Ice takes out Warriors; Oil Kings next up . . . Ostapchuk key as Giants stay alive against Blazers. . . . Hanas fills hat for Winterhawks

And then there were six . . .

The Winnipeg Ice, the WHL’s best regular-season team, finished off the visiting WHLplayoffs2022Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night, taking the Eastern Conference semifinal in five games. The No. 1 Ice will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series, which will follow a 2-3-2 format for travel reasons, is scheduled to open in Winnipeg with games on May 20 and 21. . . .

Meanwhile, it’ll be a quiet Saturday night in the WHL — with the exception of Portland, of course. Six teams with championship dreams still are alive, but only the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds will be on the ice tonight. . . . They played Friday night in Kent, Wash., with the Winterhawks posting a 5-1 victory. That means they lead the Western Conference semifinal, 3-1, going into tonight’s game in Portland. . . .

The other Western Conference semifinal is to resume Sunday in Langley, B.C. The Vancouver Giants stayed alive last night with a 5-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, which now leads that series, 3-2.

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FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice erased a 2-0 first-period deficit and went on to beat WinnipegIcethe No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-3. . . . The Ice won the conference semifinal, 4-1, and will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. The No. 2 Oil Kings are 8-0 in the playoffs, having made short work of the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice now is 8-2 and will play host to Edmonton for Games 1 and 2 on May 20 and 21. . . . Last night, the Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ryder Korczak (3), at 0:46, and F Thomas Tien (2), at 15:52, in the first period. . . . The Ice scored the next four goals. F Zachary Benson (8) cut the deficit to one at 17:04, before Winnipeg took control with three second-period goals — F Matt Savoie (5) tied it at 1:39; F Cole Muir (2) made it 3-2 at 11:12; and F Conor Geekie (3) upped it to 4-2 at 15:04. . . . F Atley Calvert (3) got the Warriors to within one, on a PP, at 17:04, but that was it for the visitors. . . . Savoie (6) added his second goal at 4:03 and F Mikey Milne (9), who also had two assists, scored a shorthanded empty-netter at 18:28. . . . The Ice got 23 saves from G Daniel Hauser, while G Carl Tetachuk stopped 22 shots for the Warriors. . . .The Warriors had D Daemon Hunt, their captain, back in the lineup. Hunt, who is to turn 20 on Sunday, last played on March 19. . . .

If you’re wondering, Winnipeg and Edmonton met four times during the regular season, with the Oil Kings winning three times. However, three of the games were played in 2021. Edmonton won at home, 3-1, on Oct. 29, and 3-2 in Winnipeg on Dec. 8. . . . The Ice won, 5-2, at home on Dec. 11 on a night when four of Edmonton’s top players — G Sebastian Cossa, F Dylan Guenther, D Kaiden Guhle and F Jake Neighbours, each of them an NHL first-round draft pick — were with Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the most-recent clash, the Oil Kings won, 6-3, on Feb. 21.

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Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 8 Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals, all Kamloopsin the third period, and beat the No. 2 Blazers, 5-2. . . . Kamloops leads the series, 3-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday in Langley, B.C. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the WHL’s leading playoff scorer, had two goals and two assists for Vancouver. He has 23 points, two more than linemate Fabian Lysell. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-1 after two periods as F Luke Toporowski (7) and F Matthew Seminoff (3) sandwiched a Vancouver goal by F Adam Hall (9). . . . F Ty Thorpe (3) got the Giants into a 2-2 tie at 1:33 of the third period and Ostapchuk (6) put them out front at 2:32. . . . Hall (10), who also had an assist, and Ostapchuk (7) later added empty-netters. Hall leads the WHL playoffs in goals. . . . G Jesper Vikman had a big night for the Giants, stopping 35 shots, 14 more than G Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Cross Hanas scored three times and added an assist to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland leads the series, 3-1. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time back in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had lost Game 3, 5-0, at home on Wednesday night. . . . Portland’s PP went into the game with three goals in its past 23 opportunities. Last night, it was 3-for-4. . . . Hanas (2) got his guys started at 7:09 of the first period and F Tyson Kozak (2) made it 2-0 at 14:35. . . . Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (6) scored a PP goal at 4:56 of the second period. . . . Portland got second-period goals from Hanas (3), at 11:42, and F Jack O’Brien (2), at 17:44, both via the PP. . . . Hanas (4) finished the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:41. . . . F Kyle Chyzowki had a big night with three assists. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 31 shots for Portland, including a late second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Reid Schaefer with Portland leading 4-1. . . . Seattle got 17 stops from G Thomas Milic. . . . According to Winterhawks historian Andy Kemper, Hanas’s hat trick was Portland’s first in the playoffs since F Nic Petan turned the trick in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on April 23, 2014.

——

We can’t leave the Kamloops-Vancouver series without a look back to the post-game scene after Game 4, which the visiting Blazers won, 4-2, after F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie with a late PP goal.

It was then when Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told us without telling us that he wasn’t impressed with the officiating.

“With the price of gas these days, I can’t waste money on fines,” he said when asked about the men in stripes, who were booed off the ice at game’s end.

“The fans have a pretty good idea what’s going on,” he said in complimenting the home crowd.

Shortly after Stankoven’s goal, the Giants were hit with a minor penalty for too many men on the ice.

