Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday . . .

Don’t look now, but here come the Everett Silvertips.
The Silvertips have played fewer games (17) than any other team in the WHL. But they just went 5-1-1-0 on a road trip and now are 11-5-1-0 and fourth in the Western Conference. Their winning percentage (.676) is second-best in the Western Conference and fourth-best in the league.
“We played two games opening weekend on the road, then played our home- opener,” Everett GM Doug Soetaert said Wednesday.
The Silvertips also were involved in an NHL game -- Phoenix Coyotes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning -- that was played in Everett on Sept. 22.
“We didn’t want to play a game before the NHL game,” Soetaert said. “It was on the Tuesday and we played Saturday, then we had 10 days off. We were locked out . . . we had no partners. That’s the way it goes.”
As Soetaert said, it all worked out well because the time off gave new head coach Craig Hartsburg and opportunity to get to know his players and to “to implement a system.”
The Silvertips wrapped up the road swing with a 5-2 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane on Tuesday. And, perhaps most importantly, the Silvertips were able to dodge illness while they scooted around the Central Division.
“We were pretty fortunate,” Soetaert said. “We got through it without any flu bug or H1N1. We were taking a lot of precautions but we were lucky.”
Everett is back in action Friday when it plays host to the Kelowna Rockets and then entertains the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent on Saturday.
With D Sam Lofquist having left the U of Minnesota and joined the OHL’s Guelph Storm, the Gophers have seen fit to issue a press release regarding C Jordan Schroeder.
Following Lofquist’s departure, it was widely speculated that Schroeder would be leaving, too.
“I am fully committed to this team and university, I have no intention of leaving college early to play pro hockey,” Schroeder said in the release. “It is unfortunate that these rumors continue to come out and I have no idea where they begin. I think it’s important for me to publicly state that I am going nowhere. I am dedicated to this team and plan to help us reach our goals for the remainder of this season and future years.”
The Everett Silvertips hold the major junior rights to Schroeder, whom the Vancouver Canucks selected 22nd overall in the NHL’s 2009 draft. He has five assists in eight games with the Gophers, after getting 45 points in 35 games last season.
The Portland Winterhawks have added G Mac Carruth, 17, to their roster. Carruth, a list player, had been with the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild and had committed to attend the U of Minnesota-Duluth. He is from Shorewood, Minn. If you are a regular reader in these parts you will recall a piece here early in October in which Winterhawks GM/head coach Mike Johnston mentioned having been in Wenatchee to watch Carruth play. . . . Last season, Carruth was 18-7-1 with a 3.04 GAA and a .904 save percentage with the Wild. This season, in 16 games, he was 11-4, 2.43, .911 with the Wild. . . . He joins Kurtis Mucha, 20, and Ian Curtis, 19, as goaltenders on the Portland roster and you can likely watch for one of those two to be on the move.
When the Red Deer Rebels met the Blazers on Tuesday night, it was the fourth straight game to be played in Kamloops under the watchful eyes of one referee. It turns out to have everything to do with scheduling and nothing to do with H1N1. “We have had a few guys pick up a flu bug causing some changes but no
significant impact,” Muench wrote in an email when I queried him on it. “We are targeting 50 per cent of regular-season games with two referees, so there will be stretches of games with one and stretches with two for all teams.”
If you haven’t seen the goal that F Chris Francis of the host Portland Winterhawks scored to forge a 3-3 tie with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday -- it came as time expired in the third period -- you are able to watch it right here. Unfortunately, this doesn’t show all that preceded the goal in terms of adding time to the clock via video review. But if you watch it, pay particular attention to the three one-on-one matchups directly in front of Seattle G Calvin Pickard. And then ask yourself whatever happened to the rule involving faceoff interference. . . . Hey, just asking.
F Mark Recchi of the Boston Bruins, who is one of the five owners of the Kamloops Blazers, earned his 900th NHL assist Tuesday night when he sent F Daniel Paille in alone for a goal against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins would win the game, 3-0.
The goal was the 25-year-old Paille’s first with the Bruins.
