We don't pretend to be all knowing when it comes to the Western Hockey League, but our goal is to help you know more.
So, almost every day we check in with Gregg Drinnan, who has the pulse of the WHL and so much more. (We should mention as well that Alan Caldwell produces interesting info as well and is especially adept at keeping tabs on rosters.)
For instance, from Drinnan you can read this: If you were wondering, and I know you were, WHL goaltenders went into Saturday’s games on pace to put up 94 shutouts this season. That would be the fifth-highest total in WHL history, behind 2004-05 (141), 2006-07 (120), 2003-04 (107) and 2005-06 (103). . . . Last season, the goaltenders put up 92 blank jobs.
Tidbits for today include a link to a story on Tri-City star Brendan Shinnimin. If you know of other places that came up with good information, let us know.
Keep reading below for details on an amazing finish to Saturday's Seattle-Portland game, which, by the way, drew 8,700 fans.
Meanwhile, Everett is at the Arena on Tuesday. The Chiefs and Silvertips are tied for third in the U.S. Division with 21 points, although Everett has played one less game.
Tidbits from the Chiefs: Until giving up a power play goal late in the second period of Friday's 3-1 win at Seattle, the Chiefs had killed off 22 straight penalties, jumping to near the top of the league's best. Going back to the 1999-00 season, the Chiefs had a best string of 32 PK's that season and twice hit 31 and 30 PK's.
Mitch Wahl is heating up with goals in three straight games of Spokane's four-game winning streak. In the four games he has three goals and five assists. Kyle Beach has four goals and an assist, Levko Koper two goals and three assists and Tyler Johnson two goals and two assists. From the blue line, Jared Cowen has four assists, Brenden Kichton three assists and Stefan Ulmer a goal and an assist.
Right now it appears as if the goalie rotation with James Reid and Michael Tadjdeh is set up as win, start again; lose, switch. Since Tadjdeh was in goal for the 2-0 loss to Portland, Reid has been in goal for all four wins, allowing 0-1-1-1 goals, stopping 107 of 110 shots.
In seven games, counting the shutout loss, Beach has 9g, 2a, Wahl 3g, 8a, Koper 3g, 5a, Johnson 4g, 3a, Ulmer 1g, 4a, Cowen 5a, Kichton 4a and Blake Gal 2g, 2a.
Also from Drinnan: According to a story in the Lethbridge Herald, the WHL office has instructed its
teams to have all queries regarding H1N1 vaccines forward to commissioner Ron
Robison. . . . The story, by Dave Mabell, reads, in part: “Hurricanes
spokesperson Ryan Ohashi said this city’s WHL team hasn’t had the benefit of an
H1N1 flu clinic. But he declined further comment, referring news media questions
to league officials. In Calgary, a WHL spokesperson said league commissioner Ron
Robison — the only person who could speak about WHL teams’ transgressions — was
unavailable until next week.”
Regarding that Seattle-Portland game, Drinnan wrote:
Oh my, how I wish I had been in Portland on Saturday night!
In case you missed it, the Winterhawks scored with less than a second left in the third period — after some time had been put back on the clock — to forge a 3-3 tie, and then they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds in a shootout.
It all began with a faceoff in the Seattle zone. . . . .
“First, we asked for more time on the clock because there was clearly 2.2 seconds when the ref blew the whistle,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, told me in an email Sunday. “They checked the time and reset the clock to 2.0 seconds from 1.7.”
The Winterhawks called a timeout somewhere in all of this.
“We set up a direct play to the net where the centre would shoot it or leave it for (Chris) Francis,” Johnston continued.
Spencer Bennett took the draw for Portland, the puck ended up free and Francis scored his third goal of the game. He then would score the game-winner in the shootout.
“I have coached for a long time and rarely do those plays work as planned, especially with so little time left . . . but this one did,” Johnston wrote. “The crowd and atmosphere were incredible.”
There were 8,753 fans in the Rose Garden.
It will be interesting to look back when this season is over and see if this game and the buzz it created will have had any impact at the gate.
If you haven’t done it already, go to Dylan Bumbarger’s blog right here and listen to both team’s radio broadcasts of the last seconds of the third period. Both are highly entertaining.