“The too-many-men . . . you’d have to ask their bench,” Dyck said. “They called it. We didn’t.”

And what did Stankoven, who added an empty-netter on the late PP, think of the officiating?

“I think it was very fair,” he said.

(The quotes here were lifted from a story by Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. That story is right here.)


Organic


From The Canadian Press: A Canadian warship has been hit with an outbreak of COVIDCOVID-19 while preparing for an overseas deployment in the Pacific. HMCS Winnipeg is back home in Esquimalt, B.C., after seven sailors tested positive, only weeks before the ship is due to participate in a major training exercise and two overseas missions. . . .

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without at least two players — Ryan Gauld and Tosaint Ricketts — when they meet the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action today. Both are in health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. . . .

From The New York Times: New coronavirus cases surged in most counties in New York State this week, putting them on “high” alert under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and triggering recommendations for indoor masking, including inside schools. The state refrained from imposing an indoor mask mandate, but health officials on Friday afternoon did urge residents living in counties that have been placed on “medium” or “high” alert to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. . . . As of Thursday, the average of new cases stood at more than 10,000 a day, according to a New York Times database. New cases have increased 47 percent over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations have increased 28 percent over that time period, to an average of more than 2,600 a day.

Also from The New York Times: Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand who led the island nation through the pandemic, has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said.


Goals


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans announced Friday that Bryan Collier won’t be back as the club’s equipment manager. Collier had joined the Americans on June 1, 2021, after working with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Prior to that, he worked with the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the equipment manager since 1994. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five first-round series, beat the Halifax Mooseheads, 2-1, in Game 5 on Friday night. The game had been scheduled for Thursday night but was moved after the teams played into a third OT in Game 4 on Wednesday.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you feel so inclined you are able to sponsor her 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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Horse

Silvertips now have interim GM . . . Rockets lose assistant coach . . . QMJHL final all even after four games

Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, now is also the WHL Everettteam’s interim general manager. The Silvertips announced on May 21 that the contract of general manager Garry Davidson wouldn’t be renewed. Davidson had a highly successful nine-year run as the team’s general manager, but the team said that cutbacks have been necessitated by the pandemic. The WHL’s 2019-20 season was ended prematurely by the pandemic, and teams haven’t played in front of fans since then. There also haven’t been any playoff games, which are a healthy revenue stream for WHL teams. . . . Williams has spent four seasons as Everett’s head coach, twice being named the Western Division’s coach of the year. . . . Before joining the Silvertips, Williams spent three seasons as the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls for four seasons. At the time, the Thunder and Bulls were owned by Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips. Bill Yuill of Medicine Hat is CSH’s CEO. . . . In a weekend column by Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald, Zoran Rajcic, CSH’s chief operating officer and the Silvertips’ president and COO, made it clear that the decision not to bring back Davidson was made by “corporate.” . . . “It’s been a very difficult decision that corporate looked at,” Rajcic told Patterson.


Flay


Vernon Fiddler is leaving his position as an assistant coach after two seasons Rocketswith the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He had signed on with the Rockets on July 3, 2019. In leaving the organization, Fiddler said he wants “to take more time to be with my family.” . . . Before joining the Rockets, he was helped out the coaching staffs with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars. . . . Fiddler is a former Rockets player (1997-2001) who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL. . . . The Rockets have begun searching for a replacement to work alongside head coach Kris Mallette. Also on staff are goaltender coach Adam Brown and skill development/assistant coach Curtis Hamilton.


Katie Macleod was the Wheat Kings’ director of operations and ticket sales. Also leaving the franchise’s business operation is Rick Dillabough, who had been the director of sponsorship and business development. Dillabough, who had been with the Wheat Kings for more than 30 years, announced his retirement in May and worked his final day on Monday.


It was bright and early on Tuesday morning when a regular reader of this site sent me an email informing that “I did hear the former guy agrees with the Leafs that they didn’t lose their last game, either.” . . . On the subject of Monday night’s Game 7, Jack Todd, who often contributes to the Montreal Gazette, has his biting take on “The team Hockey Night forgot” right here.


In the QMJHL, the Val-d’Or Foreurs beat the Victoriaville Tigres, 4-1, on Tuesday night, evening the best-of-seven championship final, 2-2. . . . They’ll play Game 5 on Thursday. The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . On Tuesday night, the Foreurs fell behind 1-0 early in the first period, then scored three times in the second period, the last two of those goals coming at 18:19 and 19:05.



Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you still have time to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Bryan Collier is the Tri-City Americans’ new equipment manager. He has WHL experience, having helped out the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the assistant equipment manager since 1994. Bryan most recently was with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Derian Hatcher has stepped aside after five seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He and David Legwand, both former NHL players, are co-owners. Hatcher will remain as the team’s governor. . . . Dave Hnatiuk has signed a five-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He spent three seasons (2016-19) as an assistant coach with the U of Regina Cougars before signing on as head coach of the Selkirk College Saints of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. Selkirk College, which is based in Castlegar, announced in March that it was discontinuing the hockey program. Hnatiuk takes over from John Clewlow, who signed a five-year extension in July 2019 but isn’t coming back. The Border Bruins are under new ownership, with Dr. Mark Szynkaruk and his wife, Tracey, have purchased the franchise from the local non-profit group that had owned it.


Jimmy

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