Realty One

Friday, February 22, 2019

PINBALL REMEMBERS SNOW BOWL - 1996 HAMILTON GREY CUP

TORONTO - He won three Grey Cups as a player, another as a head coach and two as an executive with the Toronto Argonauts, but it's the 1996 CFL championship that will forever resonate with Mike (Pinball) Clemons.

The Snow Bowl at Ivor Wynne Stadium has become a part of Grey Cup folklore, on par with such legendary contests as the 1950 Mud Bowl, '60 Fog Bowl and '77 Ice Bowl.

"That's one of the most dynamic games I've ever been involved with,'' said the amiable Clemons, the former Argos star running back/receiver. "And probably the best Grey Cup I've ever played in.''

Twenty-five years after that dramatic evening in Hamilton, the city finally will get another chance to play host to the CFL's championship game.

On Thursday night, the CFL awarded the 2021 Grey Cup to Hamilton, the city's first since 1996 when Toronto defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 43-37. The league also granted the 2020 contest to Regina, which last hosted the Grey Cup in 2013 when the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders dispatched the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-28 for their last CFL championship.

Regina, Hamilton and Montreal had all bid for the 2020 Grey Cup. This year's game will be held at Calgary's McMahon Stadium on Nov. 24.

Thursday's announcement means a Western Canadian city will host the Grey Cup for three straight years after Edmonton staged last year's game. The Riders enter the 2019 season as the last CFL team to capture a league title on home soil, a feat the Calgary Stampeders will look to achieve this year.

The 2021 contest will be played at Tim Hortons Field, which is located on the same piece of land as the old Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Clemons remembers the weather being near perfect leading up to the '96 Grey Cup game. But that all changed on game day.

"I remember, first of all, a perfect week with beautiful weather and you got up the morning of the game and saw snow coming down,'' he recollected. ``For a guy like me who depended on a good surface to be most effective, I figured it was going to be a sloppy game.

"And then we scored a billion points and it was such an exciting offensive game.''

The victory was the first of two straight for a stacked Argos squad that was led by quarterback Doug Flutie and coached by the late Don Matthews. With the demise of the CFL's American expansion experiment, Toronto bolstered its roster with the likes of centre Mike Kiselak, defensive lineman Rob Waldrop, running back Robert Drummond and linebacker Reggie Givens while adding Flutie from Calgary.

Toronto cruised to first in the East Division with a CFL-best 15-3 record. Edmonton, coached by the late Ron Lancaster, finished second in the West (11-7) behind Calgary (13-5) before downing the Stampeders 15-12 in the conference final.

Three years later, Lancaster would lead Hamilton to its most recent Grey Cup title, a 32-21 win over Calgary at BC Place Stadium.

In 1996, though, not even a marquee matchup could ensure a sellout as plenty of tickets were available leading up to the game. Organizers discounted tickets to $25 the week of the contest to try to fill the stands.

Those who attended had to brave the elements as the '96 contest was played in a blizzard. Tractors removed snow from the field prior to the game as well as at halftime, but it wasn't nearly enough to prevent snow from accumulating.

And it wasn't long before the Snow Bowl took its rightful place in CFL folklore.

Edmonton receiver Eddie (Downtown) Brown scored the game's opening TD in stunning fashion. In one-on-one coverage with Toronto's Adrion Smith, Brown had a Danny McManus pass go through his hands, hit his thigh, then the tip of his left toe before he got both hands on the ball. Without breaking stride, he scampered 64 yards to put the Eskimos ahead 9-0.

Jimmy (The Jet) Cunningham provided Toronto with its first big play of the game, an 80-yard punt return TD in the second to put the East Division champs ahead 10-9. He followed a path down the hashmark, which had been cleared earlier, as the Argos outscored Edmonton 27-14 in the quarter for a 27-23 half-time lead.

Edmonton pulled to within 33-30 roughly midway through the fourth. Flutie marched the Argos 71 yards to set up Mike Vanderjagt's 27-yard field goal at 13:26, but not without controversy. On a third-down gamble earlier, the Eskimos appeared to recover a Flutie fumble and had a clear path to Toronto's end zone for what would've been a 37-33 lead.

Not only was Flutie ruled down by contact, he received a generous spot that gave Toronto the first down. Lancaster kicked the turf in obvious frustration, only to slip and fall to the ground as there were no coaches challenges or instant replay back then.

