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Giants hurting; Blades down to two goalies

Dom takes his final flight
By Gregg Drinnan
September 7, 2015 10:18 P.M.

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The injury bug has taken an early bite out of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that three of the Giants’ top forwards — Tyler Benson, Taylor Crunk and Thomas Foster — all are sidelined. . . . Giants head coach Lorne Molleken told Ewen that, were the regular-season opener today, Crunk likely would play but the other two wouldn’t. In fact, it sounds as though Benson is doubtful to open the season. . . . Ewen’s piece is right here.
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The Saskatoon Blades dropped two goaltenders after weekend exhibition action, leaving them with two on their roster. . . . Gone are Matt Kustra, 18, and Dorrin Luding, 16, leaving the Blades with Nik Amundrud and Brock Hamm. . . . Kustra, an eighth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2012 bantam draft, is expected to play a second season with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. He is from Yorkton. . . . Luding, from Prince George, was a third-round pick by the Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Amundrud is from Melfort, Sask. He will turn 18 on Oct. 20. Acquired last season from the Everett Silvertips, he was 3.94, .895 in 33 games with the Blades. . . . Hamm, 18, is from Saskatoon. He got into 16 games with the Blades last season, going 3.73, .902. . . . The Blades’ roster is down to 29, including nine defencemen and 18 forwards. That includes F Connor Gay (undisclosed injury) and F Igor Larionov Jr. (concussion).
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The Moose Jaw Warriors are preparing for two weekend games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. They’ll play Friday night in Ralston, Alta., and Saturday in Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that the Warriors are without D Josh Brook, D Ryan Gardiner and F Rylee Zimmer, all with undisclosed injuries.
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The UBC Thunderbirds and the two-time defending CIS-champion Alberta Golden Bears will play exhibitions games at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops on Saturday and Sunday.
The games are being presented by the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association and major midget Thompson Blazers.
Game time on Saturday is 7 p.m., with Sunday’s game to start at 2:30 p.m.
Former Kamloops Blazers D Jordan Rowley, 25, has played four seasons with the Golden Bears. UBC’s roster includes D Josh Connolly, F Joel Hamilton, D Linden Saip and D Brandon Underwood, each of whom played with the Blazers.
Tickets are $5 for each game — or you can buy both games for $7 — and available at the door.
For more information, contact George Cochrane, KMHA’s head coach, at 250-574-3846.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

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Coaching Game
Former NHLer Michael Nylander has joined the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads as an assistant coach. He played 15 seasons in the NHL, seeing time with the Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. . . . The announcement that he had signed on as an assistant coach came after his son, Alex, committed to play for the Steelheads. Alex, 17, is a top prospect for the 2016 NHL draft. Born in Calgary, he is from Sweden and was a first-round selection in the 2015 CHL import draft.
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I was away for most of the weekend, but here are a few highlights from Sunday’s exhibition games . . .
In Everett, D Scott Walford and F Alex Forsberg each had a goal and an assist to help the Victoria Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Jamal Watson scored twice to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Ryan Gropp, who has been bothered by what the team has said is a minor injury, was in Seattle’s lineup for the first time this exhibition season. He had a goal and an assist. F Mathew Barzal scored once and added two helpers. . . . Spokane F Hudson Elynuik drew a kneeing major and game misconduct at 1:26 of the third period for a hit on Seattle F Donovan Neuls. After the game, Neuls was on crutches and his left knee was in a brace. . . . The Silvertips closed out the tournament with a 4-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Russian F Yan Khomenko had a goal and two assists for Everett, while veteran F Carson Stadnyk had a goal and an assist. D Tristen Pfeifer helped Everett’s cause with three assists. Swedish F Carl Ericson, 18, was in the Winterhawks’ lineup for the first time. He had a goal and an assist. The freshman sat out training camp scrimmages and the team’s first two exhibition games. . . .
In Lloydminster, Alta., F Dario Meyer scored 41 seconds into overtime as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3. . . . The Oil Kings hadn’t led until Meyer scored. . . . Meyer, from Switzerland, will turn 19 on Nov 20. . . . Attendance was 1,606. . . .
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings’ main camp came to a close as F Nolan Patrick’s goal 31 seconds into OT gave Team White a 4-3 victory over Team Black in the intrasquad game.

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