Sunday, January 25, 2015

Broncos lose key d-man . . . Ams' Sarthou shutout king . . . Koules no teddy bear to T-birds

The Swift Current Broncos have lost D Dillon Heatherington for what the club says will be four to six weeks. Heatherington left Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary in the first period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Heatherington, a 19-year-old from Calgary, was playing in his seventh game since returning from being part of Canada’s victory at the WJC in Toronto and Montreal.
The Medicine Hat Tigers are scheduled to meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton this afternoon. The Tigers will be without D Kyle Burroughs, F Anthony Ast and D Kyle Becker. . . . Bob Ridley, the long-time radio voice of the Tigers, tweeted Saturday afternoon that those three will be missing due to “injury and suspension.” . . . Burroughs was ejected from Friday’s 5-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars with a headshot major. He is awaiting a decision on the length of a suspension.
John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats, was fined $500 by the WHL on Saturday for comments he made concerning the officiating after a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night. . . . Moose Jaw F Jack Rodewald won that game with a PP goal at 3:44 of extra time. Regina D Sergey Zborovskiy had been penalized for tripping at 3:02. . . . After the game, Warren Woods of Regina radio station CJME tweeted: “Pats HC John Paddock says they were fortunate to get a point tonight but were " screwed by the officials" in OT.
You will recall reading here yesterday about the Moose Jaw Warriors’ decision to fire head scout Rob MacLachlan, who had the rest of this season and 2015-16 remaining on his contract. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald covered the firing in a story in Saturday’s newspaper. That story is right here.


In Saskatoon, F Brett Stovin, the team captain, scored three times and added an assist as the Blades dumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-1. . . . Moose Jaw F Axel Blomqvist scored his 18th goal 28 seconds into the game. . . . The Blades then scored the next six goals — one in the first period, three in the second and two in the third. . . . Stovin, who has six goals over his last four games, broke a 1-1 tie with a PP goal at 3:13 of the second period. . . . He added a second goal at 10:51 of the middle period and completed the hat trick at 14:23 of the third with the game’s last goal. He’s got 18 on the season. . . . Saskatoon F Nick Zajac and F Ryan Graham each had a goal and two assists. Graham has 13 goals; Zajac has six. . . . Blades F Wyatt Sloboshan, playing on his 18th birthday, had two assists, as did F Josh Uhrich. . . . The Blades were 3-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Saskatoon G Brock Hamm ran his record to 3-0-0 with 31 saves. . . . The victory came on Saskatoon GM/head coach Bob Woods’ 47th birthday. . . . The Blades (13-29-3) have won a season-high four in a row. They are at home to Prince Albert this afternoon in a game that is to be televised by Sportsnet. . . . The Warriors (20-25-4) had won their previous two games. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here. . . .

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 2-1 deficit by scoring seven times en route to an 8-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead into the second period and, in fact, held that lead almost 14 minutes into the period. However, Brandon exploded for seven goals in a span of 18:55 to take control. . . . Wheaties F Ryan Duke tied it 2-2 with his 14th goal at 13:40 of the second and D Ryan Pilon’s eighth goal, on a PP at 15:12, gave the home side the lead. . . . Pilon, Duke and F Nolan Patrick each scored twice, with the latter reaching the 20-goal plateau. . . . Brandon D Ivan Provorov and F Tim McGauley each had three assists and F Morgan Klimchuk, who was acquired from Regina prior to the trade deadline, had two. . . . F Adam Brooks scored his 20th goal for the Pats. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 24 shots in winning for the 29th time this season. . . . Brandon had a 55-27 edge in shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were 3-for-4 on the PP, scoring three of its first four goals with the man advantage. . . . Brandon (35-9-4) has won six in a row, matching its longest winning streak this season. The Wheat Kings remain one point behind the Kelowna Rockets, who hold down first place in the overall standings. . . . Regina (26-17-5) has lost five in a row (0-3-2). . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. . . .