"A perfect Vandy (Vanderjagt) hit all five field goals and was the game's top Canadian) and an imperfect call,'' Clemons said. "If you're on our side of the ball, one of those dream games, those wonderful spectacles.''

Henry (Gizmo) Williams's 91-yard kickoff return TD in the second quarter put Edmonton ahead 23-20 at 12:31. But Smith cemented the Toronto win with a 49-yard interception return TD at 13:38 of the fourth.

McManus hit Marc Tolbert on a seven-yard TD strike with nine seconds remaining but Toronto recovered the onside kick to end the threat.

Yet the Grey Cup drama didn't end there.

Toronto Mayor John Tory was the CFL commissioner in '96 and has said that during Grey Cup week he was told the league couldn't cover the players' game bonuses. Back then, those on the winning team received $16,000 each while the finalists earned $8,000.

Only a bailout from Tim Hortons ensured the players' cheques didn't bounce. Following the season, the Ottawa Rough Riders folded, leaving the cash-strapped CFL with eight franchises.

In 1997, the CFL received a much-needed US$4-million interest-free loan from the NFL in return for its teams being allowed to sign Canadian option-year players during a two-month window.

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

FAMOSO PREVIEW: PATS HOST HITMEN FRIDAY EVENING

Overview
The Regina Pats (17-38-1-2) are back in action at home on Friday night against the Calgary Hitmen (30-22-4-1). Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats are coming off an incredible four goal comeback win over the Kootenay ICE, 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday. The Hitmen were last in action on Wednesday as well, losing 5-1 in Brandon to the Wheat Kings. Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between Regina and Calgary in 2018-19, the Pats are 1-2-0-0 in the season series. Tonight’s game can be heard with Bennett Dunlop Ford Pats Hockey starting at 6:35 p.m. on 620 CKRM.

Schioler’s Big Night
Pats defenceman Liam Schioler picked up two assists on Wednesday against Kootenay. It was just the second time in his WHL career the Winnipeg product has put up two points in a game. The first time he did it, was in his second WHL game against the Moose Jaw Warriors on December 19, 2015. The former second round pick assisted on two third period goals as part of the comeback for Regina and has reached seven points in 56 games on the season.

1881 Scarth St. Regina, SK
Pouteau Finding his Touch
Pats overage defenceman Brady Pouteau picked up a goal and an assist on Wednesday for his second multi-point game of the year. He has scored three goals and six assists in 23 games since Christmas, prior to the break he had just two assists in his first 18 games. He missed the first 17 games of the year because of off-season shoulder surgery, but has found his game here in the second half.

Three Gamers
Pats rookie forwards Riley Krane and Sergei Alkhimov are riding three game point streaks entering Friday night. Krane has a goal and two assists in that stretch, Alkhimov has put up three helpers. Krane’s 23 points are tied 20th among WHL rookies this year and his 12 goals are tied for 11th. Alkhimov has 22 points, tied for 22nd among rookies and his 11 goals are tied for 13th.

Upcoming Schedule
Pats @ Moose Jaw – Saturday February 23, 2:30 p.m. – Mosaic Place (CKRM)
Pats Vs Red Deer – Wednesday February 27, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats @ Saskatoon – Friday February 29, 7 p.m. – SaskTel Centre (CKRM)

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order.

--Nailed it!  As so many including myself had predicted, Randy Ambrosie made fans in Saskatchewan and Hamilton happy yesterday as the CFL decided to "go for two" and announce the 2020 and 2021 Grey Cup hosts.  It was just a matter of who gets what game and almost right up until the announcement was made, it wasn't really clear.  It became a little murkier when a text from someone in Hamilton said it was us in 21 and them in 20 about 15 minutes before the actual announcement. That was quickly followed by a "I guess not". 

It doesn't matter when the game is coming, but that the game is coming and football fans now can't wait for November 22, 2020 when the 108th Grey Cup will be the first Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium.  What a show it will be. With everyone gathering at Evraz Place for what should be an outstanding festival leading up to the game, it will show everyone again what Regina can do when the big events come to town.  We did it for the Brier and we did it for Memorial Cup.  When Regina is called to shine, we do.  Its the way we roll!   It is going to be a great few months in YQR getting ready for the game.  It will also be up for Jeremy O'Day and Craig Dickenson to have a team that can be in that game. What do they have up their sleeve moving forward.  Yes, the talk goes right back to the quarterback. 