The 41-year-old Recchi, who is in what he says likely will be his final NHL season, is 18th on the NHL’s all-time assists list. Next on the list are Bryan Trottier (901) and Stan Mikita (926).
Recchi has played in 1,490 games, good for 14th spot on the all-time list, with Phil Housley (1,495) next up.
Recchi has scored 545 goals, which is 26th on the list. That’s kind of a neat figure because I’m old enough to remember the hoopla when Gordie Howe scored his 545th, which at the time was one more than Maurice (Rocket) Richard had scored. That was the career record before Howe broke it. Next on that list for Recchi are Ron Francis (543) and Michel Goulet (548).
All told, Recchi has 1,442 points, good for 14th spot, with Mikita (1,467) next on that list, too.
A team in the Continental Hockey League is in dire financial straits and its players, including F Konstantin Panov (Kamloops, 1998-2001), are to vote on whether to continue playing. That story is right here.
D Joe Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers can’t remember the check that resulted in a fractured skull, among other injuries, but he can hardly wait to return to the OHL team’s lineup. That story is right here.
Shawn Mullin, from over at, reports that F Mike Betz, who was taken by the Spokane Chiefs with the 12th pick in the 2007 bantam draft, has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Betz had two points with the Chiefs last season, which he finished up with the junior B Sicamous, B.C., Eagles. . . . The Chiefs dropped him from their roster on Sept. 24, after he played in one game. Betz had been awaiting a place to play. . . . The Smoke Eaters also made a deal in which they acquired the junior A rights to D Ryan Stanton, 20, who is with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.
Missed this one earlier in the week. The BCHL’s Williams Lake Timberwolves fired head coach Dave Dupas on Monday. John Wright, the team’s owner, president and director of hockey operations, has taken over as head coach. The Timberwolves were 5-14-1 at the time. . . . They lost 6-3 to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings on Tuesday and 8-2 to the Millionaires in Quesnel on Wednesday.
Brent Sapergia (Saskatoon, Portland, 1979-81) got a little excited the other night and tossed a few things onto the ice. That story and some video are right here.
Bruno Campese, the GM/head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, has told John MacNeil of the Prince Albert Daily Herald that he dealt F Cole Penner to the Chilliwack Bruins to that the organization can move on. “He was a first-round bust,” Campese said, after dealing Penner, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, to the Chilliwack Bruins for a 2010 12th round pick. “It’s time to move on and free up a spot on our list.” . . . The Raiders used that spot on F Marc Mackenzie, 16, who is with the junior B Chase, B.C., Chiefs. Mackenzie rooms with F Brock Balson, 16, who was a third-round pick by the Raiders in the 2006 bantam draft. Former WHL D Tyler Boldt (Kamloops, Brandon, Saskatoon, 2000-05) is the GM/head coach in Chase, which is located a few slapshots east of Kamloops on the TransCanada Highway.
At Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored five third-period goals as they dropped the Tri-City Americans, 6-1. . . . The Americans (15-4-0-0), who had won four in a row, opened a three-game Central Division swing. When the road trip is over, they will have played 21 games, 14 of them on the road. . . . The Tigers are 11-9-2-2. . . . Attendance was 4,006. . . . F Brooks Macek gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 13:28 of the second period on a PP. . . . The Tigers scored twice before the period ended, with the big one coming from F Zdenek Okal at 19:05. . . . The Tigers put it away with four third-period goals, including an empty-netter by F Bretton Cameron, at 13:33. Yes, Tri-City head coach Jim Hiller pulled his goaltender with lots of time left on the clock. . . . Cameron has 19 goals. . . . Tigers D Mathew Konan had one assist and was plus-4. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 26 shots.
