Monday, December 31, 2012


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Miro Mäkinen, Kasperi Kapanen and Waltteri Hopponen scored in the final 11 minutes as Finland earned its first victory of the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Monday night, beating West 6-4.

The Finns trailed 4-3 after Vukie Mpofu (Saskatoon, Sask./Saskatoon, SMAAAHL) scored on a West power play at 5:57 of the third period, but Mäkinen tied the game at 9:04 and Kapanen gave them the lead for good on the man advantage at 12:35.

Hopponen rounded out the scoring in the final minute.

Sami Niku, Eetu Sopanen and Teemu Lämsä had the other goals for the Finns, who beat a Canadian opponent for the first time since a 5-3 win over Ontario in their opener at the 2010 tournament in Timmins, Ont.

Kolten Olynek (Saskatoon, Sask./Saskatoon, SMAAAHL) scored twice to pace the offence for West, which has dropped nine straight at the under-17 tournament; its last win was a 4-1 triumph over Slovakia in Winnipeg, Man., in 2011.

Adam Brooks (Winnipeg, Man./Regina, WHL) also scored for the Canadian side, which got two assists each from Ryan Pilon (Duck Lake, Sask./Lethbridge, WHL) and Jordan Thomson (Wawanesa, Man./Kamloops, WHL).

Olynek and Mpofu scored early in the third period to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead before the Finns mounted a comeback of their own.

Kaapo Kähkönen made 33 saves to earn the victory in the Finnish goal, while Rylan Parenteau (Saskatoon, Sask./Saskatoon, SMAAAHL) turned aside 25 shots in a losing cause.

The Finns go for back-to-back victories Monday night when they face Pacific in Victoriaville (7:30 p.m. ET), while West is off Monday before closing out the preliminary round Tuesday night at the Colisée against Pacific (7:30 p.m. ET). (Nathan can be reached at

Team USA Defeats Host Quebec at 2013 World Under-17 Challenge

Press Release

Anders Bjork looks for the loose puck in front of the Quebec net. Photo by JC Pinheiro / Hockey Canada Images.

VICTORIAVILLE, Quebec – Chris Wilkie (Omaha, Neb.) tallied one goal and collected two assists, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Canada's Team Quebec, 5-1, at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge here tonight at the Colisee Desjardins. With the win, Team USA's record improves to 2-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L).

"It was our fourth game in four nights, but that's why we condition and train the way we do," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We finished our checks, moved the puck well up ice and played solid defensively."

Team USA scored first when Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) found Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) with a behind-the-back pass at 2:15 of the opening frame. Eichel tipped the puck into the net from the top of the crease. Wilkie also assisted on the power-play tally. The U.S. outshot Quebec, 14-4, in the first period.

Team USA celebrates one of its five goals versus Quebec. Photo by JC Pinheiro / Hockey Canada Images.

The U.S. doubled its lead at 11:55 of the second stanza when Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) wristed the puck into the net from the slot. Wilkie and Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) collected assists on the goal. Austin Poganski (St. Cloud, Minn.) made a move around the Quebec defenders and toward the net, backhanding the third U.S. goal past Julio Billia. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) had the lone helper.

Ryan Bliss (Bedford, N.H.) snuck a shot through a screen in front to give the U.S. a three-goal cushion. The goal, scored at 11:45 of the final frame, was assisted on by Joshua Wesley (Raleigh, N.C.) and Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.). On a delayed penalty call, Wilkie scored to put Team USA on top, 5-1, at 13:22. Milano registered an assist on the play. The U.S. allowed just two shots on goal in the period and skated away with the win.

Chris Birdsall (Glen Rock, N.J.) made 17 saves in the victory for Team USA, while Billia made 42 stops in the loss for Quebec.

The U.S. National Under-17 Team next faces Slovakia on Jan. 2, 2013, in Drummondville, Quebec at Centre Marcel Dionne. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EST. 

 (Nathan can be reached at

NAHL announces Combat Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week

Press Release

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending December 30, 2012.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2012-13 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions as nominated by their respective teams.

Central Division Star of the Week: Chris Fischer, forward, Austin Bruins
The Bruins kept rolling along with their weekend home sweep of the Aberdeen Wings and forward Chris Fischer was front and center for a lot of offense produced.  The 20-year-old from Apple Valley, Minnesota, had a five-point weekend, which included four goals and an assist as the Bruins outscored the Wings 10-1 in the two wins.  On Friday, Fischer (6’0/185) had two goals in a 5-0 shutout win.  On Saturday, Fischer scored twice again, which included the Bruins first and last goals in a 5-1 win.  He was also a +4 over the weekend and had 10 shots.  For the season, Fischer has 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games played.  “The big thing for Chris was not only did he play week, but so did his entire line,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok.  “He went hard to the net and finished.  He is getting himself in great position to score goals and create opportunities for his linemates.”

2nd Star: Stanislav Dzakhov, forward, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Collin Abitz, forward, Minot Minotauros – Kevin Becker, forward, Bismarck Bobcats – Aidan Cavalinni, forward, Brookings Blizzard – Jared Docken, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard – Tim Donohue, forward, Minot Minotauros – Andy Faust, forward, Coulee Region Chill – Mac Jansen, forward, Coulee Region Chill – Nick Lehr, goaltender, Austin Bruins.

North Division Star of the Week: Brandon Adams, forward, Soo Eagles
Soo Eagles forward Brandon Adams, 20, made the most of his fresh start this past weekend.  Having spent the Fall semester at NCAA Division I Holy Cross, the native of Prospect Heights, Illinois, decided it was best for him and his family to go back to junior hockey.  In his return with the 1st place Eagles, Adams (5’11/200) helped Soo to a weekend sweep of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons with three goals.  The three goals all came in Friday’s 4-2 win, in which Adams recorded a hat-trick which included the game winning goal.  Adams didn’t score in Saturday’s 4-3 win, but did record two shots.  He was also +2 on the weekend in his first pair of games with the Soo.  Adams spent six games playing for Corpus Christi during the 2011-12 season.  “Brandon and his family were looking for a better situation and we were looking for another goal scorer, so the timing was good,” said Eagles head coach Bruno Bragagnolo.  “Brandon has really good hockey sense, he is a good two-way player and has very impressive speed and strength.”
2nd Star: Chris Waterstreet, forward, Soo Eagles
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None

South Division Star of the Week: Andrew Mayer, forward, Texas Tornado
Texas Tornado forward Andrew Mayer, 19, has been on a torrid pace the last eight games.  It is no coincidence that in those eight games, Mayer (6’0/200) has scored in seven of them, with all seven being Tornado wins.  That included a great performance this weekend for the Troy, Michigan, native as the recorded four points (3 goals, 1 assist) as the Tornado posted a home sweep of the Corpus Christi Ice Rays.  On Friday, Mayer scored on his only shot and added an assist in a 6-1 win.  On Saturday, he posted two goals, including the game-winner in a 4-1 win.  Mayer, who is averaging close to a point per game, broke his wrist the first game of the season and didn’t see action again until early November.  His return to the line-up has been a welcome presence according to Tornado head coach Tony Curtale.  “We are happy to see Drew back and at 100%.  He is an important part of our team and glad to have him back in the line-up and healthy,” said Curtale.  “He plays a unique style of power forward, but also has a finesse part to his game.”

2nd Star: TJ Sarcona, forward, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brandon Brossoit, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Nick Deery, goaltender, Odessa Jackalopes – Colin Delia, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Hunter Leisner, goaltender, Texas Tornado – Kyle Sharkey, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.

West Division Star of the Week: Mitchell Snyder, forward, Fresno Monsters
The Fresno Monsters got back on track this weekend with two wins in a three-game home series against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.  Chiming in with points in all three games was 18-year-old rookie forward Mitchell Snyder.  The native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, totaled four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in the three games.  On Friday, Snyder (6’1/190) had an assist on Fresno’s first goal in a 4-2 win.  On Saturday, Snyder scored Fresno’s first goal in a close 5-4 loss to the Ice Dogs.  On Sunday, Snyder saved his best game for last as with the Monsters trailing 2-0, he scored two 3rd period goals to tie the game, which Fresno would ultimately win 3-2 in a shootout.  For the season, Snyder is second on the team in points with 18 in 27 games played and ranks first in +/- with a +9 rating.  “Mitchell has played very well this season and doesn’t play like a rookie.  He has a good shot and a lot of skill,” said Monsters head coach Eric Ballard.  “It was good to get some recognition because he has been playing well.  I think we have a team that is better than our record indicates and we hope to use the positive weekend against Fairbanks to move forward with more wins.”

2nd Star: Brad Duwe, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jayson Angus, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Lonnie Clary, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Josh Hartley, defenseman, Wenatchee Wild – Alex Jackstadt, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Blake Roubos, forward, Wenatchee Wild – Matt Salituro, forward, Fresno Monsters.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Santaguida snags second POW nod of the season

Press Release

Surrey Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida has been named the Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 30, the league announced Monday.

Santaguida posted the first two shutouts of his BCHL career on consecutive nights as part of a three-win Eagles weekend. The Mississauga, Ont. native notched his first goose egg making 41 saves in a 3-0 win over Chilliwack and followed it up with 32 saves in a 2-0 win over Coquitlam.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound netminder was named 1st Star in both shutout wins and also made 23 saves in the first game back after Christmas, a 5-3 victory over Chilliwack.