Perhaps it is time for O'Day to make a splash and get a quarterback that is here for this year and beyond.  It is time to get that guy.  It won't be Reilly and Mitchell.  Forget about Nichols and forget about Harris too. Streveler isn't your guy and let's not even bring up Manziel. See what the asking price is for James Franklin and give Hamilton a call and see what they would give up for Jeremiah Masoli.  Masoli just might be the guy the Riders need.  What's it worth? A call needs to be made

--Randy Ambrosie will be at Mosaic Stadium for Randy's Road Trip 2.0 on Sunday afternoon.  I will be interested in seeing where Rider Nation goes with the questions he is asked and what is front and center on their minds.  Is it the schedule? Is it CFL 2.0? Is it officiating? Is it the CBA?  What will be main topic of discussion be?.  Ambrosie will be ready for all of it so for those who are going bring it on!

I would think the CBA is the most pressing issue, but fans don't want to know about what goes on behind the scenes, they want to talk about the product they see with their own two eyes. I am guessing we will get more people interested in things like officiating, player safety and possible rule changes ahead of whether or not we will play on time.  I guess we'll know on Sunday.

--Has anyone noticed we haven't been inundated with the Ford HotShots commercials during the Scotties?  It took me a couple of days to realize that.  Going back, I see Ford is no longer a major sponsor so that would explain it.  The question I have is why?  I am also hearing rumblings TSN may be wanting to get out of the curling game altogether and that Sportsnet is ready to jump in.  I don't know if I would be OK with that considering how much of a staple Vic Rauter has become to the game. As I have said many times, if it weren't for Vic Rauter, Ray Turnbull and Linda Moore, the sport in this country would not have the exposure it does.  Russ Howard and Cheryl Bernard have taken the torch left them and they've run with it.  Sportsnet does a great job and I like their personalities, but its not what TSN gives me.

--Jennifer Jones ahead of Sandra Schmirler when it comes to the all-time skip in Canadian women's curling. Puh-leeze!  The fact a member of the Jones rink took three of the four spots makes me wonder how many of the 31 who voted come from Manitoba.  Most of us in Saskatchewan know Sandra is the best all-time skip and we don't need verification of that.   I would love to see a best of seven between Sandra's squad and Jennifer's squad.  I think those of us in the 306 know who would take that and it wouldn't go seven!

--If the Canadian curling fraternity didn't know who Robyn Silvernagle was before, they do now.  She goes into the last day tied for first.  I think a lot of us knew she had a playoff-capable team,but I don't know if we thought her and her team would be as good as what they have been in their first Scotties.  She was understandably nervous in her first game and it showed against Jones.  She's not nervous now, but she is making other teams feel that way.  She should have a spot in the Page Playoffs.  If she wins, she will be Team Canada for the 2020 event in Moose Jaw.

--Regina will host the 2020 Grey Cup and an NHL game later this year and Moose Jaw is hosting the 2020 Scotties.  What is it about southern Saskatchewan that brings all these great events? No, I haven't forgotten about the World Under 17's in Swift Current either.  While its not Southern Saskatchewan, look for Saskatoon to get the 2021 Olympic curling trials with that announcement coming this weekend.   It doesn't matter the sport, they want to be in Saskatchewan.  There is nothing wrong with that!

--Yes, when I saw the Montreal Canadiens beat Philadelphia 5-0, I automatically thought Cam Talbot had made his debut in Philly orange.  While I didn't address the topic in Monday's column, I couldn't have been happier to see Talbot leave Edmonton.  Many praised him for his community work and that he was a nice guy.  Nice guys work for the Kinsmen Club!!  Cam Talbot needed to make some saves and he didn't make them. He had to be sent packing and he was.  While goaltending wasn't the number one issue plaguing the Oilers, there were games they could have won but didn't because he just didn't make the save.  Some might miss him, I won't.

--Dave Taylor's Cougar women's basketball team went into Calgary Thursday night and punched the Dinos right in the mouth.  So much for Calgary's 17-game win streak.  There is still a long ways to go in this best of three matchup, but one has to like Regina's chances after what happened Thursday with Regina's top player--Kyanna Giles, not having a big impact.  Michaela Kleisinger more than made up with that with four three-pointers which this blogger has no complaints about.

