Thursday, December 13, 2007

Silverbacks @ Centennials


22-8-2-2 (2nd in Interior Conference).......7-20-1-5 (8th in Interior Conference)
4-4-2-1 in Last 11 Games.........................................2-3-1-0 in Last 6 Games
4.8 Goals For Avg (1st in BCHL)......................3.0 Goals For Avg (15th in BCHL)
3.3 Goals Against Avg (T-4th in BCHL).........5.1 Goals Against Avg (16th in BCHL)
22.32% Powerplay (4th in BCHL)......................12.63% Powerplay (16th in BCHL)
81.31% Penalty Kill (8th in BCHL).................. 75.11% Penalty Kill (16th in BCHL)
Derek Lee (47 - 8th in BCHL)............................Erik Ruud (42 - 16th in BCHL)
Graeme Gordon (.889 - 20th in BCHL)........Shane Mainprize (.888 - 21st in BCHL)
Previous Games: 7-1 Salmon Arm road win on September 15th, 5-4 Salmon Arm overtime home win on October 30th, 6-3 Salmon Arm home win on November 20th.

Other than the first meeting the Silverbacks have had to come back twice at home against the Centennials. Salmon Arm was down 4-1 in the third period in October and down 2-0 in the second period in November.

It will be interesting to see how the team comes out as three of their top players have missed the entire week of practice. Damon Kipp (fly down), Derek Lee (prospects game), and Kelly Zajac (fly down) will all have to quickly gel their way back into form.

It is an important two points for the 'Backs to grab tonight with a first place showdown tomorrow night against the Vees. However any complacently with players thinking about either tomorrow night or the Christmas break and Merritt will walk away victorious.

Spruce Kings head south

by Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen

Considering their 3-8-0-2 road record this season, that is a tall order.

"We definitely have to get at least three wins out of four on this roadswing before Christmas and get on a streak after Christmas to secure a playoff spot," said Spruce Kings right winger Anthony Collins, an 18-year-old native of Langley.

"We don't want to come down to the deadline, hoping one team will win here and another team will win somewhere else. We want to secure one just through our own hard work."

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It's time to revamp no-hitter all-star game

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

All-star outings are glorified games of shinny, with little or no defence.

How about dangling a little carrot at the finish line for the teams and players?

I'd say players have a better chance of catching the eye of a college recruiter in a real game situation than in a no-hitter.

Have the interior conference all-star team play the AJHL's north division squad in Alberta, while the coastal all-stars take on the AJHL's southern team here in B.C.

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Clippers are all-stars

by Staff of the Nanaimo News Bulletin

“I’m not going down there to [get] a shutout or anything,” he joked. “But for my one period I think it’s fun hockey and it’s a great time to showcase talent … You always hear so much about certain kids and you get to go meet them.”

Filiou might find himself in the odd position of passing the puck to those rival Caps.

“It will certainly be different,” he said. “It will be something that we’re not used to but I think we’re going to pull something fun out of it.”

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Team East wins 2007 CJAHL Prospects Game

by Scott Unger

Greg Miller (St. MIchael's Buzzers/OPJHL) scored twice and was named Team East's player of the game as the visiting side defeated Team West 5-3 in the 2007 Heartland Credit Union CJAHL Prospects Game in Winkler last night.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rare 0-0 game highlights ’Backs’ week

by Richard MacKenzie of the Salmon Arm Observer

Yet, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks and their arch-rivals, the Vernon Vipers, managed to play a 0-0 game on Friday night at the Sunwave Centre in what some are calling the most entertaining regular season SilverBacks contest in a long time.

SilverBacks teammates Ronnie Smith and Randy Hanagan will continue to wear the same uniform for a few more season even if they aren’t in Salmon Arm. Both second-year forwards have secured NCAA division 1 scholarships for next season with Union College which is located in New York state.

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BCHL

by Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News

“This last week and a bit has been the best hockey Kevin (Walrod) has played for us. He’s 19 and it’s time for him to step up and evolve into one of our top guys and he’s doing that. Trevor plays in a lot of situations of us and because of the work he does in practise he has become one of our top guys.”

The naming to the all tar team for Schultz is just another feather in his cap. The 17-year-old rookie will play in the Canadian Junior A prospects game tonight and is already listed as a player to watch by NHL Central Scouting.

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Grizzlies' stars to shine at home

by Brian Drewry of the Victoria Times Colonist

"And while it's a great honour to be named to the team -- it was one of my goals this season -- this really is a team award, especially in my case, because I'm only as good as the guys in front of me."

"Jordie and Matt have been standouts for us this year and we're very proud of them," Jackson said yesterday as he got the troops ready for Friday's game in Alberni Valley. "Matt has given us a chance to win every night and Jordie, in my opinion, is the best defenceman in the league."

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Lone Hunter inall-star search

by Staff of the Vernon Morning Star

“He (Kakoske) doesn’t show up on the scoresheet as far as scoring is concerned every night, but we know how valuable he is to our organization,” said Ferner. “Either of our goalies (Bryce Christianson and Lucas Gore) are also worthy of consideration.”

Defenceman Cody Ikkala was out of the lineup with strep throat, while Bishop was playing with flu-like symptoms.

