Around the OHL: Big games, big goals and future draft picks

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With Jake Jeffrey getting a well-deserved shift off, host Mike Stubbs is talking to the Ontario Hockey League’s top goal-getter this year as well as James Kennedy of OHL Central Scouting on this episode of Around the OHL.

Tye Felhaber talks about what his year has been like with the Ottawa 67’s as they push hard for a championship. Felhaber discusses some of the things in his hockey career that have led to the success he is enjoying this season.

Meanwhile, Kennedy gives us a very early look at some of the names to know for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection and outlines just how dangerous the Don Mills Flyers have been this year and how prominent some of their players could be when Ontario Hockey League teams call out the names of the draft picks in April.

Stubbs also takes a look at how the OHL schedule brought four of the top teams in the league together over a 10-day period, matching them head-to-head on the ice and giving fans a glimpse of what may be to come should each of them get to where to hope to in the playoffs.

Jake Jeffrey is the morning anchor and host of 980 News at Noon on 980 CFPL, assistant general manager of the Strathroy Rockets, a hockey coach and the co-host of the Around the OHL podcast.

Mike Stubbs is the radio voice of the London Knights and host of London Live from 1-3 p.m. every weekday on 980 CFPL.

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Former Rangers star Rick Nash forced to retire early

Rick Nash has been forced to retire from the NHL due to concussion worries.

The former Rangers forward suffered his latest concussion in March with the Bruins, and despite playing in the postseason, opted not to sign a contract as a free agent this offseason.

“Due to unresolved issues/symptoms from the concussion sustained last March, Rick Nash will be forced to retire from the game of hockey,” his representatives at Top Shelf Hockey said in a statement.

“Under the advice of his medical team, the risk of further brain injury is far too great if Rick returns to play. Rick would like to thank everyone who has supported him during this difficult time period.”

The Rangers acquired Nash after the 2012 season and he played six seasons on Broadway before being dealt to Boston before last season’s trade deadline. Nash was often criticized for playoff struggles, but he was a part of the team’s run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Kings.

Nash, 34, finishes his career with 437 goals and 368 assists in 1,060 games.

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Capitals invite youth hockey team that stood up for player who heard racial taunts

The Washington Capitals had a surprise for a local youth hockey team that stood up after an African-American teammate was subjected to racial taunts.

Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson told the Metro Maple Leafs, based in nearly Odenton, Md., via video that they would be getting tickets to Monday's home game against the St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena.

Divyne Apollon II, 13, was the player who heard the taunts at a tournament in late December. According to The Washington Post, he heard monkey sounds and chants that he should play basketball. When he was suspended for getting into a fight, his teammates wore a sticker decrying racism — featuring the word racism surrounded by a circle with a hockey stick crossing through it — at the next game.

The story caught the attention of Smith-Pelley, who had heard basketball chants last season while he sat in the penalty box during a game at the Chicago Blackhawks.

His video with Carlson was played for the Metro Maple Leafs, earning excited cheers from the team. Sixty tickets are being made available, and team members will get to meet with Capitals players afterward.

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Edmonton Oilers tie it late and beat Panthers in shootout

Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers pulled out a 4-3 shootout win over the Florida Panthers Thursday night at Rogers Place.

The Oilers had only 18 shots on goal in regulation time but were able to snap a five-game home-ice losing streak.

“[It was] not our prettiest win,” McDavid said. “[It was] two periods of not great hockey and we were lucky to be tied.”

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Florida’s Frank Vatrano netted the game’s first goal when his shot from the right wing went through Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot. The Oilers pulled even just 26 seconds later. Alex Chiasson dropped it to Darnell Nurse, whose long shot went under Panthers netminder James Reimer.

In the second period, the Panthers’ Denis Malgin took advantage of a turnover to fire home his fifth of the season.

Late in the frame, the Oilers had a two-man advantage for 57 seconds but failed to record a shot on goal. With just 22 seconds left in the session, McDavid found a loose puck in front and tapped in his 25th goal of the season.

With 5:58 left, the Panthers’ Henrik Borgstrom threw the puck in front of the Oilers net. It banked off Oilers defencemen Caleb Jones and then Adam Larsson before settling over the goal line to give the Panthers the lead.

The Oilers pulled Talbot for an extra skater in the last minute. Reimer made a desperate glove save on Leon Draisaitl with 13 seconds left, but Draisaitl got the puck back and set up McDavid for the tying goal with eight seconds to go.

“I thought Leon had the game tied up,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said after the game. “I don’t think anyone could believe that didn’t go in.