In Calgary, F Brandon Kozun ran his point streak to 16 games as the Hitmen got past the Kootenay Ice, 7-2. . . . Kozun had four points, including three assists, and now leads the WHL scoring derby with 43 points. . . . Pavel Brendl holds the Calgary franchise record, at 20 games, in 1998-99. Brendl had 49 points over that stretch. . . . The Ice (8-12-1-0) scored the game’s first two goals, but Calgary got the last seven including their first two within 12 seconds of each other. . . . The Hitmen (17-6-0-0) were 3-for-6 on the PP as they won their seventh straight home game. . . . The Ice was 0-for-7. . . . The Hitmen have scored 83 goals this season, 36 of them on the PP. They lead the WHL in PP percentage, at 32.4. Might be a good idea not to take dumb penalties against these guys. . . . Calgary G Michael Snider, who stopped 32 shots, is 8-2-0-0 and leads the WHL with a 2.09 GAA. . . . Attendance was 8,191.
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings went 3-for-6 on the PP en route to a 7-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The teams combined for 102 penalty minutes. . . . Attendance was 4,878. . . . F Matt Calvert and F Toni Rajala each had two goals and an assist for Brandon, which got three assists from F Brayden Schenn. . . . The Wheat Kings’ seven goals were worth a Wheat Kings’ breakfast to every fan in attendance at either Brandon Smitty’s location. . . . The Wheat Kings, who are 6-3-0-1 in their last 10, are 12-8-0-2 and have won consecutive home games for the first time this season. . . . The Cougars (3-15-1-1) are 0-5-1-1 in their last seven outings. They are 0-3-1-1 on a seven-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings had F Jordan DePape back after he sat for a month with a broken foot. He scored his second goal of the season. . . . Brandon is at home to the Saskatoon Blades (16-3-0-3) on Friday night. . . . The Cougars had F Tyler Halliday, D Dallas Jackson and D Garrett Thiessen, all 20 years of age, in the lineup, meaning that F Alex Rodgers, 20, was scratched. With Thiessen back from a shoulder injury, the Cougars will have to make a move to get down to the limit of three 20-year-olds.
In Swift Current, F Andy Blanke broke a 1-1 tie with his first WHL goal as the Broncos edged the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-1. . . . Blanke, a 17-year-old freshman from Swift Current, scored at 3:54 of the third period. . . . Swift Current G Morgan Clark stopped 22 shots, while P.A.’s Garrett Zemlak turned aside 20. . . . Attendance was 2,288. . . . The Broncos improved to 11-10-0-2; they are 11-2-0-0 at home. . . . The Raiders, who are 2-8-0-1 on the road, slipped to 10-10-0-2. . . . Prince Albert D Brendan Wall (groin) was back after a three-game absence.
In Kelowna, the Rockets erased an early deficit and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 2-1. . . . The Rebels (10-11-0-0) went up 1-0 in the first period on a PP goal by F Josh Cowen, his third in two games, at 19:58. . . . Kelowna (11-8-1-0) got that one back in the second period when F Lucas Bloodoff scored on the PP. . . . The Rockets won it on F Kyle St. Denis’s 12th goal of the season at 14:26 of the third period. . . . Attendance was 6,169. . . . Red Deer was 1-for-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-for-3. . . . The loss was the first in three games on this road trip for the Rebels, who had won in Cranbrook and Kamloops. . . . Kelowna had Curt Gogol playing up front after he spent 19 games on defence. The plan now is for him to spend the reason of the season as a forward. . . . Kelowna D Kyle Verdino (ankle/knee) was back after a 12-game absence. . . . The game was twice delay by broken glass. . . . A Gogol shot shattered the first pane at 3:09 of the second period. Kelowna F Cody Chikie took out another one at 1:29 of the third period. The arena staff received a standing ovation after replacing the second one.
In Chilliwack, the Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Bruins, 5-1. . . . Chilliwack, now 3-25-2-1 in regular-season play against the Giants, got on the board first when F Colton Grant beat G Jamie Tucker on a penalty shot at 2:58 of the second period. . . . Throw in two playoff series and the Giants have a 36-2-1-1 edge. . . . The Giants got goals from five different players, with D Kevin Connauton getting his ninth. He and Calgary‘s Michael Stone share the WHL lead for goals by a defenceman. . . . Vancouver (14-6-1-2) was 3-for-8 on the PP; the Bruins (8-11-1-3) were 0-for-5. . . . Attendance was 3,748. . . . Chilliwack D Jesse Craige was back in action after missing 10 games with a knee injury.

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