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Kings gaining ground

by Alistair McInnis of the Prince George Free Press

“I’m okay with that,” said Spruce Kings head coach and general manager Ed Dempsey of the three points collected last weekend. “I’ll go with the glass half full theory on that one, so we’ll be positive about that. It was nice to inch our way closer to Trail, and at the same time inch our way ahead of Quesnel.”

“This is going to be a wild ride because every team that we’re playing on this trip is going pretty good right now,” Dempsey said. “With the dogfight that we’re in now with Trail and Quesnel for spots in the standings, there should be no reason (why) our guys are not ready to go for these games.”

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Little known of Clippers star's injury

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

"We don't expect to know for a week or so," said Bestwick."It's all got to subside. It's extremely swollen. It was a blood vessel that burst. That's what compounded the swelling and the bruising. He's extremely bruised. It's really bleeding a lot.

"It is just a wait and see. It's going to be some time before he gets a MRI. We just hope that he gets it before he goes home at Christmas time."

"They've said it doesn't require surgery so that saves four-plus weeks of recovery. Whenever you have an incision, the scar tissue has to heal," he said.

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Irwin gets to star at home

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

"I'm not going to be trying to keep my save percentage up," admitted the Vail, Colo. native. "It's going to be fun. There will be a lot of scoring chances and it will be exciting hockey."

"I understand he doesn't exactly have a great winning record in all-star games so this year we're going to try and get him his first win in however many years it's been," said Garman.

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Cents fall to Eagle attack

by Colin Oswin of the Merritt Herald

“I’ll give Surrey full credit,” he says. “They blocked about 25 shots – we just didn’t get it through.”

Merritt managed two shots on net over the first 20 minutes, while the Eagles peppered Mainprize for 13 shots.

The assistant coach says fatigue might be getting to Mainprize. With the Cents’ starter in his first BCHL season, Leberre says the 18-year-old goalie has played a lot of games since he arrived in November.

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Captain raring to go

by Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times

Watching Canada West capture the gold medal, he was relegated to helping track stats and do video work.

“It has been a month and a bit now and it is getting a bit repetitive,” he said about his longest absence from the game.

Prior to leaving the team, the 19-year-old was Langley’s top scorer with seven goals and 13 assists in the first 18 games.

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Junior A Caps 'refuse to be negative'

by Kevin Rothbauer of The Cowichan Valley Citizen

It was neither the first nor the last time in the game that Burnaby netminder Kevin Jebson would kick the net free during a goal-mouth scramble.

In the first period alone, the margin was 13-3 in favour of the host squad.

"It was one of the most entertaining overtimes I've ever seen," Robinson commented. "The building was really on fire. That's what we're trying to sell in this league. Everyone was worn out after that game, including the fans."

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Wait for a goal unbearable

by Don Bodger of the Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial

The bears were already collected and obviously couldn’t be returned to wait for a real goal to be scored that didn’t happen anyway.

They outshot Burnaby 39-19 but couldn’t beat a red-hot Kevin Jebson in the Express net, particularly during the third period when many of his 15 saves were brilliant.

The Caps are No. 1 in the league on the power play away from home, but 14th of the league’s 16 teams for power play efficiency at home.

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Roadies up to third place

by Tom Berridge of Burnaby Now

"We fought the referee all night in that game and again the better team didn't win. We should have put the game away earlier," said Burnaby head coach Dave McLellan.

Nevertheless, the Express is 12-3-0-2 in its last 17 games and among the leading clubs on special teams at home.

"I want to be a buyer, not a seller on Jan. 10," he said. "We have a good enough group to win in this league, it's a matter of positioning."

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Zajac Snubbed

Despite having the fourth most points in the Interior Conference Kelly Zajac was not voted into the All-Star game. Zajac has 13 goals and a Interior Conference best 31 assists this season. He is also one of the best centers at taking face offs in the league winning approximately 66% of the draws he takes. This Ironman also stays out of the penalty box totalling 16 penalty minutes in playing in all 34 Silverbacks games this year. All this from a guy who has spent most of the season as the second line center without the benefits of top line wingers to play with.

On the flip side of things I am very pleased to see Prince George goaltender Damien Ketlo among the three Interior goaltenders. While Ketlo's numbers might not be all that impressive this 16-year-old is a big-time big-game goalie. Of his six wins two have came against the Silverbacks, one against Penticton, and one over Vernon. In those four games Ketlo has a save percentage of .927 and a goals against average of 2.25.

Warriors ask league for review of questionable calls

by Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News

“The referees are supposed to be evaluated. I’ve contacted the league for their input and what they do with it is up to them.”

Making matters even tougher to take, several college scouts who were watching the game from behind the net told the club that the puck had clearly gone in.

Video was inconclusive.

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Walrod carries the load for Warriors

by David Trifunov of the Kelowna Daily Courier

“We didn‘t play our best game, that‘s for sure,” Vernon coach Mark Ferner said. “We had too many turnovers and we weren‘t very good in the neutral zone. . . . We‘re disappointed with some of our guys, and some of our efforts in certain areas.”

On the Warrior bench, forwards Brady Mason (shoulder) and Chris Shudo (ankle), and defenceman Cory Pritz (lower body), were scratched.

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Vees leave Grizzlies in their dust

by Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist

The outcome was probably to be expected from a Penticton team with seven players already committed to U.S. collegiate NCAA athletic scholarships -- Devon Krogh, Zac Dalpe and Cory Schneider to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Eric Kroshus to Harvard, Austin Smith to Colgate, Brett Hextall to North Dakota and Trevor Nill to the Michigan State Spartans.

