Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thunderbirds one win from first title ... Game 6 in Regina on Sunday ... Otters, Knoblauch win OHL


F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11) has signed a one-year contract with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 23 goals and 30 assists in 56 games. He led his team in goals and was fifth in the league’s scoring race. . . . 
F Štěpán Novotný (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2008-11) signed a one-year extension with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, in 11 games, he had two goals and five assists. Novotný started this season with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga), scoring six goals and eight assists in 20 games. He was traded to Nové Zámky on Feb. 7.
D David Turoň (Portland, 2002-03) has signed a one-year extension with Polonia Bytom (Poland, PHL). This season, he had two goals and six assists in 15 games. He started the season with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite), scoring three goals and five assists in 30 games. He signed with Bytom on Jan. 31.
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The Erie Otters won the OHL championship on Friday night, beating the visiting Mississauga Steelheads, 4-3 in OT, to take the Robertson Cup final in five games. . . . F Anthony Cirelli’s 15th goal of the playoffs, on a PP, won it at 2:41 of OT. . . . You may remember Cirelli from the 2015 Memorial Cup championship game when he scored twice, including once in OT, to give the Oshawa Generals a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Quebec City. . . . F Taylor Raddysh had Erie’s other three goals. . . . Announced attendance: 6,781. . . . The Otters are coached by Kris Knoblauch, a former WHL player and coach. Knoblauch was the head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice when it won the 2011 WHL championship. He is the third head coach in CHL history to win championships in two leagues. The others? Geoffrey Brandon (@Geoffrey Brandow) points out that the others are Ted Nolan (Soo Greyhounds, OHL, 1991 and 1992; Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL, 2006) and Orval Tessier (Cornwall Royals, QMJHL, 1972; Quebec Remparts, QMJHL, 1973; Kitchener Rangers, OHL, 1981). . . . Erie moves on to the Memorial Cup, along with the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs and the host Windsor Spitfires.
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The Calgary Hitmen have signed D Luke Prokop, the seventh overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Prokop is from Edmonton. He played this season with the Pursuit of Excellent bantam prep team in Kelowna. In 30 games, he had four goals and 37 assists. . . . Prokop’s older brother, Josh, was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.
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The Tri-City Americans have signed G Talyn Boyko, who was a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From Drumheller, Alta., Boyko played this season with the bantam prep team at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna. Boyko, who won’t turn 15 until No. 16, was 2.90, .886 in 18 appearances. In four playoff games, he was 3.66, .876.
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F Alexander Bodunov, who played for the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series with Canada, died in Moscow on Thursday. He was 66. Bodunov was only 20 years of age when he played in the Summit Series. He played on a line with Vyacheslav Anisin and Yuri Lebedev, a unit that was called The Kid Line and The Headache Line. . . . Bodunov also played in a 1974 series against a team of WHA stars.
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Coaching

Jamey Hicks has been named head coach of the Birmingham, Ala., Bulls, an expansion team that is scheduled to begin play in the SPHL next season. Hicks is a former Bulls captain (1996-2001) and, in fact, was the league’s MVP in 1997-98. Hicks, 47, is a native of Timmins, Ont.
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FRIDAY’S GAME:

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds twice scored two goals less than a minute apart en route to a 7-4 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . This was Seattle’s last home game of the season. The Thunderbirds lead the WHL championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday in Regina. . . . Seattle has yet to win its first WHL title. . . . A seventh game, if needed, would be played Monday in Regina. . . . Last night, Seattle was 3-5 on the PP. In its last two games — Seattle won 6-1 on Wednesday — Seattle is 5-12 with the man advantage. In the five games, Seattle is 8-23. . . . Regina was 1-3 in Game 5 and is 7-20 in the series. . . . “We have to stay out of the penalty box. It’s really simple,” John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, said after Game 5 had ended. . . . Last night, the Pats led 2-0 before the game was four minutes old, but the Thunderbirds pulled even on two quick PP goals. . . . Regina D Josh Mahura (7) scored on a wrist shot from the point through traffic at 1:05 of the first period. . . . F Jeff de Wit (5) made it 2-0 at 3:17 on a shot from the left circle. . . . Mahura and de Wit both were acquired this season from the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Seattle pulled even on two PP goals just 52 seconds apart. . . . D Donovan Neuls (8) scored on a rebound at 5:09 and F Mathew Barzal (6) counted at 6:01, scoring on a wrist shot from the slot. . . . Regina went ahead again, at 9:37 of the second period, when F Dawson Leedahl (12) toe-dragged his way around D Ethan Bear and snapped a shot past G Carl Stankowski. . . . But the Pats skated into penalty trouble again and surrendered two PP goals just 57 seconds apart as Seattle took a 4-3 lead. F Keegan Kolesar (11) scored off a 3-on-1 rush at 16:40 — Regina F Austin Wagner took a roughing minor on the play, putting the hosts right back on the PP — and Barzal got his seventh goal of the playoffs at 17:37, beating G Tyler Brown with a slapshot from the left faceoff circle. . . . Early in the third period, Stankowski stopped Wagner on a breakaway. Shortly after, Seattle F Nolan Volcan scored his fifth goal for a 5-3 lead. . . . Seattle F Ryan Gropp (6) added more insurance at 3:55 with a goal from the left side. . . . Wagner’s first goal of the series, and 15th of the playoffs, got the Pats to within two, 6-4, at 11:22. . . . Regina F Sam Steel skated in alone off the left boards but wasn’t able to beat Stankowski with 4:19 to play. . . . Seattle D Turner Ottenbreit (3) iced it with the empty-netter at 19:58. . . . Bear and Kolesar each had two assists for Seattle, with Barzal, Gropp and Neuls getting one each. . . . Regina got two assists from D Connor Hobbs and one each from Wagner and Mahura. . . . Barzal has played in 15 playoff games this spring and has at least one point in each of them. . . . Kolesar and Steel now lead the playoff scoring race, each with 29 points. . . . Wagner’s 15 goals has him tied with F Reid Gardiner of the Kelowna Rockets for the playoff lead. . . . Stankowski finished with 33 stops, one more than Brown. . . . F Bryan Lockner of the Pats left in the second period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina scratches: F Adam Brooks, D Dawson Davidson and F Jake Leschyshyn, all with injuries, G Max Paddock, F Duncan Pierce and F Owen Williams. . . . Seattle’s scratches: G Rylan Toth (injured), F Elijah Brown, F Tyler Carpendale, F Dillon Hamaliuk, D Jake Lee and F Luke Ormsby. . . . Announced attendance: 6,223, the largest single-game crowd for the Thunderbirds in the ShoWare Center. The previous record (6,220) was set on March 21, 2015, with the Portland Winterhawks in town.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a game story right here.
Andy Eide of 710 ESPN Seattle had a game story right here.
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SATURDAY’S GAME:

No Game Scheduled.
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SUNDAY’S GAME (all times local):

Seattle at Regina, 6 p.m. (Seattle leads, 3-2)
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MONDAY’S GAME (all times local):

Seattle at Regina, 7 p.m. (if necessary)

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