Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nanaimo votes NO! . . . Tigers own Central pennant . . . Cougars set a record . . . Steenbergen gets 50

While the Kootenay Ice was losing 6-1 to the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday night, the franchise’s immediate future was being decided in Nanaimo.
Voters there went to the polls in a referendum through which the City asked for the OK to borrow $80 million that would go towards the construction of an events centre that would include a 5,700-seat arena.
The WHL had entered into a memorandum of understanding under which Nanaimo was to get a franchise in time for next season and a 20-year lease agreement in a new facility if Saturday’s vote was YES.
Scratch that idea.
Unofficial results show that 23,885 people voted, with 19,179, or 80.3 per cent, of those saying NO, and 4,706 saying YES.
Karl Yu of the Nanaimo News Bulletin posted a brief interview with Bill McKay, Nanaimo’s mayor, on Instagram.
“I have to say that I expected to see that based on the conversations I’ve been having with members of the community,” McKay told Yu. “I didn’t believe it was going to be this high. They have made their position very clear on this particular project at this time.”
McKay added that the city is working on five other major projects, but that this one “happened to be the one at the forefront.”  
The News Bulletin reported in a story that is right here that there were “slightly more” than 66,000 eligible voters, so turnout was about 37 per cent.
The result is expected to made official at a city council meeting on Monday.
So . . . what’s next for the WHL and the Ice?
Well, keep in mind that this wasn’t a vote against the WHL; it was a vote against borrowing $80 million
that was to go to a project that would include an arena. The WHL, then, could choose to leave the Ice where it is, be patient, see how things develop in Nanaimo, and try again.
Of course, it’s hard to see the Ice as a profitable enterprise if the status quo is maintained. Fans in Cranbrook and area know that the WHL would prefer to be somewhere else and that the present ownership, the Chynoweth family, wants out and has been trying to get out for a while now.
Taking Note was told last week that a local group has had an offer on the table for about a month, but that it was told everything was on hold pending the Nanaimo referendum.
Well, we know how that turned out, something that just might give the Cranbrook group some leverage.
If the Ice isn’t in Nanaimo and it isn’t in Cranbrook, where then?
You can forget Winnipeg, which is home to the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. You can forget Wenatchee, Wash., where the ownership of the Wild is said to be thrilled with the way things have turned out in the BCHL. You can forget Abbotsford, B.C., which has an arena without a hockey team but is in the Vancouver Giants’ footprint. You can forget Penticton, B.C., which is in the Kelowna Rockets’ footprint.
Where then?
Well, everything seems to point to Cranbrook, a city that not that long ago built an arena to house a WHL team. Sound familiar?
Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for Postmedia, is working to kick cancer’s butt for a second time. As a result, he has his blog — Crush the Tumour with Humour — up and running. In this latest entry, he writes about everything that sucks, although he does admit “I married well.” . . . Give him a read right here.
The ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks aren’t going anywhere; they’re just changing their name. Starting on June 1, they will be the Kansas City Mavericks. The change was name official during the Mavericks’ awards celebrations on Saturday. The Mavericks, who are completing their eighth season, play out of Independence, a city that is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
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If the WHL playoffs began today . . . 
Eastern Conference
Regina vs. Calgary
Medicine Hat vs. Brandon
Moose Jaw vs. Swift Current
Lethbridge vs. Red Deer
Western Conference
Seattle vs. Portland
Prince George vs. Victoria
Kelowna vs. Kamloops
Everett vs. Tri-City


At Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 2-0 first-period deficit with five straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . One night earlier, the Raiders had beaten the visiting Wheat
Kings, 3-1. . . . Last night, the visitors got early goals from F Parker Kelly (19), at 2:39, and F Cole Fonstad (11), on a PP, at 10:03 of the first period. . . . Brandon tied it on PP goals from F Stelio Mattheos, his 26th, at 13:10 of the first and F Reid Duke, his 36th, at 9:32 of the second period. . . . F Connor Gutenberg’s 12th goal gave the Wheat Kings the lead at 10:06 and F nolan Patrick made it 4-2 at 14:33. . . . D James Shearer (8) added insurance at 3:41 of the third period. . . . F Kolten Olynek got the Raiders’ last goal, at 14:01. . . . Brandon got two assists from D Kale Clague and one each from Patrick, Mattheos and Duke. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 26 shots for the victory. . . . The Raiders got 37 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . Brandon was 2-8 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-7. . . . F Nikita Krivokrasov, who signed earlier in the week, made his WHL debut with the Raiders. He is the son of former NHL F Sergei Krivokrasov. . . . The defending-champion Wheat Kings (30-28-10) clinched a playoff spot. They are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot and seem likely to finish there. . . . Prince Albert is 19-43-7. . . . Announced attendance: 4,339. . . . Prior to the game, the Wheat Kings added six more players to their 50th anniversary Dream Team. Ron Chipperfield (1970-74), Brayden Schenn (2007-10) and Laurie Boschman (1976-79) were selected to the second forward line, with Ryan Pulock (2010-14) and Wade Redden (1993-96) named as the second defence pairing. Glen Hanlon (1974-77) was the first of two goaltenders to be named.

At Edmonton, G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-0 victory over
the Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers will finish atop the Central Division for the first time since the spring of 2007. . . . Medicine Hat had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 9-3, on Friday. . . . Bullion has posted the first three shutouts of his career in his last 11 appearances. He is 15-5-0, 2.81, .904 with the Tigers, who acquired him from Portland in January. . . . The Tigers scored once shorthanded and three times on the PP. . . . F Max Gerlach got it started with his 32nd goal, on a PP, at 18:57 of the first period. . . . F James Hamblin (18) added a shorthanded goal at 1:12 of the second period, with F John Dahlstrom (29) scoring on the PP at 9:05. . . . The game’s final goal came from Hamblin, on a PP, at 3:34. . . . Dahlstrom also had an assist. . . . The Oil Kings got 45 saves from G Patrick Dea. . . . Medicine Hat was 3-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-5. . . . The Oil Kings were without D Brayden Gorda, who drew a one-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Friday’s game. Tigers F Ryan Chyzowski, the victim on that hit, was in the lineup last night. . . . F Zach Fisher was among the Tigers’ scratches. . . . Medicine Hat (49-19-1) has won three in a row. It is second in the overall standings, five points behind Regina. . . . The Oil Kings (20-42-6) have lost 11 in a row (0-9-2). . . . Corey Graham, the voice of the Oil Kings on TSN 1260, called his 500th WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 15,235.

At Kamloops, F Rudolfs Balcers scored with 5.1 seconds left in the third period to give the Blazers a 4-3
victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Balcers’ 40th goal of the season finished a game in which Kamloops overcame a 3-0 deficit to win for the third time in four nights at home. . . . Balcers scored the game’s last two goals. . . . The Blazers trailed 3-1 going into the third period. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (16) got the home team to within a goal at 1:00 and Balcers tied it 27 seconds later. . . . F Deven Sideroff, back after serving a one-game WHL suspension, had the Blazers’ other goal, his 36th, at 13:58 of the second period. . . . F Calvin Spencer (15) had given Vancouver a 1-0 lead with 2.3 seconds left in the first period. . . . F Jack Flaman made it 2-0 with No. 15 at 1:17 of the second period and F Bartek Bison (7) upped it to 3-0 at 3:29. . . . Kamloops got two assists from each of Sideroff, D Ondrej Vala and F Lane Bauer. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 42 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Giants got 29 stops from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Kamloops was 0-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-4. . . . The Blazers (41-23-6) have won three straight. They have clinched at least third place in the B.C. Division. They are eight points ahead of Victoria, which has three games left, and three in arrears of Kelowna. . . . The Giants (19-43-6) have lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,870.
At Kelowna, F Dillon Dube scored his second goal of the game on a PP in OT to give the Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Dube’s 19th goal came 19 seconds into extra time. . . . F Reid
Gardiner had given Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:08 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Regan Nagy (18) tied it at 7:53. . . . F Dante Hannoun gave the Royals a 2-1 lead, at 1:48 of the second period. . . . Dube, who also had two assists, tied it at 14:51. Dube had two goals and an assist in an 8-1 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . F Rod Southam put the Rockets back out front with his 17th goal, on another PP, at 18:15. . . . Hannoun tied it with his 25th goal, on a PP, at 12:50 of the third period. . . . F Calvin Thurkauf had two assists for Kelowna, as did D Cal Foote. Gardiner added an assist to his goal as he ran his point streak to 15 games. . . . G Michael Herringer earned the victory with 24 saves, seven fewer than Victoria’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . Kelowna was 3-7 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . The Rockets (43-21-5) have won a season-high seven straight games. With three games remaining, they are two points behind B.C. Division-leading Prince George and three ahead of Kamloops. . . . The Royals (37-26-6) have lost four in a row (0-3-1), all in the last five nights on the road. They hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and can finish no higher. . . . Victoria was without head coach Dave Lowry for the second night in a row He and one player have been isolated from the rest of the team after showing symptoms of mumps. They are awaiting results of tests to determine if it is indeed mumps. . . . With Lowry gone, assistant coaches Dan Price and Doug Bodger ran the Victoria bench. One night earlier, Price and general manager Cam Hope were behind the bench for a 6-2 loss in Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 5,526.

