Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ully to play Russians . . . Wong fills hat in win . . . Oil Kings winless in Spokane

F Cole Ully of the Kamloops Blazers, who is leading the WHL scoring race, has been added to the WHL team that will play a touring Russian side in the Subway Super Series. Games are scheduled for Nov. 10 in Saskatoon and Nov. 11 n Brandon. . . . Ully, a 19-year-old from Calgary, was a fifth-round pick by the Dallas Stars in the 2013 NHL draft. He went into this season as perhaps the most under-rated player in the WHL. However, his start -- he has 26 points, including nine goals, in 16 games -- has taken care of that label. . . . Ully (flu) sat out the Blazers’ 4-1 loss to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Wednedsay night.
The Kootenay Ice has released D Jordan Steenbergen, who was pointless in 12 games. Steenbergen, an 18-year-old from Sylvan Lake, Alta., is expected to join the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. He was a third-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . "It was a mutual parting of the ways," Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth told Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. "He wasn't going to be happy being a No. 6, 7 or 8 defenceman or on the fourth line (as a) forward. He wanted to play more and we couldn't guarantee that. We reached a mutual decision to part ways." . . . The Ice now is carrying 23 players, including seven defencemen and 14 forwards.
The Saskatoon Blades have revealed that they will be keeping F Luke Gingras for the remainder of this season. Gingras, a fourth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft, has played two games with the Blades and is looking for his first point. A 16-year-old from Langley, B.C., he started the season with the major midget Valley West Hawks and had 20 points in eight games before joining the Blades.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have their roster down to 25 after releasing D Michal Holub, an 18-year-old from Mission. B.C. A third-round pick by Seattle in the 2011 bantam draft, he was acquired by Lethbridge at the 2013 trade deadline. He had eight points, including three goals, in 66 games with the Thunderbirds, and had one goal in 20 games with Lethbridge. . . . Holub is expected to join the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors.
The Regina Pats have returned D Ryan Krushen, 16, to the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. Krushen, who was brought in a week ago due to injury concerns, played two games with the Pats.


In Lethbridge, F Tyler Wong scored three times to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Wong has five goals this season. . . . The Hurricanes have won four of their last five games. . . . F Carter Folk had three assists for the winners. . . . G Zac Robidoux stopped 31 shots for his first victory with Lethbridge. Hurricanes starter Stuart Skinner left Wednesday for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . Veteran F Marcus Messier, 20, scored his first goal with the Raiders. . . . Earlier in the day, the Raiders learned that German F Leon Draisaitl, 18, will be staying with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. He played his 10th game with the Oilers last night. . . .

In Vancouver, the Brandon Wheat Kings broke a 1-1 tie with three second-period goals and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Giants. . . . F Tyler Coulter scored twice for Brandon, giving him eight on the season. . . . Brandon F Jesse Gabrielle added his ninth as the Wheat Kings finished a tour through the B.C. Division at 4-1. . . . They will stop in Lethbridge on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday on the way home. . . . Brandon F John Quenneville scored his fourth goal and added two assists. . . . Brandon F Rihards Bukharts, the team's leading scorer, was a healthy scratch for a second straight game as F Richard Nejezchleb played his second straight game. Brandon is carrying three imports -- D Ivan Provorov is the other -- and one will have to be traded or released in the next few days to get down to the maximum of two. . . .

In Kamloops, F Kohl Bauml scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Silvertips took a 2-1 lead into the third period when they tied a franchise record with goals six seconds apart to take control. . . . Bauml scored his second of the game, and seventh of the season, at 4:08 and F Carson Stadnyk got his eighth at 4:14. . . . The franchise record was set last season when D Ben Betker and F Jujhar Khaira scored at 3:32 and 3:38 of the third period in a 7-0 victory in Kamloops on Dec. 7. . . . Everett F Nikita Scherback had two assists. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully, the WHL's leading scorer, sat this one out with the flu. . . . The Blazers also were without F Jake Kryski, who left yesterday for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . Everett is 9-1-3 overall, and 6-0-1 on the road. . . . Everett also won in Kamloops on Oct. 11, beating the Blazers, 5-1. . . . Kamloops visits Everett on Nov. 15 and Nov. 26. . . .

In Spokane, F Calder Brooks scored the lone goal of a three-round shootout as the Chiefs beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-3. . . . Chiefs F Adam Helewka forced OT with his second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, at 18:39 of the third period. He also had an assist. . . . Spokane G Garret Hughson turned aside 46 shots through OT and was perfect in the shootout. . . . F Cole Benson had two assists for Edmonton, giving him 13 points in 14 games. Last season, he finished with a career-high 13 points in 59 games. . . . The Chiefs lost D Tamas Laday to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 19:37 of the first period. . . . In their history, the Oil Kings have played four times in Spokane and are 0-3-1.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hurricanes player retires . . . Fuhr back with Pats . . . Rockets lose goalie to injury

Gordie Howe, aka Mr. Hockey, had a serious stroke on the weekend and is believed to be in failing health. Howe was stricken in Lubbock, Texas, at the home of his daughter, Cathy. Other family members spent Tuesday en route to Lubbock. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press has more right here.
The Moose Jaw Warriors had many people, including players, from their organization take part in a three-hour safeTALK presentation with Donna Boyer of the Canadian Mental Health Associated last week. Katie Brickman of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald sat through it and writes right here about what she heard and saw. This is important stuff.
It's doubtful that any WHL team is delving as deeply into analytics -- aka fancy stats -- as the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades have hired Bruce Peter as their director of analytics. Daniel Nugent-Bowman takes a look right here at what Peter does and how the Blades are making use of his work.

