Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to Mr. Hockey

So you’re the Columbus Blue Jackets and you have the first pick in the NHL’s 2012 draft. In earlier drafts, you have taken Russian forwards Nikolai Zherdev and Nikita Filatov, both bombs. . . . The top two players in June’s draft are thought to be Russian forwards Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko. . . . Hey, Columbus, it’s your move. . . . The Cowichan Valley Capitals didn’t get into a BCHL semifinal series, but don’t be pointing a finger at Devin Gannon. The 20-year-old from Kamloops, who had 79 points in 59 regular-season games, put up 10 points in the last five games of a seven-game loss to the Surrey Eagles in a BCHL first-round final series. . . .
A Sunday tweet from comedian Gerry Dee: “Congrats to Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren who each won $500,040 at this weeks PGA event at Bay Hill.” . . . Headline at “Failed Navy SEAL wins golf tournament.” . . . Furman Bisher, a legendary sports columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, died on March 18 at the age of 93. It was Edwin Pope, a sports columnist at the Miami Herald, who once said of his good friend: “Limbo was invented when Furman first went to a pay toilet.” . . . The Denver Broncos signed quarterback Peyton Manning one day after Jim Driver of Eagle, Colo., died. Here’s one line from Driver’s obituary as it appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune: “An avid Broncos fan, he abhorred Manning and evidently wanted out before a deal was done.” . . .
Rick Hansen’s 25th anniversary tour came through Kamloops on Thursday. Nancy Greene Raine and the gang at Sun Peaks noticed that Hansen’s support workers had two days off over the weekend so invited them up for a couple of days of fun in the powder. The fun was to include Lauren Woolstencroft who, you will recall, won five gold medals at the 2010 Winter Paralympics. . . . Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The A’s are in Japan, a monumental inconvenience, yet not a single complaint from a player! Maybe it’s the $40,000 to $45,000 each guy gets for his trouble. It’s called hush money.” . . . The Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners opened Major League Baseball’s regular season with games on Wednesday and Thursday. And then they returned to Arizona to continue spring training. . . . Only in Bud Selig’s world, folks. . . .
Norio Sakaki, the godfather of senior hockey in our town, wanted to know if I would, on behalf of fellow co-ordinators Clay Moser, Bruce White and Bob Esdale, say “thank you” right here to those men who refereed this season — Nick Hajdukovich, Jim Tateishi, Tim Araki, Peter Englisch, Doug Pockett, Ray Shindell, Bill Farley, Russ Reid, Cliff McBryan and Bob Reid. Norio wanted to say “thanks guys and have a great summer and hope to see you all back for another hockey season!” . . . Unfortunately, I had to tell Norio that it wasn’t possible to do that. Sorry, Norio. . . . Joseph Tout, a New York Post reader: “We conquered polio, defeated the Nazis, put a man on the moon. . . . My question is this: Why can’t we stop the ‘Get in the hole!!!’ guy at golf tournaments?” . . .
Here’s one from R.J. Currie, over at “Mike Tyson is reportedly going to do stand-up comedy in Vegas. This time Iron Mike may be biting off more than he can chew.” . . . Whoever would have imagined the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs together at the bottom of the barrel and the Calgary Flames struggling to keep their heads above water, all at the same time. . . . Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis has married for the seventh time, this time to the ex-wife of one of his cousins. I always wondered why Lewis and the late Liz Taylor never hooked up. . . .
Outfielder Tyson Gillies of Kamloops has been assigned by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Eastern League’s Reading Phillies. The Double-A team will play its first home game Tuesday, an exhibition game against the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Gillies hit .238 in 105 games with Reading in 2010 but played only three games in 2011 because of hamstring issues. . . . Bob Goalby, who won the 1968 Masters, tells The Associated Press: “This will be my 54th trip to Augusta. I got $20,000 for winning the Masters. Now I get $10,000 to go there and eat a free steak.” . . .
Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: “Matt Shaner, the owner of the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, fired his entire team while players were having a pregame meal at Orlando. I’m wondering if ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs has considered this.” . . . With Edmonton and Kootenay meeting in a first-round WHL playoff series, it meant that defenceman Griffin Reinhart of the Oil Kings was up against his two brothers, forwards Max and Sam, who play for the Ice. The Oil Kings completed a sweep on Thursday night, after which Griffin tweeted: “Best comment on the ice goes to my little bro Sam saying ‘If you touch me I’m telling mom’ when we were in a scrum.” . . .
“Martina Navratilova is the first contestant booted from Dancing with the Stars,” writes Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald. “She’s now trying to come to grips with being an accomplished professional athlete with numerous accolades who lost to the guy who played Urkel.” . . . One more from Dickson: “Nike and Reebok are in a legal fight over marketing rights to Tim Tebow. This is sort of like the tensions between North and South Korea, only with a lot more at stake.” . . . Happy Birthday to Mr. Hockey. Yes, Gordie Howe is 84 today.

(Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at, and Keeping Score appears Saturdays.)

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Think about this for a moment or two . . .
There were 18,890 fans at Rogers Place in Vancouver on Friday night as the Canucks beat the Dallas Stars, 5-2.
There were 7,044 fans at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to watch the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat beat the Chicago Wolves, 4-3 in overtime. The Wolves, of course, are affiliated with the Canucks.
Meanwhile, there were 6,328 fans at Pacific Coliseum and they saw the Spokane Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 5-1, in Game 5 of their first-round WHL playoff series.
Add it up and that’s 32,262 fans in attendance at three hockey games on B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
In the meantime, there is an arena situated between Vancouver and Abbotsford that seats almost 5,000 seats. In fact, you may remember that Prospera Centre in Chilliwack used to be home to a WHL franchise.
Now what if that franchise was competitive enough that it could forge a rivalry with the Vancouver Giants? What if an established team with a solid track record on and off the ice was to relocate?
What if . . .?
The AJHL’s St. Albert Steel notified the city on Wednedsay that it has filed a request to the league in the hopes of relocating to Whitecourt. AJHL officials held a conference call regarding the situation on Friday afternoon. . . . Whitecourt is 175 kilometres northwest of St. Albert, which is just northwest of Edmonton. . . . Glenn Cook of the St. Albert Leader reports “the AJHL has struck a committee of six governors, which will convene in Edmonton on Friday, April 6, to address the situation. Both the Steel and the City will have a chance to make a presentation to that committee.” . . . Greg Parks is the owner/GM/head coach of the Steel.
The Minnesota Wild announced Friday that Everett Silvertips D Josh Caron and Kelowna Rockets F Brett Bulmer will join the AHL’s Houston Aeros. . . . Caron signed with Wild as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 season. Bulmer started this season with the Wild before he was returned to the Rockets.
(If you want WHL facts and stats, open a Twitter account, if you haven’t already, and follow @WHLFacts)

