WHL THIS WEEK: March 14, 2012Mar 15, 2012 - 09:24 MDT
Calgary, AB – The 2011-12 WHL regular season schedule enters its final weekend of play before the playoffs begin, with 22 games on the schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
AROUND THE RINKS THIS WEEKEND…
In Brandon, MB, Saturday night Awards Night when the Wheat Kings host the Regina Pats. Team awards will be presented throughout the game, and a tribute will be paid to graduating players Brodie Melnychuk, Paul Ciarelli and Darian Dziurzynski. Awards presentations will also take place in Kootenay, Moose Jaw, and Victoria.
In Kamloops, B.C., the Blazers will be Honoring their Fans and Handing out Hardware Friday night when the Prince George Cougars come to town. The team will be wearing their special orange jerseys, which will be given away in a raffle. Proceeds from the raffle go to the Blazers’ Education Fund and the Family Tree Family Centre in Kamloops.
In Portland, OR, the Winterhawks will pay special tribute to former Portland Buckaroo Connie Madigan on Sunday when they close out their season versus Seattle. Madigan will be honored for being the oldest rookie in NHL history. Oh, and it’s also awards night for the Hawks.
In Prince George, B.C., the Cougars are encouraging fans to Jam The Stands For Charity on Saturday night when they wrap up their regular season versus Kamloops. For every walk-up and group ticket sold for the game, the Cougars will donate $2.00 to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.
WHL ANNOUNCES OPENING PLAYOFF DATES…
Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League announced some of the opening dates and game times for the first round of the 2012 WHL Playoffs.
The 2012 WHL Playoffs are presented by Kal Tire and Husky, Prestige Partners of the Western Hockey League.
For the 2012 WHL Playoff schedule, click HERE
FORMER WHEAT KING CLARK TAKES CIS AUS MVP…
Atlantic University Sport announced last week the 2011-12 AUS men's hockey major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play.
Third-year Acadia forward Andrew Clark was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player, Wednesday.
For more, click HERE
OVER $19,000 RAISED FOR CHIEFS’ CHRIS MOULTON & FAMILY…
The Spokane Chiefs have announced that over $19,000 was raised last Saturday night in an auction to help benefit the family of Chris Moulton, the Chiefs Director of Player Personnel.
In November 2011, Chris’ wife Shelley was re-diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.) after initially beating it in 2002. Shelley has undergone chemotherapy and had a bone marrow stem cell transplant on January 26, 2012. Her road to recovery is long and for the next two years Shelley will require constant monitoring.
The money raised will help offset the Moulton’s expenses.
For more, click HERE
FRAM PRESTONE ‘DRIVE FOR THE CUP’…
Attention Canadian Hockey League fans!
FRAM®/Prestone® and the CHL are again inviting you to showcase your knowledge of the 2012 CHL Playoffs by selecting the winners of all 45 playoff matchups across the entire CHL with the FRAM® Prestone® Drive for the Cup promotion.
Up for grabs are great prizes, including autographed CHL jerseys, Kobo eReaders and iPad's along with the Grand Prize - a complete home theatre package including a Sharp LED TV, a Philips Blu-Ray and surround sound system, plus a Microsoft Xbox with Kinect, courtesy of Aaron's.
For more, click HERE
FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAW
Brendan Gallagher and the Vancouver Giants (39-26-2-3) welcome Shane McColgan and the Kelowna Rockets (30-31-3-6) for a B.C. Division match-up on Friday night.
Friday’s contest between the Giants and Rockets can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:30pm PT).
The Giants have been idle since edging the visiting Victoria Royals 5-4 in overtime last Sunday for their second win in a row, and currently sit tied with Spokane for fourth place in the Western Conference. The Giants already know they will face Spokane in the first round of the playoffs, but don’t know who will have home-ice advantage. Gallagher leads the Giants with 40 goals.
The Rockets doubled up the visiting Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night, snapping a two-game losing skid, and are cemented in sixth place in the Western Conference. The Rockets will face either Portland or Tri-Cities in the first round of the playoffs. McColgan scored just his third goal in 17 games on Wednesday night versus Everett.
Friday’s meeting is the first of two straight clashes between the Rockets and Giants to close out the regular season. Kelowna won four of the first six meetings between the teams.
CHIEFS HOST THUNDERBIRDS FRIDAY NIGHT ON ROOT SPORTS
Brenden Kichton and the Spokane Chiefs (37-24-5-4) host Branden Troock and the Seattle Thunderbirds (24-43-1-1) for a big U.S. Division match-up on Friday night.
Friday’s contest between the T-Birds and Chiefs can be seen live throughout the Pacific Northwest on ROOT Sports (7:00pm PT).