A shoulder problem has brought a premature end to the career of Lethbridge Hurricanes F Steven Alldridge. An 18-year-old native of Inuvik, N.W.T., Alldridge announced his retirement on Tuesday. . . . The Hurricanes acquired Alldridge, F Shane McColgan, then 20, and a second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft from the Portland Winterhawks for G Corbin Boes, also 20, on Jan. 9. Alldridge, a Portland list player, was pointless in 24 games with the Winterhawks and 15 with the Hurricanes. He never did get into a game this season after undergoing surgery in late April.
G Tyler Fuhr, 19, is back with the Regina Pats. Fuhr left the club in late September. “It was personal business; we’ll just leave it at that,” Fuhr told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “It was something I had to deal with. I wanted my main focus to be on hockey and nothing distracting me. I think that was the best thing to do. Everything is resolved now.” Fuhr, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., hasn't played for the Pats since Sept. 26. In his absence, Tyler Brown, who had been with the MJHL's Winnipeg Blues, backed up starter Daniel Wapple. . . . Harder also reports: "Work crews have started making preparations for the installation of a new centre-ice scoreboard at the Brandt Centre. The process will require significant modifications — including adjustments to catwalks, wiring and ventilation as well as structural reinforcement — so the clock can be raised into the rafters during non-hockey events. It’s hoped the new scoreboard will be in place before the New Year."
F Dalton Sward, 20, won't play tonight as the Vancouver Giants play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. He suffered an undisclosed injury during a Saturday game with the host Victoria Royals. . . . The Giants also will be missing F Tyler Benson and F Ryely McKinstry, both of whom leave today for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in the Sarnia, Ont., area. . . . That will allow F Brendan Semchuk to make his WHL debut. Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall pick in the 2014 bantam draft. Semchuk is playing at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has more on the Giants right here.


In Victoria, D Ryan Pilon broke a 2-2 tie at 11:34 of the third period to lift the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Royals. . . . Pilon has three goals this season. . . . The Wheat Kings, who play the Giants in Vancouver tonight, are 3-1-0 on a seven-game road trip. . . . Victoria F Axel Blomqvist had tied the game 2-2 at 16:55 of the second period with his fifth goal. . . . Czech F Richard Nejezchleb, playing in his first game of the season for Brandon, scored a PP goal in the first period. . . . Nejezchleb returned from the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack and had to serve a two-game suspension left over from last spring's playoffs. Nejezchleb, 20, led the Wheat Kings with 32 goals last season, but his presence gives Brandon three imports. Either he, Latvian Rihards Bukharts, the team's leading scorer who didn't play last night, or freshman Russian D Ivan Provorov will be traded or released over the next few days. . . . Provorov, 17, had two assists last night. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. . . .

In Saskatoon, G Nik Amundrud made 30 saves to help the Blades to a 5-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Ryan Graham led the Blades with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . F Brayden Point scored twice for the Warriors, giving him eight on the season. . . . Saskatoon was 2-for-6 on the PP. . . . Saskatoon had F Nick Zajac back after he missed four games with a shoulder injury. . . . The Warriors, who were playing their fourth game in five nights, now have lost four in a row. They have scored five goals over their last five games. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a gamer right here. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the game's last three goals and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-3. . . . Rebels F Grayson Pawlenchuk tied the game 3-3 at 18:01 of the second period, with his fifth goal, and D Devan Fafard broke the tie, with his second, at 6:45 of the third. . . . Red Deer F Wyatt Johnson added insurance with his seventh goal. He's on a three-game goal streak. . . . F Trevor Cox drew three assists for the Tigers (11-2-1), while F Cole Sanford scored his ninth goal. . . . Medicine Hat F Chad Butcher picked up an assist as he ran his point streak to 10 games, the longest in the league this season. . . . Besides losing the game, the Tigers lost a tire. Here’s a late-night tweet from Bob Ridley, the bus-driving radio man: “On way home. May take a few hrs longer. Flat tire on Q.E . 2 at Olds turnoff. Waiting for help.” . . .

In Cranbrook, G Nick McBride posted his first WHL shutout to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . McBride stopped 29 shots. . . . The Ice has been blanked three times this season and has scored only five goals in five home games. . . . D Josh Morrissey had a goal, his third, and two assists for the Raiders, while F Craig Leverton and F Jayden Hart each scored his sixth goal. . . . Hart, who had one goal in his first seven games, is riding a five-game goal streak. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 41 shots. . . . At 3-12-0, the Ice is off to its worst start in franchise history. . . . The Ice, already without F Tim Bozon and F Jon Martin with undisclosed injuries, has lost D Tyler King for up to three weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a gamer right here.

Bruce Luebke, the veteran radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, reported Tuesday that freshman D Ivan Provorov will play for the Russian side during the Subway Super Series. The Russians will play a WHL team on Nov. 10 in Saskatoon and Nov. 11 in Brandon. . . .