Honourable mentions this week go to:

Langley Rivermen F Jakob Reichert (1G 4A, FortisBC Energy Player)

Surrey Eagles D Craig Wyszomirksi (1G 1A, GWG, FortisBC Energy Player)

Nanaimo Clippers F Trevor Fitzgerald (2G 1A, 1st Star)

Surrey Eagles F Trevor Cameron (1G 2A, GWG)

Langley Rivermen F Mario Puskarich (2G 3A, 2nd Star) 

 (Nathan can be reached at

Silvertips Sign Forward Logan Aasman

Press Release

 EVERETT – The Everett Silvertips today announced the signing of 1995-born forward Logan Aasman to a WHL Education Contract.  Aasman made his WHL debut for the Silvertips during Sunday evening’s game in Kelowna.

Aasman, 17, earned his first WHL call-up with the Silvertips last week after being placed on the club’s protected list.  He played his first major junior game on Sunday, skating mostly on a line with Brayden Low and Lucas Grayson against the Kelowna Rockets.

At the midget level with the Southeast Tigers in his hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta this season, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound winger has scored 12 goals and totaled 18 points to go with 32 penalty minutes in 21 games.  He also appeared in one Junior-A game with Drumheller of the AJHL this year.  Logan is the younger brother of former WHLer Ryan Aasman, who played for five different WHL teams between 2008 and 2012.

“We’re happy that Logan has decided to commit to our program,” said General Manager Garry Davidson.  “He’s a big forward with skill and good hockey sense who we see as a promising WHL prospect for our club.”

The Silvertips return to action Friday night against Spokane at Comcast Arena.  Opening faceoff for Everett’s first game of 2013 is set for 7:35 pm as the ‘Tips face the Chiefs for the fifth time this season.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Kameron Kielly (Charlottetown, P.E.I./Gatineau, LHJMQ) scored the game-winning goal early in the third period and added insurance four minutes later as Atlantic picked up its first victory of the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, beating Slovakia 4-1 on Monday afternoon.

Despite playing in the same tournament seven times, Monday’s match-up was just the second game ever between the teams; Atlantic also won the other meeting, earning a 6-4 victory in 2004 in St. John’s, N.L.

Josh Pugsley (Amherst, N.S./Amherst, MHL) and Liam Hynes (Ferryland, N.L./The Hill Academy, Can. Prep) had the other goals for Atlantic, which bounced back from losses to Quebec and the United States to open the tournament.

Pugsley finished with a goal and an assist, while Nicholas Quillan (Dartmouth, N.S./The Gunnery, U.S. Prep) and Matthew Highmore (Dartmouth, N.S./Saint John, LHJMQ) had two helpers apiece.

Maros Surovy scored the lone goal for the Slovaks, ending their goalless drought to start the tournament at just shy of 102 minutes.

After Pugsley had opened the scoring 2:21 into the second period, Kielly scored at 1:45 and 5:32 of the third, sandwiched around Surovy’s goal for Slovakia. Hynes rounded out the scoring with eight minutes to go.

Mason McDonald (Halifax, N.S./Acadie-Bathurst, LHJMQ) earned the win in the Atlantic goal, making 22 saves, while his Slovak counterpart, Stanislav Skorvanek, took the loss despite 28 stops.

Atlantic caps off its preliminary round schedule Tuesday afternoon against Ontario in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while Slovakia is on the ice at the Centre Marcel-Dionne to take on Quebec on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET).

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Anton Karlsson and Oskar Lindblom led the offence with two goals each as Sweden beat Pacific 6-3 on Monday afternoon at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, becoming the first team to clinch a berth in the semifinals.

The Swedes are into the final four for the third time in as many tries since returning to the tournament in 2010 after a 13-year absence. They won the bronze medal in 2010 and settled for fourth place last year. They did not take part in the 2011 tournament.

Henrik Törnqvist and Gustav Franzén scored the other goals for Sweden, which has won three games in as many days, outscoring its opposition 17-6 over that span.

Lindblom added an assist for a three-point performance, while Törnqvist finished with a goal and a helper. Emil Johansson, Adam Ollas Mattsson and William Nylander Altelius each had two assists in the win.
Brycen Martin (Calgary, Alta./Swift Current, WHL), Ryan Gagnon (Quesnel, B.C./Victoria, WHL) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) had the goals for Pacific, which couldn’t build on the momentum of its wild 8-7 overtime win over Russia to kick off the tournament on Saturday.

After Karlsson had pushed the Swedish lead to 2-0 midway through the second period, Martin, on the power play, and Gagnon scored 62 seconds apart to pull Pacific even and excite the pro-Canadian crowd at the Centre Marcel-Dionne.

But Franzén scored in the final minute of the middle frame and Karlsson and Lindblom scored power play goals in a span of 30 seconds in the latter stages of the third to put the game out of reach for the Canadians.
The Swedes will finish out a four-games-in-four-days stretch Tuesday when they take on Russia in the matinee in Victoriaville (1:30 p.m. ET), while Pacific will meet Finland in the New Year’s Day night-cap at the Colisée (7:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at

Spirit Acquire Fourth Round Pick From Kingston

Press Release

The Saginaw Spirit announce today they have acquired a fourth round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection in exchange for Lucas Peressini.  Peressini was a 12th round pick of the Spirit in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection. 

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

CALGARY, AB. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Prince Albert Raiders’ forward Anthony Bardaro is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week.  

collected seven points, scoring four goals and three assists to go with a +4 rating, in two games over the past week, helping the Raiders to a 2-0-0-0 record in that span.   

On Friday, December 28, the Raiders played host to the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.  Bardaro scored the game winning goal, added three assists and was named the games’ 1st Star, in the Raiders 5-4 win over the Blades.  The next night, Saturday, December 29, the Blades welcomed the Raiders to the Credit Union Centre for the back-half of the home-and-home holiday series.  Bardaro scored three goals, including the game winner, and was named the games’ 1st Star in the Raiders 4-2 victory over the Blades.

currently sits 33rd among all WHL scorers with 36 points (15 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games played thus far this season.  The Raiders are 6-3-0-1 in their past ten contests and currently sit 1st in the WHL East Division with a 24-11-0-3 record for 51 points.

A 20-year-old from Delta, BC, Bardaro is in his fourth full season in the Western Hockey League.  Originally a 6th round WHL Draft pick by Spokane, Bardaro spent two and a half seasons with the Chiefs before joining the Raiders midway through the 2011-12 season.

The WHL has also nominated Austin Lotz of the Everett Silvertips for the CHL Goaltender of the Week Award.  Lotzposted a 2-0-0-0 record this past week with one shut-out, stopping 72 of 74 shots faced for a 0.973 save-percentage and 0.98 goals-against average.  Lotz, a 17-year-old rookie from St. Adolphe, MB, helped lead the ‘Tips to a pair of victories over the Seattle Thunderbirds on December 28 (2-1, 1st Star) and December 29 (2-1 OT, 2nd Star).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

AMARILLO, TX – In a shocking move that came just past the midway point of the 2012-13 regular season, the Odessa Jackalopes traded their captain, defenseman Tyler Minx, and second leading scorer Ryan Doucet to the NAHL North Division’s Jamestown Ironmen Saturday in exchange for two 2013-14 tenders and a second round draft pick.

“We want to give our younger guys more of an opportunity to play,” said Jackalopes Assistant Coach and President of Hockey Operations Matt Cressman Saturday. “Without Minxy and [Doucet], we lose a little bit of leadership, but that’s just another opportunity for our younger players to grab and start pulling us in the right direction.”

An Oklahoma City native, Minx had played his entire NAHL career with Odessa, notching seven goals and 28 total points over 75 games played for the Jacks in 2011-12 and 2012-13 with a combined -15 rating and 258 total penalty minutes including 104 PIM’s this season, the league’s third-highest mark among individual skaters. Known for his gritty play and willingness to join the rush from the back end, Minx was named Jackalopes captain in October 2012.

Doucet, a San Jose, California native, was acquired via trade by Odessa late in the 2011-12 season from the Topeka RoadRunners and was instrumental in the Jacks’ late-season playoff run, potting nine goals and 12 points in the final 17 games of the regular season, helping Odessa earn a berth in the South Division semi-finals in their first season as an NAHL team. A 2013-14 Air Force Academy commit, Doucet appeared in Odessa’s first 30 games this season before being held out of the lineup in Friday’s 5-1 loss in Amarillo. Doucet departs the Jacks roster as the team’s second leading scorer in 2012-13, notching six goals and a team-leading 14 assists this season.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Bulls’ Gaunce OHL Player of the Week

Press Release

The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Brendan Gaunce of the Belleville Bulls is the OHL Player of the Week after recording five points in two games including two goals and three assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-3 for the week ending December 30.

Gaunce led the East Division leading Bulls to two wins following the Winter Break beginning Friday night with a 6-3 win over the Guelph Storm where he was named first star with a goal and two assists.  The Bulls captain also claimed first star honours on Saturday night with a goal and an assist as part of a 3-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers.

Gaunce, an 18-year-old from Markham, ON, is playing in his third OHL season with the Bulls.  Selected in the first round, 26th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Gaunce has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 28 games so far this season.

