Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fora added to Swiss national team; speculation there about his WHL future

MICHAEL FORA
D Michael Fora of the Kamloops Blazers has been added to the roster of the Swiss national team as head coach Glen Hanlon prepares it for the 2016 IIHF World championship.
Fora is one of eight defencemen on the roster, but the only one who doesn’t play professionally in Switzerland. Fora, 19, had 32 points in 60 games with the Blazers. He also played for Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto.
The Swiss team is to play exhibition games against Finland today in Kloten and Friday in Basel.
There also is ample speculation in Switzerland that Fora won’t return to Kamloops, choosing instead to play professionally with HC Ambri-Piotta. The speculation seems to have started with a report by Pietro Filippini of Giornale del Popolo.
“It looks as if a return to HCAP is likely should Fora not be drafted in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft this summer,” reported swisshockeynews.ch. “If he should be picked and his team will advise him to return to Europe, he is set to make his way back to Switzerland to join HCAP, reports the same source.”
Fora played junior with two Swiss teams -- GDT Bellinzona and HC Ambrì-Piotta.
You can forget about Fora, who just completed his first WHL season, not being drafted. He got off to a slow start but by season’s end was an impact-type defenceman and NHL scouts had him on their ‘must-see’ lists.
If Fora isn’t back in the WHL next season, it likely will be because of his age. He turns 20 on Oct. 30, meaning he would be a two-spotter -- a 20-year-old import -- and teams often are reluctant to keep such players.
There are six two-spotters on WHL playoff rosters: F Tim Bozon of the Kootenay Ice, F Edgars Kulda of the Edmonton Oil Kings, G Marek Langhamer of the Medicine Hat Tigers, F Roberts Lipsbergs of the Seattle Thunderbirds, F Richard Nejezchleb of the Tri-City Americans and F Pavel Padakin of the Regina Pats.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

KABOOM! Exciting times in Kimberley . . . Eller may be in . . . Betker's status unknown



There is nothing more Canadian than hockey, and when it involves a championship team in a small community, well, that is the essence of Canadiana.
The Kimberley Dynamiters — KABOOM! — won the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s
playoff championship on Sunday night, wrapping it up with a Game 6 victory over the Storm in Kamloops.
Kimberley is a community of about 7,400 people located in the southeast corner of British Columbia.
Monitoring social media as the Dynamiters marched to the championship was nothing short of heart-lifting. Check out the Dynamiters’ Twitter timeline (@nitroshockey) and you will get a feel for just how the entire community went along for the ride and, in the end, was part of the championship.
Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more right here on Kimberley’s first KIJHL championship in 35 years.
Being on the outside looking in, one can only imagine the excitement in Kimberley over the past few weeks. And it will only get better as the Dynamiters prepare for the Cyclone Taylor Cup, the province’s junior B championship tournament that also will feature the Campbell River Storm, North Vancouver Wolf Pack and the host Mission City Outlaws. It opens Friday and runs through Monday.
Head coach Jerry Bancks, a former Kootenay Ice assistant, and the Dynamiters were honoured at a community rally at the Civic Centre last night.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again — Dynamiters is the niftiest nickname in the hockey world. At least it is in my books.
I don’t know what it is about it that appeals to me, but there is something about it. Maybe it’s because
Lynn Lake's high school hockey team, circa 1967.
(Photo by Vic Laird)
that nickname goes back a long way with me.
I was raised in Lynn Lake, a mining community in northern Manitoba. As a teenager, I played for a high school team that was in a league with two teams from the local mine. One of the teams was the Surface Bombers; the other was the Underground Dynamiters.
Yes, it was a tough league. Yes, I was the furthest thing from a tough cookie.
But perhaps it was from that three-team league in a small town that my affinity for Dynamiters comes.
Anyway . . . you can bet I’ll be paying attention to the Cyclone Taylor Cup over the Easter weekend.
The Cyclone Taylor Cup home page is right here and, yes, it includes a schedule.
KABOOM!
———







