Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gropp burning it up with T-Birds ... Silvertips win in Regina ... Cougars beat Chiefs on funky ice


F Mitch Wahl (Spokane, 2005-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Oskarshamn (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Wahl was released by V√§stervik (Sweden, Allsvenskan) earlier Tuesday, after recording six goals and eight assists in 23 games. He started the season with with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga), scoring a goal and adding three assists in 16 games.
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The Saskatoon Blades have added Cliff Mapes to their front office as vice-president of business operations. Mapes has been working as a branch manager with Prairie Mobile Communications in Calgary. Prior to that, the Saskatoon native spent 10 years with the Regina Pats, where he was the Eastern Conference’s recipient of the Marketing/Business Award for 2013-14. . . . Meanwhile, on the ice, the Blades hope to have F Markson Bechtold back in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) when they meet the visiting Everett Silvertips. He last played on Dec. 27. Bechtold, 20, was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs but played in only three games before being injured. He has one goal with the Blades, after recording five goals and three assists in 13 games with the Chiefs.
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The Regina Pats have signed F Kjell Kjemhus, 15, to a WHL contract. Kjemhus, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . He is playing at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna. He has a goal and four assists in 10 games with the prep team, and three assists in 14 games with the U-18 team that plays in the NAPHL.
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D Jacob Bernard-Docker has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for the 2018-19 season. Docker, who will turn 17 on June 30, is from Canmore, Alta. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has 18 points, including six goals, in 46 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Bernard-Docker was a fifth-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.
F Jordan Xavier, 19, has committed to the U of Alaska-Anchorage where he will play for the Seawolves. Xavier was a fifth-round pick by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2012 bantam draft. From Calgary, he has 20 points, seven of them goals, in 19 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He started the season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, earning 16 goals and 14 assists in 30 games.
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The Edmonton Oil Kings are scheduled to entertain the Kootenay Ice in the eighth annual Hockey Hooky game this morning. . . . The Oil Kings go into the game with one defenceman suspended and four on their injury list, all with “upper-body” injuries. . . . Will Warm will complete a WHL suspension by sitting out today’s game. . . . The Oil Kings show Jordan Dawson as day-to-day, Brayden Gorda out one week, Wyatt McLeod out indefinitely and Riley Stadel TBD. . . . McLeod appeared to injury a shoulder during Sunday’s 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. The Oil Kings ended a franchise record-tying 16-game losing skid with that victory so will be trying to get a winning streak going today. They have beaten the Ice three times so far this season; this being the era of the loser point, it must be pointed out that the Ice is 0-2-1 in the season series.
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The WHL has suspended F Jared Dmytriw of the Victoria Royals for three games after he took a headshot major and game misconduct during a 3-1 loss to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Saturday night. . . . Dmytriw will miss Victoria’s three-game Central Division swing that features games against the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight, Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday and and Kootenay Ice on Saturday. . . . Dmytriw hit F Deven Sideroff, who missed the Blazers’ 4-0 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Monday afternoon. Sideroff is expected to return Friday when the Blazers meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . D Ondrej Vala of the Blazers will miss that game as he completes a suspension that was set at two games on Tuesday. He was suspended under supplemental discipline, apparently for a cross-check that took Victoria F Tyler Soy out of Saturday’s game. Soy is shown on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week and wasn’t on the Royals’ bus when it headed for Alberta. F Ryan Peckford (undisclosed injury) didn’t make the trip, either. 
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Always on the hunt for fresh angles, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman begins his weekly 30 Thoughts in a car with Rob DiMaio, who played with the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers, and his family. DiMaio now is director of player personnel with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. Yes, it’s interesting stuff, and it’s all right here.
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If you have some information you would like to share or just a general comment, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching

Rod Aldoff has returned as head coach of the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. He replaces Kevin Hasselberg, who was fired on Monday. . . . Aldoff, a 46-year-old Lethbridge native, had been Pensacola’s hed coach coach for the previous three seasons, winning two SPHL championships in the process. He left the Ice Flyers last summer to join the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, at the time an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. However, the Oilers sold the ECHL franchise and the new owners released Aldoff, who was kept on with the NHL team as a scout. . . . The Ice Flyers were 15-15-5 and seventh in the 10-team league when Hasselberg was fired.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:

At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs moved back into a tie for the WHL’s goal-scoring lead as he helped the Warriors to a 3-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Halbgewachs gave the Warriors a
JAYDEN HALBGEWACHS
1-0 lead at 10:27 of the first period when he scored his 43rd goal. He is tied with F Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos for the goal-scoring lead. . . . F Brett Howden (29) increased the lead to 2-0 at 2:06 of the second period, with Halbgewachs drawing an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings halved the deficit as F Stelio Mattheos (22) counted at 5:43. . . . Moose Jaw put it away on F Yan Khomenko’s 13th goal, at 18:19 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 15 saves from G Zach Sawchenko, while Brandon’s Logan Thompson turned aside 31 shots. . . . The Warriors had a 12-1 edge in shots in the first period and it was 17-7 in the second. . . . Brandon was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Warriors had D Colin Paradis back in their lineup, but D Josh Thrower was scratched. They continue to be without F Brendan Burke and F Noah Gregor. . . .For the first time in more than a week, the Wheat Kings didn’t have any players scratched due to illness. . . . This was the first time in seven games between these teams that overtime wasn’t needed. Moose Jaw is 4-0-3 in the series; Brandon is 3-1-3. . . . The Warriors (33-17-8) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Wheat Kings (27-21-8) had points in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Announced attendance: 3,155.
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At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 1-0 deficit with six straight goals and went on to score a 7-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . One night earlier, the Chiefs had post a 4-3 victory. Following that game, fans were allowed to go out onto the ice and show their artistic touch. The teams played on that painted ice in this one. . . . 