In Moose Jaw, the Warriors outshot the Regina Pats 14-0 in the first as they scored four times en route to a 5-2 victory. . . . The Warriors won the series 4-1, winning four in a row after losing the opener, and now will meet the Medicine Hat Tigers in Round 2. . . . That series will open Friday in Moose Jaw. The first three playoff games in Mosaic Place were sell outs (4,714). . . . That leaves the Edmonton Oil Kings and Brandon Wheat Kings to go at it in the Eastern Conference’s other semifinal. That series will begin in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Kirsch scored 16 seconds into the game and the Warriors were away to the races. . . . F Cam Braes and F James Henry, the two 20-year-olds acquired by the Warriors at the trade deadline, each had two points. Braes drew two assists; Henry had a goal, his second of the series, and an assist. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Point, who turned 16 on March 12, had his third goal of the series. His first two were game-winners. . . . The Warriors, who use five forwards on their first PP unit, were 8-for-27 with the man advantage. Regina was 2-for-16. . . . The Pats were without G Matt Hewitt (broken wrist), D Brandon Davidson (separated shoulder), F Andrew Rieder (shoulder) and F Dyson Stevenson (one-game suspension). . . . D Morgan Rielly (knee) remains among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . With Hewitt out, the Pats brought in Tanner Burgardt, the 115th pick in the 2010 bantam draft, to back up Adam Beukeboom. Burgardt ws 20-2-1 with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos this season. . . . The Pats also had D Nathan Zimbaluk in the lineup. He played 15 games with the Pats earlier in the season, before being assigned to the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs. . . . After the game, the head coaches — Regina’s Pat Conacher and Moose Jaw’s Mike Stothers — didn’t shake hands. “My reaction to that is the same reaction I had when they sat guys out in the regular season. I have no reaction to it," Stothers told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. "I just keep marching ahead and focus on my team and make sure we conduct ourselves professionally.” . . . For his part, Conacher said he couldn’t find Stothers. “I looked for Mike and he walked off the bench so I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” Conacher told Harder. “I’m not going to chase him down the hallway.” . . .