In Edmonton, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Oil Kings, 5-2. . . . D Marshall Donald, with his second goal, and F Brett Pollock, with his 22nd, gave Edmonton a 2-0 first-period lead. Donald was acquired from Calgary at the trade deadline. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini tied it with two goals, giving him 32, at 4:21 and 13:39 of the second. The second goal came via the PP. . . . Tambellini has six goals in his last three games. . . . F Elliott Peterson snapped the tie with his fifth goal, at 1:58 of the third, on a PP. . . . F Beck Malenstyn, with his sixth, and F Connor Rankin, with his 25th, scored nine seconds apart later in the third for insurance. . . . Rankin, F Pavel Kamaukhov and D Travis Sanheim each had two assists for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields stopped 21 shots, 10 fewer than Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry. . . . The Hitmen (26-17-5) have won three straight. . . . The Oil Kings (22-20-6) are 0-2-1 over their last three outings. . . . The Oil Kings entertain Medicine Hat this afternoon, while the Hitmen are at home against Vancouver. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the game’s first four goals and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Thirteen Red Deer skaters earned at least a point, with F Brooks Maxwell the only one with two. He got his 15th goal and added an assist. . . . Vancouver F Zack Jones scored his 22nd goal at 6:48 of the third to get his guys to within two, at 4-2, but Red Deer D Haydn Fleury scored his third goal, on a PP, at 12:20. . . . Vancouver F Carter Popoff scored twice, giving him 20, and added an assist. . . . Red Deer G Rylan Toth stopped 28 shots. . . . Red Deer was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Giants were 0-for-3. . . . The Rebels (27-14-6) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). They are six points behind the Central Division-leading Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Giants, who were playing their fourth road game in five nights, slipped to 20-26-2. The Giants play in Calgary this afternoon. . . . Vancouver, Kamloops and Prince George are tied for third place in the B.C. Division. The way things are looking, one of those teams will get into the playoffs; the other two will miss out. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Austin Vetterl scored twice to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Vetterl, who has six goals this season, gave the Ice a 3-1 lead at 6:32 of the second period and added a shorthanded goal at 3:41 of the third for a 4-2 lead. . . . F Jake DeBrusk scored both Broncos goals, giving him 27. . . . F Luke Philp scored his 22nd goal and added an assist for the Ice, which got two assists from F Levi Cable. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau scored his 23rd goal this season; it was the 100th regular-season goal of this career. He has 245 points in 239 games. . . . F Colby Cave had two assists for the Broncos (21-22-5), who have lost three in a row. . . . The Ice (25-22-1) has won three straight. . . . The Ice is at home to Prince George tonight. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Jayden Sittler turned aside 52 shots and F Florian Bartram had two goals and an assist as they led the Hurricanes to a 7-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Lethbridge F Mike Winther broke a 3-3 tie with his eighth goal, at 10:13 of the second period, and Baltram got his second of the game, and third of the season, 4:54 later. . . . Baltram’s parents and a sister, who are from Austria, were in attendance. . . . Lethbridge scored four of the game’s last five goals. . . . Hurricanes F Giorgio Estephan scored his ninth goal, getting a shorthanded marker at 3:50 of the first, and added two assists. . . . F Ryley Lindgren and F Brayden Burke had three assists apiece for Lethbridge. . . . F Jansen Harkins scored twice for Prince George, giving him 16, and F Brad Morrison had two assists. . . . The Cougars outshot the Hurricanes, 56-32, including 28-7 in the third period. . . . Lethbridge scratches included F Jamal Watson (elbow) and D Nick Walters (ankle). Watson, the team captain, may return Tuesday in Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes (11-28-6) snapped a five-game losing skid. . . . The Cougars (20-28-2), who play in Cranbrook tonight, have lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . .

In Spokane, G Evan Sarthou posted his fourth shutout in his last five starts as the Tri-City Americans beat the Chiefs, 2-0. . . . With Eric Comrie, Tri-City’s No. 1 goaltender, first with Canada’s national junior team and now injured, Sarthou has been the go-to guy. The 17-year-old — he’s a late-97 — from Black Diamond, Wash., was a third-round pick, 65th overall, in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Over his last five games, Sarthou has stopped 134 of 137 shots. That’s a .978 save percentage. . . . Sarthou has 10 victories this season and has put up shutouts in six of them. . . . Sarthou and Swift Current G Landon Bow lead the WHL in shutouts. Bow has been in 44 games; Sarthou has been in 24. . . . Carey Price holds the Tri-City single-season shutout record, with eight. . . . F Lucas Nickles scored his 18th goal 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Nickles drew the lone assist on F Beau McCue’s 18th goal, into an empty net, at 19:51. . . . The Chiefs lost D Matt Sozanski (shoulder) in the first period. They already were without F Calder Brooks, F Hudson Elynuik, D Evan Fiala, D Jordan Henderson and F Blair Oneschuk, all out with undisclosed injuries. . . . The Americans (24-22-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (23-19-4) have lost five straight (0-4-1). . . . The Americans travel to Portland tonight, while the Chiefs are at home to Seattle. . . .