--On paper, it will go down as a 5-4 shootout win, but that win might have been the biggest of the year for the Regina Pats because of how it was achieved.  They were down 4-0 until the final couple of minutes in the second before storming back to tie it and win it in the shootout.  It is victories like that that can be huge moving forward for this team as they prepare for next season.  While the win-loss record isn't pretty this year, one has to see what this team is developing and think better times are ready to return.  I don't know if Regina is a playoff team next year, but they will be a lot closer to that than this year.

--Jets fans should not worry about Patrik Laine.  Once he gets his next goal, he will start lighting it up the way he usually does.

--The city of Regina has installed red-light cameras at Albert and Sask Drive, the Lewvan and Dewdney and Albert and Parliament.  May I request them to put one up at Fleet and Victoria? The amount of people that run the red on Vic going both east and westbound at that intersection is amazing. Is that intersection still one of the most dangerous in the city?

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!

(Follow Mitchell Blair on Twitter at @ScruffyRegina)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

CFL MAKES DUAL GREY CUP ANNOUNCEMENT


TORONTO  (February 21, 2019) --  The Grey Cup has been awarded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the City of Regina and the Province of Saskatchewan for 2020 and to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the City of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario for 2021, the Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today.

“Congratulations to Saskatchewan on winning the bid for the 2020 Grey Cup. It’s exciting the Roughriders and their legion of fans, among the most passionate in all of sport, will cap the club’s 110th anniversary by welcoming the biggest event in Canadian sport,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.

“We’re thrilled that Hamilton, which boasts a football tradition second to none, will welcome the Grey Cup in 2021, its first opportunity to host in 25 years. I know the Tiger-Cats look forward to showcasing the renaissance underway in the City of Hamilton, which will celebrate its 175th anniversary that year,” he said.

“Our Governors want to thank the Montreal Alouettes for a first-class bid. Unfortunately, 2021 was not an option for them because of expected renovations at Olympic Stadium. We certainly anticipate returning the Grey Cup in the future to the dynamic city that is Montreal and the welcoming province that is Quebec.”

The Canadian Football League’s new Grey Cup bidding system requires interested CFL teams and their partners to present their plans to the league’s Grey Cup Committee, with the final choice resting with its Board of Governors. This is believed to be the first time in history that the league has awarded two Grey Cups at the same time.

“The Saskatchewan Roughriders are thrilled to host the 2020 Grey Cup in Canada’s newest outdoor stadium. We are excited to welcome the entire country to share in the culmination of our 110th anniversary and experience Saskatchewan’s legendary hospitality”, said Craig Reynolds, President and CEO of the community-owned Roughriders.

Saskatchewan last hosted the Grey Cup in 2013, with the Riders capturing the most prized trophy in Canadian sport on home soil in what may have been the most memorable day ever for Rider Nation.

“The 2021 Grey Cup will be a time to celebrate all that the Tiger-Cats and Canadian football mean to Tigertown,” said Bob Young, Caretaker of the Tiger-Cats since 2003. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to work with the City of Hamilton to showcase this community’s amazing growth and renaissance.”

Hamilton last hosted the Grey Cup in 1996, when the Toronto Argonauts captured the Cup in thrilling fashion in what is often described as the 'Snow Bowl', one of the most entertaining Grey Cup games ever.

Both Saskatchewan and Hamilton have moved into modern new venues since those Grey Cups: the Tiger-Cats have played at Tim Hortons Field since 2014 and the Roughriders moved into new Mosaic Stadium in 2017.

“We know both of these cities will build on the momentum that is sure to be created this November when Calgary hosts the 107th Grey Cup. Calgarians were the first to turn Canada’s championship game into a party that celebrates our game, our country and we know they’ll do a great job this year,” Ambrosie said.

“We have challenged our teams and their communities to raise the bar by making each Grey Cup the best ever. Edmonton took it to a new level last year and Calgary, Saskatchewan and Hamilton have put together plans that will continue to take the Grey Cup game and festival to new heights.”

Today’s announcement was made live on select TSN platforms as fans watched at special viewing parties across Saskatchewan and in Hamilton.

The 107th Grey Cup game will be played November 24, 2019 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta. The 108th Grey Cup game will be played Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan. The 109th Grey Cup will be played at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario on November 21, 2021.

