I never had the privilege of meeting Andy Eide, but we certainly communicated on occasion via email and Twitter. I can tell you that no one loved hockey — and hockey in the Pacific Northwest, in particular — more than did Andy. He absolutely loved covering the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds and it was more of his dream come true when he came to be involved in coverage of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. . . . If you aren’t aware, Andy had a stroke on March 18, just prior to a Kraken game against the visiting Edmonton Oilers. He died on Friday. . . . The tributes that flowed on social media like so many tears revealed what kind of impact he had.
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
The second round of the WHL playoffs opened with four series — conference semifinals — on Friday night.
In Winnipeg, the Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Winnipeg Ice, will take a 1-0 series lead into tonight’s Game 2 against the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors.
In Saskatoon, the No. 3 Rebels have a 1-0 lead against the No. 2 Blades. They won’t play a second game until Sunday, because lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush has a game in the SaskTel Centre tonight. If you’re confused as to how the Rebels were the second seed and the Blades No. 3 in the first round but now those seeds are reversed, here’s the deal: The Rebels were the No. 2 seed because they finished atop the Central Division in the regular season. The Blades had more points than did the Rebels, but finished second in the East Division. In the first round, a division title gets you the first or second seed. The WHL reseeds for the second round, so the Blades became the No. 2 seed, ahead of the Rebels.
Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds have a 1-0 lead over the Prince George Cougars going into tonight’s second game.
And, in Kamloops, the No. 2 Blazers hold a 1-0 lead over the Portland Winterhawks as they prepared for a second game tonight.
FRIDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Moose Jaw (4) at Winnipeg (1) — F Matt Savoie had a goal and two assists to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice is 5-0 in these playoffs; the Warriors are 4-1. . . . The Ice jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Owen Pederson (2), on a PP, at 1:04, F Zach Benson (1), at 7:57, and Savoie (7), at 16:42. . . . However, the Warriors scored the next three goals to pull even. F Brayden Yager (3) got it started at 19:38 of the first period, with D Max Wanner (2) scoring at 4:09 of the second and F Jagger Firkus (5) tying it at 13:21, on a PP. . . . F Connor McClennon (4) snapped the tie at 2:59 of the third period, with D Graham Sward (1) adding insurance at 6:04. . . . Benson, who had 36 goals and 62 assists in the regular season, played in his first game March 10. . . . Winnipeg G Daniel Hauser stopped 26 shots, six fewer than Moose Jaw’s Connor Ungar. . . . Each team was 1-for-2 on the PP. . . . The Ice remains without F Carson Latimer, a trade-deadline acquisition from the Prince Albert Raiders, who last played on Feb. 26. . . . Moose Jaw F Robert Baco sat out as he is serving a three-game suspension after taking a goalie interference major and game misconduct in Game 4 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Baco will be eligible to return for Game 4 against the Ice. . . .
Red Deer (3) at Saskatoon (2) — D Christoffer Sedoff had a goal and an assist as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Saskatoon Blades, 3-1. . . . F Jhett Larson (2) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 4:28 of the second period, and they nursed that until 14:19 of the third when F Jace Isley (1) scored the eventual game-winner. . . . F Jake Chiasson (3) got Saskatoon on the board at 18:08 with G Austin Elliott on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Sedoff put it away with the empty-netter, his third goal of these playoffs. . . . Each team was 0-for-3 on the PP. . . . G Kyle Kelsey earned the victory with 23 saves, six more than Elliott.
Prince George (4) at Seattle (1) — F Dylan Guenther’s two first-period goals got the Seattle Thunderbirds started to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kent, Wash. . . . Guenther, who has seven goals in five games, scored at 1:50 and 15:23, the second one coming on a PP. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (3) got the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 18:14. . . . F Lucas Ciona (4) added insurance for Seattle at 2:48 of the third period, and F Nico Myatovic (1) got the empty-netter at 19:36. . . . F Brad Lambert finished with three assists. . . . Prince George was 1-for-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic celebrated his 20th birthday by stopping 23 shots for Seattle, which is 5-0 in these playoffs. . . . The Cougars got 40 saves from G Ty Young. . . .
