Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 7: Leon Draisaitl #29 of Kelowna Rockets warms up against the Vancouver Giants on January 7, 2015 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 7: Leon Draisaitl #29 of Kelowna Rockets warms up against the Vancouver Giants on January 7, 2015 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Considering their injuries, losing in five to Portland was not a disappointment for the Everett Silvertips after pacing the U.S. Division in the regular season. Graduating captain Kohl Bauml: "We left it all out there." (Seattle Times, The Columbian, The Oregonian)

    Kelowna can now officially state it's looking to avenge last season's playoff loss to Portland and end the #DriveForFive. (Global News)

    Victoria's outgoing leader Brandon Magee, on having spent his entire five seasons with a single franchise, albeit in two cities: "To be known as that is a one-of-a-kind feeling." (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Maybe it could have lasted a few more games, but the Medicine Hat Tigers gave The Arena an appropriate farewell, writes Ryan McCracken. (Medicine Hat News)

    How do the Regina Pats take the next step to being competitive every season? (Regina Leader-Post)

    OHL

    After how the Connor McDavid lottery

    Read More »from OHL and WHL conference final matchups locked in: the coast-to-coast
  • Sam Bennett scored many goals for the Kingston Frontenacs by locating the puck amid a chaotic tangle of random swinging in the crease. That was essentially how the 18-year-old, who has gone from playing in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs to playing in high-leverage situations for the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup playoffs, got his first NHL goal on Sunday night.

    In his fourth NHL game, Bennett got on the board by making a pass out from behind the net, then homing in on the puck and whacking it by Eddie Lack. It was the eventual game-winner in the Flames' 4-2 win that opened a 2-1 lead in the series, as the centre continued to hint that he might have made the NHL last fall if not for the left shoulder surgery that kept him out until he rejoined the Frontenacs in February for a tune-up.

    At 18 years and 303 days old, Bennett is the second-youngest player to score for the Flames in the playoffs.

    Nice way to turn heads on the same weekend that Bennett's former minor hockey centre,

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs grad Sam Bennett scores first NHL goal for Calgary Flames (VIDEO)
  • Nikolaj Ehlers leads the QMJHL in post-season scoring (Associated Press)Nikolaj Ehlers leads the QMJHL in post-season scoring (Associated Press)

    No. 1 star: Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

    The Dashing Dane and Halifax, which had lost three in a row to Moncton, bought a reprieve for at least 48 hours with a series-tying 7-5 Game 6 win at the Scotiabank Centre. Ehlers (2G-2A, +2) was coming off two games of pedestrian production (one assist each of the previous two), but his work carried the day as Halifax built a five-goal cushion and kept the 'Cats at bay, forcing a decider at Moncton on Tuesday.

    Halifax's fourth line, Brandon Vuic (2G, +1), and Kelly Bent (2A, -1), who had an outstanding afternoon on the fourth line with Brett Crossley, warmed up the crowd off 7,610 with a goal from Vuic in the sixth minute. Ehlers had an assist on the Timo Meier 2-0 goal and fogged a slapshot by Moncton goalie Alex Dubeau to open a four-goal spread after 20 minutes. The Winnipeg Jets pick picked up his second helper on an early second-period goal and also caught the 'Cats napping with a tally 17 seconds into the third.

    Ehlers' 31

    Read More »from Mooseheads' Nikolaj Ehlers leads way to Game 7 showdown: Saturday & Sunday's 3 Stars
  • Kings pick Mike Amadio has 13 points in 9 OHL playoff games (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Kings pick Mike Amadio has 13 points in 9 OHL playoff games (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    The North Bay Battalion reached the third round once in 15 seasons in the former base but have done so back-to-back since making camp in the near north. 

    The Battalion's 7-5 Game 5 clincher, paced by two Nick Paul goals and three-point efforts from Mike Amadio and Brenden Miller, completes a final four of Oshawa, Erie and Sault Ste. Marie. The Western final begins Thursday, with the Eastern series starting the following night.

    On with the post-game (and post-series) questions:

    Read More »from North Bay Battalion back to Eastern final, long off-season for Barrie: OHL post-game questions
  • Josh Ho-Sang of the NIagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.Josh Ho-Sang of the NIagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.

    Everything Josh Ho-Sang does gets magnified due to his skills and the New York Islanders first-round pick's refreshing willingness to speak his mind about how hockey culture can be rigid about dealing in unique personalities.

    Which is to say, with players on a good 50 of the other 59 Canadian Hockey League teams, a coach could keep a player from going over the boards in the final seconds of the last game of the season and it might not escape notice from the commentators and not end up on YouTube.

    Regardless of that, during the Niagara IceDogs' season-ending loss to the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs last Friday, Ho-Sang took a goaltender interference penalty with 2:42 that led to Cole Cassels scoring the climax goal in a 4-2 Gens win. In the final seconds of the game, Ho-Sang had both legs over the boards to go into the game and IceDogs interim coach Dave Bell pulled him back into the bench. It happens around with 38-second mark in the clip below, which also

    Read More »from Islanders pick Josh Ho-Sang gets yanked off ice by coach in OHL playoff loss (VIDEO)
  • Moncton Wildcats' Barbashev, Garland have 6-point nights: Friday's 3 Stars

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

    Co-No. 1 stars: Ivan Barbashev & Conor Garland, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

    The Wildcats might want to see about playing at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B., for like the rest of the playoffs. While UNB doesn't have a varsity football team, Barbashev (4G-2A, +5) and Garland (6A, +6) each had the equivalent of touchdown — six points — during a 7-3 Game 5 win over Halifax in a game played at Aitken Centre due to a prior booking at Moncton Coliseum. The win sets up a potential Game 6 clincher in Halifax on Sunday.

