Three games. That’s all that’s left of the 2010-11 regular season.
Tonight, Chilliwack is in town. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Bruins and Americans would meet in the first round. The Ams have home-ice advantage in the first round no matter how the weekend plays out. The Bruins are one point ahead of Vancouver, but if the Giants get their act together, the Ams could see them in the first round. Tonight is sold out, so if you are reading this now, you don't have a ticket.
Big news for the day: Neal Prokop and Mason Wilgosh have returned to the lineup. Mason missed 11 games and Neal missed 28 games. He has played 15 this season.
A few notes for the day:
I found a little disturbing item last night — Lord knows you all have probably seen this before now — former Ams forward Mitch Fadden was placed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and management intends to release him, after he was arrested earlier this month in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
Fadden, 22, was charged with impaired driving, failing to provide a breath sample, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and obstructing a peace officer. The Salmon Arm Observer report is right here
Fadden was having a great season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, but hadn’t played since January because of a blood clot in his leg. He had 51 points in 37 games before the blood clot was discovered.
Tonight, the Moose Jaw Warriors will play their final game at the Moose Jaw Civic Center — aka the Crushed Can. For those who have never seen a picture of this place, click here. The story also gives a little history of the 52-year-old building, that has a roof that could host a snowboarding halfpipe competition.
The alumni update today is Colton Yellow Horn, who is playing for the Allen Americans (Allen, Texas) of the Central Hockey League. Colton has 29 goals and 49 assists in 60 games. He is third in goals scored and leads the Americans in scoring with 78 points. He ranks 8th in the CHL in scoring. Allen is No. 1 in the Berry Conference at 43-15-2 (88 points) and has clinched a playoff spot.
Congrats are in order for Jason Walters and his wife Tina, who had twin girls at 8:15 and 8:16 Thursday morning — Roslyn (5-6, 18 inches) and older sister Evelyn (6-8, 19 inches). Jason runs the replay for WHL officials on game day. Except for today. Jason was whining about lack of sleep. Get used to it, my friend.
The Americans come into tonight on the heels of a 2-1 home loss to Everett. They did not play well Wednesday night. I think it may have been one of the worst performances at home I’ve seen in some time. I’d like to think that tonight we will see a much better game.
Chilliwack is coming in off a 2-1 shootout loss to Spokane on Wednesday, a game in which Lucas Gore stopped 77 of 78 shots on goal. The Bruins have points in their last 10 games, going 7-0-2-1. Not sure this is the team the Ams would like to see in the first round. Maybe Gore used up all of his saves for the week against the Chiefs. One can hope. With the 77 saves
Gore will enter the WHL record book for Most Saves by a Goaltender (60 minutes): 72 vs. Spokane on March 16, 2011.
Puck drops soon. Back later.
Ams lead 2-1 after the first with goals by Drydn Dow and Mason Wilgosh.
Refs Shane Warschaw and Jason Nissen need to get their heads into the game. Ams D-man Tyler Schmidt nearly had his head taken off in the crease (and Carter Ashton went to the box), then later in the period took an elbow to the head. No call on either play. I'm no expert, but shots to the head are supposed to warrant discipline. Mr. Muench, you may want to evaluate this game.
Ams lead 5-1 after two with Justin Feser, Zach Yuen and Carter Ashton scoring. Carter's goal came with nine-tenths of a second remaining in the period.
I don't comment on the officiating much, but Warschaw and Nissen need to spend a little time in boss Kevin Muench's penalty box for their horrible job tonight. There are incidents both ways that are not being called, which is going to lead to someone getting hurt. Chilliwack's Brendan Persley cross-checked Brendan Shinnimin to the ice in front of the Ams bench during a stoppage in play at 18:50, with the refs looking right at it. No call. Persley went down the runway to the locker room, but I think Marc Habscheid sent him there.
Ams coach Jim Hiller is having few words with the men in stripes. The key the rest of the game is to avoid injuries.
Gore is out to start the third. Five goals allowed on 35 shots.
Ams win 6-1 as Neal Prokop finishes the scoring at 11:02. Nice to see him and Wilgosh back on the ice. Now, the Ams just need to get Adam Hughesman healthy.
I talked to Wilgosh after the game he seemed OK. But, they are so tight-lipped on things that Jim wouldn't even tell me Thursday that Willie and Neal were playing Friday. Guess we will have to see if he plays Saturday.