F Viktor Gibbs Sjödin (Portland, 2006-08) has signed a one-year extension with the Melbourne Mustangs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, with the Mustangs, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 22 games. He was named the AIHL championship final MVP as the Mustangs won the title. The AIHL regular season begins on April 25. . . .
F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2010-14) has signed a one-year extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). In 50 games this season, he had four goals and 17 assists. Proft has dual Canadian-German citizenship. . . .
F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has signed a one-year extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). In 52 games this season, he had 32 points, including 18 goals. He has dual Canadian-German citizenship.
———




The Lethbridge Hurricanes held a public information session on Monday night. The meeting had nothing to do with finances as it wasn’t an AGM or a shareholders’ meeting. . . . Pat Siedlecki has more on his blog right here.
——
F Mads Eller of the Edmonton Oil Kings may return tonight for Game 4 against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, who hold a 2-1 edge in the series. Eller left Sunday’s game in the first period after running into the gate as he attempted to check Brandon F Braylon Shmyr. He hit the open gate with his neck/shoulder area. “There’s no structural damage,” Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun. “I’ve seen that hit or incident on a couple of different angles and . . . it was hard to watch but miraculous that there wasn’t damage beyond what he’s gone through.” . . . Tonight’s game will be televised on Sportsnet.
——
The Tri-City Americans are running out of defencemen as they attempt to get back in their series with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Game 3 is scheduled for tonight in Kennewick, Wash., with the Rockets up 2-0 and having yet to surrender even one goal. . . . Riley Hillis, who missed the last 10 games of the regular season, returned for the first two games but will be a game-time decision. Carter Cochrane’s season is over after he had shoulder surgery. On top of that, Tyler Morrison suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 2 on Saturday. . . . If Hillis isn’t able to play, the Americans will be down to five defencemen. . . . Kelowna lost D Devante Stephens (right leg) during Saturday’s game. The Rockets are already without D Josh Morrissey, who isn’t expected to play in this series.
———




The Regina Pats hold a 2-0 lead as they go into Swift Current to meet the Broncos tonight. In its last 11 trips to Swift Current over the past three seasons, Regina has two victories. . . .
F Quintin Lisoway of the Brandon Wheat Kings underwent left knee surgery on Monday in Winnipeg. Lisoway, who will be 20 next season, is expected to be ready for training camp. Dr. Peter MacDonald, who works with the Winnipeg Jets, repaired Lisoway’s anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. . . .
This being playoff time, the Everett Silvertips are saying little about the status of D Ben Betker, who suffered an arm injury during a 6-2 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs in Game 2 of their series on Saturday night. . . . Betker left in the first period and didn’t return. His status for Game 3 on Wednesday isn’t known. As Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald write: “If Betker is unavailable for Wednesday's Game 3 in Spokane it's a big blow for the Tips. The 6-foot-6 overager plays heavy minutes against opposing top lines as a member of Everett's top defensive pairing.” . . . The series is tied, 1-1.
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wheaties win in Edmonton . . . Tambellini OT hero . . . Langhamer, Hill pitch shutouts

If you didn’t watch the fifth estate’s episode — The Pain Game: Drugs, Doctors and Pro Sports — you should give it a view. It’s right here.
A lot of the news magazine’s show deals with the late Derek Boogaard and it really is scary stuff.
The foundation for a lot of the show is work done by Len Boogaard, Derek’s father who has retired from the RCMP. Through this, Len has documented the trail of drugs that led to his son’s opiate addiction and, ultimately, to his death.
The document is 23 pages in length and to sit and peruse it, one prescription at a time, really is overwhelming.
“In an effort to better understand the circumstances that contributed to the death of my son,” Len writes, “I requested documentation from team medical staff, outside physicians, the NHL’s substance abuse program, the rehabilitation facilities Derek attended, drug testing facilities and the pharmacies that filled his numerous prescriptions.
“In addition, I have spoken with a number of people who knew Derek and I have analyzed his own personal documents, such as cell phone, bank and email records.
“I was not always provided with the documentation I requested; however, I believe I have obtained information sufficient to construct a time-line of sorts spanning from Derek’s first entry in a rehabilitation facility in September 2009 until his passing.”
The document is heart-breaking and raises all kinds of questions. More than anything, though, it shows how the NHL, a couple of NHL teams, the NHLPA and various doctors — a couple of whom all but run from the fifth estate’s camera — failed Derek Boogaard.
You really need to watch this episode of the fifth estate. And if you haven’t already, read Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard. Written by John Branch of The New York Times, this is a devastating look at how Boogaard went from a fun-loving youngster who was just trying to fit in to an NHL enforcer who was enabled every step of the way.
Package all of this together and you get a look at an unseemly side of the NHL.
———