Regan Bartel, who calls the play of Kelowna Rockets’ games, tweeted Tuesday that G Jake Morrissey “was hurt in practice” and that they “have brought in” Michael Herringer, 18, to back up Jackson Whistle. . . . Herringer was traded by the Victoria Royals to the Saskatoon Blades on Sept. 17. However, the Blades later dropped Herringer from their list when they acquired G Nik Amundrud, 17, from the Everett Silvertips.
Elliotte Friedman leads off with something about the Toronto Maple Leafs in his latest edition of 30 Thoughts. . . . It’s right here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sentencing date set for Blazers' majority owner . . . Konowalchuk's wallet lightened . . . Rockets to be without coach

Tom Gaglardi, the owner of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, will be sentenced on federal environmental-related charges on Dec. 12. Gaglardi and his family’s company, Northland Properties, were convicted on charges of harmful alteration of a fish habitat. . . . Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week has more right here.
Steve Konowalchuk, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, wasn’t happy with the officiating in a 2-1 OT loss to the host Everett Embellishers, er, Silvertips on Saturday night. Thom Beuning, the radio voice of the Thunderbirds, explains right here that the frustration has been building all season and that the explosion finally came. . . . On Monday, Konowalchuk was fined $750 by the WHL office.
Trevor Bast, the founder of Revive TRU Hockey, a group with the goal of bringing university hockey back to Kamloops, said Saturday the program could run on an annual budget of $90,000. “That was the approximate cost to run the team in 2013-14,” Bast, who lives in Victoria, said. “That number isn’t cast in stone but it’s a starting point.” . . . Bast’s group also is working on restructuring the cost to each potential player. “We are working with a couple of players and they suggest that a player fee of $1,800 is fair and manageable,” Bast said. Based on a 25-player roster, that would give the program $45,000 right off the bat. . . . “You could then say that hockey can exist at a CIS school, where the players pay $1,800 each and don’t receive any academic or athletic financial assistance, for an additional $45,000 per season,” Bast said. . . . At the same time, Bast has started up a petition aimed at reviving the program. That petition is right here. . . . For more information, contact Bast at or Cam Weir, a TRU student and hockey player, at
A lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis claims the NCAA and its Division 1 schools should be paying the federal minimum wage to student athletes. Unlike other pending lawsuits of this nature filed against the NCAA, this one includes each Division 1 school. . . . Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY has more right here.
Every newspaper editor should aspire to be Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor of the Washington Post, who died a week ago at the age of 93. If you click right here you will find a remarkable essay that he wrote dealing with lying and how it has become so popular in today’s culture.

F Tim Bozon of the Kootenay Ice is on the limp. Bozon, 20, made his season debut by playing in two games on the weekend. But the Ice’s weekly report has him out again, day-to-day, with an undisclosed injury. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets head for Portland and two games with the Winterhawks this week, but the B.C. bunch won’t have head coach Dan Lambert behind the bench. He’s headed for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, where he’ll be the head coach of one of three Canadian entries. In his absence, first-year assistant coaches Kris Mallette and Travis Crickard will run the Rockets for six games, including Thursday and Saturday in Portland. . . . The Rockets and Winterhawks met in last season’s Western Conference final, with Portland winning in five games. . . . On Sunday, the Winterhawks will play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings in a one-game rematch of last season’s championship final. The Oil Kings won that series in seven games and went on to win the Memorial Cup. . . .
The Winterhawks will be without F Alex Schoenborn, as he sits out a four-game suspension for a  headshot on F Reid Gardiner of the Prince Albert Raiders. See Monday’s Tweet of the Day for the visual evidence. . . . 
A news release from the Brandon Wheat Kings, who play the Royals in Victoria tonight, points out that their average attendance through six games is 4,018. Last season, the Wheat Kings averaged 3,529 through 36 games. “Brandon is a respectable 12th in league attendance and drawing better than six teams in larger locales -- Kamloops, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Prince George, Regina and Tri-City,” the news release reads. “Wheat Kings season-ticket sales are also ahead of pace, with 2,398 sold, up from last year's final tally of 2,357.” . . .
The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks recalled D Josh Manson from their AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, on Monday. Manson, a sixth-round selection by the Ducks in the NHL’s 2011 draft, played two seasons at Northeastern U. He is the son of former NHL/WHL D Dave Manson, now an associate coach with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .
The Vancouver Giants have released F Jack McClelland, an 18-year-old from Wichita, Kansas. He was pointless in five games. . . . McClelland, who was born in Oshawa, Ont., is the son of former NHL F Kevin McClelland.


The Prince George Cougars are the WHL’s most-penalized team, with 375 minutes. The least-penalized team? That would be the Everett Silvertips, a team accused by Seattle Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk of embellishing, with 99 minutes. The Cougars are taking 23.4 minutes per game, the Silvertips 8.25. . . . The Thunderbirds? A total of 212 minutes, for an average of 16.3. . . . Second to the Cougars in this dubious category are the Regina Pats, and they are 98 minutes behind in one fewer game. . . .
The team that leads the WHL in penalty minutes also has the poorest penalty killing, and that’s not a good combination. . . . The Cougars have been shorthanded a league-high 92 times and have given up 31 goals, 11 more than Regina. Swift Current has the league’s best PK unit (88.5 per cent) and has given up only seven goals. In four fewer games, Medicine Hat (88.2) has allowed only six PP goals. . . . I’m thinking the Cougars (8-8-0) are talking discipline these days. . . .
On the other side of the coin, the Cougars have had 78 PP opportunities (only the Medicine Hat Tigers, with 79, in three fewer games, have more), but are 19th in PP efficiency, at 14.1 per cent. . . . The Kelowna Rockets (24-for-73, 32.9) are first. . . . Everett is 11th (13-for-61, 21.3), with Seattle 13th (10-for-54, 18.5). . . . BTW, the Tigers are the only team in the league not to have scored a shorthanded goal. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings, with the third-ranked PK unit, and the Moose Jaw Warriors (20th) have four apiece.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wheat Kings poised to deal . . . Grant backstops Cougars to win . . . Pats end skid

With apologies to Blackie Sherrod, we're scattershooting on a Sunday night . . .

1. The Medicine Hat Tigers are one OT loss from being tied for the WHL's best record, and who saw that coming? The Tigers are 11-1-1, while the Kelowna Rockets, at 12-1-0, have the No. 1 record.