"I think they have a chance to win it all and you could see that in the third period," said an impressed Grizzlies GM and head coach Jackson Penney.

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Grizzlies scratch out a tie

by Ron Rauch of the Victoria Times Colonist

"When you get to overtime [four-on-four for five minutes and then three-on-three for five minutes], we try to keep it as simple as possible and play man-to-man. Cowichan has a very fast team and if you make a bad decision, it will cost you. We made a couple tonight and the puck ended up in our net.''

With injuries to forwards Cody Bremner and Mike Hammond, the Grizzlies called up Jimmy Carter from the Victoria Cougars and Dan Bell from the Peninsula Panthers.

Carter started the year in the BCHL with the Westside Warriors before he was released.

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Vipers draw rare blank

by Staff of the Vernon Morning Star

Salmon Arm (21-8-2-2) played with only ten forwards while, for the second time in as many games, the Vipers (19-12-1-2) lost the services of captain Chris Crowell after he was handed a game misconduct for a hit from behind late in the second period.

“I saw him walk off the bench and was wondering what the heck was going on,” said Ferner, who was watching from the press box. “They said they found him curled up in a ball on the trainer’s table until a fan offered to drive him home.

“He ate three bags of chips and drank two pop on the way down... maybe that had something to do with it,” added Ferner, chuckling.

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Eagles flex offensive muscle to extend streak

by Michael Booth of Surrey Now

"All of the lines are scoring because everybody is contributing. Every guy is chipping in with the scoring and that's what you need to win hockey games. To keep other teams from keying on our top scorers we need balance in the scoring and that means contributions from everyone."

"That game was really quite a lot like the game here," Kuss said. "We dominated them pretty good and we kept things simple. We put a lot of pucks to the net and our talent kind of took over from there."

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Offence gets two Cents’ worth

by Nick Greenizan of the Peace Arch News

They’ve outscored opponents 32-10 in the last four games, dating back to an 8-3 win over Powell River on Nov. 30.

“It makes it tough for other teams, I’m sure, when they’ve got to play against us when we’ve got three lines that can score. And we’ve even been scoring on the penalty kill lately, too,” said Eagles captain Phil Magistrale, who had two goals Friday night.

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Late collapse costly for standings-starved Kings

by Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen

Overtime has been more cruel than kind to the Kings, who sport a 3-6 overtime record. In many of those losses they’ve given up late goals in regulation time. Saturday’s loss spoiled an otherwise sparkling performance from Ketlo, who made 33 saves while being outshot 37-27.

“It comes down to the will to win and being willing to sacrifice for the team. Some guys on this team are, and some aren’t. The guys who aren’t, repeatedly, are killing us.”

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Spruce Kings win one-sided affair

by Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen

Kings defenceman Jeff Forsythe came in to rescue Christian, who had been hit over the head twice and cross-checked across the face by the stick of Brad Davis. Muchalla jumped into the Davies-Brodie scrap as the third man in, and that attracted Paul Levarsky, who rammed Muchalla into the net and was about to duke it out with the pint-sized Kings forward when Forsythe intervened.

The Kings took full advantage, keeping their feet moving, finishing checks and beating Trail to virtually every loose puck as they outshot the Smokies 20-3 in the opening frame.

The Smokies got themselves in penalty trouble with the second period half gone and found themselves two men short for 83 seconds. They were also without a head coach for the rest of the game when bench boss Jim Ingram got tossed for disputing referee Korey Martens’ assessment of the situation.

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Latest roster addition suited for stretch run

by Staff of the Nanaimo News Bulletin

“He’s a big kid, a strong power forward that we feel sort of resembles a Jaret Engele, sort of resembles a Joe Bitz,” Bestwick said. “A player that we think is extremely important when you get down into tough games and physical and abrasive games.”

“I’ve played in the league for a couple of years; I wanted to be back here,” Forster said. “It worked out better coming to a great team.”

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clippers win game, lose star

by Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin

“We did everything we wanted to do – we wanted to have the lead, we wanted to take the flow away, we wanted to pressure and force their decision-making in our end.”

Sunday’s big win should have been more uplifting, but the Clippers were disheartened afterwards to learn that Goodman suffered a serious knee injury and will be out an extended period of time.

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Clippers Break Two-Game Slide With 4-2 Triumph Over Vees

by Michael Rhode of the Nanaimo Daily News

"We really competed. We minimized our turnovers in the first two periods to under 10 and that's key to success.

Goodman was forced to leave the game in the third period with appeared to be a serious injury to his right leg.

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Empty seats at Chiefs games alarming

by Troy Landreville of the Langley Advance

As of Dec. 8, the British Columbia Hockey League reported that an average of 548 fans have attended each of the Chiefs' first 17 home games at the GPRC. Only the Quesnel Millionaires (550) attract fewer fans to their rink.

When you consider that the 35-year-old GPRC (formerly known as the Langley Civic Centre) seats more than a thousand folks, and it's half full at best during Chiefs games, I shiver to think of what games will look and feel like when the team moves to the 3,200 seat, $56 million Langley Events Centre, currently under construction in Willoughby.