Also considered for the award this week was Eric Locke of the Saginaw Spirit and Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires who each produced five points in two games scoring three goals and two assists.  In goal, Brandon Hope of the Owen Sound Attack went 2-0-0-0 with a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .944.

(Nathan can be reached at

Zlobin, St-Cyr and Gibson are named the TELUS three stars of the week

Press Release

Anton Zlobin, Maxime St-Cyr and Christopher Gibson were today named, the TELUS three stars of the week for December 24th to the 30th, 2012.

The Val-d’Or Foreurs forward, Anton Zlobin is the first of the week. He collected 9 points in 2 games (4 goals and 5 assists) and a +/- of +2. Saturday, in an 8-6 win against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, he scored the winning goal at the end of the 3rd period and was named the 1st star of the game for his extraordinary performance of 3 goals and 3 assists. It was the first time since 2006 that a Foreurs player was able to collect 6 points during a road game, equaling the team’s record, set by Kristopher Letang. The night before, he scored 1 goal and added 2 assists in a 5-4 loss against the Huskies.

Maxime St-Cyr of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies gets the second star of the week. He also took advantage of the offensive duel between his team and the Foreurs to collect 5 points in 2 games. He was named the 2nd star on Friday amassing 3 points while scoring his 19th goal of the season, leading his team in a 5-4 win. The following day in front of his fans, he collected 2 assists in an offensive battle that was won 8-6 by the Foreurs.

Finally, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens’ goaltender, Christopher Gibson is the 3rd star of the week. In 2 games, were he was tested with 72 shots and maintained a save percentage of .931 and an average of 2.53. Friday, against the Shawinigan Cataractes, he blocked 30 out of 33 shots against him, helping his team win 4-3. Sunday, he was named the 3rd star of the game in a 2-1 loss against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, despite a performance of 37 stops. It’s worth noting that the Drakkar held his team to only 14 shots in the game.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Cape-able Canada wins

Press Release

  Canada struck for two goals on a major penalty in the first, added another in the second, and added an empty netter in the third to beat Russia 4-1 and claim the semi-final bye from Group B.

It was a great team effort by the Canadians, and although anyone could have been awarded the black hero's cape this evening, coach Steve Spott elected to give it to Boone Jenner, playing his first game of the tournament after serving a three-game suspension incurred during an exhibiton game.

Jenner played a great two-way game and was a star penalty killer, notably in the second period.

Russia will now play in the quarter-finals on January 2 against Switzerland while Canada will play the next day against the winner of the United States-Czech Republic game.

"It was a fun game with a lot of emotion and passion," said Canadian defenceman Scott Harrington. "We're pretty happy how it turned out. Right from our first line to goalie, we got the job done."

Canada drew first blood on the scoreboard soon after Russia drew first blood on the ice. Valeri Nichushkin drilled Canadian defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon into the boards from behind at 11:44, earning a five-minute major and game misconduct in the process.

Canada’s power play then went to work, firing several good shots on Andrei Makarov. Finally, Dougie Hamilton’s one-timer from the point beat the goalie high over the shoulder at 14:04. Less than two minutes later Canada extended its lead when Mark Schiefele scooped in his own rebound off to the side of the net.

"I thought our power play did a great job of capitalizing," Harrington noted. "I think we took some momentum away from the crowd."
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"When you get a couple of goals early, you can calm down a bit when you know you have a little breathing room," Dougie Hamilton noted.

The crowd got the Russians back in the game, though, and the players responded. Again, within two minutes, Schiefele gave back his goal. He lost the puck in front of his own goal, and it rolled right onto Nikita Kuckerov’s stick. He wired a hard shot that beat Malcolm Subban and brought the game within reach.

Canada earned its first penalty early in the second when Nathan McKinnon was sent off for boarding, but some intense penalty killing by Boone Jenner, who was playing his first tournament game after returning from a suspension incurred during the exhibition, allowed Canada to survive.

Moments after McKinnon returned, Canada regained its two-goal lead. Makarov reached out to play a harmless puck, but in so doing pulled himself out of position. Jonathan Drouin got to the puck first and stuffed it in the back side at 6:31.

That combination of penalty kill and goal really took the lungs out of the pro-Russia crowd, and two minutes later Canada earned another power play of its own, but the Russians returned the favour by killing it off expertly.

Russia nearly got one when Kucherov was alone in front of Subban, but the goalie made a huge left-pad save to keep it a 3-1 game. That didn’t prevent MacKinnon from taking his second undisciplined penalty of the period, but the best scoring chance during the ensuing 5-on-4 came from Canada's Mark McNeill who drilled a shot off the crossbar.

Canada played the last half of the period with an intensity the Russians couldn’t match, but that only set the stage for one final period of 2012.

In the third, the Canadians did a masterful job of sitting on the lead by playing in the Russian end. They cycled endlessly, maintained puck possession, and checked their opponents tenaciously when they tried to move up ice.

"That was our game plan," Harrington said. "We've been working on the cycling in practise. Our time of possession was key."

Canada got a final goal at 19:32 into the empty Russian net. With 19.1 seconds left, Vladimir Tkachyov was awarded a penalty shot, but he missed.

In the end, Canada took the crowd outof the game with its strong play. "It's different for us, for sure," Harrington said of being the underdog, "but I don't think it's as bad because it's whistling, which isn't as intimidating as boos. We tried to fedd off it as well."

"We came out strong, and every part of our game was pretty solid," commented captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We've just been getting better as the tournament has gone along."

(Nathan can be reached at

Sweden ends Finnish hopes

Press Release

In a wild clash of Nordic foes, Sweden blew an early 3-0 lead against Finland but rallied for a 7-4 win. First in Group A, the Swedes earn a semi-final bye, while Finland heads to relegation play.
The Swedes have set themselves up nicely to defend their 2012 world title, the first one they’d won in 31 years. They’re now just two wins away from repeating under coach Roger Rönnberg.

"Right now, we haven’t won anything," noted Swedish captain Filip Forsberg. "We’re just going to go out in the semis and hunt for the final spot. It’s no big deal to calm our guys down."

The highly touted Finns theoretically could have finished first in the group by defeating Sweden by three or more goals, or second (two goals). Instead, they failed to achieve their minimum goal of getting this game into overtime, which would have earned them the single point they needed to unseat Switzerland for third place and a quarter-final berth in Group B.

"We tried to have a good start, but we had the opposite," said Finland's Joel Armia. "It’s so hard to win the game when the other team is three goals ahead."

Instead, Switzerland moves on. In an interesting spectacle, the Swiss team gathered in one corner of Ufa’s Sports Palace, near the press tribune, dressed in toques and team jackets, cheering wildly for each Swedish goal.

Joel Lassinantti started in the Swedish cage but was later pulled for Niklas Lundström, the two going head-to-head with Finnish starter Joonas Korpisalo. Shots on goal favoured Sweden 42-38.

Viktor Arvidsson notched two goals and an assist for Sweden, and Alexander Wennberg potted a goal and a helper. Robert Hägg, Victor Rask, Filip Forsberg, and Emil Molin also scored. Christian Djoos earned a pair of assists.

Joel Armia scored twice for the Finns and Rasmus Ristolainen and Ville Järveläinen had singles. Aleksander Barkov added two assists.

It’ll be the seventh straight year without a medal for Finland at this tournament. The last one was bronze in Vancouver in 2006.

This was a rough contest, played at a high tempo with plenty of post-whistle scrums.

"It’s always like that when we play against Finland," said Wennberg. "It’s a big thing for Sweden. It’s fun to play in these games."

The Swedes grabbed a 1-0 lead at 6:16 when Djoos stepped in from the right point and pounded a high shot that Wennberg deflected past Korpisalo..

Sweden went up 2-0 at 6:59 on a play much like the first goal. After a Swedish faceoff win, Robert Hagg came off the blue line and whipped a shot home on the glove side.

Rask made it 3-0 Sweden at 13:42, corralling a rebound in the slot and firing it past Korpisalo’s blocker.

"The first 20 minutes were the best we’ve played in this tournament so far," said Rönnberg. "Maybe the level we have to play on if we should survive the semis."

The Finns called a timeout to regroup, and it paid off. On the power play, Armia charged out of the corner with authority and zapped one under the crossbar to make it 3-1 at 16:17.

At 1:26 of the second period, Ristolainen brought his team back within one when he found a long rebound and fired it past Lassinantti.

The Finns began pressing furiously and got a two-man advantage. Lassinantti made two superb stops in a row on Olli Määttä and Miikka Salomäki. The latter stop, which involved a wide-open net and a miraculous stick move, was video-reviewed.

Still, Armia tied the game seconds later at 3:55 with a vicious one-timer that got inside Lassinantti’s right post. The Swedes promptly reacted by pulling Lassinantti in favour of Niklas Lundström.

"I felt we had to do something to change the momentum in the game," said Rönnberg. "I had Niklas’s eyes toward me all the time, and he was really looking to me, because he wanted to be in there. And he was ready for it. We had talked about it before the game, that this might happen."

Ristolainen hurt his team’s momentum when he was nabbed for checking to the head and headed to the penalty box with a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct.