In Vancouver, F Mitch Holmberg scored twice as the Spokane Chiefs bet the Giants, 5-1. . . . The Chiefs dropped the first two games in this series but now hold a 3-2 edge. This now is the only first-round series that has yet to be decided. Game 6 is Sunday in Spokane. . . . . This was the first time in the series that a visiting team won. . . . F Liam Stewart, at 7:20 of the first period, and F Darren Kramer, at 1:09 of the second, gave the Chiefs a 2-0 lead. . . . F Brendan Gallagher got Vancouver into it with his fifth of the series at 15:06 of the second, on the PP. . . . The Chiefs put it away with three in the third, the last two just 23 seconds part. Holmberg got his side’s third and fourth goals, giving him five in the series, with F Blake Gal getting the last one. . . . The start of the game was delayed almost 20 minutes by a broken pane of glass in the warmup. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province was paying particular attention in the warmup and tweeted about Kramer chatting up Vancouver F Cain Franson, and then exchanging howdy-dos with D Blake Orban and D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen. . . . Kramer finished the game by being assessed a minor penalty for “leaving penalty box” at 20:00 of the third period. . . . Referees Chris Crich and Trevor Hanson handed out 22 minor penalties. . . . The Giants were 1-6 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-4. . . . Spokane F Mike Aviani came up empty on a third-period penalty shot with the Chiefs leading 3-1. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams, who has started each of the last three games, stopped 23 shots, four more than Vancouver’s Adam Morrison. . . . The Giants added F Brodyn Nielsen to their lineup while scratching Russian F Alex Kuvaev, who hasn’t scored in 26 games. Nielsen, 18, had one goal in 14 reguar-season games with the Giants. He spent the season with the junior B North Vancouver Wolf Pack.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that the Everett Silvertips are disputing the lawsuit that has been brought against them by former general manager Doug Soetaert. That story is right here.
Former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien is 49 years of age and already he is experiencing memory loss.
Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times has more right here.
Lorne Molleken will be back behind the bench of the Saskatoon Blades next season. Molleken, who is the Blades’ general manager and head coach, has told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he will reassess his position(s) after the 2012-13 season, which means after the 2013 Memorial Cup. The Blades will be the tournament’s host team.
Molleken also told Nugent-Bowman that the roster of next season’s team will bear little resemblance to the Saskatoon roster that lost in four games to the Medicine Hat Tigers this week.
That story is right here.
The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have announced that they won’t bring back assistant coach Kevin Higo, whose two-year contract is to expire on July 31. Higo, from Lethbridge, was an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors for two seasons (2008-10). . . .
Victor Gervais (Seattle, 1986-90) is the new GM/head coach of the junior B Westshore Wolves, a new club in the Vancouver Island junior league. Gervais has spent the last five seasons with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. This season, he was GM and assistant coach, with Len Barrie as majority owner and head coach. . . . The Wolves will play out of Victoria’s Bear Mountain Arena, which also is home to the Grizzlies. . . .
The U of Alberta Golden Bears have redone their organizational tree. No longer will they have a head coach and an assistant coach; instead, there will be a general manager and a head coach. Stan Marple, the interim head coach last season, will be the first GM, while the search is on for a coach. Evan Daum has that story in the Edmonton Journal right here.
D Morgan Rielly isn’t yet ready to return to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ lineup; in fact, it sounds as though he may not play for a couple of weeks, although he has been practising for 10 days. Rielly, who had major knee surgery on Dec. 1. He visited with his Vancouver surgeon this week and Alan Millar, the Warriors’ director of hockey operations, told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald that Rielly is “week-to-week.” Millar told Gourlie: “The appointment with the surgeon went very well. (Rielly) continues to be on pace to have a chance to play somewhat ahead of schedule. I know there was a lot of speculation and some reports that he would be in the line-up (tonight). He will not be in the line-up. He will not play at all in this series.” . . . The Warriors take a 3-1 series lead over the Regina Pats into Game 5 in Moose Jaw tonight.
Gourlie’s story, and there’s more to it, is right here.
Is Saskatoon, a city that would be home to an NHL franchise, a good sports town, or not? Les MacPherson, a columnist with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, tackles that question right here.
D Duncan Siemens of the Saskatoon Blades will finish his season with the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Siemens was selected by Colorado with the 11th pick of the 2011 NHL draft. . . .
D Josh Caron of the Everett Silvertips, who signed a free-agent deal with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, is expected to join the AHL’s Houston Aeros for the remainder of the season. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that F Ryan Harrison has been invited to join the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, and D Brennan Yadlowski may hook up with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles.
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was busy again on Thursday.
He hit Everett F Ryan Harrison with a ‘tbd’ suspension for a charging major and game misconduct in Game 4 against the visiting Tri-City Americans on Wednesday. Assuming that Harrison, 19, is back in the fall, the start of his season almost certainly will be delayed. . . .
F Max Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice was hit with a one-game suspension for a game misconduct he took against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. Reinhart didn’t play last night as the Oil Kings completed a sweep of the defending-champion Ice. . . .
Ice D Spencer Wand also sat out last night’s game after being suspended for a game following a pregame violation on Wednesday. . . .
Regina Pats F Dyson Stevenson won’t play tonight in Game 5 against the host Moose Jaw Warriors. He incurred a one-game suspension after taking a clipping major and game misconduct in Game 4 in Regina on Wednesday. He has a team-high three goals and is tied with F Jordan Weal for the team lead in points, with five. . . .
And, finally, Regina president Brent Parker was fined $2,500 for “inappropriate behaviour” after Wednesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.
Glenn Reid of CBC Regina tweeted: “GM Brent Parker fined $2500 for inappropriate conduct. I thought he was screaming at me for a second there (Wednesday) night.”
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported that Parker “punched a hole in the door of the video replay booth inside the press box” after the game and “also became involved in a heated verbal confrontation with the off-ice officials who were inside the booth.”
Harder had a busy time of it. He also spoke with Wayne Gretzky, whose good friend, Pat Conacher, is in his first season as the Regina Pats’ head coach. That story is right here.
Bill Graveland of The Canadian Press reports on a WHL player who received probation and community service after pleading guilty to charges from a high-speed car crash in which his girlfriend was killed. That story is right here.

(If you want WHL facts and stats, get on Twitter and follow @WHLFacts)
In Winnipeg, the Brandon Wheat Kings got a goal at 8:26 of OT to beat the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 and win a first-round series in five games. . . . The Wheat Kings played their home games in Winnipeg because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is in Westman Place in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings actually scored twice on the game-winning play. F Paul Ciarelli fired a shot that hit the cross-bar in the back of the net. As one of the referees waved it off, F Darian Dziurzynski, who turns 21 today, banged in the rebound. . . . Originally credited to Dziurzynski, the goal was later changed to Ciarelli. . . . The Hitmen killed off a Brandon power play just before the winning goal and, in fact, came close to winning when G Corbin Boes made a tremendous glove save off F Jimmy Bubnick. . . . It is the eighth time in the last 11 seasons that Brandon has moved into the second round. . . . Boes finished with 42 saves. . . . Ciarelli scored at 4:14 of the third period to forge a 2-2 tie. Those were his first two goals of the series. . . . Dziurzynski and Jens Meilleur each had two assists for Brandon as they figured in both Ciarelli goals. . . . The Hitmen played all five games without F Victor Rask (leg), who scored 33 goals in the regular season. . . . Attendance was 4,002. . . . You can bet this series victory meant just a little bit more to Brandon owner/general manager Kelly McCrimmon. His brother, Brad, would have been 53 on Thursday. Brad was the head coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL team that was wiped out in a plane crash on Sept. 7. . . . The Wheat Kings will be back in Westman Place for the second round. Brandon will face the Edmonton Oil Kings next, if the Moose Jaw Warriors eliminate the Regina Pats. The Warriors take a 3-1 lead in that series into Game 5 tonight in Moose Jaw. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Rhett Rachinski scored the game’s last two goals as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Kootenay Ice 3-1 and swept the defending champions from the playoffs. . . . Edmonton has won its last 15 games. . . . Rachinski broke a 1-1 tie with his first goal of the series at 14:09 of the second period and added an empty-netter at 19:23 of the third. . . . The Oil Kings, in their fifth season in the WHL, won a series for the first time. They went in having been swept from the first round in both of their appearances. . . . Ice G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 25 shots, while Laurent Brossoit of Edmonton turned aside 14. . . . The biggest story of the two games in Cranbrook may well have been the attendance — 2,293 on Wednesday and 2,146 last night. Those are the two smallest Rec-Plex playoff crowds in franchise history. . . . The highlight for the fans may have been when Marian Dixon shot a puck from the far blue-line through a hole in a sheet of plywood and won a truck from Denham Ford. . . . A Thursday night tweet from Edmonton D Griffin Reinhart: “Best comment on the ice goes to my little bro Sam saying ‘If you touch me I'm telling mom’ when we were in a scrum.” . . .