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BCHL players finding more opportunities

by Staff of the Alberni Valley Times

The US college option disappears as soon as a player signs a contract with a major junior program and with the pressure to make this decision sometimes as early as 15 years of age, players and families are finding that patience pays when it comes to deciding the future.

"We are in no way disappointed when mature players such as Casey and Garry leave our league to a situation that benefits them. It's much more frustrating when we see players who have no opportunity to pursue a US scholarship when things don't work out in major junior at 16 or 17 and find themselves at our door with fewer options. That's the message that we need to get to the parents of young players."

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Bulldogs top of the class

by Staff of the Alberni Valley Times

The program consists of college, online, high school, and upgrading opportunities for their players as well as preparation for the all important US SAT exams. It includes putting together college/university marketing packages, communication with colleges and universities and help with the myriad of details and rules of both the US NCAA and the Canadian CIS intercollegiate athletic systems.

Captain Moriarty pulled off the highest score in Bulldogs history with an overall 2100 out of 2400 while younger players such as Kerr and Ross also have very high scores.

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Canadian Junior A Hockey League Top 15

Clippers #4, Silverbacks #5.

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Rookie goalies make impact

by Mark Janzen of Hockey Now

In Burnaby, Kevin Jebson has been the go-to-guy almost every night. Jebson, playing on a Burnaby team that is only four games over .500, managed a 14-8-0-1 record through early December.

The Cowichan Valley Capitals Kiefer Smiley—with a .911 save percentage after playing in 16 games—has the best save percentage among rookie goalies and is second in the conference among all goalies.

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Finucci finds feet at last

by Steve Ewen of The Province

Keep in mind he had 64 points on 21 goals and 43 assists in his previous 109 games in the league.

"I was a bubble guy at the cuts a few times. I was always working hard to make those teams, though. You knew that you were going to go to good tournaments with them.

Express coach Dave McLellan says the University of Alaska-Fairbanks is talking seriously with Finucci and more offers could come soon.

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Pighin thriving with snipers on top line

by Marc Weber of The Province

"It just kind of happened," Pighin chuckled. "Heat of the moment, I guess. He wanted to go with me and I said why not? It's good fun every once in a while."

"My first game, I gave Moller the puck in our zone and he went end-to-end for a highlight-reel goal," he recalled. "He went through four of their guys and buried the puck. I think that was the easiest assist I've ever had. I thought, 'Wow, I could get used to this.'"

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Saturday tilt sure to continue Warrior-Viper rivalry

by Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News

In the past two season the Warriors and Vipers have engaged in a bitter rivalry that has turned nasty at times. Two line brawls, a physical six game playoff series, coaches being tossed from games and nearly 10 games in combined suspensions.

With apologies to Penticton, the Westside-Vernon rivalry is the best one that’s been established since the Warriors moved to town.

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Matheson a marvel for Grizzlies' offence

by Sharie Epp of the Victoria Times Colonist

Since then, Matheson has done everything possible to make it happen, including losing 25 pounds in a vigorous summer regime of fitness and diet.

Matheson has also made the move from defence to forward to add more of a physical presence to the Grizzlies depleted front lines.

Having the 17-year-old Matheson "on fire" is not good news for opposition defencemen.

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LOADED FOR BEAR

by Dylan G. Dylan of the Victoria News

“I don’t see it as a surprise,” Penney says of his club’s record. “Since day one, people have said we’re surprising everyone because we’re extremely young. I just don’t see it that way. We’re 20 guys pulling on the same rope.”

Penney, it should be pointed out, is in his first year as head coach of the Grizzlies. That said, he is not a novice, in that he spent 14 years in pro hockey and harbours the experience of two years coaching in the German DEL Hockey League. He speaks in matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tones, he spits out clich├ęs like they’re sunflower seeds and he seems genuinely offended at the suggestion that his Grizzlies continue to surprise people with their play.

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Vipers get payback

by Staff of the Vernon Morning Star

The Alaskan Assassin responded to a large contingent of young Aussie fans – Silver Star Mountain Resort employees – who chanted his name all night long.

“It’s pretty easy to be up there in the scoring race when you’re playing with the Sedin (Jones) twins,” laughed Bishop.

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Win helps Eagles forget their past

by Michael Booth of Surrey Now

More importantly, the win was the 18th of the season for Surrey -- one more than the team attained during the dismal 2006-07 season in which Surrey finished last among Coastal teams.

Travis Gorman, and 18-year-old power forward formerly of the WHL's Kootenay Ice, is expected to be in the Eagles' lineup for Friday night's (December 7) game at South Surrey Arena.

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Kings hope to move up

by Alistair McInnis of the Prince George Free Press

In expressing his thoughts on their current spot in the standings, Spruce Kings head coach and general manager Ed Dempsey said: “Well I’d rather be in first place, but to be honest with you we’re a little bit behind where I thought we could be at this time of the year when we sat down in August and kind of projected where we’d like to be.”

“[Trail is] just a good all around hockey club,” he said. “They’re well coached [with] good solid goaltending and very balanced forward lines.”

Nineteen-year-old Spruce Kings forward Shaun Fomenoff injured his shoulder during the second period of the team’s 4-2 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies last Saturday at the Coliseum. Dempsey said on Tuesday he was a couple weeks away from being ready for game action.

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Better late than never as Vees nip Kings

by David Crompton of the Penticton Herald

Alex Evin made 25 saves to get the win while Chris Rawlings made just 18 saves for the Kings.