In Victoria, G Justin Paulic stopped 26 shots to help the Royals to a 6-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Paulic, a trade deadline acquisition from Moose Jaw, is 4-0-0 with the Royals. That was his first shutout with the Royals and the third of his career. . . . The Blazers had beaten the Royals 4-3 in OT on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Brandon Fushimi’s 10th goal, at 8:08 of the first period, got things started. . . . The Royals then scored four straight PP goals. . . . Fushimi, who also had an assist, got Victoria’s sixth goal. His two goals were the only two not scored via the PP. . . . D Jack Walker scored his 11th goal and added two assists. . . . F Brandon Magee scored his 15th goal and had an assist. . . . F Matthew Phillips, who scored his first WHL goal in his first game on Friday, had two assists, as did sophomore F Tyler Soy. . . . Kamloops D Michael Fora, who didn’t play after the first period on Friday, was scratched with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Royals (26-19-4) have points in their last seven games (6-0-1). . . . Kamloops (18-25-6) had won its previous four games. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Miles Koules scored at 1:52 of OT to give the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Koules has 221 goals this season and two of them have been game-winners in Kent. . . . Seattle F Ryan Gropp forced extra time with his second goal of the game, and 18th of the season, at 11:55 of the third period. . . . This was the Thunderbirds’ Teddy Bear game and D Jared Hauf scored the goal that launched the stuffed toys at 5:50 of the first period. . . . Attendance was announced at 6,208, the third-largest crowd in the ShoWare Center’s existence. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand had opened the scoring, with his 28th goal, at 1:53. . . . F Nic Petan scored his seventh goal and added two assists, including one on the winner. . . . F Donovan Neuls had two assists for Seattle. . . . F Paul Bittner drew two assists for the Winterhawks. . . . Portland G Adin Hill was outstanding, with 42 saves, 17 of them in the second period. . . . The Winterhawks (27-19-3) have won four in a row. . . . The Thunderbirds (22-18-6) have lost three straight. . . . Portland entertains Tri-City tonight; the Thunderbirds are in Spokane. . . . Seattle and Spokane are tied for third place in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of Tri-City. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored five times in the second period en route to an 9-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Rockets F Tyrell Goulbourne tied the game 1-1 at 16:24 of the first period and broke the tie at 4:26 of the second with a SHG. He’s got 17 goals this season. . . . Goulbourne also had three assists. . . . Kelowna beat Everett 5-3 on Friday night. . . . The Silvertips were playing their fourth road game in five nights, having swept the Cougars in Prince George on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Nick Merkley scored twice, giving him 16, and added an assist for Kelowna, while F Rourke Chartier moved back into the WHL goal-scoring lead with his 40th goal in his 40th game. He also had two assists. . . . Kelowna F Leon Draisaitl scored his fourth goal into an empty net with 5:49 to play in the third period. Trailing 6-3, Everett head coach Kevin Constantine went with the extra attacker with ample time remaining. . . . Kelowna D Cole Martin had two assists and was plus-6. He now leads the WHL at plus-38. In his last two-plus seasons, Martin is plus-146. . . . F Nikita Scherbak had two assists for Everett. . . . The Rockets (36-8-3) have won two in a row. They continue to lead the overall standings by one point over Brandon. . . . The Silvertips (30-14-4) are atop the U.S. Division. . . . Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has a game story right here.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Warriors make a change . . . Another blank job for Sarthou . . . Rehill wins one for Blazers

F Adam Courchaine (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2001-05) has signed for the rest of this season with Olten (Switzerland, NL B). This season, with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 27 games. He was released at his request by Krefeld on Jan. 13.