Early in the Swedish power play, Sebastian Collberg thought he had scored and the Swedish bench erupted. However, the play was reviewed mid-way through the two-minute minor and was quickly ruled no goal.

The Swedes finally regained their one-goal edge on a broken play with 3:58 left in the middle frame. Tom Nilsson couldn’t get his shot through traffic, but Arvidsson picked up the puck in the high slot and got it past Korpisalo.

With Markus Hannikainen off for interference, the Swedes went up 5-3 just 45 seconds later. With bodies aplenty clogging Korpisalo’s view, Forsberg’s shot barely squeaked through his pads and over the goal line.

In the third period, the Finns had a chance to make it a one-goal game with Jacob de la Rose serving two-plus-10 for checking to the head, but they couldn’t capitalize.

With 9:20 left, Ville Järveläinen made it 5-4, circling into the slot and beating Lundström through traffic. Finland had life again.

But the Finns squandered their late momentum when an Armia tripping penalty with just over three minutes left cancelled out a power play chance.

Emil Molin’s rocket over Korpisalo’s glove with 1:22 made it 6-4 and sealed the deal. The Finns pulled their goalie in desperation, but that only opened the door for Arvidsson to add the 7-4 empty-netter with 59 seconds remaining.

It’s a disappointing outcome for the Finns, who will finish lower than sixth place for the first time since 2009 (seventh). They seemed to lose some of their mojo after Miro Aaltonen’s tournament-ending ankle injury in the opening 5-1 win over Latvia. They lost 3-1 to a lower-rated Czech side and then had to rally for a 5-4 overtime win versus Switzerland, a team they were expected to beat in regulation.

"I am so depressed and disappointed," said Finnish coach Harri Rindell. "This is a new experience, not such a funny one. An awful one. But you need to go through these things too and look forward. I am so sad just for the moment. Because we were so close, so close in many games."

 (Nathan can be reached at

U.S. beats Slovakia 9-3 to advance

Press Release

 Team USA clinched a playoff berth by soundly thumping the Slovaks today by an 9-3 score. With the win the Americans finish third in Group B and will play in the quarter-finals on January 2.

The Slovaks now head to the Relegation Round with Germany.

"As soon as we lost yesterday [2-1 to Canada], the guys really lit a fire under our butts," said forward Vince Trochek. "We knew we had to come in today and there was no chance in anyone's mind that we would lose. We had no doubt we would win the game. We were ready, and we played our hardest."

Trocheck and John Gaudreau had two goals and an assist while Jim Vesey had three assists for the winners. Matus Matis scored two goals for the Slovaks and earned a late misconduct for a shapr word to the referees after incurring a minor penalty.

On paper, today’s game could have been a nightmare for the Americans. A loss would have sent them to the Relegation Round for the second straight year. But, in reality, the game was never close as the U.S. was superior in every department. They also benefitted from weak goaltending from Adam Nagy, who was replaced at the 9:00 mark after surrendering three goals. His replacement, Patrik Romancik, didn’t fare any better.

"Before the game we knew how important it was, obviously," started Alex Galchenyuk. "But after we scored a couple of goals, we didn't feel any pressure. We couldn't get any bounces in our last two games against Russia and Canada, but tonight we did."

The game was over pretty much after the first period. The Americans got on the board early thanks to a breakaway goal from Cole Bardreau at 4:05, and the Slovaks provided a bit of drama by tying the game 14 seconds later thanks to Matus Matis.
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But the U.S. went ahead only 51 seconds later and never looked back. Jake McCabe made it 2-1 on a nice backhand, and John Gaudreau made it 3-1 at 9:00. Mike Reilly added another off a faceoff win, and Jacob Trouba banged home a rebound on a power play at 13:50 to make it 5-1.

"We wanted to get the puck in deep, get on their defencemen, and get some greasy goals," said Gaudreau. "All tournament we've had trouble scoring, but tonight we got some greasy goals."

A little drama occurred late in the period when Shayne Gotsisbehere earned a slashing major and game misconduct. The Slovaks got one goal before the end of the period with the five-minute power play, Richard Mraz knocking in a loose puck with goalie John Gibson down And out.

The Americans made it an 8-2 game by the end of the second period. Gaudreau got his second early on and then Vince Trocheck got a pair. The period saw plenty of minor penalties and power plays both ways, but the Slovaks, with two lengthy 5-on-3 chances, couldn’t create much chaos in front of Gibson let alone put the puck in the net.

Matis added his second goal of the game at 9:21 of the third to make it 8-3 while Galchenyuk closed out the scoring with a late goal for the Americans.

The closely-refereed game featured 65 penalty minutes, 37 to the Americans. In all, there were 15 minors (nine to Slovakia), a Slovak misconduct, and a 5+20 to the Americans.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Czechs down Swiss in OT

Press Release

With a 4-3 overtime victory over Switzerland on Monday, the Czechs moved on to the Playoff Round. Tomas Hertl scored the winner at 1:39 of the extra frame.
Dmitrij Jaskin cunningly bounced a pass off the back boards to Hertl, who quickly came off the goal line to tuck the puck past Swiss goalie Melvin Nyffeler.

The Czechs now have eight points in Group A, good for second place, pending the results of the Sweden-Finland round-robin finale.

"It was the most important game, because we were playing for everything," said Czech defenceman David Musil. "If we won, we’d make the playoffs."

The Swiss could still make the Playoff Round if the Swedes beat Finland in regulation time.

Switzerland heroically rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to send the game to extra time. But it wasn't enough. Swiss coach Sean Simpson said he was proud of his players despite losing in extra time for the third straight game.

"I’m very proud that we could take all three of those teams [Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic] to overtime," said Simpson. "There was a little bit of bad luck. How often does a team play three games in a row, go to overtime three times, and lose three times?"

For the Czechs, Michal Svihalek added a goal and an assist, and Matej Beran and Tomas Hyka also scored.

A true standout was Jaskin, who totalled three assists with passes worthy of Wayne Gretzky or Peter Forsberg.

"They were pretty sick," said Musil. "They were big passes that resulted in big goals for us at big moments."

Christian Marti potted a goal and an assist, and Christoph Bertschy and Dario Simion also scored for the Swiss.

"We didn’t quite come out the way we wanted to," said Switzerland's Tanner Richard. "I feel the Czechs came out with more energy. We weren’t quite ready. But we showed great character in the third and we came back. We just fell one shot short."

The Czechs are hoping to win their first medal at this tournament since 2005’s bronze.

Goalie Patrik Bartosak made his third start for the Czechs, posting 26 stops. Nyfeller did likewise for the Swiss and recorded 27 saves.

At 3:46 of the first period, the Czechs took a 1-0 lead when Svihalek fanned on his shot off the rush and Beran hustled to the goal crease and tucked in the loose puck.

The Czechs couldn’t capitalize during a mid-period two-man advantage that lasted 1:15, fanning on attempted point shots repeatedly as the Swiss maintained their cool.

Switzerland made it 1-1 with 5:40 left in the first period. Marti stepped into an enormous drive from inside the blue line that beat Bartosak through traffic.

The Czechs went up 2-1 at 3:58 of the second period on a beautiful play. Jaskin swooped behind the goal line and put a no-look, backhand pass in front of the net, where Svihalek converted it.

Jaskin continued to make an impact, hammering Tanner Richard into the boards in the Swiss end. Moments later, the 19-year-old Russian-born winger played set-up man again, taking a pass from Radek Faksa on the rush, and then backhanding it blindly through two Swiss defenders in front for Tomas Hyka to put home for a 3-1 lead at 6:46.

Bartosak looked sharp three minutes into the third period, gloving down a quick shot off the rush by Bertschy, the Swiss captain.

Czech defenceman Petr Sidlik blocked a shot near the seven-minute mark and threw down his gloves and stick, crumpling to the ice and crawling off in pain. However, he would stay in the game.

The Swiss cut the deficit to 3-2 on the power play with 8:25 left, as Bertschy circled into the middle of the Czech zone and fooled Bartosak with a high shot.

Nyffeler did his best to give his team a chance, stopping Beran in close on a 2-on-1 feed from Czech captain Lukas Sedlak with four and a half minutes remaining.

Marek Hrbas took a delay of game penalty for putting the puck over the glass in his own zone, and the Swiss capitalized. Marti's blast from the line went in off Dario Simion's chest area, and after video review, the 3-3 goal at 17:59 was ruled good.

But the Czechs rebounded in overtime, and are moving forward.

"I try not to think about how deep [we can go]," said Musil. "We just have to focus on the game in the quarter-finals."

Swiss forward Lukas Rieber did not play, serving his one-game suspension for an illegal check on Finland’s Ville Pokka on December 28.

(Nathan can be reached at

Alex Theriau Retires from Junior Hockey

Press Release

Regina, Saskatchewan - The Regina Pats Hockey Club has announced 20-year old defenceman Alex Theriau is retiring from junior hockey due to health concerns.

The Duncan, B.C. native underwent hip surgery in the off-season before joining the Pats November 14th.  Unfortunately, suiting up for 16 games with the Pats aggravated Theriau’s hip and will force Alex to end his junior career in order to heal and pursue professional and CIS opportunities next season.