A new-look fourth line combined to tie the game for the Vees at 6:34, as Labreche bagged his second of the season on a nice pass from Curtis McKenzie. Michael Guzzo also skated on the line.

Affiliated player Michael Boivin played his second straight game on the Vees blueline with Jimmy Geerin scratched again due to an upper-body injury.

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Clippers see lesson in loss

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

Combine a handful of regulars out due to injury with three new faces in the lineup (forwards Andrew Cherniwchan, Chad Ziegler and Paul Forester) that are still trying to get used to head coach/GM Bill Bestwick's systems and a loss like Wednesday's was bound to happen sometime.

He also thinks that last week's trade which saw the Clippers send three players -- Warren Muir, Tim Holloway and Braden Birch -- to Drayton Valley of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for Cherniwchan and Ziegler, may have slightly changed the team's chemistry, just like any mid-season trade would do.

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Eagles soar as Chiefs lose again

by Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times

The Chiefs coach was ejected from the BCHL game just 11 seconds in when he received a gross misconduct.

But since an 11-day layoff, the team has gone 1-5-0-1 while tallying just 13 goals and allowing 27.

Since winning the season opener against Langley, the Eagles had dropped the previous four encounters between the two clubs, being out-scored 26-10 in those four losses.

And despite the fight happening at the Eagles blue-line, the referees moved the ensuing face-off to the Chiefs zone, a decision that resulted in both a bench minor for Langley and Smyl’s ejection.

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Eagles axe struggling Chiefs

by Troy Landreville of the Langley Advance

Langley has now lost five of its last six games; this, after running off seven straight wins prior to taking what is looking more and more like a disastrous 11-day break in mid-November.

Langley lost its head coach Harvey Smyl for much of Wednesday's game. The fiery Smyl was ejected after arguing a first period penalty call.

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Vees spell victory for team-oriented Caps

by Kevin Rothbauer of The Cowichan Valley Citizen

The Vees replied three minutes later, but rookie Mickey Spencer potted his 23rd -- tops on the team and among all BCHL rookies -- to put his team up for good at the 11:36 mark of the period.

"They're a big team," Robinson commented. "Foot speed is going to be our advantage against a team like that. We've got to go to the net and finish our checks. We have to be all over their team, much like we were (Wednesday). Burnaby has been laying lickin's on people lately, winning handily. It's a conference game, so we have to make a statement."

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Smokies forward diagnosed with cancer

by Guy Bertrand of the Trail Daily Times

Last week the players were informed that teammate Scott Jago was diagnosed with cancer.

"We know it's cancer in the lymph nodes," said Ingram. "And there's a biopsy to come in the next week or so. There's no plan of action until the biopsy."

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Brotheract

by Nick Greenizan of the Peace Arch News

Brody stayed at the junior B level, and didn’t play at all last year – choosing to travel abroad instead.

“This is Brody’s last year of junior hockey, and this is our first time playing together, so we might as well do it.”

Both are welcome additions to the Eagles’ defence corps, who lost veteran Jeff Regier to the WHL’s Everett Silvertips the same week Nolan decided to come to the BC Hockey League

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Vees absorb Capital punishment

by David P. Crompton of the Penticton Herald

Clinton Pettapiece and Mickey Spencer also scored for the Capitals, who outshot the Vees by a whopping 54-22.

Forward Luc Challier was back in the Vees lineup after missing 25 games with a shoulder injury and promptly got into a spirited scrap with Cowichan‘s Josh Clare. Forward Eric Kroshus made his debut for the Vees, while fellow newcomer, defenceman Nic Knudsen (conditioning), likely won‘t play until after the road trip. Defenceman Jimmy Geerin (upper body) was scratched from the lineup.

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Clips get hammered in Vernon

by Michael Rhode of the Nanaimo Daily News

The Clippers had another new face in their lineup on Wednesday. Forward Paul Forster, from the Westside Warriors by way of the Winnipeg South Blues, saw his first action with Nanaimo, starting the game on a line with Cherniwchan and Chad Ziegler.

Clippers' top marksman Eric Filiou took a hard hit in the first period, played sparingly in the middle frame and did not see the ice in the third period.

With a couple of call-up players dressed and the likes of forwards Tyler Pistone, Carson Schell and Randy McNaught, as well as defenceman Ian Thistlethwaite out of the lineup, the Clippers were a little undermanned.

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Newcomers make an impact with Nanaimo

by Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin

Their first flight from Edmonton couldn’t land at Comox Saturday. Neither could their second flight. Ziegler and Cherniwchan finally landed in Victoria Sunday afternoon, then endured a Greyhound trip that saw their bus get stuck in the snow, twice.

Both he and Cherniwchan have NCAA scholarships for next fall, anyways, with Ziegler heading to Yale; Cherniwchan, to Northern Michigan.

“He can score goals out of situations where you don’t think a goal is possible,” Ziegler said. “And he’s not afraid to play defence and be physical.”

“He’s very physical; the hardest worker out there,” said Cherniwchan. “Likes to get in the corner and dig, and battle in front of the net.”

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Reid helps Express salvage point

by Grant Granger of the Burnaby NewsLeader

McLellan said he doesn’t like to play them together because all three could get caught up ice.