The Moose Jaw Warriors fired Rob MacLachlan, their assistant general manager and head scout, on Friday. MacLachlan, who had been with the Warriors for 14 years, is under contract through next season. . . . “I felt in discussions and where we were at it was time to make a change for the hockey club to move forward," Warriors general manager Alan Millar told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald."We thought it was fair to both Robert and the hockey club to make the decision and have the discussion now, as opposed to going through the next three-and-a-half months with the potential question mark in terms of what we were doing.” . . . McLachlan, who lives in Okotoks, Alta., told Gourlie: “"I'm proud of what we did. When I started with the organization I don't think we had a lot of respect out there. The work of everybody — the scouting staff, the people in the office and everyone else — has brought the level of respect up in the league to the point where we're one of the most respected teams in the league. . . . It's a weight lifted off of my shoulders and I feel somebody else can take a stab at it,"
Is hockey under siege in the state of Minnesota? Cory Zurowski of City Pages has a terrific read right here that takes a look at lots of happenings in Minnesota hockey circles.


In Regina, F Jack Rodewald scored at 3:44 of OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Pats. . . . Attendance was announced at 6,484 on a night when the Pats unveiled their new scoreclock/video screens. . . . Rodewald’s 22nd goal came via the PP. . . . Regina had won 11 straight games over the Warriors. . . . The Warriors led 3-1 with five minutes to play in the third period. . . . Regina F Taylor Cooper scored his 19th goal, on a PP, at 15:10 and F Pavel Padakin tied it, with his 14th, at 16:26. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 35 shots, 17 more than Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko. . . . Moose Jaw D Dustin Perillat had two assists, while Rodewald, F Jaimen Yakubowski and Axel Blomqvist each had a goal and an assist. . . . Cooper also had an assist for the Pats, while D Chase Harrison had two assists. . . . The Warriors were 2-for-6 on the PP; the Pats were 1-for-5. . . . The Warriors (20-24-4) have won two in a row. They are to play in Saskatoon tonight. . . . The Pats (26-16-5) have lost four straight (0-2-2). They’ll play in Brandon tonight. . . . A post game tweet from Warren Woods of Regina radio station CJME: “Pats HC John Paddock says they were fortunate to get a point tonite but were " screwed by the officials" in OT. . . . Ch-ch-ching! . . .

In Brandon, F Tanner Kaspick’s first goal of the season stood up as the winner as the Wheat Kings dumped the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Kaspick’s goal, at 16:45 of the first period, gave Brandon a 2-0 lead. . . . F Tim McGauley, in his 200th regular-season game, scored twice for Brandon, giving him 29 this season. He scored the game’s first and last goals. . . . The Wheat Kings opened a four-game homestand with this one. . . . Wheat Kings F John Quenneville and D Eric Roy each had two assists. . . . Brandon G Alex Moodie stopped 31 shots, one more than Prince Albert’s Rylan Parenteau. . . . Brandon F Braylon Shmyr came up short on a penalty shot 37 seconds into the game. . . . The Wheat Kings continue to play without F Jayce Hawryluk and D Kale Clague, while the Raiders scratched two of their leading scorers in D Craig Leverton and F Simon Stransky. . . . The Wheat Kings (34-9-4), who entertain Regina tonight, have won five straight. They continue to lead the Eastern Conference and are one point behind Kelowna, which leads the overall standings. . . . The Raiders (19-26-1), who won’t play tonight, have lost three straight. . . .