The Grey Cup, traditionally played on the last Sunday in November, will be played on the second-last Sunday in November starting in 2020, the result of the CFL moving its season up.

(CFL PR)

ROUGHRIDERS BRINGING BACK LAFRANCE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed national free-agent running back Kienan Lafrance to a one-year contract.

Lafrance (5’10 – 214) joins the Riders after spending last season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he registered 36 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns in 16 regular-season games. He also played in the Western Semi-Final and Western Final.

This will be Lafrance’s second stint with the Riders after spending the 2017 season with the team. The 27-year-old Winnipeg native was originally selected by the Ottawa Redblacks in the 6th round (45th overall) of the 2015 CFL Draft.

In 61 career regular-season games through four seasons, Lafrance has totaled 147 carries for 590 yards and four touchdowns and 36 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He’s added six career playoff games and two Grey Cup games – winning with the Redblacks in 2016.

(Roughriders PR)

DUPONT'S AROUND THE DUB

There are just 24 days remaining in the WHL’s regular season, and with each team having an average of 11 games remaining, various races are heating up. We will look at those and a few other notes this week. Enjoy!

1 - NEVER LEAVE EARLY: There has never been a better example than Wednesday night in Regina. The Pats had been badly outplayed by the visiting Kootenay Ice for the entire first half of the hockey game and trailed 4-0. The fourth Kootenay goal spelled the end of the night for 18-year-old Pats goaltender Max Paddock.

While calling this game on the radio, I never would have expected things to end the way they did. The Pats went on to score four unanswered goals to force extra time and win the game in a shootout. Two of the goals came from shots that banked in off of Ice goaltender Jesse Makaj, and fell in behind him. The Pats also killed off a minute-and-42-second 5-on-3 late in the game and Dean McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief, including a few highlight-reel saves that will likely been seen again in the WHL Plays-of-the-Week. A fun night to be on the air and in the Brandt Centre!

2 - PLAYOFF CHASE: The playoff race in the Eastern Conference has taken quite a turn. Wednesday night’s game between Calgary and Brandon was supposed to be a battle for the final wildcard spot but the Red Deer Rebels have won just once in their last 10 and, after Brandon’s 5-1 win over the Hitmen on Wednesday night, the Rebels and Wheat Kings are now tied for the final playoff berth in the east!

Meanwhile, the Hitmen have picked up points in 10 of 13 (9-3-1) and are just two points back of Medicine Hat for third in the Central and seven points back of the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the division. Stay tuned, it’s changing on a daily basis!

3 - GO WEST: Out west it’s a three team race for two playoff spots between Kelowna, Seattle, and Kamloops. The Rockets are third in the BC Division with 53 points. Seattle is currently holding down the second, and final, wildcard spot with 52 points. On the outside looking in, the Kamloops Blazers have 49 points as they look to close the gap on the Rockets and Thunderbirds.

Kamloops has 2 games in hand on Seattle and three games in hand on Kelowna.

4 - HAPPY HABBY: A belated congratulations to Prince Albert Raiders’ head coach Marc Habscheid who picked up his 500th career win behind a WHL bench earlier this month. A Swift Current product, Habscheid has spent time behind the bench for the Blazers, Rockets (winning the ‘03 WHL Championship and ‘04 Memorial Cup), Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, and now the Raiders. He joins seven others who have reached the milestone. What an accomplishment! Congratulations Marc!

5 - BLADES VOICE: Speaking of milestones and acknowledgements, a big happy birthday to the radio play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades Les Lazaruk who turned 60-years-young on Wednesday! Les is zeroing in on 2,000 games called in the Western Hockey League and I have been privileged enough to be in the booth alongside him for a few.

I’ve been lucky to be able to call games with legends like Rod Pedersen, Peter Loubardias and Les, but riding shotgun with Les is where I got my start covering this league back in the fall of 2013 and we’ve been doing it every year since. What an honour!

6 - BLADES ON THE VERGE OF PLAYOFFS: Speaking of our time together in the booth, since joining the Blades’ radio broadcast team, there has not been playoff hockey in Saskatoon. Even if that’s the case, it appears to be coming to an end as the Blades continue to be red hot. They are 11-0-2-0 over their last 13 games and have moved into the CHL Top 10 at #10. It’s more than time to pay attention Saskatoon!