At Lethbridge, F Mark Kastelic celebrated his 18th birthday with a pair of goals to help the Calgary
Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . One night earlier, the Hitmen beat the visiting Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Calgary (27-31-10) jumped into the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Saskatoon. The Hitmen can stretch that to three points as they play host to Edmonton this afternoon. . . . Kastelic, a second-round selection in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, is from Phoenix. He had five goals and five assists in 59 games as a freshman last season. This season, he has 13 goals and 19 helpers in 63 games. . . . The teams came out of the first period tied, 2-2. . . . F Tyler Mrkonjic (6) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 8:57, with Lethbridge D Calen Addison (7) tying it at 13:52. . . . The Hitmen went back out front on F Jakob Stukel’s 23rd goal, at 15:03, and Lethbridge tied it when F Jordy Bellerive got his 26th, at 17:07. . . . The Hitmen won it with the last three goals. . . . F Beck Malenstyn broke the tie with No. 27, at 14:08 of the second period. . . . Kastelic then scored twice, getting his 12th at 14:42 of the third period and adding an empty-netter at 17:00. . . . Stukel also had an assist. . . . Calgary G Kyle Dumba stopped 32 shots, 10 more than Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner. . . . Lethbridge was 0-1 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . The Hurricanes were without F Matt Alfaro and F Zak Zborosky for a third straight game. . . . Calgary had F Matt Dorsey in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 6. . . . Lethbridge (43-19-7) is second in the Central Division but can’t catch first-place Medicine Hat. . . . Jason Monnery, Calgary’s equipment manager, worked his 500th WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,178, the Hurricanes’ largest crowd this season.

At Moose Jaw, F Adam Brooks scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Regina Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Pats had blanked the visiting Warriors, 5-0, on Friday. . . . On Saturday,
Regina got off to a 3-0 lead. The Pats got two first-period goals, from F Braydon Buziak (10), at 14:09, and Brooks, on a PP, at 16:36. . . . F Filip Ahl got it to 3-0 with his 25th goal at 1:48 of the second period. . . . The Warriors got second-period goals from F Brayden Burke (19), at 9:13, and F Thomas Foster (21), at 10:59, and it was a one-goal game. . . . Brooks stretched the lead to two with his 39th goal, at 11:45 of the third period. . . . F Brett Howden’s 35th goal, at 14:50, pulled the Warriors back to within one. . . . Brooks, the WHL’s defending scoring champ, set a single-season career best in goals. He had 38 last season when he won the scoring title with 120 points in 62 games. This season, he has 117 points in 62 games. . . . Pats F Sam Steel, who leads the WHL scoring race, was held pointless in his 200th regular-season game. He has 123 points. . . . D Connor Hobbs had two assists for Regina. He leads all WHL defencemen in goals (28) and points (80). . . . Burke added two assists to his goal, while Foster also had an assist. . . . Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs had one assist in his 200th game. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 32 shots for Regina, while Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko turned aside 18. . . . Regina was 1-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-4. . . . Moose Jaw thought it had tied the game late, but the potential goal was waved off for goaltender interference. . . . The Pats (48-12-8) have won four in a row. They lead the overall standings by five points over Medicine Hat. . . . The Warriors (41-19-8) have lost two straight. They are second in the East Division, six points ahead of Swift Current with each team having four games remaining. . . . Regina went 5-3-0 in the season series; Moose Jaw was 3-4-1. . . . Announced attendance: 4,729.