In Calgary, G Mack Shields earned his first shutout of the season as the Hitmen beat the Swift Current Broncos, 8-0. . . . Shields stopped 24 shots. He also picked up his seventh assist of the season. He holds the franchise’s career record, with 13. . . . F Radel Fazleev scored his 14th goal 14 seconds into the game and the Hitmen were off to the races. . . . F Terrell Draude scored twice, giving him six goals, and added an assist. . . . F Kenton Helgesen got his 13th goal and had two assists, while F Adam Tambellini scored his 30th goal. . . . D Jake Bean scored his third goal and had an assist, and was plus-5. . . . D Travis Sanheim had one assist and also was plus-5. . . . Broncos D Dillon Heatherington left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Calgary D Colby Harmsworth returned after missing 19 games with a knee injury. . . . The Hitmen (25-17-5) have won two straight. They will travel to Edmonton tonight. . . . The Broncos ((21-21-5), who play in Cranbrook tonight, have lost two in a row. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Cody Porter turned aside 20 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Vancouver F Alex Baer broke a 1-1 tie with his 10th goal at 19:45 of the first period and F Carter Popoff upped the lead to 3-1 with his 18th goal, on a PP, at 16:26 of the second. . . . F Tyler Wong scored both goals for Lethbridge, giving him 18. . . . Both of Wong’s goals came via the PP as the home side went 2-for-6. . . . D Arvin Atwal had two assists for Vancouver. . . . F Zane Jones, acquired from Lethbridge at the trade deadline, scored for Vancouver. He’s got 21 goals, three of them with the Giants. . . . The Giants were 1-for-2. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner stopped 25 shots. . . . Lethbridge remains without F Jamal Watson, its captain, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Giants (20-25-2), who are in Red Deer tonight, had lost five in a row. They now are tied with Prince George and Kamloops for third place in the B.C. Division. . . . The Hurricanes (10-28-6) now have lost five straight. They are at home to Prince George tonight. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Curtis Sanford scored twice to lead the Tigers to a 5-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Sanford, who also had an assist, now has 39 goals, tying him with Kelowna F Rourke Chartier for the WHL lead. . . . Tigers F Trevor Cox, who leads the WHL points race, scored his 19th goal and added an assist. He has 78 points, eight more than Sanford. . . . Tigers F Dryden Hunt notched his 21st goal and also had an assist. He now is on an 18-game point streak, the longest in the WHL this season. . . . F Markus Eisenschmid scored his 13th goal and also had an assist for the winners. . . . Tigers D Kyle Burroughs took a headshot major and game misconduct at 4:19 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Jari Erricson. . . . The Tigers (32-12-2) have won three in a row. They’re off tonight. . . . The Cougars (20-27-2) have lost eight in a row (0-6-2) and now are tied with Vancouver and Kamloops for third in the B.C. Division. . . . Prince George goes into Lethbridge tonight. . . .

In Portland, F Chase De Leo scored twice to help the Winterhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . De Leo, who has 20 goals, scored twice in the second period as Portland extended its lead to 4-0. . . . F Paul Bittner scored the game’s first goal, giving him 20 this season. He also had an assist. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand drew two assists. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 33 shots. . . . Spokane G Garret Hughson made 27 saves before being ejected at 15:10 of the third period after becoming mixed up with Portland F Keegan Iverson. . . . The Winterhawks (26-19-3) have won three straight. . . . Spokane (23-18-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Winterhawks will meet Seattle in Kent, Wash., tonight, while the Chiefs are at home to Tri-City. . . .

In Kelowna, F Tyson Baillie scored twice as the Rockets got past the Everett Silvertips, 5-3, in a matchup between the Western Conference’s division leaders. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Kelowna. . . . Baillie has 29 goals this season. . . . Rockets F Rourke Chartier broke a 1-1 tie with his 39th goal, via the PP, at 6:49 of the second period. . . . Baillie stretched the lead to 3-1 at 1:19 of the third period. . . . F Leon Draisaitl had three assists for Kelowna, while D Josh Morrissey picked up two. . . . Kelowna F Tyrell Goulbourne scored his 15th goal and added an assist. . . . Everett F Ivan Nikolishin scored his 12th goal and had two assists, while F Patrick Bajkov picked up his 16th goal and had an assist. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle stopped 28 shots, seven more than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-2 on the PP; Everett was 1-for-4. . . . The Rockets (35-8-3) lead the Western Conference and the B.C. Division. . . . The Silvertips (30-13-4), who had a six-game winning streak snapped, lead the U.S. Division. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Evan Sarthou stopped 25 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Sarthou, who was making his 18th straight start, has posted three shutouts in his last four starts. He has five shutouts this season. . . . Seattle has been blanked in each of its last two games. . . . F Parker Bowles scored twice, giving him 12, and added an assist, while F Richard Nejezchleb and D Parker Wotherspoon each had two assists. . . . Bowles was playing his third game since being out since Jan. 2 with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Beau McCue scored the game’s first goal, his 17th, at 11:35 of the first period and also had an assist. . . . Tri-City D Riley Hillis returned after being out since Jan. 2 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Mathew Barzal played for the first time since Nov. 4. He had been out with a knee injury. . . . Seattle F Ryan Gropp and Tri-City D Brandon Carlo didn’t play as they weren’t able to get back from the Top Prospects game in time. That game was played in St. Catharines, Ont., on Thursday night. . . . The Americans (23-22-2) are fifth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Seattle and two in back of Spokane. . . . The Americans travel to Spokane tonight, while Seattle is at home to Portland. . . .