Reid was acquired in the off-season from the Surrey Eagles. McLellan said he felt coming out of training camp Reid could be “the hidden secret” of the team and could end up in the top 10 of BCHL scoring. Heading into play Wednesday, Reid was seventh with 25 goals and 46 points. Finucci leads the pack with 55 points, including 21 goals while Campbell is eighth just two points behind Reid.

The Express are also 10-3-0-1 since Oct. 26.

Brennan Vargas made his debut with the Express on the weekend getting an assist Friday. Vargas was playing his first game in two weeks after leaving the Tri-City Storm of the U.S. Hockey League.

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Banged-up SilverBacks lose two of three

by Richard MacKenzie of the Salmon Arm Observer

On Saturday night at home, during a 6-3 Salmon Arm victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals, rookie sensation Jeff Smith, after scoring the game’s opening goal, left the contest early and did not return

“Usually I’ll come in from the other side but I noticed the goalie was a little weak with his feet so I decided to come in from the right, fake the shot and go backhand,” he said.

“I’m really excited to be here,” he said. “I asked for a trade and this is where I requested because I feel this team, over any other in the BCHL, has a shot at winning the RBC (Royal Bank Cup). It’s my last year and that is what I’m hoping for.”

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Arduin makes trip to Warriors pay off

by Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News

Arduin, acquired by the Warriors on Saturday from Trail, spent the better part of 24 hours trying to join his new team in Prince George, traveling first by bus and then by airplane to arrive midway through the game’s warm-up on Sunday.

“Those were goal-scorers’ goals,” said Warriors’ coach Mark Howell. “You need those guys. You need guys that can score and have a natural gift and I think he has that knack. He’s a naturally gifted player. On the bench he was talking a lot and being a leader and I thought there was some real good messages in there for our guys.”

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Loss to Clippers ‘just wrong‘

by David Trifunov of the Kelowna Daily Courier

Referee Sebastien Valois awarded Nanaimo a goal late in the second period, telling Westside coaches afterwards a linesmen saw the puck cross the line before the whistle blew.

What made the situation hard for the Warriors to swallow was Cory Pritz‘s blast with three seconds to play that everyone on the Westside thought went in, hit the back crossbar and bounce out again. But the referee didn‘t talk to his assistants or the goal judge for that one, irking Warriors coach Mark Howell.

“The referee doesn‘t have the respect of the game to go ask his linesmen? It‘s wrong, it‘s just wrong,” Howell said. “Just go ask, that‘s all you‘ve got to do. . . . Yet on the other one, I guess they made the wrong call on that one, too. So two bad calls tonight.”

Westside forwards Brady Mason (shoulder) and Chris Shudo (ankle) were both sidelined.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Smokes salvage point against Cents

by Staff of the Trail-Rossland News

“It’s hard to say that after a loss,” he said. “They went minutes at a time without shots on net and we were pretty much in their end all night. We played fifty-eight and a half minutes of hockey tonight and unfortunately the last minute we didn’t play they scored two goals.”

“We lost the faceoff and then we had missed assignments both from the defenseman and the winger going through and guys got into our slot area with no price to be paid,” he explained. “They weren’t boxed out or challenged in any way. It’s bad enough to get one shot wide open like that, but he got his own rebound and that’s just not good enough.

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Kings drop two at home

by Alistair McInnis of the Prince George Free Press

Westside head coach Mark Howell noted that former Spruce King turned Warriors forward Chris Shudo was out of the lineup with a sore ankle, defenceman Cory Pritz sat out with a sore groin, and forward Brady Mason left the game after a couple shifts nursing his shoulder.

I think we worked hard all game,” said Fraser. “[The Warriors] just got lucky. Pretty much all their goals were nothing special, they were just luck so it was just tough luck tonight.”

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Vees deliver knock-out blow

by Harpreet Sidhu of the Penticton Western News

“I don’t think there is any disappointment. It was a good game,” said Vees captain Brett Hextall. “We beat them on the scoreboard and then we got into some of that other stuff. People have been saying we’re not gritty enough well I think we looked pretty gritty.”

“It was blatant hit from behind that was missed. I think our captain took it in his own hands and it says a lot about him. It says a lot about our program. I think that was when the game was won,” said Harbinson.

The six-foot, 195 pound-Kroshus was tied for fifth in team scoring with Camrose. The 18-year-old Calgary native had nine goals and nine assists, along with 40 penalty minutes in 27 games as a member of the Kodiaks this season.

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BCHL talent scooped up by WHL

by Scott Brown of The Nanaimo Daily News

"There is no hidden agenda in the reason why we keep some of our 16-year-old players, if we don't (keep them) we won't get them back (from the BCHL)," said Hamilton. "I am one of the owners of the (BCHL's Penticton Vees), so I'm not bashing anyone, but I believe the best players should be playing at the highest level possible."

"The way we have to combat it is we have to get rid of the 17-year-old import rules if we want to compete with them. The (WHL) has the best of both worlds. We're prevented from bringing Grade 12 students from out of province but they can take players from us at any time, basically for free, no fee," said Bestwick.

"They can talk to our players any time they want. There's no tampering. And of course, colleges can't talk to these kids until they've finished Grade 11. It's not a level playing surface and in order for us to get a level playing surface we have to play by the same rules as them."

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Beattie's marker lifts Clips to win No. 25 in Westside

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

With the Clippers buzzing Westside's goal, Noble slipped a shot past Stephen Caple but the Warriors argued the puck entered the goal after referee Sebastien Valois blew his whistle. The goal stood, much to the dismay of the 1,198 fans.

