Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hurricanes, Cougars tie up series . . . Things are Rocky in Windsor . . . Block story amazing

Steve Ewen of Postmedia continues to keep tabs on the Vancouver Giants while he kicks cancer’s butt for a second time. In his most recent piece, Ewen looks at five things the Giants need to address before another season gets here. That piece is right here.
Rocky Thompson, the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires, can expect a call from the OHL office early this week. Someone from the league office will be calling to lighten Thompson’s wallet.
Because Thompson officially got the playoffs underway on Sunday by ripping into the referees following a 5-2 loss to the defending Memorial Cup-champion Knights in London. The head officials were Mike Cairns, a veteran of eight OHL seasons, and Scott Oakman, an 18-year man.
Among the Thompson quotes in the Windsor Star:
“These are two veteran referees who are well respected around the league and it was just ridiculous. You’re not only playing a very tough and good opponent, you’re playing the referees as well.”
“It’s unreal to think of what happened on the ice. It’s obvious they didn’t want us to win this game and we played well enough after the first period to deserve it.”
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen it this bad since I’ve been here.”
I’m thinking Thompson should get out front of this one and just send OHL commissioner David Branch a cheque for a grand to cover this one.
BTW, the series is 1-1 and the teams head to Windsor for games on Tuesday and Thursday.
Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: “Would homers in the Toronto media please quit comparing Matthews and Marner to Toews and Kane. You’re embarrassing yourselves by thinking Matthews will ever bring the intangibles to the rink that Toews does.”
Patrick O’Sullivan, a former NHLer, made the statement that Connor “McDavid is the most explosive and dynamic skater in the history of hockey. That’s not a stretch at this point, I think it’s a fact.” . . . To which Hutchinson added: “Of course everyone at TSN, especially knucklehead Jeff O’Neill, knows the greatest skater of all-time is Auston Matthews.”
The Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League championship on Sunday, riding G Marcus Allen to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Greater Vancouver Canadians. Allen stopped 22 shots in posting his second straight shutout. It was a best-of-three final, with the Canadians winning the opener Friday, 3-2 in 2OT, and the Cougars winning 2-0 on Saturday. . . . The Cougars will be the host team for the Telus Cup, which is scheduled for April 24-30. . . . In Saskatchewan, the Regina Pat Canadians, who enjoyed a 36-6-2 regular season, won the midget AAA title with a 7-0 playoff run.
Kieran Block played four seasons with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. At 22, he was soon to join the U of Alberta Golden Bears, when he was involved in a cliff-diving incident in which he shattered both legs. He would spend almost a year in a wheelchair and later played for Canada’s national sledge hockey team. Block is 31 years of age now and, after numerous surgical procedures, he played senior AAA hockey this season. What an amazing story this is and Jason Hills of the Edmotnton Journal has it all right here.
After the first weekend of WHL playoffs, a lot of people are talking about two goaltenders.
Carl Stankowski, a 16-year-old from Calgary, has stepped in for the Seattle Thunderbirds, taking over the starting role, at least on a short-term basis, for the injured Rylan Toth and has put up two victories over the Tri-City Americans.
“I can’t even imagine,” Seattle F Scott Eansor told Andy Eide of 710 ESPN Seattle after Stankowski stopped 28 shots in a 5-2 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.“My first year in playoffs I was a little starstruck. I can’t even imagine him, being alone in the net. He’s been mentally strong and you can tell right now that he’s continuing to do that on the ice, I’m really proud of him.”
Stankowski was a second-round pick by Seattle in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He got into seven regular-season games, going 3-0-1, 2.18, .910.
Meanwhile, Michael Herringer, a 20-year-old from Comox, B.C., followed a 4-0 shutout over the Kamloops Blazers on Friday with a 3-2 victory on Saturday. While Herringer faced only 15 shots in Game 1, he was a whole lot busier in Game 2 when he stopped 33 shots.
His night’s work included what may have been a game-saver off the stick of Kamloops F Collin Shirley.

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At Lethbridge, F Egor Babenko scored three times to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Red
Deer Rebels. . . . Red Deer had posted a 4-2 victory in Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Red Deer. . . . Babenko, from Tyumen, Russia, is in his third season with Lethbridge. Last season, he had 69 points, including 29 goals, in 67 games. This season, he scored 24 goals and added 31 assists in 66 games. . . . He was scoreless in five games in last season’s playoffs, so these were his first post-season goals. . . . The Hurricanes took control by scoring the game’s first five goals. . . . F Ryan Bowen got things started at 6:56 of the first period. . . . Babenko made it 2-0 at 1:17 of the second period. . . . It moved to 3-0 as F Tanner Nagel scored, shorthanded, at 11:57. . . . Babenko added two more goals, at 17:17 of the second and 2:18 of the third. . . . Red Deer got two third-period PP goals, from F Michael Spacek, at 5:59, and F Evan Polei, at 11:46. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of Alec Baer and Jordy Bellerive. . . . F Lane Zablocki drew two assists for Red Deer, and Spacek had one. . . . The Hurricanes got 24 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb was beaten five times on 25 shots in 42:18. Lasse Petersen finished up, stopping the four shots he faced in 17:42. . . . Red Deer was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-6. . . . The Hurricanes made one lineup change, inserting D Ty Prefontaine for D Kyle Yewchuk. . . . Announced attendance: 3,380.

At Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the
Portland Winterhawks. . . . Portland had won Game 1, 4-2, in Prince George on Friday. . . . The series will resume in Portland with games on Wednesday and Thursday. . . . This series has a 2-2-1-1-1 format, so they’ll be back in Prince George for Game 5 on Saturday. . . . The Cougars had F Brad Morrison back in their lineup and he scored the game’s first goal, at 15:57 of the first period. Morrison, who has had three straight 20-goal seasons, hadn’t played since Feb. 24 — he missed 10 games — when he suffered an ankle injury during a fight. . . . F Aaron Boyd upped the lead to 3-0 with goals at 8:32 and 18:35 of the second period. . . . D Shane Collins made it 4-0 just 22 seconds into the third period and F Radovan Bondra added a PP goal 35 seconds later. . . . Portland got a PP goal from F Cody Glass at 12:53 of the third. . . . D Brendan Guhle had two assists for the Cougars. . . . The Cougars got a big game from G Ty Edmonds, who finished with 40 saves. This is his third playoff season; he had one victory in 10 decisions going into this game. . . . Cole Kehler started for Portland, and stopped 19 of 24 shots in 40:57. Shane Farkas came on in relief and stopped all 12 shots he faced in 19:03. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . Announced attendance: 4,141.

MONDAY GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

TUESDAY GAMES (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Swift Current, 7 p.m. (Series tied, 1-1)
Medicine Hat vs. Brandon, at Dauphin, Man., 7:30 p.m. (Medicine Hat leads, 2-0)
Regina at Calgary, 7 p.m. (Regina leads, 2-0)
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m. (Kelowna leads, 2-0)
Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m. (Series tied, 1-1)

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