In Victoria, D Ryan Rehill scored at 1:25 of OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Royals. . . . Rehill snapped a shot from the top of the left circle that got through G Coleman Vollrath. . . . After scoring four goals in 118 games over his first two sesaons, Rehill has six goals in 45 games this season. . . . Attendance was announced as 7,006. . . . F Quinn Benjafield, a 16-year-old freshman, had his first two-goal game for the Blazers. His third goal of the season, at 15:21 of the third period, forced OT. . . . F Matthew Phillips of the Royals, playing his first WHL game, gave his side a 3-2 lead at 13:55 of the third. Phillips, the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, is from Calgary where he plays for the midget AAA Buffaloes. . . . Vollrath stopped 41 shots, 13 more than Kamloops’ Connor Ingram, who has started seven of his club’s last 10 games. . . . Kamloops D Michael Fora suffered an undisclosed injury in the first period and didn’t play in the last two periods. . . . The Blazers (18-24-6) have won four in a row, the first time they have won more than two straight this season. The run has pulled them into a tie with Prince George and Vancouver for third place in the B.C. Division. . . . The Royals (25-19-4) had won their previous five games. . . . The Blazers and Royals will play in Victoria again tonight.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cougars d-man gets five games . . . Heid's season over . . . Ice wins at Hockey Hooky

F Jakub Langhammer (Spokane, 2002-04) has signed the for rest of this season with Regensburg (Germany, Oberliga). This season, with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and five assists in 29 games. He was released at his request by Crimmitschau on Jan. 8.

D Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars has been suspended for five games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct in a 6-1 loss to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. Ruopp, the Cougars’ captain, drew a two-game suspension for the same infraction earlier in the season. . . . Ruopp has missed one game already, and won’t play tonight in Medicine Hat.
The Portland Winterhawks revealed Thursday that D Nick Heid, 17, underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday and won’t play again this season. . . . “Nick is a big part of our future and this surgery will help ensure he’s healthy for training camp in August,” Jamie Kompon, the team’s GM and head coach, said in a news release. . . . Heid, from Fridley, Minn., was in his first season with the Winterhawks. He last played on Jan. 9. Heid was pointless in 17 games. . . . Late Thursday afternoon, Heid tweeted: “Tough decision to make, but having my shoulder repaired will help ensure that I am ready for next season. Thanks to everyone for your support and good luck to the @pdxwinterhawks the remainder of the season.”
The OHL’s Sarnia Sting franchise is in the process of changing hands. When all is said and done, former NHL D Derian Hatcher and David Legwand, a forward with the Ottawa Senators, will own the Sting. . . . Terry Bridge of the Sarnia Observer has more right here.
If you are into podcasts, you can’t go wrong with the latest effort at Pucklandia. It features former WHL F Oren Koules, who is a producer of the Saw movies as well as the hit TV show Two And A Half Men. He also is the father of Portland Winterhawks F Miles Koules. There are some great stories told right here.
I made mention in this space yesterday of a pair of tweets from former NHL referee Paul Stewart. He writes regularly for The Huffington Post and on Thursday he wrote a length on the Zac Rinaldo hit on Kris Letang and the role that coaches are, or aren’t, playing when it comes to player safety in hockey. That piece is right here.
When given the opportunity, I will be sure to watch the documentary Red Army, a film about perhaps the greatest hockey team in the history of the sport. The Red Army team dominated internationally in the 1970s and into the ’80s. . . . Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated has more right here, including a thrilling anecdote involving the night in 1987 when Wayne Gretzky invited the Soviet’s teams Green unit to his folks’ home in Brantford, Ont., for a barbecue.
If you haven’t already seen this right here, it is every minor hockey player’s worst nightmare -- a ranting parent. Only this one is different. He hits the glass and, well, watch for yourself.
Michael Powell of The New York Times was there Thursday when New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, one of the great actors of our time, spoke to the media about the inflation and deflation of footballs. Powell’s piece is right here and it really is funny.
Later in the day, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chatted with the media and, yes, he denied, denied, denied. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has more right here.