In Kelowna, F Ty Rattie scored four times as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Rockets 5-3 to sweep that first-round series. . . . The Winterhawks will meet the Kamloops Blazers in the second round. That series will open with Games 1 and 2 in Portland’s Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum on April 6 and 7. . . . Rattie scored his club’s first three goals, giving Portland 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads. . . . He later added an empty-netter for his 10th goal in the four games. He also had three assists. . . . Interestingly, in the four games in this series, Rattie had one-, two-, three- and four-goal games. . . . Last spring, Rattie finished the playoffs with nine goals in 17 games. . . . He actually outscored the Rockets, 10-9, in the four games. . . . Portland F Sven Baertschi had two assists. . . . Linemates Rattie, Baertschi and Marcel Noebels, who had one helper, each was plus-4.
F Curtis Lazar, Edmonton.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Schaber's WHL career gets cut short

Dylan Willick of the Kamloops Blazers knows how defenceman
Tyler Wotherspoon, goaltender Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks
play the game of hockey.

(Photo by Murray Mitchell / Kamloops Daily News)
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers’ excitement at having reached the second round of the WHL playoffs has been tempered by the loss of captain Chase Schaber.
Schaber, a 21-year-old from Red Deer, is in Royal Inland Hospital after undergoing exploratory surgery on his left leg Thursday during
which he was found to have damage to his hamstring and a tendon. He suffered a deep skate cut early in the first period of the Blazers’ 7-5 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Tuesday night.
“It’s tough to take,” offered veteran winger Dylan Willick on Thursday evening, after the team had returned from Victoria where it completed a first-round sweep of the Royals on Wednesday night. “His last season in the league and we have a good opportunity here.
“He’ll still be a big part of it and he’s got the leadership capabilities to speak up and be there for us.”
Willick added that “it’s adversity obviously,” but he pointed out the club played most of this season without veteran winger Jordan DePape, who underwent shoulder surgery in November and only returned to the club earlier this month. The Blazers also played 22 games last season without Schaber, who was battling leg and groin issues. And he missed 11 games with injuries this season, including the last six of the regular season.
“We had Jordan DePape out for (almost) the whole season and he’s a leader, too,” Willick said. “But we’re missing our captain now. That’s a huge leadership chunk.
“But he’ll still be around supporting us the same way he has been.”
Schaber was injured when he and Victoria forward Zane Jones came together along the boards.
“That’s the most unfortunate thing I’ve probably seen in my day . . . just terrible luck,” Willick said. “(Jones) turned and the skate got (Schaber) in just the right spot. You don’t ever want to see that.”
Willick and his teammates hope to have the opportunity to visit Schaber in hospital today.
And then they will begin to think about their second-round opponent, the Portland Winterhawks, who completed a sweep of the Kelowna Rockets last night.
The Blazers were 2-2-0 against Portland this season, including a 5-4 overtime victory in the Rose City on Oct. 14 and a 5-1 victory at home on March 7.
“They have a lot of offence,” Willick said of the Winterhawks, who finished with 102 points, three more than the Blazers. “They have a lot of guys who can score goals. It’s going to be a defensive mentality for us.”
The Royals swept a late-season doubleheader from visiting Portland, so Willick asked Victoria forward Tim Traber, a friend from their hometown of Prince George, how it happened.
“He said, ‘We just took it to them physically and eventually their D-men shied away,’ ” Willick recounted. “If we can learn from that and take that kind of game to them, that’ll be the game plan.
“We have to take the body on them.”
In that March 7 game, the Blazers erased a 1-0 deficit with five third-period goals in what may have been their best 20 minutes of the season.
“We know that they’re beatable,” Willick said. “We know we can do it. We’ve done it twice this season.”
The series is expected to begin with games in Portland on April 6 and 7. Tentative dates for Games 3 and 4 in Kamloops are April 10 and 11. Although dates had yet to be finalized last night, tickets are available at the Interior Savings Centre box office.
Willick, for one, can hardly wait to get started.
After all, the 28-goal man had a series-leading five goals against Victoria, scoring once in each of the first three games and then getting two in Game 4. His hot streak followed a six-game season-ending drought.
“There are little slumps here and there in the season,” he said, explaining that he wasn’t too concerned. “Obviously, I wanted to hit the 30-goal mark, but I knew if I just kept doing what I was doing the puck was going to go in eventually.”
Which is just what has happened.
“I’m just playing the game,” he added. “Every now and then the bounces go your way.”
As he pointed out, he scored two goals against Victoria with shots going in off a goal post.
“In Game 3, off the post, off a skate and it turned into the net somehow,” Willick said with a chuckle. “That’s a bounce I’ll take.”
The bounces have been especially sweet, too, because Willick was a freshman with the Blazers two years ago when they were swept from the first round by the Vancouver Giants. And he was part of the team that didn’t even make last season’s playoffs.
“It’s unbelieveable,” Willick said of the feeling that comes with the team having won a playoff round for the first time since 1999. “And after the last two seasons . . . to be on the opposite end of a series sweep is an unreal feeling.
“You don’t want to be a part of that other side ever. It’s awful.”
JUST NOTES: Kamloops went 10-1-1 against Victoria this season, outscoring the Royals 61-32 in the process. . . . The Kamloops power play went 5-for-19 in the four games, while its penalty killers were an exceptional 15-for-16. . . . The Blazers and Portland last met in the playoffs in the spring of 1995. They both advanced out of a round-robin series — Kamloops beat visiting Portland 6-0; the Winterhawks won 4-3 in OT at home — before the Blazers took a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal, 4-1. Kamloops lost the opener and then won four in a row. . . . The Blazers, of course, would go on to win the 1995 Memorial Cup.

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IT'S OVER! Tri-City Americans defenceman Zach Yuen celebrates the OT
goal that won the first-round series with the Everett Silvertips.