He was particularly sharp in the second period when the Warriors outshot Nanaimo 11-5.

Newcomers Andrew Cherniwchan and Chad Ziegler saw a regular shift in their first game with Nanaimo. Cherniwchan assisted on Beattie's winning goal.

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Centennials make a splash in Trail

by Heather Thomson of the Merritt Herald

“We haven’t been on the road for six-weeks,” explains Keegan Goodrich, director of player personnel for the Cents. “It’s always better to go on the road.”

Merritt won the game 3-1, even though they were outshot by the Smoke Eaters 44-29.

“It’s like Gretzky and Currie,” Birks says. “They work well together and have good chemistry on the ice – they’re a good fit.”

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Back-to-back losses drop Chiefs to fifth place

by Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times

“I don’t know what is going on right now,” said Chiefs winger Trevor Elias.

Since an 11-day break in the schedule — and after the team had won a season-high seven consecutive games — the Chiefs have won just one of their past five games, scoring only 10 goals in the process.

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Chiefs look for consistency

by Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times

Roy’s goals have been an added bonus, Smyl said, as the team did not expect that much offence from the 18-year-old who had two goals in 48 games last season.

The blue-line corps have gone through some changes, with local products Brad Bakken and Dillon Scholten returning from the Western Hockey League to join the Chiefs.

Breaking down the team’s season into 10 game segments (box page 32), the Chiefs were out-scored 53-36 in the first 10, scored two more goals in the middle 10 (49-47) and really took flight in the past 10, out-scoring the opposition 46-31.

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Caps one game below .500 at the midway mark

by Don Bodger of the Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial

“I could understand if we were a rough and tumble group,’’ he said. “But we’re not a team that takes a lot (of penalties).’’

The Caps received five straight penalties in the first period at Salmon Arm when Robinson lost it in his old stomping grounds. He was handed an unsportsmanlike penalty for the team’s sixth straight infraction late in the period and then got ejected at the end of the period for expressing his displeasure with referee Andrew Guest’s work.

The Caps sent Andrew Christ back to his previous Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team in Spokane and added Willie Coetzee, who attended the Caps’ spring camp, from the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.

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Caps lose three on road

by Kevin Rothbauer of The Cowichan Valley Citizen

"In overtime, in a non-divisional game, you take your chances at getting two points instead of one," said Bodger.

"It sounds funny to say that we got good goaltending when we let in six goals, but we did," said Bodger.

"It's better than zero," he said. "You have to look on the positive side."

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Win streak ends in overtime

by Tom Berridge of the Burnaby Now

"We didn't play well at all in the first two periods. If we had played like that (third period) all game, we would have killed them," said Reid. "I guess the day off got us unfocussed."

The newest Express player, U.S. under-18 national team forward Brennan Vargask, earned a point in his very first BCHL game, earning an assist on Hunt's first of the game at 15:21 of the opening period.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Smokies trade top scorer to Westside

by Guy Bertrand of the Trail Daily Times

"Basically what it amounts to is we traded Arduin to Westside for Chris Santiago and future considerations which ended up being some cash and our future considerations back in the August Aiken deal."

"This is a great opportunity for David to find his scoring touch again," said Ingram. "He was very upset about the trade. He loved it here in Trail."

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Trail gets one point against lowly Cents

by Guy Bertrand of the Trail Daily Times

The Smokies have played 14 games this season against teams with a record of .500 or less according to Saturday's standings. Their record against those clubs is a mediocre 7-6-1. Against teams with a record over .500 the Smokies are right there with seven wins in 16 games.

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New Clips delighted to join 'most hated' team

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

Ziegler and Cherniwchan, both 18, have scholarships lined up for next year -- Ziegler will be off to Yale University while Cherniwchan will attend Northern Michigan University.

"We didn't hear much, but talking to Goodman he said they're the most hated team in the league, and everybody brings their 'A' game against them," said Ziegler. "He said just be prepared for that against every team on the Island.

Cherniwchan says speed is his best attribute, while Ziegler brings a physical element with his game.

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Streaky Chiefs salvage point from weekend set

by Troy Landreville of the Langley Advance

Losers of four of their past five games, the Langley Chiefs are trying to get their mojo back.

Grant, who now shares the team lead with Mac Roy with 15 goals, scored both Chiefs markers versus the Kings.

The lanky, 6'3" 17-year-old is currently with teammate Alex Angers-Goulet on a U.S. university flydown to Goulet's home next season, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (RPI) in Troy, NY.

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Ocean lure to Powell River

by Steve Ewen of The Province

Sure enough, Williams connected Lewis with one of his summer hockey buddies, right-winger Erik Vos, a reigning Ontario junior B league scoring champion from Hamilton.

Vos, 19, agreed to come west. He was looking at the Kings website later with his older sister, Elise, when they spotted an opening for the team's director of marketing.

Erik, who had 29 goals and 83 points last season for the Elmira Sugar Kings, is fourth on Powell River scoring this season, with his 29 points (15 goals) in 33 games.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Warriors keep on winning

by Staff of the Kelowna Daily Courier

“It‘s been a while since I‘ve been involved in a weekend like that,” said Warriors head coach Mark Howell, whose team has won five straight games and is 8-2 in its past 10 contests.