At Portland, the Seattle Thunderbirds struck for a pair of shorthanded goals and two on the PP to beat the Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . Seattle went up 1-0 when F Matthew Wedman (5) scored at 2:38 of the second
period. . . . Portland tied it on F Skyler McKenzie’s 40th goal, at 3:25. . . . The Thunderbirds’ special teams then went to work in taking a 3-1 lead. F Nolan Volcan’s 14th goal, at 10:56, came while shorthanded, and F Ryan Gropp got No. 32, on a PP, four minutes later. . . . Portland D Shaun Dosanjh got his guys to within a goal with his second score this season, at 18:01. That was his fourth goal in 169 career games. . . . F Alexander True (23) got the second shorthanded goal, 48 seconds into the third period. . . . F Keegan Iverson (23) followed for Portland at 3:01. . . . Seattle put it away with the game’s last two goals. F Sami Moilanen got No. 21 on a penalty shot at 14:48, and D Ethan Bear scored his 28th goal, tops among WHL defencemen, on a PP, at 18:59. . . . That also ran Bear’s points streak to 15 games. . . . Seattle got two assists from F Donovan Neuls and F Keegan Kolesar, with Gropp and True each adding one. . . . D Caleb Jones had two helpers for Portland. McKenzie had one. . . . Seattle G Rylan Toth was scheduled to start, but also was marked as questionable before the game. He got through the first period, stopping all 11 shots he faced, but then left as a precaution because of issues with a lower-body issue. This close to the playoffs, no one is going to fool around with something like that. . . . Toth was replaced by Matt Berlin, who turned aside 17 shots over the last two periods. . . . Shane Farkas made 30 saves for Portland. . . . Seattle was 2-6 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . Seattle F Mathew Barzal, who left after the warmup prior to Friday’s 3-2 victory over visiting Everett, was among the scratches. Seattle continues to be without D Jarret Tyszka, F Scott Eansor and D Reece Harsch. . . . F Tyler Carpendale, who signed earlier in the day, made his WHL debut with Seattle. A sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, he turned 17 on Jan. 26. From Powell River, B.C., he had eight goals and eight assists in 34 games with the junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Seattle (44-19-6) has won three in a row. It leads the Western Conference by one point over Prince George and Everett. . . . The Winterhawks (37-27-4) had a five-game winning streak end. They hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Victoria. Portland also is fourth in the U.S. Division, a point behind Tri-City. . . . Announced attendance: 7,235.
At Red Deer, F Lane Zablocki scored once and added three assists to lead the Rebels to a 6-1 victory
over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Rebels beat the Ice, 4-1, in Cranbrook on Friday. . . . Last night, the Rebels responded to a 1-0 deficit by scoring four times before the first period came to an end. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (28) gave the visitors the lead at 4:49. . . . Zablock then drew the primary assist on three straight goals, with D Ethan Sakowich (3) scoring at 5:25, F Evan Polei (31) at 14:45, and F Brandon Hagel (25) at 17:31. The latter two goals came via the PP. . . . F Austin Pratt got No. 16 at 18:12. . . . The Rebels closed it out as Zablocki got his 26th goal, at 10:43 of the second period, and F Dawson Martin (9) scored, on a PP, at 13:22. . . . Red Deer got three assists from F Austin Glover and two from D Jared Freadrich. . . . Red Deer had planned to start G Riley Lamb, but apparently had a vision problem in the warmup, meaning Lasse Petersen got the start and made 15 saves. . . . At the other end, Payton Lee turned aside 31 shots. . . . Red Deer was 3-6 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . The Rebels (28-28-12) have points in five straight (3-0-2). They are third in the Central Division, four points ahead of Calgary. Each team has four games remaining. . . . The Ice (14-43-11) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Announced attendance: 5,072.
At Spokane, the Prince George Cougars built a 3-0 first-period lead and went on to beat the Chiefs, 4-3. .