 

SUNDAY’S GAMES:

In Edmonton, G Jordan Papirny stopped 41 shots and the Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s last two goals as they beat the Oil Kings, 3-2. . . . The Wheat Kings lead the series 2-1 with Games 4 and 5 scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Both games are to be televised by Sportsnet. . . . Last night, Brandon D Macoy Erkamps, in his fourth WHL season but in the playoffs for the first time, broke a 2-2 tie at 6:02 of the third period. . . . Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk had tied it at 2:31 of the third with his third goal of the series. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 1-0 lead on F John Quenneville’s goal with 26.3 seconds left in the first. . . . The Oil Kings scored twice in the second — F Davis Koch at 1:54 and D Ben Carroll, on the PP, at 6:30. . . . The Oil Kings thought they had tied the score late in the third period when F Brandon Baddock had his own rebound go off his chest and past Papirny. But the goal was disallowed after video review. . . . “Hands are tied: you can’t glove it in, you can’t high-stick it in, you can’t use your feet, so I tried to use my body,” Baddock said on the Oil Kings’ website.“They said . . . I kind of directed my shoulders into it, and obviously that’s not allowed.” . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots. . . . Brandon F Braylon Shmyr was unsuccessful on a penalty shot at 16:23 of the first period. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-for-3. . . . Edmonton F Mads Eller left the game in the first and didn’t return. He was injured when he hit one of the gates at the Oil Kings’ bench in attempting to check Shmyr. Eller’s status for Tuesday’s game isn’t known. . . . The Oil Kings took out D Marshall Donald and F Brayden Brown, replacing them with D Jake Kohlhauser and G Tyson Gruninger. . . . Brandon had F Duncan Campbell and F Tanner Kaspick back after they missed the first two games. To get them in, Brandon took out F Stelio Mattheos and D Mark Matsuba . . . Attendance was 5,957. . . . Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, reports that Brandon F Quintin Lisoway is expected to have knee surgery today. Lisoway last played on March 4.

In Calgary, F Adam Tambellini’s goal at 16:36 of OT gave the Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The series is 1-1 as it heads for Cranbrook, B.C., and games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . F Pavel Kamaukhov scored both of Calgary’s regulation-time goals, both via the PP. He also drew an assist on the winner. . . . Kamaukhov gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the second period and tied the game 2-2 at 10:31 of the third. . . . F Sam Reinhart got the Ice’s first goal, on a PP, at 17:51 of the second. . . . F Jaedon Descheneau gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at 19:36 of the second. . . . Hitmen F Radel Fazleev had two assists, giving him four helpers in two games. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields came on to start the third period and stopped all 19 shots he faced. Starter Brendan Burke had given up two goals on 18 shots. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin turned aside 30 shots. . . . The Hitmen were 2-for-2 on the PP; the Ice was 1-for-2. . . . D Jake Bean was among Calgary’s scratches. He suffered an apparent ankle injury in the third period of Friday’s game. . . . Attendance was 8,560. . . . Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun has a game story right here.

In Medicine Hat, F Trevor Cox scored the game’s only goal as the Tigers beat the Red Deer Rebels, 1-0, in overtime. . . . The Tigers had won the opener 2-1 on Saturday, so goals have been hard to come by. . . . Cox had two assists on Saturday, so has been in on all three of his side’s goals. . . . The teams now head to Red Deer for games on Wednesday and Thursday nights. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer stopped 27 shots in earning his first career playoff shutout. . . . Red Deer G Rylan Toth turned aside 36 shots. . . . Cox finished second in the regular-season points race, with 109 points, including a WHL-leading 80 assists, banked the winner in off Toth. . . . The Tigers were 0-for-5 on the PP; the Rebels were 0-for-3. . . . Medicine Hat had D Ty Lewington, its captain, back in the lineup after he served a one-game WHL suspension. . . . Attendance was 4,006.