“Obviously my injury with my hip, it hasn’t gone exactly how I planned.  I’ve been digressing the past few weeks and I spoke to Pat and said, ‘hey, I’m concerned about my health,’ and we made the decision from there,” says Alex Theriau.  “It was awesome,” continued Theriau about his time with the Pats.  “I came in not expecting to get a real look and I got a huge opportunity here which I am still extremely grateful for”

In his 16 games with Regina, Theriau picked up two goals and two assists to finish his WHL career with a total of 267 games played, 11 goals, 55 assists and 206 penalty minutes.  Initially entering the league with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Theriau made stops in Everett and Medicine Hat before coming to the Pats.

 “Alex came to the Pats at a time when we were in need of veteran leadership on our blue-line and in our locker room.  His contributions were beyond our expectations and we couldn’t be happier with what Alex brought to the team,” says Pats GM Chad Lang.  “In his short time with the Pats, Alex displayed all of the qualities this organization aspires to uphold.  On behalf of the Pats, I want to wish him all of the best in his future endeavors.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Tigers’ Roster Changes

Press Release

Tiger fans, come January,will be cheering for a team that is considerably different from the one that sent Woodstock home unsatisfied Friday evening. To begin with, first liner, Andrew Meredith,the team’s leading point-getter to date, has been called up to the Bathurst Titan for the rest of the season. He, along with line mates Francis Bernier and Robert Pelletier, have accounted for over 30% of Campbellton’s offense. Also impacting the team is the news that Grant West has been traded to Truro for three players plus future considerations. Coming to the Tigers will be twenty year old forward Mike Richard, and nineteen year old defenseman, Brendon McMartin. Also part of the package was Stephen LeDrew, a seventeen year old midget player presently in St. John’s, Nfld. who will be available next year. Again with an eye to building for the future, twenty year old Kevin Woodyatt was traded to Elliot Lake Bobcats of the Northern Ontario Jr. League for eighteen year old defenseman Mitch Blanchard. The Tiger organization wishes to thank these departing players for their contributions to the team and to wish them well in their future endeavors, both on and off the ice.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Press Release

PLESSISVILLE, Que. – Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Erie, OHL) scored a hat trick to lead the way offensively as Ontario earned its first win at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in emphatic fashion, routing Slovakia 12-0 on Sunday night.

The margin of victory is the largest for Ontario since a 13-1 victory over Atlantic at the 2002 tournament in Selkirk, Man., and it’s just the third time since 2000 it has reached double digits in a game.

Robby Fabbri (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) and Sam Bennett (Holland Landing, Ont./Kingston, OHL) also had multiple-goal games for Ontario, which bounced back in a big way from Saturday’s shootout loss to the U.S.

Dante Salituro (Willowdale, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), Spencer Watson (London, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Josh Ho-Sang (Thornhill, Ont./Windsor, OHL), Jaden Lindo (Brampton, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) and Brett Hargrave (North Bay, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) scored the other Ontario goals.

Salituro and Bennett gave Ontario a 2-0 lead after one period before the Canadian side erupted for six goals in the second, three off the stick of McDavid in a span of 10:41. The 15-year-old under-ager leads Ontario in scoring with six points (four goals, two assists) in two games.

Bennett added an assist for a three-point night, Ho-Sang, Hargrave and Watson finished with a goal and a helper each and Aaron Ekblad (Belle River, Ont./Barrie, OHL) and Daniel De Sousa (Mississauga, Ont./Belleville, OHL) chipped with two assists apiece.

Matthew Mancina (Lakeshore, Ont./Leamington, GOJHL) stopped all 23 shots he faced for the shutout, making more than half his saves in the third period when the Slovaks pressed to break the goose-egg.

Both Slovakian goaltenders saw action – Stanislav Skorvanek gave up six goals on 26 shots before being replaced by Maximilian Pajpach, who gave up six on 22.

Slovakia was playing its first game at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge since 2011, when it went winless and finished 10th. Overall, the Slovaks have lost seven in a row at the tournament.

Ontario is off Monday and won’t see the ice again until the New Year, taking on Atlantic on Tuesday afternoon in Drummondville in the first game of 2013 (1:30 p.m. ET), while the Slovaks have a short rest before they face Atlantic on Monday afternoon in Victoriaville (1:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Ilya Zinoviev scored twice in the third period to provide the final margin of victory as Russia picked up its first win of the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Sunday night, topping West 6-2.

The Russian offence has now scored 13 goals in two games, good for second best after Ontario, which has 17 goals in two games thanks to its 12-0 rout of Slovakia on Sunday in Plessisville, Que.

Maxim Lazarev, Daniil Vovchenko, Andrey Kuzmenko and Yevgeni Svechnikov had the other goals for the Russians, who also split their first two games a year ago in Windsor, Ont,, before rattling off four wins in a row to take home the gold medal.

Vovchenko finished with a goal and an assist, while Alexei Sleptsov and Ivan Nikolishin had two helpers apiece.

Rourke Chartier (Saskatoon, Sask./Kelowna, WHL) and Rhett Gardner (Moose Jaw, Sask./Moose Jaw, SMAAAHL) had the goals for West, which is 0-2 at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for the third time in four years and has lost eight in a row overall.

Ty Edmonds (Winnipeg, Man./Virden, MJHL) took the loss in the West goal for the second night in a row, making 24 stops, while Maxim Sidorov earned the victory with a 27-save performance.

West will see the ice for the third day in a row Monday when it meets Finland in the matinee in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while the Russians are off until 2013 – they’ll play Sweden on Tuesday afternoon in Victoriaville (1:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Six different players scored goals and Jack Glover chipped in with three assists as the United States earned a 6-3 win over Atlantic on Sunday afternoon at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The game was dominated by the power play, with both teams scoring three times with the man advantage. The Americans finished three-for-seven on the power play, while Atlantic was three-for-nine.

Sonny Milano, Jared Fiegl, Nathan Billitier, Dylan Larkin, Austin Poganski and Ryan Collins all had goals for the Americans, who jumped over idle Quebec and into first place in Group B with the second win over Canadian opposition in as many days.

The U.S. beat Ontario 6-5 in a shootout thriller in their tournament opener on Saturday.Glover was the lone U.S. skater with more than one point; overall, 11 Americans put their names on the scoresheet.

Duncan MacIntyre (Sydney, N.S./Quebec, LHJMQ), Matthew Highmore (Dartmouth, N.S./Saint John, LHJMQ) and Clark Bishop (St. John’s, N.L./Cape Breton, LHJMQ) did the scoring for Atlantic, which dropped to 0-2 following its 5-2 loss to Quebec on Saturday.

MacIntyre and Bishop had a goal and an assist each for the Canadian side.

The Americans dominated the shots on goal, outshooting Altantic by a two-to-one margin, 46-23. Antoine Landry (Caraquet, N.B./Miramichi, NBPEIMMHL) finished with 40 saves in the Atlantic goal, while his American counterpart, Edwin Minney, made 20 stops.

First place in Group B will be on the line Monday night when the U.S. meets Quebec in Victoriaville in the final game of 2012 (7:30 p.m. ET), while Atlantic makes its third attempt at win No. 1 when it takes on Slovakia in the early game at the Colisée (1:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – William Nylander Altelius and Oskar Lindblom had a goal and two assists each as Sweden remained unbeaten and extended its lead atop Group A at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 7-3 win over Finland on Sunday afternoon.

The game marked just the second meeting between the Scandinavian neighbours at the tournament; the Swedes won the first as well, 6-4 at the 2010 event in Timmins, Ont.

Adrian Kempe scored a hat trick for the Swedes, including two into empty nets in the dying minutes as the Finns tried to take advantage of late power plays to get back into the game. Pierre Engvall and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson had the other goals for Sweden.

Mikko Rantanen scored twice and Teemu Lämsä added one for the Finns, who made their return to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge after missing last year’s tournament in Windsor, Ont. Instead, Finland won the silver medal at the inaugural World Sport School Challenge in Calgary, Alta.

Rantanen was in on all three Finnish goals, picking up an assist on Lämsä’s marker late in the first period.

After Rantanen opened the scoring just 70 seconds in, the Swedes scored three times in just over seven minutes to take a lead they would not relinquish. Rantanen’s shorthanded goal early in the third period pulled the Finns to within one at 4-3, but that would be as close as they would get.

Felix Sandström and Kaapo Kähkönen went the distance in goal for the Swedes and Finns, respectively. Sandström picked up win after a 27-save performance, while Kähkönen took the loss despite 32 stops.

Both teams are back on the ice at the Centre Marcel-Dionne on Monday to close out 2012 – Sweden goes for a 3-0 start against Pacific in the matinee (1:30 p.m. ET), before Finland meets West in the evening contest (7:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

Brandon, MB. -- Former Brandon Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone leads this season's class of candidates for the Brandon Sun's Westman Sports Star of the Year.

For the 55th consecutive year, the Sun will determine the winner of the H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award — emblematic of sports excellence in southwestern Manitoba — from a long list of worthy nominees.

Last year's Krug Crawford memorial Award winner, Stone closed out his Wheat Kings career by being named the WHL’s most sportsmanlike player after finishing second in the league with 123 points, including 41 goals in 66 games, while earning only 22 penalty minutes.