2. If you're a baseball fan who is interested in the World Series, you should be listening to ESPN Radio where Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone have been almost as good as San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner.

3. Hopefully, you have enjoyed Bumgarner's performance in this World Series because it truly is one for the ages. We should take time to appreciate greatness like this when it occurs.

4. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes about Bumgarner, his accomplishments and the state of this World Series right here. No, the Kansas City Royals are done.

5. Of course, the World Series will go to a Game 7. How do I know that? Because Game 7 would be played on Wednesday, the same night that the Everett Silvertips (8-1-3) are scheduled to meet the Blazers (9-6-1) in Kamloops. I really want to watch Ivan Nikolishin and Nikita Scherbak of the Silvertips taking on the Blazers’ big line that has Matt Needham between Cole Ully and Deven Sideroff. I realize that Nikolishin and Scherbak are regular linemates, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

6. LaMarr Houston, a defensive end with the Chicago Bears, suffered a knee injury while celebrating a sack on Sunday. The Bears were trailing by 25 points at the time. Yes, the apocalypse is that much closer.

7. I hate to break it to you but the top of Mount Martin now is white. The view from our deck looks east down the South Thompson River valley to Mount Martin. My wife tried to tell me it was just the sun shining on the mountain. Uhh, no!

8. F Leon Draisaitl celebrates his 19th birthday today as his Edmonton Oilers play host to the Montreal Canadiens. Assuming he plays tonight, it will be his ninth NHL game. If he plays a 10th game, the first year of his three-year contract is activated. The Oilers are expected to decide his immediate future -- stay with them or be returned to the Prince Albert Raiders -- before that 10th game arrives.

9. Spent part of the evening wondering how much Seattle Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk will be fined for his Saturday night rant on the state of WHL officiating. Also wondering if it will have an impact on his Christmas shopping.

10. That’s quite a drama the CBC has on its hands, isn’t it? Too bad it’s not a 10-part TV series. Yet.

All signs point toward the Brandon Wheat Kings trading away Czech F Richard Nejezchleb, 20. His presence gives Brandon three 20s, and that’s one over the maximum. Last season, he had 57 points, including a team-high 32 goals, in 66 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, general manager and head coach, says Nejezchleb played “like a man” last season. This season, he’s the odd-man out. . . . His NHL rights belong to the New York Rangers, and he returned to Brandon from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. But the Wheat Kings don’t have room for him. Allowed to keep two imports, it’s obvious that Brandon will hang on to Latvian F Rihards Bukarts, 19, and freshman Russian D Ivan Provorov. . . . Every other team in the WHL has two imports, so someone is going to have to open up a spot in order to acquire an awfully good player. For once, it would seem that McCrimmon isn’t dealing from a position of strength. He’s got about 10 days in which to move one of his imports and it would appear that another team is going to get a really good player for a mere pittance.
There is speculation that the owner of the American League's Tampa Bay Rays is perhaps wanting to relocate the franchise to Montreal, the former home of the Expos. How excited should Montreal baseball fans get? Richard Griffin, who is the Toronto Star's baseball columnist and who once worked for the Expos, explores the situation right here.
If you are of a certain vintage, you may be a Billy Joel fan. If that is the case, Nick Paumgarten has written a terrific piece for The New Yorker that is titled the Thirty-Three-Hit Wonder. It's long and it's right here.


In Calgary, the Prince George Cougars scored the game's first three goals and went on to beat the Hitmen, 3-2. . . . G Tavin Grant, a 16-year-old making his third career start, stopped 25 shots and got his first victory. . . . F Tyler Mrkonjic scored his third goal of the season at 3:32 of the third period to gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead. . . . F Chase Lang (7:53) and F Adam Tambellini (16:51), on a PP, got the Hitmen to within one. . . . Lang and Tambellini each has eight goals, as does Prince George F Chase Witala, who scored the game’s first goal. . . .

In Edmonton, the defending Memorial Cup-champion Oil Kings ran their record to 9-3-1 with a 3-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Edmonton F Edgars Kulda opened the scoring at 9:26 of the second period and the Oil Kings nursed that lead in the last three minutes of the third. . . . F Lane Bauer upped Edmonton's lead to 2-0 at 17:31 before Moose Jaw F Jack Rodewald scored at 18:36. . . . Edmonton F Tyler Robertson got an empty-netter at 19:41. . . . The Oil Kings took all four of the game's minor penalties. . . . The Oil Kings are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. . . . The Warriors went 0-3 on an Alberta swing, in large part because they scored only three goals. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald has more right here. . . .

In Regina, F Adam Brooks, F Braden Christoffer and F Patrick D'Amico each scored twice as the Pats dumped the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 8-1. . . . The Pats, who had been on a four-game losing skid, led 1-0 and 5-0 at the period breaks. . . . Lethbridge F Lenny Hackman scored his first goal at 9:36 of the third period. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 35 shots. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner, making his third start in 48 hours, gave up four goals on 30 shots before giving way to Zac Robidoux, who stopped 12 of 16 shots. . . . Regina F Morgan Klimchuk had a goal, his third, and two assists. . . . The Hurricanes had won their previous three games.

Ch-ch-ching! WHL coach reaches for wallet . . . Hicketts living quite a story . . . Rockets whistle past Wheaties

D Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals has lived one of hockey’s more interesting stories over the last couple of years. Hicketts, who is from Kamloops, suffered a serious injury last season and then was bypassed in the NHL draft. But -- and all undrafted players should take notice -- that hasn’t kept him from earning an NHL contract. Glen Erickson of has more right here.
In a Saturday OHL game, F Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists as the Erie Otters dumped the host Sudbury Wolves, 8-1. McDavid is on a 12-game season-opening point streak. In those 12 games, he's got 34 points, including 23 assists.