In Portland, G Adin Hill turned aside 21 shots to lead the Winterhawks to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . It was Hill’s first career playoff shutout. . . . The series is tied 1-1 with the next two games in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday and Thursday nights. . . . F Nic Petan scored the game’s first goal, at 14:23 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks iced it with empty-net goals from F Dominic Turgeon, at 18:02 of the third, and F Oliver Bjorkstrand, at 18:14. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 36 shots. . . . Each team was 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . Attendance was 9,119. . . . The game story that freelancer Scott Sepich wrote for The Oregonian is right here. . . . Paul Danzer of The Columbian has a game story right here.
———


With the Portland Winterhawks having opened the playoffs with two home games, Scott Sepich, a freelancer who often writes for The Oregonian, looks at the team’s relationship with Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a venue that is 55 years of age and in need of at least some help. . . . That story is right here.
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“More than a quarter of all helmets worn by hockey players, from the NHL to youth leagues, are unsafe, according to an independent study provided to ‘Outside the Lines’ that ranked hockey helmets based on their ability to reduce concussion risk,” writes Steve Fainaru of the ESPN investigative newsmagazine Outside the Lines. “Out of 32 helmets in the marketplace that were tested by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, nine failed to earn a single star on a five-star scale and were classified as ‘not recommended.’ Just one helmet, made by Warrior Sports, received three stars. The rest received one or two stars.” . . . The really scary part of this report is, as Fainaru writes, “Hockey players wearing the ‘not recommended’ helmets risk incurring at least six concussions per season, and in some cases more than eight, according to Virginia Tech.” . . . The complete story, including a chart showing test results, is right here.
———

THE COACHING GAME:

Dwayne Kirkup won’t be back as head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. He had been in the position since May 6, 2013, having joined the Natives after a stint as head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He was the MJHL’s coach of the year in 2009-10. . . . This season, the Natives finished 15-42-3, leaving them with the 11-team league’s poorest record.
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Solution to NFL extra-point angst? . . . Big Papi future mayor of Boston?





Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, spends a lot of time watching March Madness. One of his viewings resulted in this comment: “CBS keeps flogging me with the slogan: ‘The Masters, a tradition unlike any other.’ Can someone tell me why the tradition of the Masters is any different from the tradition surrounding: The Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500, the Army/Navy Game, the Rose Bowl, Thanksgiving? Just asking.” . . . A concussion has kept forward Clarke MacArthur out of the Ottawa Senators’ lineup since Feb. 16, but he feels that he is close to returning. As he put it: "I feel my marbles are rolling in the right direction now.” . . .

“This year,” writes Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald, “Las Vegas is the most popular spring break destination. Sure, kids realize their only hope of paying off their college loans before they’re 80 is to get lucky at the gambling tables.” . . . Here’s Dickson, again: “A candidate for Lt. Gov. of Kentucky said he was arrested for failing to return a library book. . . . Ah, to live in a nation where the worst criminal offense politicians ever commit is failing to return an overdue book. We’ve got one politician in this country who apparently reads and they arrest him?” . . .

A tweet from Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen: “Simple, fun solution to #NFL extra point angst: have them kicked by any other player on the team except the FG/KO guy.” . . . After Brock Lesnar walked away from UFC and re-signed with WWE, Rolfsen wrote: “He signed the contract with a pen knife he had hidden in the waistband of his trunks.” . . . Rolfsen had this precise analysis of the upcoming NHL draft: “In the race for the draft, the Sabres, Coyotes and Oilers all have the same magic number: 97.” . . .

Offensive lineman John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens is the co-writer of a paper that has been published in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. Its title is A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians. . . . “And to think,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “some of his O-line brethren can’t even remember the snap count.” . . . Defensive end Randy Gregory of the Nebraska Cornhuskers has admitted that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine. “His agent,” reports Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong, “said Gregory’s response was that he wanted to be a high draft choice.” . . . 

