9/22/2012: Hockey Today

Hope you like press release of results of junior games, because there really isn’t much else to pass along. I’ll have a new original story coming up soon…

(PR) The Kamloops Blazers scored three times in the third period to defeat the Kelowna Rockets 3-2, spoiling the Rockets Western Hockey League home opener at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Saturday night.

Dylan Willick, Brendan Ranford and Matt Needham scored third period goals as the Blazers outshot Kelowna 14-4 in the period to earn the comeback win.

It was the second win of the weekend for the Blazers over Kelowna after an overtime victory on Friday in Kamloops kicked off the team’s WHL campaign.

The Rockets skated its way to a 2-0 lead after two periods on goals by Zach Franko and Filip Vasko. Franko scored his first of the season on a nifty short-side shot that gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The Rockets took a 2-0 lead in the second period on the first WHL goal by European import Vasko. After playing 51 games with the Rockets last season without scoring a goal, Vasko earned his first when he tipped home a point shot, giving the Rockets a 2-0 lead heading to the third period.

But Kamloops took over during the third, earning their second win of the weekend. Final shots were 30-29 in favour of Kamloops.

Kelowna hits the road for a pair of weekend games against Portland next weekend. The team returns to Prospera Place against Vancouver on Oct. 3.

(PR) The Portland Winterhawks (1-1-0-0) picked up their first win of the season with a 6-2 road victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (1-1-0-0) Saturday in the second game in as many nights between the two teams.

Seattle got on the board first when Seth Swenson scored a power play goal 7:20 into the game, but from there the Hawks controlled play for much of the game as they scored six unanswered goals. The first came when when Derrick Pouliot scored at the 16:45 mark to tie the game at 1-1 going into the second period.

Portland then outshot Seattle 21-6 in the second period, and the barrage paid off with goals from Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand as the Hawks took a 3-1 lead into the third.

Portland continued pouring it on in the third period, as Nic Petan, Adam De Champlain and Bjorkstrand each scored in the first six minutes of the frame to take a 6-1 lead. De Champlain’s goal was the first of his career, and came in his first WHL game. Seattle got one back when Jesse Forsberg scored at the 6:44 mark to cut Portland’s lead to 6-2, which would stand as the final.

With a goal and three assists in the win, Nic Petan has been in on six of the team’s eight goals so far this season after picking up points on both of Portland’s goals last night.

The Hawks outshot Seattle 44-25 Saturday, and fired a combined 101 shots at the Thunderbirds over the opening two games.

Cam Lanigan was between the pipes for Portland, and picked up the win with 23 saves on 25 Seattle shots. Brandon Glover started for Seattle and allowed five goals on 41 shots. Justin Myles came into the game in relief in the third period and made two saves on three shots.

The Hawks wrap up their stretch of three games in three nights tomorrow when they travel to Kennewick, WA to take on the Tri-City Americans at 5 p.m.

(PR) Calgary, AB – The Calgary Hitmen defeated the Kootenay Ice 5-1 Saturday evening in the Adrenalin Source For Sports Home Opener.

Darian Henry netted his first career Western Hockey League goal and added one assist for Calgary, while recently acquired Zane Jones scored twice for the Hitmen. Overage forwards Cody Sylvester and Brooks Macek also registered two points (1g, 1a) each in the win.

Chris Driedger made 27 saves for Calgary, including 14 in the first period, as the Hitmen outshot the Ice 31-28.

Calgary now heads to Edmonton on Friday, September 28, before starting a three-game home stand the following night, Saturday, September 29, against the Red Deer Rebels. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Hitmen will also host Prince Albert and Edmonton before heading back out on the road.

(PR) (Sault Ste Marie) Brady Vail’s first goal of the season stood up as the winner, as the Windsor Spitfires topped the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds 3-2 on Saturday night at the Essar Centre.

After taking a nifty feed off the boards from Ty Bilcke, Vail busted in on a 2-on-1 with Juraj Bezuch. Using the speedy Czech winger as a decoy, the third-year centre waited patiently before ripping a quick shot under the bar past Soo goalie Matt Murray.

Goaltender Jaroslav Pavelka and a sharp penalty kill unit did the rest; as Pavelka stopped 29 shots and the PK went a perfect 5-for-5.

Michael Clarke and Jordan Maletta staked the Spitfires to a 2-0 lead with matching power play goals in the first period.

David Broll cut the lead in half late in the first period and Nick Cousins squared the affair at 2-2 after 40 minutes. Windsor’s power play finished 2-for-8.