“They caught a break on their goal that gave them the lead, and we caught a break on [McDavid’s goal] when both defencemen left net-front.”

“[McDavid] was the difference maker out there tonight and I thought we did a good job on him for most of the night, kind of shadowing him and whatnot, but obviously he doesn’t need much and he took advantage,” Panthers goalie James Reimer said of McDavid.

Reimer denied Nurse on a short-range one-timer early in overtime. Oilers forward Toby Rieder had a good look from the slot later, but again Reimer made the stop.

In the shootout, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid scored while Florida missed both their opportunities.

“He was their game tonight. He was all of their offence again and it seems like he does it to every team every night,” Panthers head coach Bob Boughner said of McDavid.

Talbot made 27 saves for the win.

“Any time you’re able to grind out a win like that — the way we were able to do it — we persevered after that third goal, which was another unfortunate bounce against us,” Talbot said. “We could’ve folded and instead we went down and battled back.”

The Oilers (21-20-3) will host Arizona on Saturday.

–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Oilers’ 2018-19 season.

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Shootout needed to decide Kelowna hockey game against Prince George

A nailbiter turned into a 2-1 loss for the Kelowna Rockets during their home game against the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.

A scoreless overtime period forced a shootout that the Cougars won.

The game started with a scoreless first period.

Conner Bruggen-Cate opened up scoring for the Rockets on a power play at 14:28 of the second period.

The Cougars tied up the game mid-period in the third with a goal by Jackson Leppard.

Nolan Foot had one successful goal in a shootout that took six attempts.

The Cougars’ Tyson Upper and Vladislav Mikhalchuk each marked a goal to secure the win for Prince George.

The Rockets visit the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night before welcoming the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips on Wednesday.

Other WHL game outcomes on Jan. 4:

Kamloops Blazers 1 – 4 Spokane Chiefs
Victoria Royals 3 – 2 Edmonton Oil Kings
Moose Jaw Warriors 4 -2 Prince Albert Raiders
Regina Pats 1 – 2 Saskatoon Blades
Portland Winterhawks 5 – 3 Swift Current Broncos
Seattle Thunderbirds 3 – 7 Brandon Wheat Kings
Vancouver Giants 3 – 4 Lethbridge Hurricanes
Red Deer Rebels 3 – 5 Calgary Hitmen
Kootenay Ice 3 – 5 Medicine Hat Tigers
Everett Silvertips 2 – 3 Tri-City Americans

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Prince Albert Raiders score 3 unanswered goals to beat Regina Pats

The Prince Albert Raiders scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the third period to come from behind and beat the Regina Pats 5-3 on Tuesday in Western Hockey League (WHL) action.

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The Pats (12-25-0-1) were up 3-2 on goals by Robbie Holmes, Liam Schioler, and Riley Krane when Sean Montgomery tied the game with 8:56 left to play in the third period.

Sergei Sapego scored the game winner on the power play at the 15:39 mark of the period, and Parker Kelly scored his second goal of the game into an empty net with one second left on the clock.

Kelly started the scoring in the second period with a shorthanded goal.

Cole Fonstad, on the power play, had the other Prince Albert (34-3-0-1) goal.

Noah Gregor had his six-game goal scoring streak stop, but picked up three assists in the win.

Brett Balas made 20 stops in net to pick up his second WHL win in his first career start. Max Paddock had 51 saves in the loss.

The Raiders went 2 for 5 with the man advantage while the Pats were unable to capitalize on their three power plays.

The Pats are back on the ice Friday when they travel to Saskatoon to take on the Blades.

The Raiders return home for a Friday night game against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Chicago GM looking forward to Drake Caggiula joining Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been interested in Drake Caggiula for a while.

He finally got his man.

Chicago acquired Caggiula and defenceman Jason Garrison in a trade with Edmonton on Sunday for defencemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norell. Caggiula will report to the Blackhawks once he resolves a visa issue, while Garrison is headed to the minors if he clears waivers.

The 24-year-old Caggiula played college hockey at North Dakota with former Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson, a minor leaguer with Chicago. Bowman said he tried to sign Caggiula before he opted for Edmonton instead.

“We didn’t get him then, but we followed his progress over the last couple years, and I love the way he plays,” Bowman said Monday in his first public comments on the deal. “I think he’s going to complement our team. He’s another young forward that brings a lot of energy.”

Caggiula has seven goals and four assists in 29 games this season. He had a career-best 13 goals in 67 games last year.