I have to wonder how pleased the good folks of Winkler, Man., are with that Canadian Tire commercial that appears to point out every pothole in the community. . . . Loved this response from the Winkler Fire Department: "We got featured in this commercial! But didn't know we had that pothole in front of the firehall! LOL!!" . . . The Chicago Cubs appear to be in midseason form as pitcher Edwin Jackson was scratched from a spring-training start when he drove to the wrong ballpark. Of course, as Jeremy Muck of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette points out: “Jackson once walked eight batters in a no-hitter, so he knows a thing or two about not finding the right location.” . . . Headline at fark.com: Steelers sign James Harrison to a 10-game suspension, $100,000 fine. . . .

“Maria Sharapova was upset by wildcard Daria Gavrilova in the second round of the Miami Open,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “I’ll go out on a limb and say Sharapova didn’t go quietly.” . . . Here’s Currie, again: “NFL owners voted 31-1 to end TV blackouts for the upcoming season. Fans in Jacksonville and Oakland immediately appealed the decision.” . . .

“Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky talks to an imaginary friend, Karlito, on one of his shoulders,” writes contributor Bill Littlejohn. “Karlito reportedly helps Karl deal with criticism. I hear Karlito's cousin is Manti Te’o's girlfriend.” . . . Littlejohn, again: “Report — Tiger Woods is '50-50' for the Masters. Does that mean 50 on the front nine, followed by 50 on the back?” . . . There are reports from Florida that Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Miami Marlins, has changed his ways. How so? “His players have a new private team jet that includes a massage table,” Greg Cote of the Miami Herald offers. “They used to have to make their own bats on a wood lathe.” . . .

A note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, about one of the most irritating things in life today: “When these companies put you on hold for 30-plus minutes and say periodically ‘Thank you for your time and patience,’ I am reminded of that little vulture statue they used to sell in gift shops . . . ‘Patience my a**, I’m going to kill something.’ ” . . . Here’s Hough, again: “David Ortiz says he has never ‘knowingly’ used steroids. Is Big Papi planning a future in politics?”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cougars unable to contain Magee . . . Whistle still unbeaten . . . Malenstyn wants to help friend


SATURDAY’S GAMES:


In Regina, F Adam Brooks broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Pats, who won 4-2 on Friday, lead the series 2-0 as it heads to Swift Current for games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled to be televised by Shaw. . . . D Brett Lernout gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 5:00 of the first period. . . . Regina took the lead before the period ended, on goals by F Taylor Cooper, at 8:39, and F Jesse Gabrielle, at 14:24. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen pulled the Broncos even at 7:32 of the second. . . . Brooks scored the winner at 6:34 of the third. . . . It’s the first time the Pats have won back-to-back playoff games at home since the spring of 2001. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple turned aside 29 shots, eight fewer than Landon Bow of the Broncos. . . . F Braden Christoffer had two assists for the Pats. . . . Regina was 0-for-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-for-2. The second of those started with 53 seconds left in the third period. . . . Attendance was 5,377.

In Medicine Hat, G Marek Langhamer stopped 30 shots to help the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . This was the series opener with Game 2 tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . Langhamer, a 20-year-old Czech, is the last European goaltender in the WHL. CHL teams no longer are allowed to use Euro goaltenders. . . . One goal was scored in each period of this game. . . . Tigers D Kyle Becker opened the scoring at 6:32 of the first. . . . F Cole Sanford, Medicine Hat’s 50-goal man, made it 2-0 at 14:29 of the second, on a PP. . . . Red Deer F Grayson Pawlenchuk got his guys to within a goal at 11:19 of the third. . . . F Trevor Cox had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-for-2 on the PP; Red Deer’s PP unit was never given even one opportunity. . . . Red Deer G Rylan Toth stopped 31 shots. . . . Attendance was 4,006. . . . The Tigers have added F James Hamblin to their roster, but he didn’t play last night. He was a first-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. He played this season with the Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club.

