D Bretton Stamler (Seattle, Edmonton, Swift Current, 2003-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL), he had three assists in five games, and he was pointless in seven games with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL). . .
F Jeff Smith (Red Deer, 1998-2002) has signed a “short-term” contract with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite). Smith had signed with Eindhoven Kemphanen (Netherlands, Eredivisie) but didn’t play due to the club’s financial difficulties. Last season, he captained the Hull Stingrays (England, UK Elite) and had 15 points, including five goals,in 57 games. He also played for the Melbourne Ice (Australia, AIHL), putting up 12 points, including seven goals, in 26 games. . . .
F Luca Leone (Vancouver, Swift Current, 2012-this season) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Milano Rossoblu (Italy, Serie A). Leone was pointless in seven games with Swift Current this season. He holds dual Canadian-Italian citizenship. . . .
F Sean Ringrose (Medicine Hat, 2007-09) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had two goals and four assists in 16 games. . . .
F Marek Čurilla (Kootenay, Medicine Hat, 2005-06) signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, Premier). This season, with Csíkszereda Miercurea Ciuc (Romania, MOL Liga, he had five goals and four assists in 17 games.
THE COACHING GAME:
While much of the west is wrapped in the early throes of winter, veteran WHL coach Lorne Molleken is enjoying life at a condo in Mexico. But he has coaching on his mind. . . . Molleken has told Daniel Nugent-Bowman that he and the Vancouver Giants talked about the team’s coaching vacancy but weren’t able to cut a deal. . . . That story is right here.
The Giants, of course, fired head coach Troy Ward on Wednesday, just 25 games into a three-year contract. Assistant coach Matt Erhart was named interim head coach of a team that was 6-19 at the time. . . . The Giants have since lost twice more. . . . A source has told Taking Note that Malcolm Cameron, who was the Regina Pats’ head coach last season, may be in Vancouver for an interview on Monday.. Cameron was dropped over the summer as the Pats went through an ownership change. He has been coaching at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C.
OK, see if you can follow all of this. . . . On Thursday, the QMJHL announced that Quebecor had purchased the Quebec Remparts. Quebecor already owned a chunk of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, so on Friday the QMJHL announced that it was declaring a moratorium on any dealings between the teams due to the ownership situation. . . . Also on Friday, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens fired general manager Marc Fortier and head coach Patrice Bosch. Assistant GM Daniel Langlois resigned in what apparently was a show of solidarity. The Sagueneens then signed Yanick Jean as GM and head coach; he quit the Victoriaville Tigres in order to move to the Sagueneens. Jean had been with the Tigres since 2007-08. . . . The Journal de Quebec reported that Jean had an out-clause in his contract with the Tigres that allowed him to leave only if he was going to the Sagueneens with whom he played from 1992-96. He also was an assistant coach there from 2002-04. . . . Only in the QMJHL, you say. Pity!
There is some interesting information at the blog Tbird Tidbits where a nifty comparison of season-ticket prices within the WHL has been put together. It’s right here.
The Adirondack Flames’ AHL winning streak ended at nine games on Friday when they dropped a 2-1 decision to the host Utica Comets. . . . Travis Green, a former assistant GM and assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, is in his second season as Utica’s head coach. . . . Former Kelowna Rockets head coach Ryan Huska is in his first season as Adirondack’s head coach. . . . Meanwhile, former Kamloops Blazers head coach Ken Hitchcock got NHL victory No. 672 on Friday night as the St. Louis Blues beat the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 4-3, in OT. That moved Hitchcock in sixth place on the NHL’s all-time list of coaching victories.
The Russian national junior team released the names on its 38-player preliminary roster for the 2015 World Junior Championship. While it includes Kootenay Ice D Rinat Valiev and Brandon Wheat Kings D Ivan Provorov, it doesn’t include F Nikita Scherbak of the Everett Silvertips. Scherback was a first-round selection by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 2014 draft. . . .
F Jari Erricson of the Prince George Cougars will sit for two games after being suspended by the WHL. He took a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the visiting Regina Pats on Wednesday night. . . .
In Canada West play on Friday night, former WHL G Jacob DeSerres of the Calgary Dinos was facing a 2-on-0 break by the UBC Thunderbirds when he decided to push the net off its moorings. Why did he do that? Because he must have thought it would be easier to face the resulting penalty shot than the 2-on-0. He made a glove save on F Anthony Bardaro on the penalty shot and the No. 4 Dinos went on to a 4-3 OT victory on a goal by Chris Collins. . . . “It happened so quickly. It was a clear cut play, I thought about it quickly and had to make a decision,” said DeSerres on the Canada West website.