Former NHL/WHL D Curtis Leschyshyn has taken over as head coach of the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. Leschyshyn, an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades last season, had been an assistant coach with the Blazers, who now are 2-7. Former WHL F Randy Smith, who had been the head coach, has stepped up to be the general manager. . . . Tip of the cap to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix for the tweet.

Willy Alexander Thomas, a high school student and a hockey player, had his whole life to live. But he committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. He was 17. His parents now are wondering if concussions may have played a role in what happened. Pete Croatto of The New York Times has that story right here.
Another concussion-related lawsuit has surfaced. As Kevin Harden of the Portland Tribune writes right here, Billy Jack Haynes, a former pro wrestler, has filed suit against the WWE. Harden writes that Haynes, now 61, "is suing WWE in federal court for 'egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers,' according to the 42-page lawsuit filed Thursday, Oct. 23, in Portland’s U.S. District Court. Haynes is also asking the court to grant class-action status for what his lawyers say could be 500 people who suffered injuries while wrestling or performing in the WWE ring."


In Kelowna, F Nick Merkley had a goal and three assists to spark the Rockets to a 6-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon, which had been 2-0-0 to start a seven-game road swing, got the game's first goal when F Quintin Lisoway scored at 6:39 of the second period. . . . The Rockets scored the last six goals, four of them in the third period. . . . Merkley, who has four goals, figured in Kelowna's first four goals. . . . The Rockets got two shorthanded goals, from Merkley and F Austin Glover. . . . D Madison Bowey scored twice for the Rockets, giving him six on the season. Both goals came via the PP as the Rockets went 3-for-6 with the man advantage. . . . Brandon was 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle stopped 31 shots, 15 more than Brandon's Jordan Papirny, who started for the 12th time in 14 games. . . . Brandon F Jesse Gabrielle failed to score on a penalty shot just 58 seconds into the game. . . . The Wheat Kings had scored 33 goals in winning their previous four games. . . . What kind of a game was it? "Had it not been for Whistle, who had his best game in a Rockets uniform, Brandon could have walked away as 6-1 winners after dominating the first two periods," wrote Doyle Potenteau of The Okanagan Sunday. . . . When it was over, the Rockets were 12-1-0 and the Wheat Kings 10-2-1. Unfortunately for hockey fans, the only way these teams meet again this season is if it's in the WHL final. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Taylor Cooper had a goal and an assist as the Lethbridge Hurricanes dumped the Raiders, 3-1. . . . The Hurricanes have won three in a row for the first time since Nov. 3-9, 2012. . . . The Hurricanes scored the game's first three goals. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner, who doesn't turn 16 until Nov. 1, stopped 24 shots. He lost his shutout bid when F Jayden Hart scored at 19:20 of the third period. . . . The Raiders were without F Reid Gardiner, who took 16 stitches to the forehead after a high hit from F Alex Schoenborn of the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night. Gardiner also is undergoing the concussion protocol. . . . F Marcus Messier, 20, was pointless in his debut with the Raiders. . . .

In Red Deer, F Conner Bleackley scored once and added two assists to lead the Rebels to a 5-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Bleackley broke a 1-1 tie at 8:13 of the second eriod with his third goal of the season. . . . Red Deer F Wyatt Johnson scored the game's first goal, his sixth of the season. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored three times to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-1 victory over the Blades. . . . Bjorkstrand gave the visitors a 3-1 lead at 9:56 of the third and later scored the game's last two goals. He's got nine goals this season. . . . F Chase De Leo had a goal, his ninth, and an assist on his 19th birthday. . . . The game was the last of a six-game East Division swing for the Winterhawks, who went 4-2-0 on their tour. . . . The Winterhawks played without F Alex Schoenborn, who drew a TBA suspension for a headshot on F Reid Gardiner of the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a gamer right here, including the latest on the Blades' injuries.

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings scored the game's last five goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-1. . . . Edmonton is 5-0-1 in its last six games. . . . F Mitchell Walker broke a 1-1 tie with this first goal at 16:18 of the second period. . . . F Luke Bertolucci scored his first two goals of the season 27 seconds apart late in the third period. . . . F Jari Erricson scored his 10th goal of the season for the Cougars, losers of four in a row. . . .

In Regina, G Landon Bow stopped 39 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 2-1 victory over the Pats. . . . On Friday night, the Broncos had beaten the visiting Pats, 3-1. . . . After last night, the Broncos are 14-0-2 against Regina over the last two-plus seasons. . . . D Brett Lernout broke a 1-1 tie with his third goal of the season at 10:06 of the third period. . . . Broncos F Jake DeBrusk scored his 10th goal, on a PP, at 5:47 of the first period. . . . Regina D Sergey Zborovskiy tied the score with his first goal at 11:33 of the second period. . . . Pats G Daniel Wapple turned aside 25 shots. . . . The Broncos have won won three in a row, while the Pats now have dropped four in a row. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers outscored Calgary 3-1 in the second period en route to a 7-5 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers, 11-1-1 overall and 8-0-1 in their last nine, scored the game's first two goals, but Calgary got those back before the first period ended. . . . Tigers D Ty Stanton broke a 3-3 tie at 19:09 of the second period and D David Quenneville added a PP goal at 19:54. . . . F Markus Eisenschmid scored twice for the Tigers, giving him seven, while F Trevor Cox had his second goal, into an empty net, and added two assists, and F Chad Butcher had three assists. . . . F Jake Virtanen, in his second game since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, had two goals and an assist for Calgary. . . . The Hitmen also got two goals and an assist from F Pavel Kamaukhov, who has eight scores, and a goal and two helpers from D Ben Thomas. . . . Calgary was 3-for-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 2-for-4. . . .