In Victoria, F Brandon Magee scored two third-period goals to lead the Royals to a 5-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . On Friday, Magee had three goals in Victoria’s 5-3 victory. . . . The series now moves to Prince George for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Greg Chase gave the Royals a 3-1 lead at 15:11 of the second period. . . . The Cougars tied it on goals by F Zach Pochiro, at 18:28 of the second, and D Tate Olson, his second of the game, at 5:02 of the third, via the PP. . . . Magee put the Royals back in front at 11:51, only to have Cougars F Chase Witala tie it at 13:49. . . . Magee then scored the winner at 15:47. . . . That goal was Magee’s 20th career playoff point, allowing him to tie the franchise record that had been held by F Stephen Hodges. . . . F Brad Morrison, F Jansen Harkins and D Joe Carvalho each had two assists for the Cougars. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 30 shots, 10 more than Prince George’s Ty Edmonds. . . . The Cougars were 2-for-6 on the PP, giving them five PP goals in two games. The Royals were 0-for-2. . . . Attendance was 5,545.

In Kelowna, G Jackson Whistle turned aside 30 shots in posting his second straight shutout as the Rockets beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-0. . . . Whistle has made two career playoff starts and has yet to surrender even one goal. On Friday, the Rockets beat the Americans, 6-0, as Whistle made 18 saves. . . . The series now moves to Kennewick, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . F Rodney Southam, who started this season with the Americans, opened the scoring for Kelowna at 7:42 of the second period. . . . F Leon Draisaitl added insurance at 15:54 of the third and F Tyson Baillie scored an empty-netter at 18:36. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 42 shots. . . . The Rockets held a 20-6 edge in shots after one period. . . . Each team was 0-for-3 on the PP. . . . Attendance was 5,639. . . . Craig West, the play-by-play voice of the Americans, called his 2,000th WHL game last night.

In Everett, the Spokane Chiefs scored four times in the first period en route to a 6-2 victory over the Silvertips. . . . The Chiefs, 5-1 losers in Game 1, will play host to Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday. . . . F Adam Helewka had two goals and an assist for Spokane, while F Dominic Zwerger also scored twice. . . . Chiefs F Keanu Yamamoto had two assists. . . . Spokane G Garret Hughson stopped 29 shots. He lost his shutout at 14:21 of the third period when D Cole MacDonald scored. . . . Spokane was 3-for-9 on the PP; Everett was 1-for-7. . . . The game featured 30 minor penalties, 16 of them to the Silvertips. Ten roughing minors were handed out at the final buzzer. . . . Everett D Ben Betker left in the first period with an apparent arm injury and didn’t return. . . . Attendance was 4,339.

In Portland, F Mathew Barzal opened and closed the scoring as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Portland. . . . Barzal’s second goal, at 17:18 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . The Winterhawks went on the PP with 53.1 seconds left in the third period but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the first period when Barzal scored, at 1:01, and F Cory Millette added a PP goal, at 15:43. . . . Portland D Blake Heinrich got his guys on the board at 19:55. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when D Adam Henry scored a PP goal at 8:37 of the second and took the lead on F Evan Weinger’s goal at 6:27 of the third. . . . Seattle F Scott Eansor tied it at 11:41. . . . F Ryan Gropp drew an assist on both of Barzal’s goals. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 34 shots, five more than Portland’s Adin Hill. . . . Gropp came up short on a third-period penalty shot with the score 2-2. . . . Weinger scored 10 seconds later. . . . Seattle was 1-for-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-for-3. . . . Portland F Alex Schoenborn returned after not playing since Jan. 31. He missed 19 games. . . . Attendance was 7,072.
———


The third game of the series between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Rebels in Red Deer will begin at 7 p.m. The game, which is scheduled for Wednesday, originally was scheduled for 7 p.m., but then was shifted to TBD in order to accommodate a possible Sportsnet telecast. But the Brandon-Edmonton series will go at least five games, with the fifth game set for Wednesday. Sportsnet will televise that game, with an 8 p.m. start time, allowing Game 3 in Red Deer to begin at 7 p.m.
——
F Beck Malenstyn of the Calgary Hitmen has a friend in Penticton who is battling cancer. Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun reports that Kaylee Kozari-Bowland, 16, has “a rare, aggressive form of cancer” and “has exhausted all treatments available at the B.C. Children’s hospital, and now her desperate family is looking to a trial at the MD Cancer Center in Texas.” . . . Her family is looking at a bill of $200,000 or more, and Malenstyn wants to help. So he and the Hitmen are putting together a silent auction. . . . Fisher’s story is right here.
———