    After Moncton dodged a bullet in overtime during their series-tying win on Wednesday, they broke out fast with a Barbashev goal just 1:48 into the game and a Garland-assisted goal before the match was even 4½ minutes old. The lead reached 3-0 after Garland won a puck battle in the corner and Barbashev made a no-look pass out front to first-time playoff scorer Zack MacEwen.


    Halifax twice drew within one gal in the third period, but Barbashev had a response goal

    Read More »from Moncton Wildcats' Barbashev, Garland have 6-point nights: Friday's 3 Stars
  • ST CATHARINES, ON - DECEMBER 15:  Head Coach Benoit Groulx draws on a white board during the Canada National Junior Team practice at the Meridian Centre on December 15, 2014 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)ST CATHARINES, ON - DECEMBER 15: Head Coach Benoit Groulx draws on a white board during the Canada National Junior Team practice at the Meridian Centre on December 15, 2014 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    When a coach has success with Canada in the pressure cooker that is the world junior championship, doors tend to open at the next level. So it has the air of inevitabiltity to learn that Benoît Groulx, who kept 22 teenagers at that optimal jaunty/focused point during one of the most intensely scrutinized WJCs of all time, is moving on from the Gatineau Olympiques.

    Following the Olympiques' ouster from the Quebec League playoffs with a 4-1 loss to the Rimouski Océanic that sealed a five-game quarter-final loss, RDS reported that Groulx is moving on to another opportunity. The 47-year-old was behind the bench of the 'Piques for 13 seasons and three President's Cup championships, sandwiched around a two-year run with the Buffalo Sabres' AHL farm team from 2008-10.

    Groulx will reportedly have a hand in selecting his successor.

    From Stéphane Leroux (@StephRDSJunior):

    Read More »from World junior-winning coach Benoit Groulx leaving Gatineau Olympiques — report
  • Cole Cassels (foreground) was in on all 4 Generals goals on Friday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Cole Cassels (foreground) was in on all 4 Generals goals on Friday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    What would the end of a series be without some controversy involving Josh Ho-Sang? The most interesting young man in the OHL was whistled on a soft call for goalie interference with fewer than three minutes left in a one-goal game. Cole Cassels scored his hat-trick goal 25 seconds later and that was the series, with Oshawa stamping a ticket back to the Eastern final.

    North Bay, up 3-1 against Barrie entering a road Game 5 on Saturday, has a chance to complete the final four. 

    On with the post-game questions: 

    Oshawa 4 Niagara 2 (Generals win 4-1) — Did Ho-Sang deserve that goalie interference penalty? Anyone who believes the call on the New York Islanders first-rounder with 2:42 left was not a Round 2, third round, elimination game call might have a beef. Ho-Sang bumped Generals goalie Ken Appleby's crease and the two became entangled and fell. That warranted a call, although the goalie really sold it. Off the ensuing generals  rush, Cassels (3G-1A) scored the sealer.

    In the final

    Read More »from Canucks prospect Cole Cassels scores hat trick, Oshawa Generals off to Eastern final: OHL post-game questions
  • Johnny Kyte, who is hearing impaired, played hockey for Canada at the recent Deaflympics (Robert Lefebvre, special to Yahoo Jr. Hockey)Johnny Kyte, who is hearing impaired, played hockey for Canada at the recent Deaflympics (Robert Lefebvre, special to Yahoo Jr. Hockey)

    Johnny Kyte gained a new appreciation, of playing hockey and what people who are deaf must work around, while playing for Canada in the recent Deaflympics.

    Kyte (left, with flag) helped Canada win a silver in hockey at the Winter Deaflympics (photo courtesy Johnny Kyte)Kyte (left, with flag) helped Canada win a silver in hockey at the Winter Deaflympics (photo courtesy Johnny Kyte)In hockey, of course, the Kanata Lasers defenceman's surname is synonymous with his uncle, Jim Kyte, the only legally deaf player in National Hockey League history. Johnny, a defenceman with the Central Canada Hockey League's Kanata Lasers who is legally deaf and uses a hearing aid, had the thrill of his life when he played for Team Canada in the Russia oil town of Khanty-Mansiysk. The 19-year-old, after learning to adjust to a brand of hockey where a strobe light beams to stop play and teams have an interpreter on the bench to help hard-of-hearing players communicate with teammates who use only sign language, helped Canada win a silver medal.

    "It was different in the way that hockey was played," says Kyte, who got to team up at the tournament with his 18-year-old brother Thomas Kyte, a Junior B player. "It was more about the way

    Read More »from Kanata Lasers' Johnny Kyte competes in Deaflympics, carrying on a family legacy
  • Keefe guided the Greyhounds to the highest point percentage in the Canadian Hockey League (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Keefe guided the Greyhounds to the highest point percentage in the Canadian Hockey League (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    Sheldon Keefe going from persona non grata in come circles to coach of the year in fewer than 2½ years is proof  of the value of second chances.

    Long into adulthood, the first point of reference with Keefe, who received the OHL's Matt Leyden Trophy on Friday, was his part as one of the Brampton Boys, the group of four David Frost-influenced players whose antics marred the 2000 Barrie Colts' championship season. It's sensitive subject, which was why Keefe didn't get an OHL opportunity until midway through 2012-13 when Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas, now Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM, hired him to turn around a struggling team. Since that it's been all uphill for the 'Hounds, whom Keefe guided to club-record 110-point regular season and a pair of sweeps in the playoffs.

    "Kyle showed the confidence in both me, and himself, to take a leap and give me the opportunity to coach in the OHL at a time when people weren't exactly lining up to do that," said Keefe, whose team begins

    Read More »from OHL coach of the year Sheldon Keefe reflects on 'turning points' in improving his hockey image

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