(Photo by Christopher Mast /
A quick email note from a reader:
“You won’t believe I was reading your blog in Thohoyandou while the monkeys played on the washing line! Bet none of your other fans can claim that!!”
Yes, I went to Wikipedia and looked it up:
“Thohoyandou is a town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is the administrative centre of Vhembe District Municipality and Thulamela Local Municipality. It is also known for being the former capital of the bantustan of Venda.”
Thohoyandou means “head of the elephant.”
G Tyler Weiman (Tri-City, 2000-04) signed a two-year contract with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He had a 2.33 GAA and a .932 save percentage in 40 games with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL) this season. That was the third-best GAA and the second-best save percentage in the DEL. . . .
D Patrick Baum (Swift Current, 1997-98) signed a one-year contract extension with the Heilbronner Falken (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had four goals and 15 assists in 44 games for Heilbronn this season.
The relationship between the Everett Silvertips and former general manager Doug Soetaert has turned completely sour.
Soetaert, who was fired on Feb. 2, has filed suit in Snohomish County Superior Court against the Silvertips, claiming the team owes him money as per terms of the agreement when he returned to the team in 2006 after a brief stint in the AHL.
Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the story right here.
It’s no secret that the WHL, with its teams’ expenses steadily climbing, is always on the lookout for new revenue streams.
The Kootenay Ice has an annual budget of $1.5 million, a figure that president/general manager Jeff Chynoweth has said is the second-lowest in the league. It has been speculated that there are teams with budget approaching three times that figure.
So . . . where to turn for new revenue streams?
Well . . . how about advertising on uniform tops?
According to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “In an attempt to generate more revenue, the NBA is pondering the idea of placing ads on the jerseys of every player from the 30 teams.”
Price reports that “this transition could create approximately $31.18 million in revenue in TV exposure alone.”
While it hardly would be worth that kind of coin to the WHL and its 22 teams, you have to think logos on uniforms could bring in a lot of money.
In the NBA, players and owners, according to Price, like the idea.
You have to think the feeling would be the same in the WHL.
The Kamloops Blazers have at least one advertising patch on their practice jerseys – it belongs to KGHM, a company that wants to open an open-pit mine on the south-western outskirts of Kamloops.
So why not advertising on game uniforms?
Dan Hodgson, who played with the Prince Albert Raiders (1982-85), had one of the greatest of all WHL careers. Now he’s gearing up to take a turn as a referee. That’s right! He’s donning the stripes. It’s all for a good cause, of course.
Brian Swane of the Edmonton Examiner has that story right here.
The Prince Albert Raiders, who missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, have picked up the option year on the contracts of general manager Bruno Campese, head coach Steve Young and athletic therapist Duane Bartley. . . . As well, Dave Manson, who rejoined the club as an assistant coach during the season, has been promoted to associate coach. . . . Craig Bedard, an assistant coach since 2007-08, didn’t have his contract renewed. . . . The Raiders have added Tim Leonard as an assistant coach. He has been on the coaching staff of the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos for the 10 years, the last seven as head coach. . . . Jeff D'Andrea of has more right here. . . .
John Grahame, the 37-year-old goaltending coach with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, no longer is with the team. He has signed with the NHL’s New York Islanders and will be with them for the remainder of this NHL season. . . . And goaltending coaches throughout hockey are thinking: “Hmmm! Maybe I’m not done after all.” . . .
Assistant coach Graham Johnson has been promoted to head coach of the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, who fired Regg Simon on Tuesday. The Buccaneers, who have lost six in a row, have seven games remaining and are four points out of a playoff spot. Marty Mjelleli, the Bucs’ Minnesota scout, has come on board as assistant coach. . . . For more on the Simon firing, check out Ryan Clark's blog, Slightly Chilled, over there on the right. . . .
Two WHL players are on the shelf because of skate cuts.
The Tri-City Americans have lost F Jesse Mychan for the remainder of the season after he suffered a severed Achilles tendon during a 4-0 victory over the Silvertips in Everett on Tuesday night.
Mychan, a 19-year-old from Saskatoon, will undergo surgery next week. Fortunately, there wasn’t any nerve or tendon damage, but he is looking at a four-month rehabilitation process.
Meanwhile, F Chase Schaber, the captain of the Kamloops Blazers, was cut by a skate belonging to Victoria Royals F Zane Jones early in the first period of Game 3 on Tuesday night. The Blazers won the game, played in Victoria, 7-5.
Schaber was cut on the back of his left leg. He was taken to hospital and released later that night. He returned to Kamloops on Wednesday where the Blazers’ medical staff is looking after him.
D Bretton Stamler (Seattle, Edmonton, Swift Current, 2003-2008) has signed with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. Stamler, who is from Edmonton, played four seasons with the U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. Stamler, 24, was a seventh-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2005 draft.
One of the best things about covering the WHL as a journalist is meeting and chatting with the many scouts who travel the circuit. One of those is Jack Barzee of NHL Central Scouting. Barzee, 71, has announced his retirement after this season. Mike G. Morreale of has a terrific read right here.
PLAYOFF NOTES: F Brett Bulmer of the Kelowna Rockets will be back in the lineup tonight after the WHL set his suspension at one game. He missed Game 3 in Kelowna on Tuesday night. Bulmer was suspended after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Winterhawks D William Wrenn in Game 2 in Portland. Wrenn played Tuesday in Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks take a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 tonight in Kelowna. . . .
(If you want WHL facts and stats, get on Twitter and follow @WHLFacts)
In Saskatoon, G Tyler Bunz stopped 32 shots as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Blades 5-0 to sweep the first-round series. . . . Bunz has two career playoff shutouts. . . . Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal, his fourth straight goal for the Tigers. At that point, he had figured in 11 straight Tigers goals. . . . Etem scored 10 shorthanded goals in the regular season; he has two in this series. . . . Etem later added an assist. He finished the four games with seven goals and five assists. . . . F Curtis Valk scored twice and added an assist for the Tigers, who were 1-6 on the PP. The Blades were 0-2. . . . The Blades will be the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals and beat the defending-champion Kootenay Ice, 6-3. . . .  Edmonton leads the series 3-0 with Game 4 in Cranbrook tonight. . . . Edmonton D Griffin Reinhart got the third-period comeback rolling with a goal at 1:57. D Keegan Lowe tied the game 3-3 at 8:14, and F Kristians Pelss put Edmonton out front at 12:44. . . . Oil Kings F Curtis Lazar, 16, continued his stellar season with a goal, his third, and two assists. . . . Ice F Max Reinhart was ejected at 13:22 of the third period. He was given a roughing minor and also a game misconduct. . . .