The Spits are back home this Thursday, where they’ll take on the Kitchener Rangers. Gametime is 7:05

(PR – Regina) First Period

Despite falling behind on the shot clock early, the Pats would strike for their first home goal of the campaign to gain a first period lead. After killing off a penalty, the Pats maintained some zone pressure and Trent Ouellette came streaking out of the box and tucked in a one timer in tight. The Wheat Kings would respond just a few minutes later as Tyrel Seaman pocketed his first of the season to tie things up. The Pats powerplay came up big again before the first would end as Ouellette set up Cole Hamblin on a great feed for Hamblin’s first as a Pat. A 2-1 lead for the home-side after one.

Second Period

The Pats’ lone highlight of the second period was Adam Brooks scoring his first WHL goal to give the Pats a 3-2 lead early in the period as a response to Alessio Bertaggia evening the game off the hop. From there out it was all Wheat Kings as they totaled four goals in the middle frame to take a 5-3 lead into the Third.

Third Period

Teagan Sacher started the final stanza as Pat Conacher tried to give his team a bit of jump. It looked like the right call as the Pats got rolling on the powerplay again as Dyson Stevenson tipped in a great pass from Chandler Stephenson to pull the Blue and White within one. That was as close as they would come, though, as the Regina would only muster two more shots from there out. The Wheat Kings would tally two more, one an empty netter, to seal the deal in the late stages to take the 7-4 final.

Sacher was strong in the third, only giving up one goal on a gorgeous shot from Jason Swyripa. The rookie tender made ten saves on eleven shots in relief of Matt Hewitt.

(PR) VANCOUVER, BC – Another great 3rd period for the Giants, but the first two cost them in a 3-2 loss to Victoria. The Royals broke the game open with goals 26 seconds apart in the 2nd period to take a 3-0 lead. Vancouver would climb back with a pair in the 3rd, including one with the goalie pulled, but that’s as close as they would come. The Giants went 0 for 2 on the power play while Victoria finished 1 for 4. Liam Liston bounced back with some big saves but took the loss in making 20 saves on 23 shots. Patrick Polivka picked up the win by making 23 saves on 25 shots.

The Victoria Royals came out flying in their home opener tonight, dominating in most facets of the game in the first period. They outshot the Giants 10-4 and forced Liam Liston into making some clutch saves, and he was able to make all but one. The only goal that beat him was a good effort by Ben Walker at the side of the goal, where he tried to centre the puck out front, got a lucky bounce off a defender’s stick back onto his own stick, and was able to slide the puck under Liston short side. Victoria was air-tight defensively, not allowing the Giants to create much offensively. Royals led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

In the 2nd period, there was a long lull in the first half where scoring chances and shots were few and far between for both sides. But a Victoria power play would turn that around. Brandon Magee was sprung on a partial break down the right wing (on a great stretch pass by Jamie Crooks) and was able to snap a great shot over Liston’s glove to put the Royals up 2-0. It was only 26 seconds later when the Giants were caught up-ice, and Victoria broke back on a 2 on 1. Logan Nelson, coming down the left wing, made a perfect saucer pass across to Alex Gogolev who finished it off to give Victoria a 3-0 lead, which they would carry into the 3rd.

In the final frame, the Giants suddenly woke up and came out firing on all cylinders from the opening shift. They outshot Victoria 13-5, but it wasn’t until the halfway mark when they finally found the back of the net. After Marek Tvrdon’s backhand wrap-around attempt was awkwardly fought off by Polivka, Nathan Burns was able to knock the puck out of the air from the other side to get the Giants on the board. That goal came seconds after the Giants power play, which was their first of the game a full 50 minutes in.

Vancouver kept pouring it on for the remainder of the 3rd. They couldn’t connect on a late power play, so had to result to pulling the goaltender. With all the guns out (Franson, Tvrdon, Burns, Houck), the Giants overwhelmed Victoria in their own zone and it was a firing squad on Polivka. However a lot of those shots were blocked, and one blocked shot landed on the stick of Franson in the right circle, where he was able to snap the puck past a sprawling Polivka to cut the deficit to 3-2 with just 27 seconds left. Unfortunately the Giants were not able to generate another scoring chance, and the Royals hung on to improve their record to 2-0 and drop the Giants to 0-2 on the new season.

The Giants next game is on Friday, September 28th when Ryan Murray and the Everett Silvertips come to town for a 7:30 puck drop at the Pacific Coliseum.

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