“He’s got that combination, he plays pretty intense — he’s a smaller guy, but you wouldn’t know it the way he plays,” Bowman said. “Obviously he was a prolific scorer in college, so he’s got the ability to contribute offensively, he’s versatile, plays wing, plays centre, so when we had an opportunity to make the deal, I thought we had to take advantage of it.”

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Oilers’ 2018-19 season.

The Blackhawks play the Boston Bruins in the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. Bowman said they are hoping to have Caggiula’s visa issue resolved by the end of the week.

 

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Junior hockey: Vees paste Warriors, Rockets defenceman cut by Team Finland

A round-up of results from junior hockey teams in the Okanagan.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

All WHL teams are on break until later this month. Action resumes with three games in Thursday, December 27th. The next day, Dec. 28th, 11 games are on tap, including the Kelowna Rockets (16-17-2-0) visiting the Kamloops Blazers (12-16-2-1).

The top team in the WHL, and the CHL for that fact, are the Prince Albert Raiders (31-2-0-1), who have only three setbacks in 34 games so far this season.

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Statisically, the Raiders have earned 63 points out of a maximum 68 and have a stunning goal differential of plus-95 (165 goals for, 70 goals against). Comparatively, the Rockets have 34 points out of a possible 70 and a goal differential of minus-16 (92 goals for, 108 goals against).

In related news, the Rockets defencemen Lassi Thomson was cut from Finland’s world junior selection camp.

The rearguard from Tampere, Finland, was one of four cuts, with the others being forward Aleksi Klemetti plus defencemen Mikko Kokkonen and Joona Riekkinen.

Thomson suited up for Finland’s first pre-tournament game against Denmark as a seventh defenceman on Wednesday in Langley, B.C. He was held pointless and had two penalty minutes in the 7-0 victory.

Meanwhile, Kelowna defenceman Libor Zabransky is still with the Czech Republic camp. The Czechs will wrap up their pre-tournament schedule today against the Americans in Langley.

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Penticton 7, West Kelowna 2

At Penticton, the Vees roared out to a 6-0 lead in crushing the Warriors on Friday night.

Lukas Sillinger, with two goals, James Miller, Luke Loheit, Mason Snell, Massimo Rizzo and Jack Lagerstrom scored for Penticton (23-11-1-2), which led 2-0 and 6-1 at the period breaks. Loheit had a three-point night, as he also recorded two assists. Mike Hardman and Chase Dubois replied for West Kelowna (22-15-0-1).

Connor Hopkins, who started and stopped 17 of 21 shots, and Brock Baier, who was 29-of-32 in relief, split goaltending duties for the Warriors. Derek Krall stopped 21 of 23 shots for the Vees.

West Kelowna was 2-for-2 on the power play while Penticton was 2-for-5. The attendance was 2,910.

Vernon 3, Wenatchee 0

At Wenatchee, Cooper Bradley posted the shutout, stopping all 24 shots fired his way, as the Vipers blanked the Wild.

Teddy Wooding, Michael Young and Matt Kowalski, with an empty-net goal, scored for Vernon (13-15-6-3). The Vipers led 2-0 after the first period, with no scoring taking place in the second. Kowalski’s insurance marker came at 18:54 of the third.

Cal Sandquist stopped 18 of 20 shots for Wenatchee (22-12-2-0). The Vipers were 0-for-1 on the power play while the Wild were 0-for-3. The attendance was 2,241.

Langely 3, Salmon Arm 1

At Langley, the Rivermen scored three times in the third period to defeat the Silverbacks.

Trevor Ayre, Colton Kovich and Ethan Leyh, with an empty-net goal at 18:48, scored for Langley (17-18-1-0). Justin Wilson, at 15:03 of the second period, replied for Salmon Arm (17-15-14-0).

Matthew Armitage stopped 40 of 42 shots for Salmon Arm while Braedon Fleming turned aside 33 of 34 shots for Langley. The Silverbacks were 0-for-5 on the power play while the Rivermen were 1-for-3. The attendance was 607.

In BCHL action for Saturday, December 22nd, Penticton visits West Kelowna and Vernon is in Wenatchee again.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

The KIJHL is on its Christmas break. Action resumes Thursday, December 27th with six games.

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Sabres broadcaster taken from press box on stretcher

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret was taken out of the press box on a stretcher during the third period of Buffalo’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The team did not provide an update on Jeanneret’s condition following its 3-0 victory Saturday night.