In Spokane, F Calder Brooks and F Adam Helewka each scored twice as the Chiefs beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-3. . . . Helewka's second goal, at 7:47 of the third period, on the PP, gave the Chiefs a 4-1 lead. . . . The Ice made it close with goals from F Matt Alfaro, his second of the game, and F Zak Zborosky 37 seconds apart late in the period. . . . Brooks, who also had two assists, and Helewka, who had one assist, each has five goals this season. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto, the third member of the line with Helewka and Brooks, had three assists. Yamomoto is a 16-year-old Spokane native who scored a goal in each of his previous two games. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 41 shots, 20 more than Spokane's Tyson Verheist. . . . The Ice has lost five straight and is 1-9-0 in its last 10. . . .

In Victoria, F Austin Carroll's second goal of the game, at 13:27 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie as the Royals edged the Vancouver Giants, 3-2. . . . Carroll has 10 goals this season. His first goal of the game gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 9:08 of the second period. . . . Vancouver D Mason Geertsen tied it with his first goal at 5:38 of the third. . . . F Axel Blomqvist had two assists for the Royals, while F Matt Bellerive had a goal, his fourth, and an assist for the Giants, who are 0-6-0 on the road. . . . The Royals are riding a four-game winning streak. . . .

In Everett, F Ivan Nikolishin scored 41 seconds into OT to give the Silvertips a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The winner came off a feed from fellow Russian F Nikita Scherbak. . . . Seattle F Scott Eansor scored the game's first goal, at 4:50 of the first period, and now has goals in three straight games. . . . Everett F Cole MacDonald tied the score on a PP at 7:01 of the third. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis had two assists. . . . Nikolishin has four goals this season. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 24 shots, four fewer than Seattle's Taran Kozun. . . . The Silvertips have won their last two games to get to 8-1-3. . . . Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk wasn't happy with the officiating and you can bet it's going to cost him some coin. Ch-ch-ching! . . . "The officiating's got to get better," Konowalchuk told Andy Eide of 710 AM ESPN. "It’s atrocious, it's (expletive) atrocious." . . . Eide wrote: "Konowalchuk's frustration boiled over after the game as he felt the Silvertips embellished the plays and the bad calls cost his players a hard-fought game and a chance at picking up the win." Here’s more from Konowalchuk: "Two embellishments, I am so tired of the officiating in this league. I can't find it on the tape, I can't find it. I asked my player 'honestly did you touch him' he said 'my stick was up but I didn't touch him.' The guy at the red line calling it, the guy in the corner doesn't call it." . . . Eide's complete report is right here. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Connor Ingram stopped 25 shots as the Kamloops Blazers blanked the Tri-City Americans, 2-0. . . . Ingram, a 17-year-old goaltender from Imperial, Sask., posted his first WHL shutout in his fifth appearance. . . . F Matt Revel scored the game's first goal, his fifth of the season, at 18:02 of the second period, and D Patrik Maier added insurance at 9:25 of the third. . . . Tri-City G Evan Sarthou stopped 25 shots. . . . The Americans have lost three in a row. . . . Tri-City was without veteran F Brian Williams, who suffered an undisclosed injury in a Friday game.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An observation from Norman Chad, in his Couch Slouch column from the Washington Post: “Can you imagine the buildup and the hype — think of the length of the pregame show alone — if ESPN were around for the creation of the world?” . . . When the Seattle Seahawks dealt receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets, the New York Post headlined it: Percy snatcher. . . . The gang at went with: Ppppercy and the Jets. . . . Janice Hough of noted: “Seattle will apparently receive a conditional draft pick in 2015. Percy Harvin will receive the month of January off.” . . .

After arriving in London, England, where they play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the Detroit Lions released running back William Powell. So much for him getting the royal treatment. . . . Headline at Calvin Johnson is out until back is healthy enough to carry team again. . . .

Jimmy Kimmel of ABC-TV yearns for the good ol’ days. “I love baseball,” he says. “You know, baseball was our national pastime before selfies took over.” . . . One of the college football bowl games this festive season will be the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Len Berman of points out: “Yup, nothing goes together quite as well as spicy wings and a citrusy drink. What’s next, Guantanamo Bay sponsoring the Liberty Bowl?” . . . Here’s Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald making a valid point: “At a WWE event, the Big Show ripped down a Russian flag. Before World War III starts, can someone quickly explain to the Russians about pro wrestling? Thanks.” . . .

Thanks to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times for passing along a note from Wanting to see how much action there is in a televised NFL game, the folks there took an in-depth look at what was shown during the telecast of the Oct. 6 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots. The results:
• Players standing around: 35.5 per cent
• Commercials: 24.5 per cent
• Replays: 10.7 per cent
• Coach shots: 4.9 per cent
• Referee shots: 3.2 per cent
• Halftime: 3.2 per cent
• Sideline player shots: 2.2 per cent
• On-screen promotions: 2 per cent
• Other (crowd shots, cheerleaders): 5.5 per cent
• Actual football being played: 8.3 per cent.

“According to an ABC News report,” writes RJ Currie of, “clowns carrying baseball bats have been terrorizing people in Bakersfield, California. ‘We feel your pain,’ said Cubs fans.” . . . A note to the talking heads doing the highlight shows who refer to the NBA as the Association. There is only one Association and they sang Windy. Feel free to Google it. OK? . . . “The Canadian Ebola vaccine looks very promising,” notes comedy writer Alex Kaseberg. “If Canada can rid themselves of Justin Bieber, they can get rid of anything.” . . .