F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s 32nd goal gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . F Jared
JANSEN HARKINS
Bethune (17) tied it at 13:37. . . . The Cougars moved out front when F Aaron Boyd scored his eighth goal, shorthanded, at 15:33. . . . The Cougars scored four straight goals in the third period, getting them from F Kody McDonald (12), F Jansen Harkins (18), F Colby McAuley (20) and F Brad Morrison (21). The first two came via the PP. . . . Spokane got its second goal from F Ethan McIndoe (15), with F Jackson Leppard (2) also scoring for the Cougars. . . . Harkins, F Radovan Bondra and D Tate Olson each had two assists for the winners. . . . G Nick McBride earned the victory with 28 saves. . . . At the other end, Dawson Weatherill stopped 29 shots. . . . Prince George was 2-7 on the PP; Spokane was 0-5. . . . The Cougars are without D Brendan Guhle (ankle), who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . Prince George (38-17-4) has lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Spokane (24-24-9) had points in its past four games (3-0-1). . . . Announced attendance: 2,675.
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At Regina, the Everett Silvertips grabbed a 1-0 lead before the game was three minutes old and went on
BRIAN KING
to a 4-2 victory over the Pats. . . . D Aaron Irving’s 16th goal, at 2:24 of the first period, got Everett out to a quick start. . . . F Brian King (3), who also had an assist, gave Everett a 2-0 lead at 11:14 of the second period. . . . Regina got to within a goal when F Filip Ahl got No. 24 at 16:51. . . . However, Everett scored twice before the second period ended. . . . D Noah Juulsen, who also had an assist, scored his 10th goal at 17:55. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (22) made it 4-1 at 19:49. . . . Regina’s second goal came from F Dawson Leedahl (27), at 2:41 of the third period. Leedahl, 20, was acquired from Everett prior to the season. . . . Regina F Sam Steel picked up an assist on Leedahl’s goal, making him the WHL’s first 100-point scorer this season. . . . The Silvertips got 26 saves from G Carter Hart, who won for the 22nd time this season. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown made 27 saves. . . . Regina was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . Everett (33-12-10) is 2-1-0 on its six-game East Division swing. . . . Regina (40-7-7) had won 11 straight games. . . . Announced attendance: 5,458.
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At Kent, Wash., F Ryan Gropp continued his hot streak with a goal and two assists as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-1. . . . Gropp ran his goal-scoring streak to eight games and
RYAN GROPP
his point streak to 14.  He has 11 goals in those eight games, and 31 points in the 14 games. . . . He also has put up six straight multi-point games. . . . Gropp now has 24 goals and 37 assists in 51 games. Last season, he finished with 34 goals and a career-high 36 assists in 66 games. . . . Gropp got Seattle out to a 1-0 lead at 13:29 of the first period. . . . F Keegan Kolesar made it 2-0 with his 18th goal 26 seconds into the second period. . . . At 2:37 of the second, Gropp set up F Alexander True for his 19th goal, on a PP. . . . Red Deer D Colton Bobyk got his guys on the scoreboard at 2:55. He’s got six goals. . . . Seattle F Elijah Brown finished the scoring with his second goal, at 9:08 of the third. . . . The Thunderbirds got two assists from F Mathew Barzal, while Kolesar had one. . . . Barzal has points in seven straight games, with a goal and 19 assists. He also has six straight multi-point games. . . . Kolesar, the third member of what right now is the WHL’s best forward unit, has points in six straight, with six goals and six assists in that stretch. He has goals in five straight games. . . . G Rylan Toth stopped 16 shots in earning his 29th victory, one off the league lead. . . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb allowed three goals on 19 shots in 22:37. Lasse Petersen came on in relief, stopping 15 of 16 shots in 27:23. . . . Seattle was 1-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds (36-16-5) remain atop the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rebels (23-25-9) have lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . This was Seattle’s sixth game in eight nights. The Thunderbirds won five of them, the only loss coming on Monday afternoon when they were beaten 6-3 by the host Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds signed F Cody Savey, 15, on Monday and he made his WHL debut in a 6-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna later in the day. He was in the lineup again on Tuesday. If you would like to learn more about Savey, there a good piece right here. . . . 
Announced attendance: 4,263.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kootenay at Edmonton, Hockey Hooky, 11:30 a.m.
Victoria at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Everett at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Red Deer vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

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