In Portland, F Oliver Bjorsktrand scored twice to help the Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Bjorkstrand, a 19-year-old from Herning, Denmark, has 17 goals in 23 games this season. In his two-plus seasons, he has 204 points, including 98 goals, in 157 regular-season games. He scored 50 goals in 69 games last season. . . . Portland G Adin Hill turned aside 43 shots, 21 more than the Ice’s Wyatt Hoflin. Hill improved his record to 8-2-0. . . . F Nic Petan added a goal, his fifth of the season and No. 100 on his career, and an assist for Portland, while F Tim Bozon scored his seventh goal and added an assist for the Ice. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart scored his fifth goal, but was minus-3. . . . F Paul Bittner returned to the Winterhawks’ lineup after suffering a leg injury a week earlier in Kelowna. . . . Ice D Tanner Faith was back after a nine-game absence with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Winterhawks (13-12-3), who visit the Tri-City Americans tonight, have won four straight. . . . The Ice (11-15-0) had a three-game winning streak end. Kootenay travels to Kent, Wash., to face the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight. . . .
In Saskatoon, the Brandon Wheat Kings tied the game with 5.6 seconds left in the third period and won it 30 seconds into overtime as they beat the Blades, 4-3. . . . Brandon D Ryan Pilon forced OT when he scored his fifth goal with 5.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Tim McGauley won it with his 14th goal just 37 seconds into OT. Each of his last three goals has been a winner. . . . F Jayce Hawryluk assisted on both goals, while McGauley had an assist on Pilon’s goal. . . . Hawryluk finished with three assists. . . . McGauley also scored the game’s first goal. He has six goals and four assists over his last four games. . . . F Ryan Graham scored twice for Saskatoon. He’s got nine goals. . . . Graham’s second goal, at 13:14 of the second on a PP, gave the Blades a 3-1 lead. . . . Brandon D Eric Roy got his second goal of the season, at 14:07 of the second, to get his side to within one. . . . Brandon played without F Rihards Bukarts, who apparently suffered an undisclosed injury during a late-week practice. . . . Saskatoon G Trevor Martin stopped 39 shots, 13 more than Brandon’s Jordan Papirny. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here. . . . The Wheat Kings (20-5-2), who meet the Raiders in Prince Albert tonight, are 3-0-1 in their last four. . . . The Blades (7-17-2) have lost their last two. Saskatoon meets the Warriors in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .
In Calgary, F Connor Rankin scored twice and drew two assists as the Hitmen got past the Swift Current Broncos, 6-4. . . . Rankin has eight goals this season. . . . Broncos D Brett Lernout gave the visitors a 4-3 lead at 1:48 of the third period with his seventh goal. . . . Calgary D Travis Sanheim tied it with his 10th goal — he’s the first defenceman in the league to 10 goals this season — at 4:21. That was a shorthanded score. . . . Calgary F Chase Lang got his second of the game, and 11th of the season, at 11:17 and Rankin added an empty-netter at 19:06. . . . Sanheim also had two assists. . . . Broncos G Landon Bow stopped 40 shots, 15 more than Calgary’s Mack Shields. . . . The Hitmen, who are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight, are 14-10-3, while the Broncos slipped to 14-11-4 with their second straight loss. . . . The Broncos will visit Red Deer tonight. . . .
In Edmonton, G Tristan Jarry stopped 35 shots to lead the Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Jarry, who had sat out three straight games due to illness, has two shutouts this season and 16 in his career. . . . Edmonton D Ashton Sautner scored the game’s first goal, his career-high ninth of the season. It came 22 seconds into the first period. . . . Sautner is on a nine-game point streak, the longest by a defenceman in the modern history of the franchise. . . . Edmonton F Brandon Baddock had a goal, his sixth, and an assist, both on the PP. He has goals in three straight games and in four of his past five. . . . Edmonton F Andrew Koep had two assists. . . . Vancouver G Cody Porter stopped 26 shots. . . . Vancouver has been outscored 13-1 in losing the first three games of a swing through Alberta. . . . The Oil Kings (14-10-4) have won two in a row. . . . Vancouver (9-18-0) has lost six in a row. . . . The Oil Kings travel to Medicine Hat tonight, while the Giants are in Calgary. . . .
