The race for a WHL playoff spot creates teams that play desperation hockey. For about four and a half periods over the two games against the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Kelowna Rockets, Kootenay ran into two clubs in desperation mode and it almost cost them four points. Points that’ll come in handy if Kootenay wants to open the 2002 edition of the WHL playoffs at the Cranbrook Rec./Plex.
Although secure in the fact that the Kootenay ICE have a B.C. Division playoff spot wrapped up, where exactly they will finish is still up for grabs. With only six games remaining in the regular season and the ICE seven points back of Wednesday’s visitors, the Division-leading Kamloops Blazers, first place is all but out of reach. Concentrating on keeping their ominous hold on second place, and thus home-ice advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs, is now of paramount importance. Saturday’s effort against the Hurricanes, a 2-0 loss, was only overshadowed by the effort produced by the club the next night against the Rockets. Putting Coach Ryan McGill in a precariously better mood than just twenty-four hours prior. “It’s a good thing you didn’t,” said McGill of the fact he reserved comment until after Sunday night’s game against Kelowna, a 4-2 win, a decidedly better result. “Two playoff-type games that we’ll talk about this week and the fact that teams are trying to slow us down as far as the game tempo is.
“We like to play a high-tempo game and both teams (Lethbridge and Kelowna) tried to slow the face-offs down and tonight they (the Rockets) did a good job of Read more »
The Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Week for the week ending March 3 is forward Eric Johansson of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
The CHL Player of the Month for the month of February, 2002 is forward Cory Pecker of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.
Johansson becomes just the second player to win the CHL Player of the Week Award twice this season. He previously win both the WHL and CHL honours on Feb. 5, joining Brad Boyes of the Erie Otters as the only player to win the awards twice. Boyes was OHL and CHL Player of the Week on Oct. 22 and Jan. 15.
Johansson had five goals and four assists for nine points in four games, all of them on the road, to beat out the other league nominees: Martin St. Pierre of the Guelph Storm of the OHL and Pierre-Marc Bouchard of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL (Offensive) and goaltender Ghyslain Rousseau of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (Defensive).
Pecker gets the CHL Player of the Month honours as he continues to make a tremendous comeback after suffering a serious arm injury. It’s his second consecutive Molson OHL Player of the Month Award as well.
Pecker scored 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points in 10 games last month, leading the Otters to a 7-2-1-0 record. The 20-year-old Montreal native recorded points in nine of 10 January games, including a five-point game (four goals, one assist) against Ottawa on February 15. He scored the game-winning goal three times last month.
Information on all the league winners of both Player of the Week and Player of the Mo Read more »
NAILERS HOPE TO HALT STREAK TONIGHT
Wednesday, March 6Johnstown @ Wheeling 7:00p.m.
Wheeling plays their only home game in their first eight games to begin the month of March. This will be the first of three games against Johnstown in a five day span. With a win the Nailers will end their season high six game losing streak and pull closer in the standings to third place Johnstown.
NAILERS WEEK IN REVIEW
Friday, March 1Wheeling 2 @ Dayton 4 Read more »
In what people were calling the biggest game of the season for both the Hurricanes and the Tigers Joffrey Lupul was the difference. Scoring four goals and setting up two others Lupul carried the Tigers to the win. They now sit only one point behind the Canes.
Hurricane Nathan Barrett entered the game as the only WHLer with 100 points and he had a 6 point advantage on
Lupul of the Tigers. At the end of the game Lupul had joined the 100 point club and was only 1 point behind Barrett for the scoring title.
The Tigers came out and got to Canes goalie Logan Koopmans in the first period as former Hurricane Warren McCutcheon and Chris St. Jacques were able to put the puck past Koopmans.
The second period was where the game took a turn for the worst, for the Canes.
St. Jacques scored his second of the game,27th of the year, and then Lupul scored his 1st of the game which also was his 50th marker on the campaign. Tim green got the Canes on the board less then a minute after Lupul’s first making it 4-1 for the Tigers. Lupul then scored two goals in 21 seconds to ice the game for the Tigers.
Nathan Barrett pulled the Canes within four before the end of the second.
Tomas Kopecky scored his 30th of the year early in the third. The Tigers quickly regained their four goal lead when Lupul scored his fourth of the game, this time on the powerplay. Kopecky scored his second of the game with less then a minute left, the goal really meant nothing except on a few points on Connors goals against average.
The Hurricanes really wanted a win in this game as Read more »
Abid, Ramzi – LW – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: 50 GP, 11 G, 16 A, 27 P, 162 PIM
Bezina, Goran – D – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: 50 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 P, 44 PIM
DesRochers, Patrick – G- Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: (AHL) 23 GP, 3.54 GAA, 6 W, 14 L, 71 GA
Stats: (NHL) 4 GP, 3.63 GAA, 0 W, 2 L, 11 GA
Focht, Dan – D – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: (AHL) 47 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 P, 104 PIM
Stats: (NHL) 5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 11 PIM
Grenier, Martin – D- Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: (NHL) 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 0 PIM
Stats: (AHL) 53 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 P, 207 PIM
Jaspers, Jason – C – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: (AHL) 55 GP, 21 G, 17 A, 38 P, 47 PIM
Stats: (NHL) 4 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 4 PIM
Safronov, Kirill – D – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: (AHL) 61 GP, 3 G, 19 A, 22 P, 21 PIM
Stats: (NHL) 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 0 PIM
Westrum, Erik – C – Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Stats: 57 GP, 8 G, 24 A, 32 P, 106 PIM
Andreyev, Alex – D – Binghamton Icemen (UHL)
Stats: 28 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, 41 PIM
Blackburn, Josh – G – Michigan Wolverines (CCHA)
Stats: 35 GP, 2.27 GAA, 21 W, 9 L, 79 GA
Klema, David – C – Boston University (H.E.) Read more »
The Kids are Alright
Who’d a thunk it? The Leafs went into Washington playing with two minor league defensemen and Cory Cross (who should be there given his present form) standing in for the two most experienced blueliners on the roster in Dimitry Yushkevich and Jyrki Lumme as well as Wade Belak. Then of course there was Paul Healey taking Alexander Mogilny’s spot in the line-up and Cory Schwab trying to replace Curtis Joseph (see below). Meanwhile the Caps were finally entering a game with loaded guns having all three of Jaromir Jagr, Adam Oates, and Peter Bondra in the lineup, not to mention the heart and soul of the team in Steve Konowalchuk. The latter had missed a good chunk of the season with a bum shoulder. This one looked like it had payback written all over it from two meetings earlier in the year when the situations were reversed and Toronto came away with 3 of 4 points.