THE COACHING GAME:

Brett Hopfe has resigned as director of hockey operations and head coach of the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. Hopfe has filled both positions for more than three seasons. . . . Hopfe had signed a three-year contract extension on June 10. . . . The Grizzlys finished 24-27-9 this season, good for fifth place in the South Division. They were swept by the Drumheller Dragons in a best-of-five first-round playoff series.
———


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Wheaties even series . . . Ice get past Hitmen . . . Stadnyk sinks Chiefs








D James Bettauer (Chilliwack, Prince Albert, Medicine Hat, 2008-09, 2010-12) has signed one-year extension with Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). This season, with Augsburg, he had nine goals and 17 assists in 50 games. The contract contains a summer opt-out clause should Bettauer sign a North American contract. Bettauer has dual Canadian-German citizenship.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:


In Brandon, F John Quenneville had a goal and three assists to lead the Wheat Kings to an 8-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton had won the series opener, 4-1, on Thursday night. . . . The next three games will be played in Edmonton, starting on Sunday. Games 4 and 5 are to be televised by Sportsnet. . . . On Friday, Brandon scored the game’s first seven goals. . . . F Tyler Coulter opened the scoring 36 seconds into the first period. One night earlier, Edmonton scored its first goal 11 seconds into the game. . . . F Tim McGauley had two goals and an assist for Brandon, with F Jayce Hawryluk scoring twice. D Ivan Provorov had three assists. . . . Brandon got a goal and an assist from each of D Eric Roy, F Rihards Bukarts and Coulter. . . . Brandon D Colton Waltz had one assist and was plus-4. . . . G Jordan Papirny stopped 33 shots for Brandon. Edmonton starter Tristan Jarry was beaten five times on 29 shots before being relieved by Patrick Dea with 14:08 left in the third. Dea gave up three goals on 12 shots. . . . Dea did turn aside Hawryluk on a penalty shot. . . . Brandon was 3-for-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-6. . . . Attendance was 4,102, which is 1,016 more than attended the opener.


In Regina, F Pavel Padakin scored two goals to help the Pats to a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Game 2 of the series is scheduled for tonight in Regina. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin got the game’s first goal, at 2:01 of the first period. . . . Regina F Patrick D’Amico tied it at 12:38. . . . Padakin gave the Pats a 3-1 lead with goals 59 seconds part late in the first period. . . . The Broncos got back to within one on F Jay Merkley’s goal at 10:53 of the second. . . . The score stayed at 3-2 until Regina F Braden Christoffer scored an empty-netter at 19:42 of the third. . . . Each team was 0-for-1 on the PP. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 35 shots, including 17 of 18 in the first period. . . . Swift Current’s Landon Bow turned aside 28 shots. . . . Attendance was 5,361.


In Calgary, F Jaedon Descheneau’s shorthanded goal stood up as the winner as the Kootenay Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-3. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday in Calgary and will be televised by Shaw. . . . Ice F Luke Philp broke a 2-2 tie with his second goal, at 17:17 of the second period. . . . Descheneau scored his shortie at 9:57 of the third. . . . Philp and D Tyler King gave the visitors a 2-0 lead before the first period was 15 minutes old. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean scored a PP goal at 19:44 of the first and F Kenton Helgesen tied it at 4:23 of the second. . . . Calgary F Connor Rankin got his side’s final goal, at 13:07 of the third. . . . Bean was playing his first game since suffering a wrist injury on Feb. 28 in Kelowna. He missed the last nine games of the regular season. . . . Philp also had an assist, and F Austin Vetterl had two of them. . . . D Radel Fazleev had two assists for Calgary. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin turned aside 29 shots, two more than Calgary’s Brendan Burke. . . . The Ice was 1-for-3 on the PP; the Hitmen were 1-for-4. . . . The Hitmen had won their last five games of the regular season, the last two of which were against the Ice. . . . Attendance was 8,256.