In  Regina, F Brayden Point’s goal at 6:14 of the second OT gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over the Pats. . . . The Warriors lead the series 3-1 as the series heads back to Moose Jaw for Game 5 on Friday. . . . Point, who turned 16 on March 12, had one goal in five regular-season games. He has two goals (both winners) and an assist in this series. From Calgary, he was the 14th overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Moose Jaw F Eric Arnold forced OT with his second goal, and fourth of the series, on the PP at 15:51 of the third period. . . . The PP came when Regina F Dyson Stevenson was given a clipping major and game misconduct at 12:44 of the third. . . . Regina D Martin Marincin had given Regina a 4-3 lead with goals at 5:48 and 7:20 of the third period. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal, who has 135 regular-season goals, scored his first WHL playoff goal in the second period. . . . The Warriors had F Cody Beach back in their lineup after he served a one-game suspension for a derogatory comment directed at the Regina bench in Game 2. . . . The Pats were without F Andrew Rieder, who reinjured a shoulder in Game 3. . . . A post-game tweet from Warren Woods of Global-TV in Regina: “Brent Parker running hot after that one..gave officials in booth upstairs a blast.” . . .

In Victoria, the Kamloops Blazers scored two second-period goals and beat the Royals 4-1. . . . The Blazers swept the series, the first time the franchise has won a playoff series since 1999. Back then, the Blazers swept the Tri-City Americans in the Western Conference final. The Blazers then lost the WHL final in five games to the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Blazers’ head coach was Marc Habscheid, now the general manager and head coach of the Royals. . . . The Blazers outscored the Royals 22-11 in the four games, including 16-3 in second periods. . . . F Dylan Willick scored twice for the Blazers, giving him five goals and at least one in each of the four games. He finished the regular season by going scoreless in six straight. . . . F Brendan Ranford, who led Kamloops with 40 goals, scored his first goal of the season, breaking a 1-1 tie in the second period. . . . The Blazers were without F Chase Schaber, who suffered a skate cut to a leg in Game 3 on Tuesday. He returned to Kamloops on Wednesday. . . .

In Everett, D Zach Yuen’s first goal of the series, at 18:53 of OT, gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Tri-City swept the first-round series. . . . The Silvertips erased a 3-0 deficit with three goals in a span of 13:09 in the third period. . . . F Ryan Harrison scored at 6:10, on the PP. D Ryan Murray got a shorthanded goal at 9:10. D Josh Caron scored on the PP at 19:19 with G Kent Simpson out for the extra attacker. . . . Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin scored the game’s first goal, running his point streak, including the regular season, to 27 games. . . . Tri-City got a goal, his third, and two helpers from F Mason Wilgosh, while F Adam Hughesman had two assists. . . . Tri-City G Ty Rimmer stopped 42 shots, seven more than Simpson. . . . Harrison took a charging major and game misconduct at 8:39 of the third period. He missed Game 3 as he served a one-game suspension for a clipping major he had taken in Game 2. . . . The Silvertips were without F Manraj Hayer, whose suspension was finalized at three games. He was suspended for a Game 1 hit on Drydn Dow, who had his season come to an end with a broken arm. . . . The Americans were without F Patrick Holland. He served a one-game suspension for a clipping major and game misconduct in Game 3. . . .

In Spokane, F Mitch Holmberg scored at 6:43 of OT to give the Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Vancouver on Friday and Game 6 in Spokane on Sunday. . . . Holmberg got his third goal of the series with a wrist shot from between the faceoff spots, right in the slot. . . . Vancouver F Brendan Gallagher forced OT with his fourth goal of the series with 31.6 seconds left in the third and G Adam Morrison on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Chiefs led 2-0 midway through the second, on goals from F Darren Kramer and F Liam Stewart, the first of the series for both. . . . F Austin Fyten got Vancouver on the board with his second at 9:21 of the third. . . . Fyten also had an assist. . . . The Giants put F Alex Kuvaev back into the lineup, while taking out F Anthony Ast (leg). That move went the other way for Game 3 on Tuesday. . . .
The Chiefs are without D Brenden Kichton, who suffered a broken jaw when he was struck in the face by a puck in Game 1. He has had surgery in Vancouver and is awaiting medical clearance to travel home to Spruce Grove, Alta.
On Wednesday, he tweeted:
“Doesn't feel great...slowly progressing tho. 6 weeks of torture! #looklike500lb #roadtorecovery”
Kichton also tweeted the photo that is included here.
F Dylen McKinlay, Kootenay.
F Lyndon Martell, Regina (double minor).
F Cody Beach, Moose Jaw.