The Chiefs managed a 6-4 win over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night for their second win in their last three games, and currently share fourth place in the Western Conference with Vancouver. The Chiefs will need to finish ahead of the Giants on points to clinch fourth place since Vancouver has the tiebreaker with more wins should the teams end up tied on points. Kichton picked up three points on Wednesday, giving him at least 70 points for a second straight season.
The Thunderbirds have been idle since defeating the Chiefs 3-1 in Kent, WA, on Tuesday for their second win in a row, and currently sit two points back of Everett for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle has a game in hand on the ‘Tips and two in hand on Victoria, which sits only three points ahead in seventh place. Troock has 13 goals this season.
It’s the eighth and final meeting of the season between the Chiefs and T-Birds. Spokane leads the season series 5-2.
KEY WEEKEND MATCH-UPS…
Tri-City Americans vs Everett Silvertips
Friday, Mar. 16
Brendan Shinnimin and the Tri-City Americans (49-17-2-2) welcome Ryan Murray and the Everett Silvertips (21-39-2-8) for a U.S. Division battle of major importance on Friday night.
The Americans dropped a 5-4 decision in overtime to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Tuesday, but retain a two-point lead over the Portland Winterhawks for first place in the U.S. Division and Western Conference standings. A win over Everett on Friday would clinch the division and conference crowns for Tri-Cities as they have the tiebreaker on Portland with more wins. Shinnimin has the Bob Clark trophy all but locked up with a 14-point lead in the WHL scoring race.
The Silvertips suffered a 4-2 loss in Kelowna on Wednesday night, but remain two points ahead of Seattle and four ahead of Prince George for eighth place in the Western Conference. A win over the Ams on Friday would eliminate Prince George from post-season contention while greatly increasing the ‘Tips’ chances at a playoff spot.
The Ams and ‘Tips met seven previous times this season, with Tri-Cities winning five of those seven meetings.
Victoria Royals vs Portland Winterhawks
Friday, Mar. 16
Steven Hodges and the Victoria Royals (23-41-3-2) host Ty Rattie and the Portland Winterhawks (48-18-3-1) for another massively important Western Conference battle on Friday.
The Royals defeated the visiting Winterhawks 4-3 on Wednesday night to jump one point ahead of Everett for seventh place in the Western Conference. The Royals hold a three-point lead over Seattle for a playoff spot, but the T-Birds have three games remaining while Victoria has just Friday’s meeting versus Portland remaining. A win over the Hawks would all but guarantee a playoff spot for the Royals, considering the ‘Tips and T-Birds play each other on Saturday.
The Winterhawks remain two points behind Tri-Cities for first place in the U.S. Division and Western Conference following Wednesday’s defeat to the Royals. The Hawks need to win on Friday and hope the Americans drop at least two points from their final two games to have any chance at a Western Conference crown.
It’s the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between the Royals and Winterhawks. The Hawks won the first two meetings prior to Wednesday’s defeat in Victoria.
Seattle Thunderbirds vs Everett Silvertips
Saturday, Mar. 17
The Thunderbirds and Silvertips square off for a St. Patrick’s Day showdown that could determine who gets the final playoff berths in the Western Conference.
The ‘Tips lead the T-Birds by two points for eighth place, but the T-Birds have a game in hand on the Silvertips.
Any combination of points gained by Everett and points dropped by the T-Birds totaling four will assure the ‘Tips a playoff spot.
Meantime, the Thunderbirds have to make up at least two points on the Silvertips in order to force a tiebreaker, at minimum, for a playoff berth.
The Silvertips and Thunderbirds wrap up their season series on Saturday. The Thunderbirds won five of nine previous meetings versus Everett this season, including three of four on home ice.
WEEKEND SCHEDULE – Mar. 16 – Mar. 18
All times local
WATCH WHL HOCKEY LIVE ON WHL LIVE ON DEMAND
Friday, Mar. 16
Prince George @ Kamloops; 7:00
Calgary @ Kootenay; 7:00
Edmonton @ Medicine Hat; 7:30
Moose Jaw @ Prince Albert; 7:00
Lethbridge @ Red Deer; 7:30
Brandon @ Regina; 7:00
Seattle @ Spokane; 7:05 **Live on ROOT SPORTS**
Saskatoon @ Swift Current; 7:00
Everett @ Tri-City; 7:05
Kelowna @ Vancouver; 7:30 **Live on SHAW**
Portland @ Victoria; 7:05
Saturday, Mar. 17
Regina @ Brandon; 7:30
Kootenay @ Calgary; 7:00
Vancouver @ Kelowna; 7:05
Lethbridge @ Medicine Hat; 7:30
Prince Albert @ Moose Jaw; 7:00
Kamloops @ Prince George; 7:00
Edmonton @ Red Deer; 7:30
Swift Current @ Saskatoon; 7:05
Everett @ Seattle; 7:05
Spokane @ Tri-City; 7:05
Sunday, Mar. 18
Seattle @ Portland; 5:00