WHL Notebook: Winterhawks closing in on record for consecutive victories

Dave Leaderhouse
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Will the Portland Winterhawks lose another game? That seems to be the big question as the Western Hockey League enters its final three weeks of the regular schedule. The Winterhawks, who have not lost since Jan. 10, enter this weekend riding a 20-game winning streak – two shy of the league mark set by the Estevan Bruins in 1967-68. With all of the successful teams in the Winterhawks’ rich history, the previous mark for consecutive wins by a Portland team was 15 with that standard being set in 1979-80 and equalled in 1997-98…The Moose Jaw Warriors’ education fund got a nice bump recently when a cheque for $80,136 was turned over to the club as a result of another successful K+S Potash alumni golf tournament. In four years that event has contributed over $300,000 to the education fund…Tri-City Americans have also raised a lot of money only their efforts are for breast cancer awareness. In eight years the Americans have donated $137,000 to the Tri-Cities Cancer Research Centre.

Red Deer Rebels netminder Patrik Bartosak set a new team mark for saves in a season when he stopped his 1,728th puck in a 7-1 loss to the Calgary Hitmen. Bartosak, who bettered the 14-year record set by Shane Bendera, will add to those totals as he will likely see most of the action in Red Deer’s final nine games this year…That wasn’t the only team standard being eclipsed in the last week as Prince Albert Raider captain Josh Morrissey scored his 23rd goal of the season to move ahead of Emanuel Viverois for most goals by a Raider defenseman in a single season…Brandon Wheat King captain Ryan Pulock also got into the act when he notched his 61st career goal to equal the team record for most goals by a defenseman set by former Raider Brad McCrimmon more than 30 years ago. Pulock also picked up his 200th career point putting him in an elite group that consists of McCrimmon, Cam Plante, Justin Kurtz and Burke Henry as the only Wheat King defensemen to reach that plateau…While not a record congratulations has to be passed out to Saskatoon Blades announcer Les Lazaruk who recently called his 1,500th game. Lazaruk has been the Voice of the Blades since 1994.

A pair of import players watched the Winter Olympics with extra interest as Everett Silvertips’ defenseman Mirco Mueller and Medicine Hat forward Markus Eisenschmid each had a sister competing in women’s hockey at the Games in Sochi, Russia. Mueller’s sister Alina scored the eventual game winner to lead Switzerland to a bronze-medal finish while Eisenschmid’s sister Tanja competed with the German squad…How is this for a stat? Kelowna Rockets defenseman Cole Martin is +50 in plus/minus this year and +97 in the last two seasons…The Canadian Hockey League and Sportsnet have reached an agreement to remain partners for 12 more years through the 2025-26 season. Sportsnet, which recently landed the NHL rights for $5.2 billion, will broadcast over 50 games each season, including the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament, on all types of media.

It hasn’t been a good month for WHL goalies and team rules. The Silvertips have suspended back-up netminder Daniel Cotton indefinitely while Calgary sat out No. 1 goalie Chris Driedger for four games. Everett has also suspended Darcy Deroose indefinitely and it doesn’t look either Deroose or Cotton will be back with the team as the Silvertips have summoned 16-year-old Nik Amundrud from the North East Midget AA squad out of Nipawin to serve as the back-up to Austin Lotz for the remainder of the season. Amundrud was a third-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2012 bantam draft.

Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice is making a case for the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NHL entry draft as the skilled forward is riding a 21-game point streak entering this weekend’s action. In that span he has scored 18 goals and added 29 assists to move into fourth place in the league scoring race...The Vancouver Giants took advantage of the NHL break due to the Olympic Games when they added former captain Brendan Gallagher to their Ring of Honour. Gallagher, who now plays for the Montreal Canadiens, holds team records for goals with 136 and points with 280. Gallagher joins Milan Lucic and Evander Kane in the exclusive group…Slowly some of the top 15-year-olds will be joining their WHL teams as league rules only allow that to happen once their current team is eliminated from the playoffs. The Regina Pats are the first beneficiaries as Sam Steele, a gifted centre picked second overall last spring in the bantam draft, will be with the club this weekend as his Sherwood Park squad was ousted from the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs last week…It likely wasn’t an easy decision, but Brent Sutter, the owner/coach/general manager of the Red Deer Rebels, has shut down his nephew Lukas Sutter for the remainder of the season. The younger Sutter has been hampered by shoulder injuries all season and the elder Sutter felt it was time to get the situation corrected with surgery. Lukas Sutter was in his final year of junior hockey and played his final game at that level on Feb. 17.

The WHL, in partnership with Okanagan Hockey Schools and Sport Testing Inc. will be launching a series of combine camps in April. The camps will be a full day of on and off-ice testing, instruction tips and developmental seminars. Bantam and midget-aged players are eligible with Saskatoon and Regina being the lone Saskatchewan centres selected to host a camp. Results from the camps will be made available to all WHL teams for scouting purposes. More information is available by going to www.whl.ca/page/ whl combines.

Information for the WHL Notebook is gathered by submissions from the WHL Writer’s Group.



Organizations: Western Hockey League, K+S Potash, NHL Tri-Cities Cancer Research Centre Canadian Hockey League MasterCard Olympic Games Montreal Canadiens Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League Okanagan Hockey Schools Sport Testing

Geographic location: Red Deer, Portland, Moose Jaw Tri-City Medicine Hat Sochi Russia Switzerland Calgary Nipawin Sherwood Park Saskatoon Saskatchewan WHL Writer

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