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Blazers move on to second round

Finally . . . the albatross is gone!
The Kamloops Blazers, a franchise that last won a WHL playoff series in 1999, defeated the host Victoria Royals 4-1 on Wednesday night to win the best-of-seven first-round series, 4-0.
Ironically, Marc Habscheid was the Blazers' head coach when they took out the Tri-City Americans 13 years ago. He now is the general manager and head coach of the Royals.
With the first round of WHL playoffs behind them, the Blazers can start looking ahead.
Their second-round opponent most likely will be the Portland Winterhawks, who hold a 3-0 series lead over the Kelowna Rockets going into Game 4 tonight in the Little Apple.
As B.C. Division champions, the Blazers, who totaled 99 points in the regular season, were the Western Conference's No. 2 seed when the playoffs began; the U.S. Division-champion Tri-City Americans, who finished with 104 points, were the No. 1 seed, with the Winterhawks and their 102 points at No. 3.
But the WHL reseeds by points for the second round, so the Winterhawks would move to No. 2, with the Blazers sliding to No. 3.
That means the Winterhawks, should they take out the Rockets, will have home-ice advantage for the second round. That series most likely would open with games in Portland on April 6 and 7. Tentatively, Games 3 and 4 would be played in Kamloops on April 10 and 11.
Last night, Blazers winger Brendan Ranford, a 40-goal man in the regular season, broke a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period with his first goal of the series. At 13:07, Kamloops winger Dylan Willick notched his fourth goal in as many games; he later added an empty-netter.
Willick, a 28-goal scorer, went scoreless over the regular-season's last six games, then scored at least once in each game against Victoria.
Victoria had taken a 1-0 lead on forward Ben Walker's first goal of the series at 1:40 of the first period. Matt Needham tied it for the Blazers with his second goal in as many nights at 12:13.
That set the stage for Ranford and Willick to score in the second period. The Blazers outscored the Royals 22-11 in the series, including 16-3 in second periods.
Kamloops goaltender Cole Cheveldave stopped 30 shots, 10 more than Keith Hamilton of the Royals.
The Blazers won it without forward Chase Schaber, the team captain. He suffered a skate cut to a leg early in Game 3 on Tuesday night and returned to Kamloops for medical attention yesterday.
“He's off limits (to the media) right now,” Tim O'Donovan, the Blazers' media and communications co-ordinator, wrote in a text. “(He's in the) hands of the medical staff right now.”
JUST NOTES: Attendance was 5,277. . . . Kamloops was 0-for-2 on the PP; the Royals were 0-for-3. . . . The Blazers scratched Schaber (leg), D Austin Madaisky (suspension), G Taran Kozun and F Brock Balson. Madaisky completed a two-game suspension that he incurred following the second game of the series. . . . The Royals scratched D Zach Habscheid (ankle), F Brandon Magee (foot), F Lukas Kralik and D Kade Pilton. . . . The Blazers swept the Tri-City Americans in 1999, winning the fourth game 4-3 in Kennewick, Wash., on April 22. The Blazers, who lost the 1999 championship final in five games to the Calgary Hitmen, would win only five of their next 49 playoff games going into this season. They were swept seven times, lost in five games twice and were beaten once in six games. They missed the playoffs in two seasons.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kudos to the WHL for putting a link from its website to DubNation, the online magazine that is loaded with WHL-related information. . . . It’s produced by Doyle Potenteau of Kelowna, a veteran hockey writer who follows the Rockets for the Daily Courier. . . . If you haven’t checked out the March edition, get on over to and give it a look.
D Cody Carlson of the Prince George Cougars has signed an ATO with the Central league’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The team announced the signing Tuesday morning. Carlson had 39 points in 72 in his final season of junior eligibility. . . . G Damien Ketlo, who played out his WHL eligibility with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, stopped 27 shots to record his first pro shutout and was the game’s first star last night as the ECHL’s Colorago Eagles, who play out of Loveland, beat the visiting Ontario Reign, 3-0. . . . F Spencer Asuchak of the Cougars made his pro debut in that game. Asuchak, 20, had two shots on goal.
The Spokane Chiefs confirmed Tuesday morning that D Brenden Kichton has had surgery to repair a broken jaw suffered Friday in Game 1 of their series with the Vancouver Giants. Kitchton was struck in the face by puck early in the third period. He has undergone surgery and is awaiting medical clearance to travel to his family’s home in Spruce Grove, Alta. . . . Kitchton is a first team Western Conference all-star and the conference’s defenceman of the year.
Another hockey career has come to a sudden end because of concussions. Matt Eagles, the captain of the St. Thomas University Tommies men’s hockey team, has had to walk away from the game. That story is right here. St. Thomas U is in Fredericton, N.B.
Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail has written an interesting piece about the impact that concussions may have on the NHL playoffs.
“More and more,” he writes, “you get the sense that the 2012 NHL playoffs may well be The Concussion Games, a two-month marathon that could twist and turn on how many times players in (Daniel) Sedin’s category get clocked in the head and are forced out of a team’s lineup.”
That complete column is right here.
If you read anything today, make it this piece right here. It’s columnist Dave Kindred remembering the legendary Furman Bisher, who left us earlier this month.
The USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers fired head coach Regg Simon on Tuesday. He promptly told Mark Emmert of t he Des Moines Register that it was “one of the happiest days of my life, and I’m glad it happened now rather than later.” . . . Simon is the fourth coach to be fired in the 16-team USHL this season. . . . The Buccaneers are 20-27-4 and in danger of missing the playoffs. . . . A replacement should be named today.
(If you want WHL facts and stats, get on Twitter and follow @WHLFacts)
Let’s get this out of the way early. . . . The Spokane Chiefs came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Portland Winter Hawks in the spring of 1996. That is the only time in WHL history a team has done that. . . . There are six playoff games scheduled for tonight and the Saskatoon Blades, Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals all are down 3-0. . . .
In Winnipeg, F Mark Stone had a goal and an assist to lead the Wheat Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Wheat Kings, the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed, hold a 3-1 series lead over the No. 3 Hitmen and can wrap up the series in Winnipeg on Thursday night. . . . Game 6, if needed, would be played in Calgary on Sunday. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pulock also had a goal and an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings are playing their first-round home games at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair has taken over Westman Place in Brandon. . . . F Cody Sylvester, Calgary’s captain, returned after missing the first two games with an undisclosed injury. The Hitmen remain without F Victor Rask (leg). . . . Calgary G Brandon Glover came in for Chris Driedger with the Wheat Kings leading 3-0 at 1:53 of the second. . . . Brandon G Corbin Boes stopped 32 shots. . . . Attendance was 3,563, 15 fewer than attended Game 3. . . .