In Edmonton, F Tim Bozon scored three goals to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . It was Edmonton’s sixth annual CN Hockey Hooky promotion. The game began at 11:30 a.m., and attendance was announced at 10,396. . . . According to the Oil Kings’ website, about 7,000 school students were in attendance. . . . The Oil Kings led 3-1 late in the second period when the Ice tied it on goals by Boson, at 17:28, and D Tyler King, at 19:11. . . . King has seven goals. . . . Bozon broke the tie with his third goal, and 17th of the season, on a PP at 1:18 of the third. . . . Ice F Levi Cable provided insurance with his 20th goal, an empty-netter, at 19:42. . . . F Brett Pollock scored twice, giving him 21, and added an assist for Edmonton. His 20th goal of the season was his 100th career point. . . . It was Bozon’s fourth career hat trick -- he has two with the Ice after putting up two with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Ice D Rinat Valiev had two assists. . . . Kootenay G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 28 shots, six fewer than Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry. . . . The Ice was 2-for-3 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-for-3. . . . The Ice (24-22-1) is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and four in back of Calgary. . . . The Oil Kings (22-19-6) still hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tigers double Giants . . . Silvertips complete sweep . . . Ingram stars again for Blazers

In the first period of a Tuesday night NHL game, Zac Rinaldo of the Philadelphia Flyers was ejected for a nasty hit on Pittsburgh Penguins D Kris Letang.
Rinaldo not only drilled Letang from behind, he left his feet to make the hit.
He will certainly be suspended by the NHL; the only question is for how long.
Long after the game had ended, former NHL referee Paul Stewart tweeted twice.
The first one read: “When do we start holding coaches responsible, too, for sending out idiots like Rinaldo in 1st place? Chief knows what player is all about.”
Chief would be Flyers head coach Craig Berube.
The second tweet read: “That is NOT exclusive to Berube. . . . I am referring to all coaches who deploy players of that ilk. Finish your check has become bane of sport.”
Bingo! The last statement — “Finish your check has become bane of sport” — hits hockey’s nail squarely on the head.
Coaches at all levels of the sport need to stop impressing upon their charges to “finish your check.”
If they won’t do that, then they need to change the definition of “finish your check.” Instead to trying to hammer an opponent into next week, players need to be taught how to separate that opponent from the puck.
As one veteran hockey coach loves to ask me on a regular basis, “What happened to angle-man-puck?”
Yes, there was a time when players were taught how to angle a puck-carrier into the boards, freeing up the puck for a teammate to swoop in, gather it up and begin the transition to offence.
At some point, however, some of that seems to have gotten lost as players, wrapped in more and more body armour, started to hit to hurt, or, in hockey speak, to “finish their checks.”
That has led to more checking from behind, more players leaving their feet in order to deliver the blow, more head shots and more injuries.
Which is exactly what happened Tuesday night when Rinaldo met Letang.
Get players back to playing angle-man-puck and you will see better transition games and fewer injuries.
No, it won’t take hitting out of the game. There still will be ample opportunity for hitting. But maybe players can be educated to finish their checks in a different fashion.

Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts At Large, has spent some time researching some of this season’s numbers inside the WHL. The results of his work are right here.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his weekly 30 Thoughts on Wednedsay. It’s always a good read and it’s right here.
An NHL franchise in Saskatoon? One of the men interested in just that says the effort has “stalled out,” at least for now. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here, including an update on lease negotiations between the Saskatoon Blades and the SaskTel Centre.
Have you heard about the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ puck that has been globe-trotting? Paul Kingsmith of Global TV in Lethbridge has more right here.