. . The Cougars (44-21-5) set a Prince George franchise record for victories in one season. Prince George had twice won 43 games, in 1997-98 and 1999-2000. The Victoria Cougars won 60 games in 1980-81. . . . F Josh Curtis (9), F Jared Bethune (22) and F Nikita Popugaev, on a PP, scored for the Cougars in the opening period. . . . After a goal-less second period, F Jared Anderson-Dolan scored for the Chiefs, on a PP, 57 seconds into the third. . . . The Cougars got that one back as D Josh Anderson (3) counted at 10:59. . . . Spokane made it interesting with two late goals, as F Kailer Yamamoto got No. 39, on a PP, at 13:39 and F Hudson Elynuik scored his 27th, at 18:47. . . . F Tanner Wishnowski, who moved from Spokane to Prince George in January, played only his third game since Nov. 19. He has an assist in each of his past two games now. . . . Yamamoto also had two assists, with Anderson-Dolan getting one. . . . The Cougars got 27 saves from G Nick McBride. . . . G Jayden Sittler turned aside 36 shots for Spokane. . . . The Cougars were 1-2 on the PP; the Chiefs were 2-6. . . . Prince George leads the B.C. Division by two points over Kelowna. . . . The Chiefs (26-32-10) have lost six straight (0-5-1). . . . Announced attendance: 8,233.
At Swift Current, F Ryley Lindgren’s second goal, at 19:02 of the third period, gave the Broncos a 3-2
victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Broncos F Tyler Steenbergen had tied the game 2-2 at 14:11 of the first period as he became the first WHLer to reach 50 goals this season. . . . Steenbergen, who turned 19 on Jan. 7, has 86 points in 68 games, after putting up 46 points, 20 of them goals, in 67 games as a freshman last season. . . . Steenbergen is the first Swift Current skater with 50 goals since F Jeremy Williams put in 52 in 68 games in 2003-04. . . . Lindgren, who has 25 goals, gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 6:10 of the first period. . . . The Blades took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Mason McCarty (20), at 11:08, and F Logan Christensen (11), at 11:39. . . . D Max Lajoie drew two assists for the Broncos, with Steenbergen and Lindgren getting one each. . . . G Taz Burman stopped 35 shots for the Broncos. . . . The Blades got 27 stops from G Logan Flodell. . . . Swift Current was 0-4 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-6. . . . The Broncos had beaten the host Blades, 5-3, on Friday. . . . Swift Current (37-21-10) appears likely to finish third in the East Division. . . . The Blades (27-33-9) now are one point out of a playoff spot. . . . Announced attendance: 2,476, the largest crowd this season in Swift Current.
At Kennewick, Wash., G Mario Petit stopped 22 shots in helping the Everett Silvertips to a 5-1 victory
over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Petit lost his shutout bid at 8:41 of the third period when F Tyler Sandhu scored his 21st goal. . . . Petit, who caddies for starter Carter Hart, is 11-5-3, 2.77, .899 in 21 appearances this season. . . . Everett took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Dominic Zwerger, his 26th, at 2:55, and D Lucas Skrumeda (4), at 16:14. . . . D Kevin Davis scored his seventh goal, on a PP, at 1:00 of the third period for a 3-0 lead. . . . The Silvertips closed it out with late third-period goals from F Patrick Bajkov (28) and F Sean Richards (8), both via the PP. . . . Everett got two assists from Zwerger, F Riley Sutter and D Noah Juulsen, with Davis adding one. . . . G Evan Sarthou stopped 34 shots for the Americans. . . . Everett was 3-6 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . Everett D Aaron Irving missed his second game in as many nights. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Tri-City D Dakota Krebs took a high-sticking major at 19:30 of the third period. . . . Everett (41-15-11) is second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Seattle. . . . Tri-City (38-27-3) has lost four in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Announced attendance: 4,793.

SUNDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 4 p.m.
Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.

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