Portland (3) at Kamloops (2) — F Jakub Demek scored his first two goals of these playoffs as the Kamloops Blazers skated to a 6-4 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Demek went into the game with six assists and 26 shots on goal through four games, but nothing in the way of goals. Off-season shoulder surgery limited him to 15 regular-season games this season, and he finished with four goals and seven assists. . . . F Emmitt Finnie (4) ran his point streak to 15 games as he gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 8:30 of the first period. . . . F James Stefan’s first of three goals tied it at 9:50. . . . Demek put Kamloops back in front at 13:45 of the second period and F Fraser Minten, in his first game of these playoffs, upped the lead to 3-1 at 15:22. Minten hadn’t played since March 22. . . . Those two goals, coming 1:37 apart, were scored with Portland D Luca Cagnoni in the dressing room getting checked out. . . . Stefan got Portland back to within a goal at 17:04; this was his third multi-goal effort of these playoffs. . . . Demek scored his second goal at 19:36. . . . The Blazers put it away with third-period goals from F Matthew Seminoff (1) and F Logan Stankoven (5), the latter via the PP. . . . F Marcus Nguyen (5), on a PP, at 16:48 and Stefan (7), on another PP, at 19:58 completed the scoring. . . . Portland was 2-for-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-for-2. . . . G Dylan Ernst earned the victory with 28 stops, four fewer than Jan Spunar of Portland. . . . The Blazers are 5-0 in the playoffs; the Winterhawks are 4-2.
When the conversation turns to the best player in the history of the Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice, F Nigel Dawes has to get an early mention. A 38-year-old native of Winnipeg, Dawes apparently has decided to retire after a pro career that began in 2005-06 and which included 12 seasons in Europe. . . . He was with the Kootenay Ice for four seasons (2001-05) and finished with 272 points, 159 of them goals, in 245 regular-season games. He also had 45 points, including 19 goals, in 49 playoff games. . . . He got into 212 NHL games over five seasons, scoring 39 goals and adding 45 assists; in the AHL, he had 233 points, 117 of them goals, in 232 games. . . . He went on to play 10 seasons in the KHL, totalling 267 goals and 238 assists in 543 games. . . . Dawes played the past two seasons with Adler Mannheim of the DEL, totalling 32 goals and 34 assists in 90 games. . . . At 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, he wasn’t the tallest player on the ice, but he was as gritty as they came, and he was a whole lot of fun to watch.
D Stanislav Svozil of the Regina Pats made his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, earning one assist in a 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. He played 19 minutes 13 seconds. . . . Last night was a bit of a different story, as he was minus-3 in 21:01 during a 5-2 loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres. . . . Svozil, who turned 20 on Jan. 17, is from Prerov, Czechia. The Blue Jackets selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2021 draft.
F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans has joined the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers for their playoff run. Bell, 19, was a fifth-round selection by the parent Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . This season, he had 25 goals and 39 assists in 55 regular-season games with the Americans. . . .
F Carson Golder of the Kelowna Rockets has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Golder, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was acquired by the Rockets from the Edmonton Oil Kings. This season, he put up 31 goals and 24 assists in 64 games. . . . He had been a defenceman until Edmonton’s championship playoff run last season, when he moved to the forward ranks.
The U of Alaska-Fairbanks has signed head coach Erik Largen to a five-year contract worth US$200,000 per season. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald reports: “Largen’s deal spells out several investments into the hockey program — increased salaries for support staff like the strength and conditioning coaches, equipment manager and operations director, an increased recruiting budget, game guarantees for opponents traveling to Fairbanks and, perhaps most notably, salaries for three assistant coaches. . . . Largen’s contract calls for his associate coach to make $120,000 per year. The other two assistants will make $90,000 and $40,000.”
With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.