The 76-year-old Jeanneret has done play-by-play for Sabres radio and television broadcasts since 1971, the longest tenure with a single team in NHL history. He was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2012.

In recent years, Jeanneret and the Sabres reached a deal to scale back his workload and call about half the team’s games. Jeanneret underwent treatment after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014.

Jeanneret opened the broadcast Saturday night dressed in a red Santa Claus suit and a white beard. He was walking around the press box between the second and third periods.

Jeanneret called the first two minutes of the third period before the broadcast went silent for about 20 seconds and color commentator Rob Ray took over the play-by-play. Pregame and postgame host Brian Duff replaced Jeanneret and finish the game.

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Rangers do a lot well but can’t keep up with elite Maple Leafs

TORONTO — If coming close and doing a fair number of good things for a fair amount is good enough for you and the Rangers, then this was a fairly decent night against the loaded Maple Leafs.

The Blueshirts turned in a committed effort and were able to muddy the track and negate the opposition’s edge in speed while keeping its top-end skill in check much of the way, but not well enough and not long enough to leave here with a point or two.

“Overall we played a good game against an elite team, but we still wound up beating ourselves to a degree by making some of the mistakes we had preached against,” Kevin Hayes said after the Blueshirts’ 5-3, empty-net aided defeat. “We allowed them to stretch us a little bit too much. In the end, when you’re playing a team like that, you can’t give them the opportunities we did.”

Grading on a curve gets old, even if the Rangers are young in so many key spots. They tend to crack at the most inopportune times, Toronto’s four-goal third period (including the clinching empty-netter) marking the fourth time in the last seven games the Blueshirts have allowed three goals or more in a period. The Leafs also got a quick-strike pair within the first 5:26 of the third after two periods of stodgy and deliberate 1-1 hockey.

“We did a lot of good things but you can’t make the type of mistakes we did against a team like this and expect to win,” coach David Quinn said. “We didn’t give up many odd-man rushes, but when we did, they scored. We made mistakes on a coverage off a faceoff that we haven’t made all year. They’re a team that’s going to take advantage of your mistakes.”

The Rangers have won two of their past nine (2-4-3) and three of their past 12 (3-6-3) heading into Sunday’s Garden match against the Flyers in the final game before the holiday recess. It is also one of those games that will pop up the rest of the way in which a defeat might prove more beneficial in the long-term building process than a victory. The 21st-overall Blueshirts, you should know, are just three points ahead of 27th-overall Philadelphia.

That, though, is not the players’ concern. They are living day-to-day, not on a three-to-five year plan. So defeats such as this hurt, even as they are part of the evolutionary process.

“[The Maple Leafs] didn’t stop playing. They flip the puck and come with speed,” forward Chris Kreider said. “They’ve got lots of skill and were able to capitalize on our mistakes. Plays I could have made, one at the end with the net empty where I could have gotten it back-door to Mika [Zibanejad], those are small details that could have made a difference.

“What you want to do is take any good and learn from the bad.”

Alex Georgiev, who made his second consecutive start, yielded one on a Patrick Marleau mid-air deflection at 2:58 of the first but the young goaltender did not crumble. Neither did the Rangers, who yielded little in terms of time and space through most of the first 40 minutes that ended in a 1-1 deadlock after Neal Pionk — who had a dynamic game — drilled a slap shot by Frederik Andersson at 15:00 of the second.

That culminated a period in which the Rangers killed off a four-minute Toronto power play in style and went with a five-forward power-play unit of their own for the first time. With second-line power-play point man Tony DeAngelo a healthy scratch, Pionk was the only defenseman of the 10 skaters the Blueshirts used on their two man-advantages.

“I did it a couple of times at BU,” said Quinn, who went with a pair of different five-forward permutations. “But really, I just wanted to get our five best players out there.”

Neither permutation scored, though the Blueshirts did maintain an offensive-zone presence. But the Maple Leafs took control in the third, with John Tavares elevating his game to become the difference-maker, winning the faceoff against Brett Howden before his deflection was slammed in by Andreas Johnsson at 1:37.

Morgan Reilly then took advantage of horrid D-zone coverage for a weak-side goal under four minutes later and then, after Kevin Hayes’s rebound finished Filip Chytil’s nifty dash to the net to make it 3-2 at 6:34, Mitch Marner beat the coverage back and buried Tavares’ feed at 12:53. Again the Blueshirts came within one when Kreider tipped in Marc Staal’s blast at 16:19, but the empty-netter sealed it and sent the Rangers home for their lottery-bound showdown with the Flyers.

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