“It all happened so fast,” Smokies GM and head coach Jim Ingram told the Trail Times. “They put together a great offer for us, and we couldn‘t overlook it. What it amounts to is we traded Arduin to Westside for Santiago and future considerations, which ended up being some cash and our future considerations in the August Aiken deal.”

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Grizzlies claw Silverbacks

by Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist

The game concluded Victoria's second four-game bus trip of the B.C. Hockey League season. And like the previous one, this excursion also netted a 3-1 record.

"We thought we would get into town earlier than we did, but we had to stay in 100 Mile House [after playing the Spruce Kings in Prince George on Saturday]. The Silverbacks are an outstanding team and have the most goals in the league. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We just played our style of game. We have a very fast team, too, so playing a good, fast team like Salmon Arm suited us. We're not as good in small barns. I thought it was the smartest game we have played all year. And Wong was outstanding."

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Grizzlies overcome sluggish start

by Sharie Epp of the Victoria Times Colonist

"It was greasy," coach Jackson Penney said. "There was no atmosphere, no nothing."

In Salmon Arm, the Grizz will want to avoid the sluggish start they had in Prince George, likely due to being unable to find practice ice. They began the game outshot 13-1, leaning hard on goaltender Matthew Wong, and were lucky to score first.

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Vipers rally to thwart Gorillas

by Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star

"Lately the bounces have been going against us at home," said Zurevinski, named the game's first star. "I don't want to blame that, it could be us just not working hard enough, but we haven't been getting the bounces and tonight we got some bounces we liked in the second and third."

"You have to give them credit," said Salmon Arm head coach Rylan Ferster. "They battled really hard, came back and got a couple of unfortunate goals, I thought their second and third goals were maybe a little unfortunate, but they worked real hard and, in my mind, the game was played in the third period. They won the third period, they won more one-on-one battles and they beat us."

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Smeltzer adds veteran presence to blueline

by Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star

The 20-year-old defenceman asked, on Monday, that the Alberni Valley Bulldogs trade him to the Vernon Vipers.

"I heard there was great coaching here, great guys in the room, and they've got a good team," said Smeltzer, who arrived in Vernon at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, and saw tons of ice time against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks. "They needed some help on the back end, I thought I could provide that. It’s a good fit."

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Spruce Kings sidetracked by Westside

by Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen

“The trade was a total surprise, I had no idea it was coming, so I was a little shocked (Saturday) when I found out,” said Arduin. “But obviously coming to a good situation and a winning team in Westside I couldn’t be happier about it.

“I went from 4 1/2 hours away being my closest game in Trail, to 4 1/2 hours being our farthest game in Westside so I’m happy about that. Trail and P.G. are a long ways apart and I didn’t think I’d play (Sunday), but after three hours of sleep and a couple delays I got here with about three minutes left in the warmup.”

The Warriors were without speedy winger Chris Shudo. The former Spruce King sprained his ankle in Saturday’s game in Quesnel, a 5-4 overtime win for the Warriors, who made their final visit to the Coliseum this regular season. Westside was also missing its top defenceman, the injured Cory Pritz

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Trade winds blow Clippers' way

by Michael Rhode of The Nanaimo Daily News

"They're two quality players that we didn't get a lot of time to do very much research on because it happened to quickly.

"We weren't looking. It was an opportunity that was presented and one that we felt, responsibly, we had to give it our best effort and it's worked out in our favour, we think."

The initial phone call by Drayton Valley was to Clippers' head scout Brent Graham at about 11:30 a.m. Friday. By 8:45 that night, all the paperwork was complete.

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Canadian Junior "A" Hockey League Top 15

Clippers #3, Silverbacks #4.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ketlo feeling confident in Spruce Kings’ crease

by Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen

“That surprised me a lot because I’m a 16-year-old rookie and I didn’t think they’d go with a 16-year-old and and a 17-year-old in goal,” Ketlo said. “I didn’t think they’d give a young guy the starting spot, it just came to me eventually.”

It was a big night for the young goalie, but last week’s 32-save win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks ranks higher on the Ketlo scale of Spruce Kings achievements.

He still has plans to return to the WHL next season with the Regina Pats but so far he’s enjoying the ride with the Kings. So are his family and friends, who make the trek every game from the Nadleh area, a 90-minute drive west of the city near Fraser Lake.

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Express sink Surrey with seven

by Tom Berridge of Burnaby Now

The win was Burnaby's third in a row and fourth in its last five starts.

"We're going into these weeks before Christmas with a sort of playoff mentality. We understand the importance of making some hay before Christmas."

That hay has resulted in Burnaby registering nine wins in their last dozen games.

Carlo Finucci led the way with a six-point night, including his 19th goal of the season. Finucci's season-high outing put him on top of the BCHL scoring race for the first time this season.

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New Giant's a speed demon

by Ian Walker of the Vancouver Sun

He almost made the club as a 16-year-old, but suffered a shoulder injury during training camp. Part of the reason he decided to bolt to the 'Dub was the fact he'd need to red-shirt his first year of college.

"I had signed to play with the Giants and that meant I'd have to sit my first year," said Nunn, who led the Grizzlies with 16 goals and 40 points in 28 games this season. "That was part of it. But to be honest, I always thought I'd make the jump and end up playing here. It's a better route to play pro hockey."

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