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Warriors special in opening night victory

Giants get forward from Americans
By Gregg Drinnan
September 24, 2015 10:52 P.M.

In Moose Jaw, special teams were the difference as the Warriors beat the Regina Pats, 3-1, in the opening game of the WHL’s 50th anniversary season. . . . The Warriors were 3-for-4 on the PP, while successfully killing 6 of 7 Regina PPs. . . . Yes, all four goals came with a man advantage. . . . F Jiri Smejkal, a sophomore from Ceske Budejovice , Czech Republic, who had 12 goals in 72 games last season, scored this season’s first goal. He gave the Warriors the lead with a PP goal at 12:19 of the opening period. . . . F Brett Howden, who also had an assist, upped the lead at 5:46 of the second. . . . Regina F Lane Zablocki scored his first WHL goal at 18:39. . . . Moose Jaw F Ryan Bowen supplied insurance with his first WHL goal, at 9:42 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw G Zach Sawchenko stopped 32 shots, six more than Regina’s Daniel Wapple. . . . F Dryden Hunt and D Tanner Faith, both of them acquired by Moose Jaw in trades earlier in the week, were alternate captains, along with Howden. F Brayden Point, the team captain, is with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . Announced attendance was 4,208. . . . The game was televised by Shaw, with Joey Kenward calling the play, analysis from Bill Wilms, Darren Dupont at ringside and Andy Neal on the WHL Central set. . . . Shaw will televise Saturday’s game from Medicine Hat — the first game to be played in the Canalta Centre — between the Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. It’ll be Kirk Fraser calling the play with Wilms alongside him. Alanna Nolan will be the ringside reporter and Neal again will be at WHL Central. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald has a game story right here.
FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Calgary vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Portland at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

The Everett Silvertips have decided to open the regular season with three goaltenders and four 20-year-olds on their roster. Of course, G Austin Lotz fits in both of those categories so a trade could quickly alter the picture. . . . Lotz and Carter Hart, 17, who finished the season as goaltending partners, are on the roster, along with G Mario Petit, 18, who had a strong exhibition season. . . . The other 20-year-olds on the Silvertips’ roster are F Remi Laurencelle, D Cole MacDonald and F Carson Stadnyk. . . . F Dawson Leedahl was named the Silvertips’ captain on Thursday. They also named the alternates — Laurencelle, MacDonald and Stadnyk. . . . Which would seem to indicate that they are trying to move Lotz. . . . Everett has dropped F Bryce Kindopp from its roster. He is expected to play midget AAA in Lloydminster, Alta. He was a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The Silvertips are carrying 27 players, including nine defencemen and 15 forwards. . . . BTW, the Silvertips, who open the season with a weekend doubleheader against the Cougars in Prince George, stopped in Quesnel, B.C., to practice on Thursday. Quesnel is the hometown of Everett assistant coach Mitch Love. (For more, see the Tweet of the Day.)
The Edmonton Oil Kings got down to two goaltenders on Thursday by dropping Carter Phair, 17, from their roster. Phair, who is from Carnduff, Sask., is expected to join the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings. He was a 10th-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . The move leaves the Oil Kings with sophomore Patrick Dea, 18, and freshman Alec Dillon, 19, as their two goaltenders. Dea backed up Tristan Jarry last season, going 11-5-1, 2.57, .904 in 21 games. . . . The 6-foot-5, 175-pound Dillon, who is from Victoria, joined the Oil Kings over the summer after having committed to go the NCAA route by attending RPI. . . . The Oil Kings are down to 25 players, including 15 forwards and eight defencemen. That includes D Dysin Mayo, who is in camp with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.
The Brandon Wheat Kings will open at home to the Swift Current Broncos tonight with some roster decision pending but not urgent. Russian D Ivan Provorov has returned from the camp of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, meaning the Wheat Kings have three imports on their roster. The other two are Latvian veteran F Rihards Bukarts and Austrian F Dario Winkler, 18. One of those will have to go in time. . . . Bukarts, who turns 20 on Dec. 31, is one of five 1995-born players on the roster. The others are D Macoy Erkamps, F Quintin Lisoway, F Tim McGauley and D Colton Waltz. Of course, that is two over the limit so there will some movement there, too.
Among players returning to WHL teams from NHL camps on Thursday: D Ryan Rehill (New Jersey) to Kamloops; F Jansen Harkins (Winnipeg) to Prince George; F Matteo Gennaro (Winnipeg) to Prince Albert; F Michael Spacek (Winnipeg) to Red Deer; D Connor Hobbs (Washington) to Regina; and F Tim McGauley (Washington) to Brandon.
Unofficially, here’s a look at WHL players still in NHL camps:
Brandon: F John Quenneville, New Jersey; F Jayce Hawryluk, Florida.
Calgary: F Jake Virtanen, Vancouver; F Keegan Kanzig, Calgary.
Edmonton: D Dysin Mayo, Arizona.
Everett: D Noah Juulsen, Montreal (concussion).
Moose Jaw: F Brayden Point, Tampa Bay.
Red Deer: F Conner Bleackley, Colorado; D Haydn Fleury, Carolina; D Nelson Nogier, Winnipeg.
Seattle: F Mathew Barzal, NY Islanders; F Jamal Watson, Montreal.
Swift Current: F Jake DeBrusk, Boston.
Tri-City: D Brandon Carlo, Boston.
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The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Ty Comrie, 18, from the Tri-City Americans in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reported: “Word is that it’s a fourth-rounder straight up, and it improves to a third-rounder if Comrie reaches a certain goal total this season for Vancouver.” . . . “With our current injury situation, attaining an experienced centre with a strong skill set and offensive upside was important for us heading into the season,” Scott Bonner, the Giants’ general manager, said in a news release. . . . The Giants will open the season without F Tyler Benson and F Thomas Foster, both of whom have undisclosed injuries. . . . Comrie had 21 points, including seven goals, in 71 games last season. In 2013-14, as a freshman, he had nine points, three of them goals, in 64 games. . . . The Americans selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft. . . . He is the younger brother of former Tri-City C Eric Comrie. . . . Ewen has pointed out that that the Giants now are able to ice a Ty line, featuring Comrie, Benson and Ronning.

The Regina Pats have dropped F Erik Gardiner, 16, from their roster. He is expected to join the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. Gardiner was a second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He is the younger brother of F Reid Gardiner of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .
F Nick Zajac has been named the 56th captain in the history of the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Zajac, 20, is heading into his fifth WHL season. . . .
D Jerret Smith has been named captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Smith, going into his fourth season, succeeds D Shea Theodore, who took over from F Justin Hickman during 2014-15 when the latter suffered a season-ending injury.


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