The Winnipeg native, who was named an Eastern Conference all-star, also led Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 world junior hockey championship. Stone, who led Canada in scoring with seven goals and three assists in six games, went on to earn his first NHL point in his first NHL playoff game with the Ottawa Senators. Now 20, Stone has four goals and nine points in 20 American League games with the Binghampton Senators.

Stone is one of three hockey players nominated this year, joining Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Halli Krzyzaniak who led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Womens U18 Championship in the Czech Republic. In recent weeks, Brykaliuk and Krzyzaniak have accepted NCAA scholarships with Minnesota-Duluth and UND respectively.

Rounding out the list of finalists are Volleyball's Lisa Barclay and Tabi Love, curling stars Rob Fowler and Alan Lyburn, Rugby's Amanda Thornborough, Basketball's Ilarian Bonhomme and Brittany Wiebe, golfer Josh Wytinck, local football stars Taylor Maloney and Dylan Minshull, Baseball's Marshal Burgess as well as 13-year old Brandon figure skater Tori Thiessen.

To be eligible, candidates must live in the Westman region during the season, or return home in the off-season if they are playing professionally. Players attending college or university while pursuing their athletic careers elsewhere in Canada or the United States are also eligible until they graduate. As always, both outstanding individual seasons and lifetime achievement are taken into consideration.

The winner will be announced in the January 2nd edition of the Brandon Sun.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Slovaks edge Germans in OT

Press Release

With a 2-1 overtime win over Germany on Sunday night, Slovakia set up a showdown with the United States on New Year's Eve for third place in Group B. Peter Ceresnak got the winner.

The Germans, with four straight losses, are bound for the Relegation Round.

Germany's Sebastian Uvira was sent off for hooking Slovak forward Martin Reway in the neutral zone 57 seconds into overtime. Ceresnak hammered home the deciding goal with a one-timer from the faceoff circle.

"This was a very hard game," said Slovak scoring leader Marko Dano, who has five points to date. "We tried to score some goals, but their goalie was great. I’m very happy because we scored the overtime goal."

"It was our best game so far," said Germany's Dominik Kahun. "It was a bit unlucky, this penalty in overtime. We can’t take this. We have to stay out of the box."

Bruno Mraz also scored for Slovakia. Tobias Rieder tallied for Germany.

Slovakia’s Adam Nagy won the goaltending duel with Germany’s Marvin Cüpper, but not because Cüpper didn’t try his best. Slovakia outshot Germany 42-18.

"[Cüpper] did a great job," said Uvira. "He saved some great shots from the Slovakian guys. He had some nice kick saves and stuff. I’m proud he played so well. I think we got the point because of him."

If the Slovaks beat the Americans and move on to the quarter-finals, they’ll guarantee themselves at least as good of a finish as they had in 2012 (sixth place).

The Americans, who played in the Relegation Round last year for the first time since 1999, will be desperate to avoid repeating that indignity. Slovakia knows it’ll be facing a motivated opponent.

"We must recover fast and get a good sleep," said Dano. "Tomorrow we’ll try to beat the USA."

Newly promoted for 2013, Germany’s goal is simply to stay in the top division. It won’t be easy. Thus far, coach Ernst Höfner’s squad has been outscored by a whopping 26-4 margin.

"If we keep working hard and getting better, I think we have a good chance to stay in the [top division]," said Uvira. "It’s really important for us to win in the Relegation Round."

It was a carefully played game from the outset, with both teams striving not to make a fatal mistake. In the scoreless first period, there were two Slovak power plays and one for Germany.

At 13:56 of the second period, the Germans finally drew first blood on a 5-on-3 power play. Leon Draisatl sent a pass from the right faceoff circle to Kahun, who put it cross-crease to Rieder for the tap-in.

The German goalie stepped up with his team in the lead. Milan Kolena had a great chance for the equalizer in the slot near the 16-minute mark of the second, but Cüpper flung out his right pad to stop it. With under two minutes left before the siren, Cüpper stoned Andrej Bires in close with a glove grab.

In the third period, Slovakia tied the score at 4:02, as Mraz tracked down a loose puck at the hash marks and whacked it high past Cüpper.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Czechs stay alive

Press Release

Dmitrij Jaskin's goal with just 6:14 left in regulation broke a 2-2 tie and led the Czech Republic to a crucial 4-2 win in Group A play at the Sports Palace tonight.

With the loss the winless Latvians (0-0-4) now head to the Relegation Round. With the win, the Czechs have six points, good for second place in Group B, and still have a chance to finish first in the group depending on the outcome of their game against the Swiss tomorrow as well as the result from the Sweden-Finland clash earlier in the day.

Defenceman Martin Frk scored two goals for the winners on shots from the point.

Although the Czechs dominated the first period, they came out of it with nothing more than a tie. Credit goes to Latvia, though, as the team collapsed around its goalie, Ivars Punnenovs, and made it difficult for the Czechs to penetrate the dangerous area in front of the net.

Jan Stencel made a sensational saucer pass across the width of the ice in the Latvian zone right onto the stick of Petr Beranek, and his quick shot from the back side found the open net to stake the Czechs to a 1-0 lead at 9:55.

The Czechs continued to maintain puck possession and use their larger bodies and extra strength to control play, but the Latvians tied the game at 18:33 on a scramble in front of goalie Patrik Bartosak. Nikita Jevpalovs banged the puck in, and just like that it was 1-1.

"After we got the first goal we took some penalties and let Latvia get back in the game," Frk noted. "They scored and played a very good game."

The Czechs went up 2-1 at 2:01 of the second on a power play when Frk’s great one-timer from the point snuck through the pads of Punnenovs. Petr Sidlik made the pass across to tee it up for Frk.
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"I don't know where it went, but the coach is always telling me to just shoot from the blue line because I have a hard shot, so that's what I tried to do."

That proved to be the only goal of a tame period. Both teams also had two power plays but could do little in close to generate scoring chances.

The Latvians tied the game again just 1:59 into the third period when the Lipsbergs brothers combined for a goal. Kriss's point shot was stopped by Bartosak, but Roberts swooped in and pushed the rebound over the goal line before any Czech defenceman could take him out of the play.

Jaskin's goal was the game winner. It was a low shot that came on a lengthy delayed penalty in which Bartosak went to the bench for a sixth attacker.

"I just got the puck and made a fake and then took a shot. I was just trying to get it on the net. I was lucky," Jaskin said.

Frk closed out the scoring with another point shot that went all the way.

Shots favoured the Czechs, 40-20.

 (Nathan can be reached at

"Ryan power" lifts Canada

Press Release

In the latest battle of the North American hockey rivalry, Canada defeated the U.S. 2-1 at Ufa Arena on Sunday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome scored for Canada. 
Jacob Trouba replied for the Americans.

Nugent-Hopkins and Strome are 1-2 in team scoring as they vie for the tournament scoring title. But most importantly, they helped Canada get three points for the third straight time at the 2013 World Juniors.

"I think it was a big team effort for us tonight," said Nugent-Hopkins. "We played really solid for 60 minutes.

"Pucks are going in and it feels good and that’s what happening right now," said Strome.

Canada played without suspended forwards J-C Lipon and Boone Jenner. Both are eligible to return for the New Year’s Eve showdown against host Russia.

The game against the Russians will determine who gets first place in Group B and a bye to the semi-finals.

"It’s going to be a whole lot of fans booing us," said Ryan Murphy of facing Russia. "You don’t need anything to get pumped up for these games. It should be a given. We’ll be ready to go."

The Americans, who complete their round-robin slate against Slovakia on New Year's Eve, can finish no higher than third in the group.

"We had our chances," said American coach Phil Housley, whose team also lost 2-1 to Russia. "It’s one thing if you’re not getting the opportunities to score, but we are. We’ve just got to continue to stay the course. We’ve played two very good hockey teams and had a chance to tie it up in both games. We need to regroup for Slovakia."

Canadian starting goalie Malcolm Subban made 36 stops in his third win. John Gibson, who has started every game for the Americans, recorded 30 stops.

"Even before the game, you could see he was in the zone," said Canada's Mark McNeill of Subban. "In warm-up, he was stopping everything."

In front of a crowd of 6,585, it was a hard-fought matchup between these two gold medal contenders. The teams got off to a spirited start, with both goalies looking sharp.

At 7:13, Canada grabbed a 1-0 lead when Jonathan Huberdeau fed Nugent-Hopkins in the slot and the Canadian captain unleashed a zinger that beat Gibson high to the stick side.

Halfway through the period, Canada got a glorious opportunity on a 3-on-1 rush, but Gibson foiled Ryan Murphy’s shot.

A minute later, it was Subban’s turn to shine when the U.S.’s John Gaudreau busted in from the blue line on a breakaway. The Canadian goalie refused to bite on the backhand deke.

Canada went up 2-0 with 5:16 left in the first. Brett Ritchie circled around the American net and centered the puck through the crease to Ryan Strome, who made no mistake from the doorstep. It was the fourth straight World Junior game in which Strome has scored.

Gibson made a great glove save on Scheifele from close range with under three minutes remaining before the first buzzer.

Near the seven-minute mark of the second period, Canadian defenceman Griffin Reinhart took a double minor for high-sticking Ryan Hartman next to Subban’s goal crease. Subban made a series of excellent  saves as the Americans came at him hard, but couldn’t deliver a goal on their four-minute power play.