In Medicine Hat, D Tyler Lewington scored at 4:19 of OT to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat F Zach Fischer forced extra time with his first goal at 9:23 of the third period. . . . Red Deer F Scott Feser had given his side a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal at 17:07 of the second. It was his third shortie of the season the Rebels’ eighth. Only Kelowna, with nine, has more. . . . Feser has nine goals this season. . . . F Anthony Ast, who underwent wrist surgery, was in Medicine Hat’s lineup for the first time this season and scored the game’s first goal, at 9:56 of the first. . . . F Cole Sanford scored his 17th goal for the Tigers, who lead the season series 3-2 with one game remaining. . . . The Tigers were 0-for-3 on the PP; the Rebels never got an opportunity. . . . When asked by the Red Deer Advocate if it was proper that the Tigers weren’t assessed even one minor penalty, Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM and head coach, replied in Belichickian fashion: “Nope.” . . . The Tigers (18-6-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Rebels (13-10-4) have lost two straight. . . . The Tigers play host to Edmonton tonight, while the Rebels entertain Swift Current. . . .
In Kamloops, the Regina Pats scored four times in the first period and went on to beat the Blazers, 7-3. . . . F Dryden Hunt had five assists for the Pats, while F Connor Gay scored three times, giving him 13, and added an assist. It was Gay’s second hat trick of the season. . . . Hunt, who turned 19 on Monday, has had at least two points in five of his past seven games. On the season, he’s got 31 points, including 19 assists, in 24 games. Last season, he finished with 19 assists in 62 games. . . . Regina D Kyle Burroughs had a goal, his fourth, and an assist, and finished plus-4. . . . The Blazers struggled against Regina’s forecheck through most of this game and, as a result, the home side committed about a month’s worth of turnovers in one night. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram started his sixth straight game but left trailing 3-0 after facing five shots at 5:50 of the first. . . . Regina has won nine of its past 11 games and Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) points out that its top nine forwards have been identical for eight straight games. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 34 shots in improving his record to 2-1-0. . . . Regina F Austin Wagner was ejected at 2:29 of the second period for a headshot on Kamloops F Cole Ully, who wasn’t injured. . . . The Pats (15-10-1) have won two in a row as they go into Kelowna to face the Rockets tonight. . . . The Blazers (11-2-5) are 0-2-1 in their last three and are at home to the Victoria Royals tonight. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans outshot Lethbridge 41-15 en route to a 4-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . F Ty Comrie, with his second goal of the season, got the home side started at 16:53 of the first period. . . . F Lucas Nickles, F Vladislav Lukin and F Brian Williams each had a goal and an assist for the Americans. . . . There was a two-fight situation at 12:32 of the third period. . . . The Americans (15-11-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Hurricanes now are 6-16-4. . . . The Americans are scheduled to be at home to Portland tonight, while the Hurricanes play the Chiefs in Spokane. . . .
In Everett, D Scott Allan’s first WHL goal broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Allan, an 18-year-old from Thornton, Colo, scored in his 49th career game and his 15th of this season. He played the first three games of this season with Medicine Hat; this was his 12th game with the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls had a goal, his second, and an assist, and was plus-3. . . . Everett was 2-for-6 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 20 shots, six fewer than Everett’s Austin Lotz. . . . The Silvertips were without D Tristen Pfeifer (undisclosed injury), F Nikita Scherbak (leg), F Remi Laurencelle (ankle) and F Dawson Leedahl (knee). . . . F Bryce Kindopp, a 15-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., made his WHL debut with the Silvertips. Kindopp, who plays for the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats, was a third-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . With F Mathew Barzal (fractured kneecap), F Lane Pederson (undisclosed) and F Kaden Elder (undisclosed) out, veteran D Evan Wardley was moved to the forward ranks. . . . The Thunderbirds (10-11-4), who had been 0-3-1 in their last four, are at home to Kootenay tonight, while the Silvertips (16-5-3) enjoy a Saturday night off.
Shockingly, Everett and Seattle radio have opposite reactions to Brayden Low going down late in the 2nd. No call.
— Scott Sepich (@SSepich)
This situation in Chicoutimi is crazy even by QMJHL standards … and that’s really saying something.
— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas)