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  • University of Denver fans should gets shirts made reading, "Now Jussi a wide-open net, now you don't" after the ridiculous recovery save that their goalie Juho (Jussi) Olkinuora made in a big win over North Dakota on Friday night.

    The Finnish netminder is already a campus hero, having gone from being a walk-on who had to take out $45,000 US student loan to attend DU to the starting goalie for the Denver Pioneers. He just added to his legend with this save on North Dakota star Corban Knight. Knight had about 24 square feet of net to look while Olkinuora was recovering from stopping the first North Dakota shot, but the goalie made a midair stick save.

    Read More »from Watch Denver Pioneers’ Juho Olkinuora make phenomenal stick save
  • Guelph's Brock McGinn (CP)No. 1 star: Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm (OHL)

    The Carolina Hurricanes second-rounder had one of his best games in a Storm uniform, as his hat trick helped Guelph shrug off an indifferent opening 20 minutes to beat Niagara 5-3. The slumping IceDogs unexpectedly led 1-0 after Ryan Strome set up a short-handed goal with one second left in the second period. The unrest at the Sleeman Centre spiked when the Storm couldn't score on a long 5-on-3. However, after Tyler Bertuzzi sniped a goal, McGinn tallied twice in a 2:19 span to give Guelph control of the game.

    What a force Brock McGinn was in the second period for the Storm.Was a dominating presence at both ends & sniped two nice goals.

    — Steve Fitzsimmons (@playbyplayguy) February 23, 2013

    McGinn scored again in the final frame for the hat trick. The Fergus, Ont., native has 24 goals in his third season, more than his rookie-sophomore totals combined.

    No. 2 star: Matej Stransky, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

    It was a good night for Dallas Stars assistant general manager to take a look at his talented forward prospect with the Saskatoon Blades. Matej Stransky (3G-1A) continued his hot streak in Saskatoon's franchise-record 14th consecutive win Friday night over Brandon:

    Nice timing for @dallasstars prospect Matej Stransky to score a 1st period hat-trick. Stars assistant GM Les Jackson is in the building.

    — Cody Nickolet (@WHLFromAbove) February 23, 2013

    In Stransky's first 215 WHL regular season and playoff games, he had scored 2 goals in a game 11 times, but had failed to record a hat-trick. During Saskatoon's win streak, Stransky has 13 goals and 11 assists, and if you believe in the random, ritualistic, mostly-determined-by-team-play statistic +/-, he's a +18 over the last 14 games.

    Read More »from McGinn’s hatty surges Storm in high-scoring night across CHL – Friday’s 3 Stars
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Does Seth Jones believe he will NHL-ready by next October? (The Canadian Press)

    Calgary Flames prospect Michael Ferland is suspended for Friday's Saskatoon-Brandon tilt over a cross-checking major/game misconduct. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Luber's Lounge)

    New York Islanders draft pick Brenden Kichton is having a solid overage season in Spokane, where injuries on the blueline have forced fellow overage Blake Gal to switch to defence. (The Pipeline Show)

    Relocation rumours should not be brushed off by Kootenay Ice loyalists, says Jeff Bromley. (Ice Chips)

    There was a time when people wondered if the Edmonton Oil Kings would get traction in the Alberta capital. Not anymore. (Edmonton Journal)

    Get to know Everett Silvertips goalie Austin Lotz, who would be a tabloid headline writer's dream if tabloid newspaper chains still employed copy editors. (The Pipeline Show)

    OHL

    The London Knights are not about to let Sault Ste. Marie's Nick Cousins get his 100th point on their watch. Or as Matt Rupert put it: "Especially since he's out there chirping and slashing our guys." (London Free Press, Sault Star)

    Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller on Ryan Murphy's NHL debut: "He joined the rush at the right time and I was really happy with him." The Kitchener Rangers captain played 23 minutes 51 seconds in Carolina's loss to the Winnipeg Jets. (Raleigh News & Observer)

    Josh Brown has a superb longform piece on how the six-player Kitchener-Sudbury trade that involved Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Josh Leivo, Vancouver Canucks prospect Frank Corrado, underrated goalie Frank Palazzese and promising forward Matt Schmalz went down. (Waterloo Record)

    Read More »from Knights’ Ruperts ready to tag-team Soo’s Cousins: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Winnipeg Jets logoThe Winnipeg Jets’ ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment, is reportedly aiming to buy a Western Hockey League franchise with plans to relocate it in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

    It seems Winnipeg would be a perfect fit for a WHL team. They have a quality NHL barn, which sits 15,004 people, a huge hockey fan base, and a strong ownership group interested in a team.

    WHL commissioner Ron Robison is fully aware of Winnipeg’s major junior potential, hoping to bring Manitoba’s capital a team in the future.

    “If there was to be relocation certainly from an Eastern Conference standpoint, our first priority would be Winnipeg. We really feel that we can be successful in an NHL market now, in a similar way we’ve done so in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton successfully,” said Robison during last year’s WHL playoffs.

    As Robison noted, other cities similar to the size of Winnipeg have had no problem selling tickets despite having to compete with NHL clubs. In fact, ownership groups that own both the WHL and NHL clubs have used the demand for NHL tickets to their major junior team's advantage by selling ticket packages that include both team's admission passes.

    Read More »from Why the WHL would work in Winnipeg; multiple franchises in trouble
  • Mathers has 17 points in 18 games as the Petes' captain (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Derek Mathers, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

    Mathers (2G-2A, +4) led by word and deed as Peterborough ran off six goals in a row to beat the rival Oshawa Generals 6-3 and pull within two points of the final playoff berth. The Stephen Pierog-Nick Ritchie-Mathers line was omnipresent in the second and third periods when the Petes took over the game after falling behind 2-0. Pierog (1G-2A, +4), who was named first star at the Peterborough Memorial Centre, broke the ice for Peterborough in the second period when he followed his own high-and-wide shot and golfed the puck home. Mathers, a Philadelphia Flyers sixth-rounder, made a brilliant feed to Ritchie (2G, +2) to wipe out the Generals' lead. Mathers' first goal of the night chased Carolina Hurricanes-drafted goalie Dan Altshuller from the game and put the Petes ahead to stay.

    "We've been struggling with the first periods and I think the whole team knew that, " Mathers told TV Cogeco Ontario. "After we talked a bit, we came out and showed what we could do in the last two periods ... now we have to look at it [the playoff race] like a playoff series, we probably have to win six of the last 11 to get in the playoffs."

    Peterborough pulled away in the third shortly after 19-year-old goalie Andrew D'Agostini thwarted a 2-on-1 Generals rush. Ritchie scored off a Pierog setup and Mathers tacked on his career-high fourth point with 'that would be a goal in any league' howitzer by backup goalie Ken Appleby

    Read More »from Flyers prospects Derek Mathers, Nick Cousins have 4-point nights: Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Murphy (right) was Carolina's 2011 first-rounder (OHL Images)

    It is hard to think of a bright young prospect who has had the vicissitudes of the hockey world — concussions, Hockey Canada cuts and training camp-cancelling lockouts — visited upon him more than Kitchener Rangers captain Ryan Murphy.

    The Rangers will still be waiting for their captain when/if the Carolina Hurricanes get some of their established defencemen back from injuries. The puck-moving defenceman, who has stayed with the 'Canes through two training camps without ever getting into the lineup, will make his NHL debut for reals after injury-depleted Carolina summoned him on an emergency recall (both Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen are injured). Alas for Rangers supporters, it comes just says after Murphy's former junior teammate Jeff Skinner was diagnosed with a concussion. It has been a while in the making for Murphy, even if he might not stay for a while.

    From Chip Alexander (@ice_chip):

    Read More »from Kitchener Rangers’ Ryan Murphy to make NHL debut with Carolina Hurricanes
  • Evidently, Moncton Wildcats winger Ross Johnston had no alibi for swinging his stick and breaking the jaw of the Halifax Mooseheads' Brian Lovell last Saturday.

    The QMJHL has handed down a 15-game suspension — covering the rest of the regular season, as some dim-bulb armchair disciplinarian wild-guessed — over the incident. That means Johnston will miss almost as much time as Lovell, who is out 4-6 weeks.

    From Willy Palov (@CH_willypalov):

    That's twice as long as any other suspension that the Quebec League has meted out, but the recklessness and the damage done warrants it.

    Read More »from Moncton Wildcats’ Ross Johnston gets 15 games for stick swing (VIDEO)
  • Matej StranskyNo. 1 Star - Matej Stransky, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

    It's a somewhat curious situation considering local and national writers had all but buried the Saskatoon Blades after a rough first month, but, uh, the MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts for this season have won their 13th straight, with a 5-1 victory over Moose Jaw Wednesday evening. That just happens to be a franchise record.

    Andrey Makarov stopped 35 of 36 shots and was named first star in the building. We'll give some lover over to Matej Stransky, awarded the second star tonight at the Credit Union Centre after scoring a goal and recording an assist in the win. He banged home a rebound off a Darren Dietz shot as part of a four-goal third period.

    Overager Brendan Walker scored two goals in the final two minutes, one on an empty net and another on a late powerplay. Walker's second, scored with :48 seconds left by stuffing in a loose puck from right in the crease, caused tensions between the provincial rivals to boil over. Michael Ferland was ejected for crosschecking Warriors' defenceman Braiden Doucette, but there were no late fighting majors doled out.

    No. 2 Star - Scott Simmonds, Belleville Bulls (OHL)

    There was just one game on the Ontario Hockey League docket tonight, and it ended with the Belleville Bulls securing their spot atop the Eastern Conference standings with a home win 8-5 over the Ottawa 67s. Alan Quine recorded a hat-trick for the home Bulls in the contest, but Scott Simmonds' feat was perhaps a tad more notable: he scored the 5-2 and 6-2 goals, that effectively put the contest out of reach, with goals nine seconds apart in the second period.

    Read More »from Saskatoon records 13th straight win; Belleville’s offence shines – Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Defenceman Cameron McDonald and his winning cup

    Is there anything more Canadian than the convergence of Tim Hortons and junior hockey?

    Probably.

    But, defenceman Cam McDonald can thank Lady Luck that these two Hoser entities merged for him on Tuesday afternoon.

    The 19-year-old, who regularly plays for the Amherst Ramblers in the Maritime Junior Hockey League, received a call from the Moncton Wildcats on Monday, to let him know he'd be a call-up for their QMJHL game the next night against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

    Before the game he and two Wildcats -- forwards Mark Tremaine and Ryan Penny -- made a stop for coffee in downtown Moncton.

    "The coffee shop they usually go to was closed so they said, 'Let's go to Timmy's then' and they got their coffees and I got mine," said McDonald.

    The trio then proceeded to the rink to get ready for the game. Roughly 20 minutes after McDonald finished his cuppa joe, he rolled up the rim to find he had won a prize of $5,000 in the java juggernaut's yearly contest.

    "I just started jumping around," said

    Read More »from McDonald called up for cup of coffee in Moncton, hits jackpot
  • Blake Clarke is third among all OHL rookies in scoring (OHL Images)

    Blake Clarke's parents will have an odyssey next season when they set out from their home in St. Louis to North Bay, Ont., to see their oldest son play. Even with the chance of weather delays, it's nothing compared to how far the rookie left wing's game has come in the past 12 months, including his first major junior season with the Brampton Battalion.

    Major junior hockey will sell itself in North Bay. The fans in the city which has gone 11 winters without an OHL team might not yet appreciate that Clarke is closing in on the rookie-year point totals that Matt Duchene and Cody Hodgson each produced as 16-year-olds in Brampton, where defensive responsibility is next to godliness. Granted, loyal Battalion fans who are losing their beloveds would be right to say any rookie would suffer in comparison to those two stars. Nevertheless, to see Clarke in action is to probably be oblivious that he had some setbacks during his draft season. He leads 1996-born OHL rookies with 45 points and is third among all rookies behind Erie's Connor McDavid and Sarnia's Nikolay Goldobin.

    It is a far cry from the situation the Missouri-born Clarke, whose father is from Toronto, fought through during his draft season. Like a lot of upwardly mobile U.S. players weighing major junior vs. the NCAA, he went to the USHL with the Fargo Force. Ice time was scarce and he left for the St. Louis Blues under-18 team. Now Clarke is on the first line in Brampton.

    Read More »from Brampton Battalion’s Blake Clarke filling big role as a rookie

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