"My penalty-killers played really well in front of me," said Subban modestly. "They didn’t allow a lot of across-the-crease passes, and I think that was the biggest thing, just giving me shots from the outside."

In the third period, Subban took a tripping penalty at 7:35 that gave the Americans their third man advantage of the game, but redeemed himself by conceding nothing.

However, after Strome was called for delay of game for putting the puck over the glass in his own zone, Subban couldn't hold off Trouba, who cut the deficit to 2-1 on a broken play at 11:02, whacking the puck through the goalie's legs after his initial attempt on the rush was blocked by a defender.

The Americans killed off their own momentum with a string of bad penalties -- including two checking to the head minor penalties accompanied by 10-minute misconducts -- in the closing 10 minutes. Canada got back-to-back 5-on-3 man advantages, which helped run down the clock even though they didn't score.

Nugent-Hopkins nearly became the goat when he was called for holding with 1:38 remaining. The Americans pulled Gibson for the extra attacker, but failed to capitalize.

"Our forwards will get going eventually, hopefully, including myself," said the U.S.'s Rocco Grimaldi. "We’ve just got to keep shooting on the puck on net and good things will happen."

 (Nathan can be reached at

Granlund gets SO winner

Press Release

Markus Granlund scored the only goal of a 10-shot shootout to give Finland a 5-4 win over the Swiss, shootout losers for the second straight game. It was Granlund's third goal of the night. 
The Finns now leapfrog Switzerland into second place of Group B with five points. The Swiss have now earned points in all three games and also have five points but are seeded third by virtue of today's loss.
It was Granlund's second shot of the shootout. He was stopped in the first round by a Melvin Nyffeler pad save but coach Harri Rindell decided to give him another chance. "It was his decision," Granlund said, "but I wanted to shoot again. I wanted to score."

Finland came back from deficits of 2-0 and 4-2 for the win despite a fine game from Nyffeler who faced 57 shots to only 23 by the Swiss on Joonas Korpisalo.

"It was a great battle for us," Korpisalo said said. "The first period was pretty horrible, but after that we tied the game and were much better."

"It hurts. It really hurts to lose a shootout for the second time," Nyffeler said. "We need to score more in the shootout. We were leading. We should have won."

Nyffeler set the tone for the Swiss early. After a bad giveaway by defenceman Mirco Muller, Finn Artturi Lekhonen had a point-blank shot gloved beautifully by the Swiss goalie. Just a few minutes later, the Swiss opened the scoring when Lino Martschini banged in a loose puck that goalie Korpisalo couldn’t control.
Just 61 seconds later, they made it 2-0 when Tanner Richard made another fine pass in front to Sven Andrighetto. His first re-direct was stopped, but no Finn knocked Andrighetto out of the way and he knocked in the rebound.

To cap the excellent first period, Nyffeler made another great save in the final minute on a Finnish power play, stoning Granlund in a one-on-one situation.

The Finns rallied in the second, though, thanks to a string of Swiss penalties that both gave the Finns puck possession while preventing them from generating offense. Grandlund got revenge for the first-period stop when he deflected a Juuso Vainio point shot on one such power play at 5:21 to make it a 2-1 game.
Then, midway through the period on another man advantage, Teuvo Teravainen ripped a wrist shot through a maze of players over Nyffeler’s shoulder to tie things up. Switzerland recovered to play solid hockey the rest of the way, but a game they once controlled was now tied with 20 minutes left to play.

The Swiss made a fine recovery in the third. When Vainio lost an edge bringing the puck out of his own end, Alessio Bertaggia scooped it up and snapped a perfect shot to the short side of Korpisalo to make it 3-2.
The Swiss regained their two-goal lead on a power play of their own at 11:30. Christoph Bertschy's long shot pinballed in front where Dario Simion smacked the loose puck in to make it 4-2.

Then the Finns staged another rally. Teravainen made it a 4-3 game on another Finnish power play, sliding a low shot past Nyffeler at 13:06. Then, with Korpisalo on the bench, Granlund got his second off a faceoff with just 1:40 left in the third to bring the team back from its second two-goal deficit, setting the stage for overtime.

Finland finishes its round robin tomorrow against arch-rivals Sweden while the Swiss play the Czechs to determine placings heading to the quarter-finals on January 2.

"We're a really good group," Nyffeler said. "We know we're not the most skilled team, but we have great spirit. We're playing really well."

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

After discussions between the Weyburn Red Wings and Dwight McMillan, the Weyburn Red Wings regretfully accepted his decision to retire.  The Weyburn Red Wings would like to thank Dwight for his many years of service and dedication to the Wings and wish him all the best in any future endeavors he may pursue.  This will be effective immediately.

For more information, please contact Red Wing President, Scott Sabados at 306-861-2520.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

VICTORIAVILLE, QUE. – Nicolas Aubé-Kubel (Sorel, Que./Val-d’Or, LHJMQ) scored twice in the second period to pace the offence as Quebec opened the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 5-2 win over Atlantic in an all-Canadian match-up on Saturday night.

It was Quebec’s first game on home ice at the U17 tournament since the 1994 event in Amos, Que. The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge originated as the Quebec Esso Cup and was hosted in the province in 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1994.

Julien Nantel (Laval, Que./Laval-Montreal, LHMAAAQ), Anthony Richard (Trois-Rivières, Que./Trois-Rivières, LHMAAAQ) and Nicolas Hébert (Longueuil, Que./Rimouski, LHJMQ) had the other goals for Quebec, which beat Atlantic in its tournament opener for the third year in a row.

Jonathan Deschamps (Trois-Rivières, Que./Sherbrooke, LHJMQ) joined Aubé-Kubel as the only Quebec skaters with multiple points, picking up two assists.

Clark Bishop (St. John’s, N.L./Cape Breton, LHJMQ) scored both goals for Atlantic, both coming on the power play. The loss was the seventh in a row for Atlantic in its opening game, dating back to 2005.

Quebec is off Sunday, returning to the ice Monday night in a marquee match-up with the United States in Victoriaville (7:30 p.m. ET) to close out 2012, while Atlantic has a quick turnaround, facing the U.S. on Sunday afternoon at the Colisée (1:30 p.m. ET).

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL) was the overtime hero for Pacific on Saturday night, scoring on a power play 59 seconds into the extra period to give the Canadian side an 8-7 win over Russia in the opening game for both at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Hicketts tapped home a feed from Brycen Martin (Calgary, Alta./Swift Current, WHL) to end a wild game that Pacific led 7-4 early in the third period before the defending gold medallists battled back to force overtime.

Conner Bleackley had a pair of goals for Pacific, scoring twice in the first period to erase an early 2-0 Russian lead.

Reid Duke (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL), Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL), Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Penticton, BCHL), Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) and Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, Alta./Camrose, AJHL) did the rest of the scoring for Pacific.

Gropp, MacMaster and Point added assists to their goals for two-point nights, while Martin chipped in with four helpers.

The Russians spread around the scoring, with goals from eight different players – Yegor Orlov, Ilya Zinoviev, Nikita Yazkov, Maxim Lazarev, Radel Fazleyev, Ivan Nikolishin and Eduard Nasybullin.

Zinoviev, Lazarev and Fazleyev finished with a goal and an assist each for Russia.

Payton Lee (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) went the distance for Pacific, making 34 saves, while Maxim Tretiak and Maxim Sidorov combined for 20 saves in the Russian net.

The 15 combined goals are the most in a World Under-17 Hockey Challenge game since Quebec beat Slovakia 10-6 in a 2009 preliminary round game in Campbell River, B.C.

Pacific will enjoy a day off Sunday before returning to action against Sweden on Monday afternoon in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while the Russians will face West on Sunday at the Centre Marcel-Dionne (7:30 p.m. ET).

(Nathan can be reached at

Buffalo Commits to Dartmouth

Press Release

The Flin Flon Bombers are proud to announce that 1993 born goaltender Devin Buffalo, (Wetaskiwin, AB) has committed to Dartmouth College of the NCAA.

Buffalo is in his second season with the Bombers, were he sits in the top 3 goals against average (2.45), saves (791), save percentage (.927) and tied for first in wins (16).  This comes after last season where he was named the co winner of SJHL’s Rookie of the Year.  In his rookie season Buffalo compiled a 18-14-5 record and finished with a 3.37 goals against average and 0.909 save percentage.
“We are very excited for Devin,” said Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan.  “This couldn’t happen to a better guy, not only is he (Buffalo) a great goaltender, but he’s a great guy off the ice.”
Dartmouth College is a school located in Hanover, New Hampshire, and is a member school in the prestigious Ivy League.  The Big Green plays out of the ECAC.
Buffalo will return to the Bombers next season for his 20 year old season and will attend Dartmouth for the 2014-15 season

 (Nathan can be reached at

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Press Release

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Sonny Milano tied the game midway through the third period and scored the lone goal of the shootout as the United States erased a pair of deficits to top Ontario 6-5 in Saturday’s Group B opener at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The game marked the first preliminary round meeting between the two since 2006, although they met in the 2008, 2010 and 2011 gold medal games – Ontario won gold in the first and last of those match-ups, while the U.S. earned the top prize in 2010.

Jack Eichel scored twice to lead the offence for the Americans, who battled out of 4-1 and 5-4 holes to win their U17 opener for the ninth consecutive time, dating back to a 2-2 tie with Slovakia in 2002. The U.S. hasn’t lost its first game since 1997.

