Rankin fills hat as Hitmen ice Ice; Tigers up next . . . Shaw TV off to Kelowna . . . No KABOOM for Nitros



In Calgary, F Connor Rankin scored three first-period goals and the Hitmen went on to a 6-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . When is the last time you were at a hockey game and caps were being thrown on the ice in the first period? . . . The Hitmen won the series 4-3 and will meet the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round.

That series will open in Medicine Hat on Friday, with Games 2 and 3 in Calgary on Sunday and Monday. . . . The Saddledome is booked Thursday (Los Angeles Kings at Flames), Friday (Edmonton Rush at Calgary Roughnecks, lacrosse) and Saturday (Eric Church, The Outsiders World Tour). . . . The Tigers were 3-2-1 in the season series; the Hitmen were 3-3-0. . . . Rankin scored seven times in this series, including a pair of three-goal games. . . . Last night, the 20-year-old from North Vancouver scored at 1:12, 17:34 (on a PP) and 19:04. . . . F Adam Tambellini, who had a WHL-leading 15 points in the series, assisted on the last two of Rankin’s goals. . . . Tambellini also had seven goals in the series. He and Rankin share the franchise record for goals in one playoff series with F Pavel Brendl and F Brad Moran. . . . Calgary held a 10-1 edge in shots in the first period. That was the fewest shots in one playoff period for the Ice in franchise history. . . . With the Hitmen leading 4-0 halfway through the second period, the shots were 18-2. . . . Calgary finished the game with a 35-13 edge. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields stopped 11 shots. . . . Calgary was without G Brendan Burke, who left in the second period of Game 6 with an undisclosed injury. . . . G Kyle Dumba, the 17-year-old brother of former WHL D Mathew Dumba, was Calgary’s backup last night. . . . Ice G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 29 shots. Hoflin appeared in 74 of the Ice’s 79 regular-season and playoff games this season. . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen and F Elliott Peterson each had two assists, while F Kenton Helgesen had his fifth goal and an assist and F Radel Fazleev scored his third goal and added an assist. . . . F Sam Reinhart scored his sixth goal in what surely was his last WHL game. He almost certainly will be with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres next season. . . . Calgary was 1-for-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-for-2. . . . The Hitmen are 5-5 in Game 7s in franchise history, including 3-0 against the Ice. . . . Kootenay now is 1-6 in Game 7s. . . . Attendance was 7,191.


NO KABOOM! . . . The Campbell Storm scored a 6-5 victory over the Kimberley Dynamiters in the final of the Cyclone Taylor Cup, B.C.’s junior B championship, in Mission on Monday afternoon. . . . The Storm moves on to the Keystone Cup in Cold Lake, Alta., from April 16 through 19. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here.


Merle Haggard turned 78 on Monday, so there was no better time for Rolling Stone to present the “12 Most Badass Merle Haggard Prison Songs.” . . . Check it out right here.


A Monday evening tweet from Andy Beesley, the Prince George Cougars’ vice-president, business: “Here’s a fun fact. The PG Cougars 50/50 handed out an incredible $194,000+ in cash to lucky winners this season. That’s awesome!” . . .

D Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels will join the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Fleury, who was the seventh overall selection in the NHL’s 2014 draft, had 28 points, including six goals, in 63 games with the Rebels this season. Fleury turns 18 on July 8. He has played three full seasons with Red Deer. . . .

Shaw TV was in Calgary for Game 7 between the Hitmen and Kootenay Ice last night. Its crew will be in Kelowna for Games 1 and 2 between the Rockets and Victoria Royals on Friday and Saturday nights.


“Today, I am 37 years old and unable to play professional hockey because of the symptoms I experience from the multiple blows to the head I suffered while on the ice,” writes former NHL enforcer Dan LaCouture in Monday‘s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But the inability to play hockey professionally is the least of my worries. I have debilitating headaches, nausea and motion sickness every day. I am always irritable. And with recent studies showing the shattering illnesses linked to traumatic brain injury, along with the recent news of National Hockey League legend Stan Mikita’s unfortunate battle with dementia, I fear worse symptoms are yet to come.”

LaCouture’s complete piece is right here.


Driving to Seattle right now. Not sure if people are honking because they like our new bus/us , or they’re just upset with our bus driver..

— Chase De Leo (@Dels9)