Hey, TSN, you can ditch those fantasy football commercials as soon as you can find the delete button. Thanks. . . . “The NBA is experimenting with shortening games,” writes Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, “while some players wish for a shorter season. But when it comes to sports in general on TV, what I want is a lot less pre-game chatter – none would be good – from the overcrowded panels whose analysis amounts to nothing. And I get what I want simply by not watching until the ball is in play.” . . . But, gee, without the panels, what’s left? . . . Gee, where would the likes of P.J. Stock and Glenn Healy go to be heard? . . .

Here’s Molinaro, again: “Media accounts of Kansas City’s undying love for its Royals go real easy on the inconvenient truth that the team ranked 25th out of 30 in attendance. The were one of only six MLB clubs that didn’t break the 2-million mark this year. But don’t expect the facts to get in the way of a good story.” . . . Michael Beasley has played his way out of the NBA and signed with the Shanghai Sharks. Which got Greg Cote of the Miami Herald to asking: “How do you say ‘got weed?’ in Chinese?” . . .

With Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos putting a hammering on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen tweeted: “Finally, something positive to take Coloradans minds off worrying about weed-tainted Halloween candy.” . . . Have to wonder how many major league managers called their realtors when they found out Friday that Joe Maddon had left the Tampa Bay Rays. . . .

We close this week with a thought or two from Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, who is quickly becoming our resident sports philosopher: “With regard to Dallas Cowboys’ running back Joseph Randle’s arrest for shoplifting some cologne and some underwear because he supposedly did not want to wait in a long line at the cashier to pay for those items, can I please get someone at ESPN or FOX Sports1 to stop calling this a bad decision. That was so far beyond a simple ‘bad decision’ that it is insulting to every person on earth who ever made a bad decision. Buying and holding Enron stock was a bad decision; wasting two hours of one’s life to see the movie Ishtar was a bad decision; shoplifting items because the cashier line was too long to wait in is not a bad decision; it is an indicator of a massive case of entitlement. The fact that he is now some kind of spokesthing for the underwear company ought to be embarrassing to the max – but entitled people seem not to understand the concept of embarrassment.”

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

Bozon, Virtanen back in action . . . Tigers' defence rules . . . Wheaties scoring and scoring some more

D Tomáš Mojžíš (Moose Jaw, Seattle, 2000-03) has signed a one-year contract with TPS Turku (Finland, Liiga). He played for TPS in 2011-12. This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had a goal and an assist in six games. Last season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had five goals and eight assists in 50 games.

Should the Edmonton Oilers keep C Leon Draisaitl, 18, or should the NHL team return him to the Prince Albert Raiders? Mark Spector of Sportsnet offers up his opinion right here. . . . Spector offered his opinon before a Friday night game in which Draisaitl scored his first NHL game as he Oilers beat the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 6-3.
Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail takes a look right here at the Alberta coaching tree and how idea sharing is such a big part of the way the men on that tree approach the game. He also points out how it all started with Clare Drake, a legend who somehow isn’t yet in the Hockey Hall of Fame.


In Red Deer, F Wyatt Johnson scored twice to help the Rebels to a 6-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Johnson, who has five goals, broke a 2-2 tie at 12:12 of the second period and made it 4-2 at 16:54. . . . F Grayson Pawlenchuk scored once and set up two others for Red Deer, which was 2-for-2 on the PP. . . . F Conner Bleackley drew three assists for the Rebels. . . . F Jari Erricson scored his ninth goal of the season for the Cougars. . . . F Tyler Sandhu, acquired by Red Deer from the Everett Silvertips earlier in the week, had a goal and an assist in his first game with the Rebels. . . .

In Cranbrook, defenceman-turned-forward Kenton Helgesen and F Greg Chase each scored twice as the Calgary Hitmen rattled the Kootenay Ice, 9-2. . . . Calgary held period leads of 2-0 and 5-1 as it outshot its hosts, 42-21. . . . The Hitmen broke open a 2-1 game with three goals in 2:07 late in the second period. . . . Calgary D Colby Harmsworth and F Terrell Draude each was plus-5. . . . Calgary had 13 skaters with at least one point. . . . Two of the WHL’s top offensive players returned to action for the first time this season. Calgary F Jake Virtanen had yet to play because of off-season shoulder surgery; Kootenay F Tim Bozon, who went through that battle with Neisseria meningitis in March, was out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Virtanen and Bozon each had one assist. . . . The Ice also had D Renat Valiev back in the lineup. He came back from the camp of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs with an injury and had yet to play. . . .

In Swift Current, the Broncos scored two power-play goals and beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . F Carter Rigby snapped a 1-1 tie with his eighth goal, via the PP, at 1:37 of the second period and F Coda Gordon added another PP goal, his seventh goal this season, at 17:29. . . . Swift Current G Landon Bow stopped 32 shots. . . . The Broncos were 2-for-5 on the PP. . . . F Sam Steel got his third goal for the Pats. . . . Regina has recalled D Ryan Krushen, 16, from the minor midget Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings and he was in the lineup for this one. Krushen played in three exhibition games with the Pats before being released from their roster. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Portland Winterhawks scored three times in the third period and beat the Raiders, 5-2. . . . The Winterhawks are 3-2-0 on a six-game East Division swing that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Portland D Layne Viveiros, whose father Emanuel starred on the Raiders' back end in the mid-1980s, had a goal and two assists, all in the third period. . . . F Mile Koules added a goal, his fourth, and two assists for Portland. . . . Portland G Bolton Pouliot stopped 29 shots. G Michael Bullion of the NAHL's Wenatchee, Wash., Wild was on the bench backing up Pouliot. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Alex Schoenborn to a headshot major and game misconduct at 10:06 of the third period for a hit on Raiders F Reid Gardiner, who left with a cut to his forehead and didn't return. . . . Jeff D'Andrea of has a gamer right here.

In Saskatoon, F Carter Folk scored three times to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 7-2 victory over the Blades. . . . The Hurricanes have won two in a row, both on the road. . . . The Blades had won their past three. . . . F Riley Sheen had three assists for the Hurricanes, while F Zane Jones scored twice and added an assist. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner stopped 33 shots. . . . Lethbridge was 2-for-6 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-for-6. . . . It was a costly loss for the Blades as they lost F Wyatt Sloboshan to a broken jaw suffered when he took a puck to the face in the first period. He'll be gone for up to two months. As well, F Alex Forsberg was injured in the first period and went for X-rays, but his status was unknown after the game. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported that the Blades, who are at home to the Portland Winterhawks tonight, are expected to call up F Luke Gingras, 16, from the major midget Valley West Hawks. Gingras, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 WHL bantam draft, is second in the B.C. Major Midget League scoring race, with 20 points in eight games. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored the game’s first two goals, both on the PP, and went on to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 3-1. . . . The Tigers, the WHL’s top defensive club to this point, have allowed 18 goals in 12 games. . . . The Warriors have dropped 11 straight regular-season games in Medicine Hat. . . . D Tommy Vannelli scored his fifth goal at 3:04 of the second period and D David Quenneville added his second at 8:35 of the third. . . . Tigers F Chad Butcher got his 10th goal of the season late in the third period. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-for-7 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-4. . . . Moose Jaw F Jack Rodewald had one assist to run his point streak to nine games. . . . Tigers G Nick Schneider stopped 24 shots to run his record this season to 4-0-0. Schneider, a 17-year-old from Leduc, Alta., was 6-0-0 with the Tigers last season, after being acquired from the Regina Pats. . . .

In Victoria, the Royals scored two PP goals and beat the Vancouver Giants, 2-1. . . . The Royals have won three straight. . . . D Travis Brown, at 12:52 of the first period, and F Brandon Magee, at 4:32 of the second, gave the home side a 2-0 lead. . . . F Carter Popoff scored for the Giants, at 3:02 of the third. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath stopped 28 shots, one more than Vancouver’s Payton Lee. . . . The teams meet in Victoria again tonight. . . .

In Everett, F Nikita Scherbak broke a 1-1 tie with a PP goal at 8:30 of the third period as the Silvertips got past the Tri-City Americans, 3-1. . . . Scherbak added an empty-netter, his seventh goal in eight games, at 18:28. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 35 shots, including all 21 he faced in the first period. The Americans were outshot 21-3 that period. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft, had two assists. Davis is from Kamloops. . . . Everett G Carter Hart stopped 12 shots. . . . The game almost didn’t come off as the Silvertips gave serious consideration to postponing it following a shooting earlier in the day at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The Silvertips have a number of season-ticket holders from Marysville. According to Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “Silvertips executive vice president Zoran Rajcic said the team was leaning toward postponing Friday's game at Xfinity Arena. However, after consulting with leaders in the community, including representatives from the Tulalip Tribes and the Marysville School District, the Tips decided to play the game as scheduled.” . . . Patterson also reported that the Silvertips “planned several steps to honor the victims during Friday's game. A moment of silence was scheduled prior to the singing of the national anthem; game operations were to be toned down, including not using the goal horn during pregame introductions; and staff members wore red jerseys, which is Marysville-Pilchuck's primary color.” . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Justin Hickman scored twice and added two assists as the host Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-3. . . . D Jason Fram gave the Chiefs a 1-0 first period lead, but Seattle scored three times in 4:46 in the second period, with two of those coming via the PP. . . . Hickman’s goals were his first of the season. . . . His second goal, 29 seconds into the third period, proved to be the winner. . . . F Mathew Barzal had a goal, his sixth, and two assists for Seattle. . . . Seattle D Ethan Bear returned from a three-game absence. He sat out after suffering a nasty cut during a fight. . . .

In Kamloops, F John Quenneville returned from injury to score a goal and add three assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the Blazers, 8-5. . . . The Wheat Kings have won four straight games, scoring, in order, 8, 10, 7 and 8 goals. . . . Quenneville took part in his first full practice on Thursday in Kamloops after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Jayce Hawryluk got his 10th goal and three assists for the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon got a goal and two assists from F Rihards Bukarts, giving him 23 points in 13 games, while D Ryan Pilon and F Jayce Hawryluk each had three assists. . . . Pilon was plus-5, as was his partner, Russian freshman Ivan Provorov, who ran his goal-scoring streak to four games with his seventh goal. . . . Bukarts has goals in five straight games and points in nine straight. . . . F Cole Ully drew four assists for the Blazers, leaving him with 26 points, tops in the WHL. . . . Ully came out of the game atop the scoring race, three points ahead of Bukarts. . . . F Deven Sideroff, who plays on a line with Ully, scored three times, while F Matt Needham, the centre on the line, had three assists. . . . Sideroff, a freshman from Summerland, B.C., has eight goals. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson stopped 29 shots in his second start of the season. You can bet that Brandon will go back to starter Jordan Papirny tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets. . . . The Blazers, meanwhile, rode the bus all night to Kennewick, Wash., where they will play the Tri-City Americans tonight. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a gamer right here.

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