However, that wasn’t the way it turned out. Backed at times by some sparkling goaltending courtesy of Schwab the three understudies held there own enough that the regulars didn’t have to scurry hither and tither trying to cover for their miscues. True, Shayne Corson et al could be seen backing up Karel Pilar when the latter pinched in from the blueline, but that’s part of the plan. In any case, what the Czech rookie was doing was no worse than what a typical night of Jyrki Lumme would hold in store. In fact on one such excursion, he nearly had his first goal, but missed trying to bank the puck in off a forest of legs in front of the net on a great pinch off the rush.
< Read more »
Czech hockey was always known for producing quality goalies. Every year some promising goalie
takes center stage and these times everybody knows the names of Dominik Hasek, Roman Turek,
Roman Cechmanek or Tomas Vokoun, all of whom have made it to the NHL. Here they represent
the Czech hockey succesfully. Winning two consecutive Under-20 World Championship titles
in 2000 and 2001 also wouldn’t be possible without great goaltending provided by Zdenek Smid
and Tomas Duba, respectively. Smid got drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers and Duba is now a
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect. But the next highly promising netminder to burst onto the
scene carries another name – Lukas Mensator.
It is often said, that some player ‘has hockey in his blood’. In Lukas’ case it would better
sound ‘has goaltending in his blood’. His dad was a goalie for the Sokolov team, the city
where also Lukas was born. He has never made it to the Elite League, but was definitely
the first role model for Lukas. Since he could walk he followed him to the practices and games,
like most hockey player’s kids do. But he never watched the forwards or defenseman. He was
astonished by the goalies, watched every save of his father and immediately decided that
he wants to be ‘the masked man’. Lukas was looking forward to the time, when he’ll start his
own career and it really began when he was seven years old. At that time he was accepted to
play for the youngest kids of Sokolov. The coaches didn’t have a tough question what position
will Lukas fit best. When looking at the smallish kid the idea of a Read more »
Friday, March 1st, Mellon Arena.
Once again, the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cleveland resumed with a
really exiting and passionate game. This time we’re not talking about the
Sleelers and the Browns but the Barons and the Baby Pens.
After a slow start in the first, (end up 1-1) both teams picked it up in the
second with 4 goals combined. The Pens scored 2 early and quick goals but
the Barons scored back twice in the period. In the third, the Ohio team took
the lead by an outstanding individual play by Jonathan Cheechoo after a
Brooks Orpik’s late penalty, the game seemed to be in the books for
Cleveland. But that same player who took the late call didn’t think so.
Orpik got out of the box, poke-checked the puck carrier, rushed the puck to the
net and made an unbelievable pass to Tomas Suvory for the game-tying
goal…with only 11 seconds left!
Analysis of some baby Pens and Barons players from the game :
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins :
Shane Endicott : The Pittsburgh Penguins second rounder in the 2000 draft
seems to be a good one. In fact, Endicott is on a dream season this year.
He has 19 goals and 18 assists in 54 games with Wilkes-Barre, and he was chosen
to play in the AHL all-star game. He got a one game call-up by the Big
Pens and even recorded his first NHL point ever! Endicott has good speed,
skating and stickhandling, (still at the AHL level for now), but he has to
learn how to use these skills more effectively. After a nice move or rush,
Endicott sometimes has no clue what to do wi Read more »
FORGE SPLITS WEEKEND WITH SPRINGFIELD
Forge 5 Spirit 0 :
NEVILLE ISLAND (March 1, 2002) — The Pittsburgh Forge Junior A
hockey club defeated the Springfield (Mo.) Spirit by a score of 5-0 at the
Island Sports Center on Neville Island. Back-up goaltender Peter Mannino,
making his third start of the season, turned away all 31 shots he faced and
earned his first shutout. Pittsburgh, which remains in second place in the
North American Hockey League’s Eastern Division, led 1-0 after the first
period of play as Bernie Chmiel picked up his seventh goal of the season at
the 7:32 mark. Jim Thamann increased the Forge’s lead to 2-0 early in the
second period when he skated out from behind the net and stuffed the puck
behind Springfield goaltender Sean Caruso at 2:15. A three-goal surge in the
final period put the game away for Pittsburgh. The first was a power play
goal by Pat Levendusky at 7:39, and the second was a short-handed goal by
Andy Brandt at 15:02. Levendusky and Brandt are now tied for the club lead
with 20 goals each. Sean Berkstresser closed out the scoring for the evening
with a power-play goal at the 19:41 mark. It was his fifth goal of the
Spirit 4 Forge 3 : Read more »