In Victoria, F Brandon Magee scored three times in the second period as the Royals got past the Prince George Cougars, 5-3. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Victoria tonight. . . . The Cougars got first-period PP goals from D Tate Olson and F Chase Witala to take a 2-0 lead. . . . Magee tied it with goals at 4:59 and 5:59 of the second. . . . Victoria F Greg Chase gave his guys their first lead at 12:20 and Magee filled his hat at 18:44. . . . Cougars F Kody McDonald cut the deficit to one with a PP goal at 6:32 of the third. . . . Victoria F Taylor Crunk scored an empty-netter at 19:27. . . . D Joe Hicketts and F Alex Forsberg, who began his career with the Cougars, each had two assists. . . . F Brad Morrison had two assists for Prince George. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 28 shots, eight more than Prince George’s Ty Edmonds. . . . The Cougars were 3-for-4 on the PP; the Royals were 0-for-3. . . . Attendance was 4,629.

In Kelowna, G Jackson Whistle stopped 18 shots for the first shutout of these playoffs, as the Rockets dumped the Tri-City Americans, 6-0. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for Kelowna tonight. . . . Whistle’s shutout came in his first career playoff start. . . . F Rourke Chartier scored the game’s first goal, at 2:06 of the first period. . . . Chartier scored twice, getting the second one while shorthanded in the third period. F Nick Merkley also scored a shorthanded goal. . . . Chartier also had an assist, while Merkley had two of them. . . . Rockets D Madison Bowey had a goal and an assist, and was plus-4. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 24 shots. . . . Kelowna was 0-for-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-5. . . . Attendance was 5,369.

In Everett, F Carson Stadnyk scored three goals early in the third period as the Silvertips erased a 1-0 deficit and beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-1. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Everett tonight. . . . Spokane F Liam Stewart scored the game’s first goal, at 13:55 of the second period. . . . Everett scored five goals on 12 third-period shots. . . . Stadnyk tied it 17 seconds into the third, then gave his guys the lead at 1:34. He completed the hat trick at 4:03. . . . He scored three times in 3:46. The WHL playoff record for fastest three goals by one player is 2:39 by F Doug Saunders of the Kamloops Jr. Oilers. He did it on April 14, 1984, in the third period of a 10-5 victory over the host Portland Winter Hawks. . . . Stadnyk also drew an assist on F Ivan Nikolishin’s first of two PP goals in the latter half of the third period. . . . Everett was 2-for-8 on the PP; Spokane was 0-for-4. . . . The Chiefs took 87 of the 156 penalty minutes that were handed out, with 138 of those coming after Everett went ahead 3-1. . . . Everett G Carter Hart stopped 22 shots, five fewer than Spokane’s Garret Hughson. . . . Attendance was 3,358.
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Condolences to former Portland Winterhawks head coach Mike Johnston on the death of his mother. Johnston is in his first season as head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
From a Penguins’ news release:
“Sheila Margaret (Mickey) Johnston . . . passed away Friday in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She was 81.
“Funeral services will be held Tuesday.
“Mike will coach both games this weekend, then travel to Nova Scotia for the funeral.”
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Former Brandon Wheat Kings D Don Dietrich has been to the top of the world — well, kind of — and back, and he loved every minute of it. There’s more right here from the Winnipeg Free Press.
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Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, has been named head coach of the Canadian U-18 team that will play in the IIHF World championship that runs April 16-26 in Lucerne and Zug, Switzerland. . . . Hunter, 54, has just completed his first season with the Warriors. A former NHL player and NHL assistant coach, he will be making his first appearance behind a Team Canada bench. . . . His assistant coaches will be Ian Herbers, a former WHLer who is the head coach of the CIS-champion U of Alberta Golden Bears, and Louis Robitaille, an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs.
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“As a former NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy spent eight years skating for three teams, but his true life’s work has been focused on being a champion for millions of abuse survivors,” reads a news release issued by the University of Guelph on Friday. “It is because of his ability to stand up in the face of adversity and create positive change that the University of Guelph and College of Business and Economics will recognize him with the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award on May 27.” . . . The complete news release is right here.
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Rudy Poeschek, a former NHLer who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers/Blazers (1983-87) has been charged with assault, driving while prohibited and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. . . . Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week has more right here.
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