In Saskatoon, Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem scored all of his club’s goals as the Tigers beat the Blades 3-2 in overtime. . . . This was the first overtime game of this season’s playoffs and it ended at 9:42 as Etem scored his sixth goal of the series. . . . Etem has scored or assisted on the Tigers’ last 10 goals. He leads all playoff scorers, with 10 points, and is tied with Portland F Ty Rattie, each with six goals. . . . The Tigers hold a 3-0 edge and can wrap it up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Blades F Matej Stransky forced OT with his first goal at 16:52 of the third. . . . F Michael Burns scored Saskatoon’s first goal. He was playing his first game after missing seven with a concussion. . . . Tigers F Dylan Bredo drew two assists. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 32 goals, one fewer than Saskatoon’s Andrej Makarov. . . .

In Regina, the Moose Jaw Warriors scored five first-period goals and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Pats. . . . The Warriors take a 2-1 lead into Game 4 tonight in Regina. . . . Moose Jaw D Joel Edmundson scored 23 seconds into the first period and F Quinton Howden made it 2-0 just 27 seconds later. . . . Howden also had two assists. . . . F James Henry had two assists for the Warriors. . . . F Lane Scheidl got his first two goals of the series for Regina. . . . Moose Jaw F Cody Beach served a one-game suspension for making derogatory comments to the Regina bench in Game 2. . . . Moose Jaw D Travis Brown sat out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina F Andrew Rieder left during his first shift with an apparent shoulder injury. He missed the last 16 games of the regular season with a shoulder problem. . . .

In Kelowna, F Sven Baertschi and F Ty Rattie each had two goals and two assists as the Winterhawks doubled the Rockets, 6-3. . . . Portland leads 3-0 and can finish it in Kelowna on Thursday. . . . Rattie and Baertschi have nine points apiece in the series. Rattie is tied for the WHL lead in goals, with six, while Baertschi and teammate Marcel Noebels are tied for the WHL lead, with seven assists. . . . Noebels had three assists last night. . . . Rattie and Baertschi each was plus-4. . . . Portland ended it with two empty-netters. . . . Rattie broke a 2-2 tie at 19:19 of the second period and Baertschi gave the visitors a 4-2 lead at 3:55 of the third. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 38 shots, two fewer than Kelowna’s Adam Brown. . . . D Damon Severson had two goals for Kelowna, but finished minus-5. . . . The last time Kelowna has been swept? That hasn’t happened since 1994 when the franchise was in Tacoma, Wash., and lost four straight to Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had F Brendan Leipsic back in their lineup after he missed the first two games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Portland D William Wrenn, who was kneed by Kelowna F Brett Bulmer in Game 2, also played. Bulmer, who was given a kneeing major on that play, served the first game of a ‘tbd’ suspension. . . .

In Spokane, D Corbin Baldwin gave the Chiefs a 3-1 lead at 15:56 of the third period and they hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Giants lead the series 2-1 going into Game 4 tonight in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got first-period goals from D Reid Gow and F Blake Gal. . . . Vancouver F Cain Franson cut into that lead with his fourth goal of the series at 3:48 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Brendan Gallagher got his team’s second goal at 17:30 of the third. . . . The Chiefs turned to Eric Willians in goal after going with Mac Engel in the first two games. Williams made 26 saves, one more than Vancouver’s Adam Morrison. . . . Giants F Jordan Martinook wasn’t able to beat Williams on a penalty shot with 5:48 left in the third period and the Chiefs leading 2-1. . . . Vancouver added F Anthony Ast to its lineup and scratched F Alex Kuvaev. . . . The Chiefs were without D Brenden Kichton (broken jaw). . . .

In Everett, G Ty Rimmer stopped 23 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-0 victory over the Silvertips. . . . The Americans hold a 3-0 series lead and can end it tonight in Everett. . . . F Brendan Shinnimin, the WHL scoring champ, scored his first two goals of the series as he ran his point streak to 26 games. . . . He scored the game’s first goal at 1:41 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Patrick Holland, who led the WHL in assists during the regular season, took a clipping major and game misconduct at 13:28 of the first period. . . . There was only one minor penalty called in the game, that an elbowing infraction by Everett F J.T. Barnett. . . . Everett G Kent Simpson stopped 27 shots. . . . The Silvertips were without F Ryan Harrison and F Manraj Hayer, both of whom were serving suspensions. Harrison is eligible to return tonight; Hayer’s suspenskon was ‘tbd’ . . . The Americans were without D Drydn Dow (broken arm), who was hurt on the check by Hayer. . . . Tri-City F Jesse Mychan left in the second period with a leg injury. . . .

In Victoria, the Kamloops Blazers scored six second-period goals and went on to a 7-5 victory over the Royals. . . . Kamloops holds a 3-0 lead and can win the series tonight in Victoria. . . . The Blazers haven’t won a playoff series since the spring of 1999 when they beat the Tri-City Americans in the Western Conference final. . . . The Royals got three goals from F Jamie Crooks, the first playoff hat trick in Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria franchise history. . . . Kamloops F Matt Needham broke a 4-4 tie with his first playoff goal, a shorthanded effort, at 17:26 of the second period. . . . Blazers F J.C. Lipon stretched the lead to 6-4 with a PP goal at 18:48 of the second. Lipon also had two assists, his third straight game with two helpers. . . . Kamloops F Colin Smith had a goal and three assists. . . . Kamloops has scored 18 goals in this series, 14 of them in second periods. . . . The Blazers were 3-6 on the PP and also scored two shorthanded goals. . . . Victoria was 0-4 on the PP. . . . Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave stopped 18 shots, while the Victoria duo of Jared Rathjen and Keith Hamilton combined for 26 saves. Rathjen started and left after Needham’s goal. . . . Kamloops F Chase Schaber, the team captain, suffered a skate cut to one of his legs and spent the night in hospital. He is to be re-examined and re-evaluated today but isn’t expected to play tonight. . . . According to Mike Walker of CHEK-TV, the teams also combined to hit seven goalposts.
D Tyler Vanscourt, Vancouver.
D Kiefer McNaughton, Vancouver.

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