Ryan Hitchcock and Keegan Iverson had the other goals for the U.S.

Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Erie, OHL) scored once and added two assists for Ontario in an impressive debut for the 15-year-old, while captain Aaron Ekblad (Belle River, Ont./Barrie, OHL), who played last year as an under-ager, had a goal and a helper.

Josh Ho-Sang (Thornhill, Ont./Windsor, OHL), Daniel De Sousa (Mississauga, Ont./Belleville, OHL) and Sam Bennett (Holland Landing, Ont./Kingston, OHL) also scored for Ontario, which had its 11-game preliminary round winning streak snapped.

After the U.S. had fought back from 4-1 down to tie the game on Eichel’s power play goal at 9:14 of the third period, it took Ontario just 22 seconds to regain the lead, as Bennett tapped in a loose puck after a rush by McDavid.

Milano brought the Americans even 2:03 later, forcing extra time.

U.S. goaltender Chris Birdsall came up big in the shootout, stopping McDavid, Ho-Sang and Bennett, and Milano’s goal on the Americans’ first shot stood up as the winner.

Both teams are back in action Sunday; the U.S. takes on Atlantic in the early game in Victoriaville (1:30 p.m. ET), while Ontario travels to Plessisville, Que., to face Slovakia (7:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Gustaf Franzén scored twice and Jesper Eriksson made 27 saves for the shutout as Sweden opened Group A play at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 4-0 win over West on Saturday afternoon.

The Swedes earned their fourth win all time over West – the Scandinavians previously posted victories in 1986 (8-0), 1988 (9-8) and 2010 (5-2). The teams also met in 1992, but the score is unknown.
Henrik Törnqvist and Anton Karlsson scored the other goals for Sweden, which converted three times on the power play and took control with a trio of second period goals, breaking open a 1-0 game.
Ty Edmonds (Winnipeg, Man./Virden, MJHL) went the distance in goal for West, finishing with 36 saves. The Canadian side was outshot 33-19 in the first two periods before holding an 8-7 advantage over the final 20 minutes.

The loss is the seventh in a row for West at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – it lost the fifth-place game at the 2011 tournament before going 0-5 and falling to 10th spot at last year’s event in Windsor, Ont.
The Swedes will look for a 2-0 start when they take on Finland in an all-European match-up on Sunday morning in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while West meets the defending gold medallists from Russia in Sunday’s late game at Centre Marcel Dionne (7:30 p.m. ET).

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

PENTICTON, BC–The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club has acquired defenseman Thomas Nitsche (92) from the Langley for future considerations.

To make room for Nitsche, the Vees sent rookie defenseman Nathan Deyell (95) to the Cowichan Valley Capitals for future considerations.

Vees Head Coach & GM Fred Harbinson says Nitsche is the type of player needed to win games when they matter,“As we get ready for the stretch drive we realize that our division once again will be battle every night to get through. Thomas brings a veteran physical presence that you cannot have enough of come playoff time.”

Nitsche, 20, was in his second season with the Rivermen and his first as Langley’s captain. In 27 games, Nitsche tallied one goal and seven points to go along with 45 penalty-minutes. In 82 career games with the Rivermen, the Charlotte, North Carolina native has amassed five goals and 26 points. Nitsche is known more for his play without the puck, as the stay-at-home defenseman brings size to the Vees blue-line, standing at 6’3 and weighing in at 203 pounds.

Prior to joining the Langley Rivermen, Nitsche spent one season of Midget hockey with the Dallas Jets Under-18 program and before that came up through the Charlotte Jr. Checkers minor hockey program.

Nitsche is committed to Colgate University Raiders for next fall and will make his Vees debut tonight when they face the West Kelowna Warriors; Nitsche will wear number three.

Deyell, 17, was in his first season in the BCHL and with the Vees. The Vancouver native was held pointless in 22 games this season playing in a depth roll on the Vees blue-line.  Prior to Penticton, Deyell played with the Oceanside Generals of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), where he picked up three goals and 14 points in 38 games in 2011-2012.

The Vees now have five 20 year-olds on their roster after the trade, one under the BCHL maximum of six.
The Vees organization would like to thank Nathan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his future with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The Vees would also like to welcome Thomas to the organization and the South Okanagan.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Broncos Call Up Wittman

Press Release

Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach, Mark Lamb, has announced that the club has called up forward Jordan Wittman.

In 26 games played with the Swift Current Legionnaires of the SMAAAHL, Wittman has tallied 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and 26 penalty minutes.  Last season the 6’, 189-pound product of Stewart Valley, SK recorded nine goals and eight assists in 42 games played with the Legionnaires.  He also made two appearances with the Broncos.

Wittman was selected in the 3rd round, 46th overall by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Battle of Nova Scotia Saturday Night

Press Release

The Halifax Mooseheads announced fundraising details today for this weekend’s 4th Annual Battle of Nova Scotia versus the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.  The two teams will play each other tonight in Sydney, and back in Halifax tomorrow night at the Metro Centre at 7pm.  Both teams will again wear Nova Scotia themed jerseys for this event.

Raffle tickets will be sold on 20 of the Nova Scotia themed Mooseheads jerseys which can be purchased at the game tomorrow night, 1 for $2 or 3 for $5, with the proceeds going to the IWK.  Walmart has also joined in to help the cause this season by raising funds for the IWK in their stores and providing volunteers to sell raffle tickets at tomorrow night’s game.

For tickets to the 4th Annual Battle of Nova Scotia between your Halifax Mooseheads and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Saturday, December 29th at 7pm, visit the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, or charge by phone 451-1221.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Blind River defenceman Lavigne to join Gatineau of QMJHL

Press Release

BLIND RIVER -- While the goal of every Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League club is to win a championship, each team also strives to advance their players to the next level.

The Blind River Beavers have done just that with one of their own as the organization has announced they have transferred the playing rights of defenceman Jonathon Lavigne to the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The towering six-foot-three-inch, 220-pound stay-at-home blueliner had three assists in 24 games for the Beavers so far this season while also picking up 24 minutes in penalties.

The 17-year-old Lavigne played his minor hockey in Valley East and is a product of the Nickel City Hockey Association program having skated with the Gilmour Academy Lancers Prep School program in Ohio last season.

“When Jon attended our spring camp in Sudbury he expressed his interest in playing major junior hockey and that he was attending the Oshawa Generals main camp in August,” stated Beavers general manager Rusty Joncas.

“We were both surprised and thrilled when he returned to our club in September. Now it’s a bittersweet feeling that he is moving up because we know how skilled he is and was a huge part of our team season,” added Joncas.

“Jon possesses a great mixture of size; skill and determination that will help him excel at the next level. Off the ice he's a great kid, dedicated student and very popular with his teammates and fans.”

Beavers’ head coach Doug McEwen was pleased to have coached a player like Lavigne.

“Jon is a very intense, hardworking young defenceman. His size and strength is great asset and will make any team very happy to have him playing for them. It was a pleasure to be able to help him along in his playing career,” offered the Blind River bench boss.

Lavigne’s new club is pleased to be getting the rearguard.

“What I saw in Jonathan was his quality decisions in key moments, having the patience to wait the extra second and make a good play instead of having a knee jerk reaction to a situation and losing an opportunity,” claimed Gatineau director of player personnel Pierre Boisvert. “He is showing that he is in control of his game and we’re very surprised in his ability.”

NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca also offered his thoughts on Lavigne’s jump to Gatineau and the QMJHL.

“Jonathan Lavingne exemplifies what the NOJHL is all about … development, exposure and opportunity. The NOJHL takes this opportunity to wish Jonathan continued success in his hockey endeavors in the QMJHL,” says Mazzuca.

“Blind River continues the their long tradition of developing players and moving them on to NCAA, CIS and CHL teams and with Jonathan now going to the Q to further his hockey career, this is just another example of what Jr. A hockey is providing in Northern Ontario.”

Lavigne follows two other former Beavers players who have moved on to the major junior ranks in Brett Findlay (Soo Greyhound/Peterborough Petes – OHL) and Andrew Tessier (Kingston Frontenacs-OHL/Drummondville Voltigeurs-QMJHL).

(Nathan can be reached at

Eagles Acquire Paterson; Trade Bietenbeck

Press Release

 Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club announced on Saturday that the team has acquired defenseman Troy Paterson (92) from the Cowichan Valley Capitals and traded defenseman Austen Bietenbeck (95) to the Langley Rivermen.
Paterson is a Surrey native in his third full season in the BCHL. The 20-year-old has posted four goals and nine assists in 27 games with the Capitals this year. Paterson becomes the seventh player on the Eagles to hail from either Surrey or White Rock.
Bietenbeck is in his rookie season in the BCHL. The 17-year-old played 20 games for the Eagles, tallying one assist. A Langley native, Bietenbeck will now have the opportunity to join his home town team.
"We think Austen has a great future ahead of him, but we felt we needed to get a little more experience on our roster," said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Matt Erhart. "We think that we get that veteran experience with Troy, but in order to add that to our team, we had to give up a quality young player."
The Eagles would like to thank Bietenbeck for his time spent in the organization and wish him all the best in the future.

(Nathan can be reached at