In Medicine Hat, F Markus Eisenschmid, F Curtis Sanford and F Dryden Hunt each scored twice as the Tigers doubled the Vancouver Giants, 8-4. . . . Eisenschmid broke a 1-1 tie with his first goal, on a PP, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Giants were chasing the game from that point on and never were able to equalize. . . . Eisenschmid has 12 goals, Sanford 37 and Hunt 20. . . . Hunt ran his point streak to 17 games, which is tied for the longest in the WHL this season. . . . F Matt Bradley and F Chad Butcher each had three assists for the Tigers, while F Trevor Cox, who leads the WHL points race, scored his 18th goal, shorthanded, and added an assist as he got to 75 points. . . . Cox leads the WHL in assists (57) and loins (75), all in 45 games. . . . He’s got an eight-point lead over Sanford, whose 37 goals are one behind F Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Medicine Hat D Kyle Burroughs had two assisgts. . . . Vancouver F Jackson Houck scored his 15th goal and added an assist. . . . The Tigers were 3-for-6 on the PP; the Giants were 2-for-4. . . . D Ty Stanton was back in the Tigers’ lineup after not playing since Jan. 3 because of an undisclosed injury. . . . Vancouver F Thomas Foster sat out as he completed a three-game WHL suspension. . . . The Tigers (31-12-2), who are home to Prince George on Friday, have won two in a row. . . . The Giants (19-25-2), who are two games into a six-game Central Division trip, have lost five straight. Their trek continues Friday in Lethbridge. . . .

In Prince George, F Kohl Bauml scored two goals for the second straight night as the Everett Silvertips beat the Cougars, 4-2. . . . Bauml, who has 23 goals, scored twice on Tuesday as the Silvertips dumped the Cougars, 6-1. . . . Last night, his two third-period goals stretched a 2-1 Everett lead. . . . Bauml also had an assist. . . . Everett F Carson Stadnyk scored his 18th goal, on a PP, and added two assists, while D Ben Betker had two assists. . . . F Nikita Scherbak scored his 21st goal for the Silvertips. . . . F Aaron Macklin scored the Cougars’ lone goal, on a PP, at 8:06 of the second to cut into a 2-0 deficit. . . . The Cougars were 1-for-7 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-for-2. . . . The Cougars were without D Sam Ruopp, who took a kneeing major and game misconduct in Tuesday’s game. Everett D Jordan Wharrie, who was on the other end of that hit, is expected to be out at least through the weekend. . . . Everett D Noah Juulsen and Prince George F Jansen Harkins are at the Top Prospects Game in St. Catharines, Ont. . . . The Silvertips (30-12-4) have won six in a row. . . . The Cougars (20-26-2) have lost seven straight (0-5-2) as they head to Medicine Hat and a Friday night game with the Tigers. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips in 2015 “are 9-1 and have outscored their opponents 44-13. Eight of those 10 games have been on the road.” . . . The Silvertips will stop off in Kelowna and play the Rockets on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored three times before the game was 11 minutes old and went on to a 3-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 26 shots, and was especially sharp in the second period when the Americans held a 14-1 edge in shots. . . . Ingram, a 17-year-old freshman from Imperial, Sask., was selected as the game’s first star for a fifth straight home game. . . . Tri-City G Evan Sarthou, who was making his 17th straight start, was coming off back-to-back shutouts. . . . Kamloops D Patrik Maier scored the game’s first goal 46 seconds into the first period. He has four goals this season, two of them against the Americans. . . . F Matt Needham had two assists for Kamloops. One of them came on F Cole Ully’s 21st goal.  Ully also had an assist. . . . Tri-City F Ty Comrie scored the game’s last goal, his fifth, at 15:35 of the first. . . . The Americans came in with the 11th-best PP in the WHL, but went 0-for-6 with the man advantage against a penalty-killing unit that was No. 20. . . . D Brandon Carlo was among the Americans’ scratches. He is at the Top Prospects Game in St. Catharines, Ont. . . . The Americans also scratched D Riley Hillis, F Braden Purtill, F Vladislav Lukin, G Eric Comrie and F Brian Williams, all of whom are injured. . . . With Comrie injured, Beck Warm, a 15-year-old from the major midget Vancouver-North West Giants, backed up Sarthou. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, 15, made his WHL debut with the Americans. From Surrey, B.C., he was the seventh overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, in 36 games with OHA Prep White in Penticton, he has 45 points, including 24 goals. That team is coached by former Regina Pats head coach Malcolm Cameron. . . . The Blazers (17-24-6) have won three straight for the first time this season. They now are tied with Vancouver for fourth place in the five-team B.C. Division, just two points behind Prince George. . . . The Americans (22-22-2) had won their previous two games. . . . The Blazers will play in Victoria on Friday and Saturday. . . . The Americans return home to face Seattle on Friday.

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