kelowna. The Royals will finish by going home-and-home with Everett. . . . 
The Moose Jaw Warriors will finish by playing nine games in 18 days, but seven of those games will be on home ice. They will go home-and-home with Regina on March 10 and 11 and do the same with the Swift Current Broncos on March 17 and 18. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades are scrambling in the hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 2013. The Blades and Calgary are tied for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Saskatoon has 13 games remaining, one of those against the Hitmen — in Calgary on March 8. The Blades also have four games remaining with the Prince Albert Raiders, who won’t be in the playoffs but are 5-4-1 in their past 10 games. Saskatoon is coming off a weekend in which it played three road games in fewer than 48 hours, going 0-2-1, including a 3-2 loss in Calgary. This weekend, the Blades again will play three games, the first two against the Raiders, in fewer than 48 hours, but the last two are at home. . . .
The Broncos are third in the East Division, six points behind the Warriors with a game in hand. This weekend, the Broncos will play three games in fewer than 48 hours, two of them against Regina. The Broncos will finish the season with four games in five nights, only one of them at home. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels, who are 1-6-3 in their past 10 games, are in Prince George tonight (Tuesday) having lost eight in a row (0-6-2). The Rebels are third in the Central Division but are just two points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen, who are 3-0-1 in their past four games. The Rebels are at home to the Kootenay Ice on Friday, then will go home-and-home with the Hitmen on Saturday (Red Deer) and Sunday (Calgary). The Rebels and Hitmen also will meet March 15 in Red Deer. . . .
And now let the fun begin!
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Connor Hobbs, the leading scorer among WHL defencemen, didn’t play Monday as his Regina Pats beat the host Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2 in OT. The WHL has hit Hobbs with a TBD suspension after he took a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Brett Howden during a 4-0 loss to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Saturday night. . . . Hobbs leads all defencemen in goals (26) and points (69). . . . The Pats are scheduled to meet the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday night before returning home to face the Swift Current Broncos on Friday.
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Jake Morrissey, a former WHL goaltender, was credited with a goal on Friday night as his Sherwood Park Crusaders scored a 3-1 victory over the visiting Camrose Kodiaks. He was the last of the Crusaders to touch the puck — he had stopped a shot — when a Camrose player in trying to get the puck to a defenceman had it go all the way down the ice and into a vacated net. . . . Terry Jones of Postmedia has more right here.
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G Marek Langhamer, who played three seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, stopped seven of eight shots as he made his NHL debut in relief of Arizona Coyotes starter Mike Smith on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz.
Were this baseball, Langhamer, 22, would have been credited with a save in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Coyotes. Of his seven saves, one was fantastic as he went post-to-post to beat Anaheim forward Sami Vatanen with his left pad as time expired.
Smith left at 4:29 of the third period after a goalmouth collision with Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg. Smith went into concussion protocol but is fine and is expected to practise on Tuesday.
Langhamer had been with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners before being summoned to backup Smith after Louis Domingue was hurt.
Langhamer, from Moravska Trebova, Czech Republic, was with Medicine Hat from 2012-15. The Coyotes selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2012 draft.
Langhamer played as a 20-year-old with the Tigers in 2014-15. His WHL career ended on April 17 when he stopped 54 shots in a 4-3 double OT loss to the host Calgary Hitmen, who won a second-round series, 4-1.
Langhamer became the last import goaltender to play anywhere in the CHL, which had announced in June 2013 that it was banning such players. Import goaltenders in the CHL at the time were allowed to complete their eligibility.
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MONDAY’S GAME:


At Prince Albert, F Dawson Leedahl scored two goals, including the OT winner, as the Regina Pats beat the Raiders, 3-2. . . . Leedahl’s 29th goal of the season won the game at 2:31 of extra time. . . . Leedahl,
DAWSON LEEDAHL
a 20-year-old from Saskatoon, was acquired from the Everett Silvertips prior to the season. He has career highs in goals, assists (44) and points (73), all in 57 games. Last season, one that was shortened by injury, he finished with 12 goals and 15 assists in 27 games. In 2014-15, he had 14 goals and 19 assists in 52 games. His career high in assists (24) had come in 2013-14. . . . On Monday, F Sean Montgomery (13) had given the Raiders a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 13:13 of the first period. . . . Leedahl tied it at 4:35 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went back in front at 11:07 as F Tim Vanstone scored No. 11, on a PP. . . . Regina D Josh Mahura, who also had an assist, got his guys into a 2-2 tie with his 14th goal, at 19:47 of the second. . . . Regina F Sam Steel, the WHL’s leading scorer, had two assists. He has 105 points, seven more than teammate Adam Brooks, who had one assist. . . . Brooks, the defending WHL scoring king, and Steel are tied for the WHL lead in assists (66). . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post points out that Brooks, who put up 120 points last season, “is poised to become the first Pat in more than a quarter-century to register consecutive 100-point seasons. Mike Sillinger hit triple digits in 1988-89 (131), 1989-90 (129) and 1990-91 (116).” . . . The Pats got 27 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . G Ian Scott turned aside 41 shots for the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . Regina, already without F Jake Leschyshyn (knee) and D Connor Hobbs (WHL suspension), lost F Filip Ahl to a charley horse during the game. . . . The Pats (42-9-7) had lost their previous two games. They lead the overall standings by six points over the Medicine Hat Tigers and hold two games in hand. . . . The Raiders (16-39-6) are 1-0-1 in their last two games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,461.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Edmonton at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Prince George, 7 p.m.

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