7 - #MYWHL: The Western Hockey League has started a wonderful social media campaign called #MyWHL where they ask a new question each week and let you, the fans, answer on your social platforms.

This week's question asked you to pick any WHL player (past or present) that you would like to play alongside. I’d take Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors (now Tampa Bay Lightning). There haven’t been many players come through this league that could see the ice and distribute the puck the way he could. All I would have to do is park myself at the side of the net and he’d find a way to put 30 off me and in!

8 - GO SASK GO: Saskatchewan is off to the ice hockey semi-finals at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer after a 6-3 quarter-final win over Nova Scotia Wednesday afternoon. Team Sask had a two-point effort (1g, 1a) from Regina’s Cole Sillinger. Cole is the son of former NHL’er Mike Sillinger and is a Medicine Hat Tigers’ prospect after being selected 11th overall this past spring.

Another Tigers’ prospect, Prince Albert’s Ashton Ferster, scored the game-winning goal and also added an assist in the win. Saskatchewan will play Quebec, while Alberta will face Ontario in the semi-finals which take place Thursday.

9 - KOZUN SETTING RECORDS: Former Seattle Thunderbirds’ goaltender Taran Kozun of Nipawin is adding to a record year in the crease for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Kozun was named a first-team all-star in the Canada West after leading the Huskies to a first-place finish. Kozun became the first goaltender in conference history to record 20 wins in a single season. He also set a new conference record with five shutouts, a mark that was also matched this season by former Moose Jaw Warrior Zach Sawchenko of the Alberta Golden Bears.

The full list of all-stars can be found here: https://www.canadawest.org/sports/mice/2018-19/releases/20190220mhkyallstars

10 - GAME TO WATCH: Kamloops @ Kelowna on Saturday. A Kamloops win will really make things interesting in the BC playoff picture but a Rockets win will really make things tough on the Blazers. Honourable mention: Regina at Moose Jaw Saturday at 2:30 pm. It's nationally televised on Sportsnet's Saturday Showcase.

I love this time of year! Until next week...

(Follow Darren on Twitter at @darrendupont)

COORS LIGHT RECAP: PATS WIN A WILD ONE, 5-4 OVER KOOTENAY (SO)

Keith Hershmiller Photography
REGINA - Dean McNabb made 13 saves in a relief appearance and the Regina Pats completed an incredible four goal comeback win, 5-4 in a shootout over the Kootenay ICE Wednesday at the Brandt Centre.

In the first, the ICE got goals from Jakin Smallwood and Jaeger White to lead 2-0 after 20 minutes.

In the second, Kootenay went up 4-0 after both Connor McClennon and Brad Ginnell found the back of the net and that spelled the end of the night for Max Paddock, with Dean McNabb replacing him in goal. The Pats got one back with under five minutes left when Brady Pouteau hammered a slap shot from the top of the right circle for his third and it was 4-1 ICE after two periods.

In the third, the Pats got to within two on a goal from Brett Clayton, his fourth of the year, eight minutes into the period. Two minutes later, Carter Massier banked in his third of the season and Regina was within a goal with half a period to play. Then, shorthanded with just over three minutes left, Logan Nijhoff stole a puck in the offensive zone and tied the game with his sixth of the year, the game was tied 4-4 and needed overtime.

In the extra frame, Dean McNabb was sensational, stopping all four shots he faced, and the game went to a shootout.

In round five, Garrett Wright scored for Regina and Dean McNabb stopped Chase Hartje as the Pats completed an incredible comeback, 5-4 the final.

The Pats were outshot 35-25. The powerplay was 0/3 and the penalty kill went 5/5 with a shorthanded goal. Brady Pouteau and Liam Schioler paced the offence with two points each, while Dean McNabb made 13 saves and four more in the shootout to secure the first star honours.


Quick Hits
- Sergei Alkhimov has an assist in each of his last three games.
- Dean McNabb played for the first time since January 26, stopping all 13 shots he faced in the win.
- The Pats finish their season series with Kootenay with a 2-2-0-0 record.
- The attendance was 4821.
- Prior to the game, Pats therapist Greg Mayer was recognized with the WHL Milestone Award for his 1600+ games service in the WHL with Moose Jaw and Regina.

What’s Next? 
The Pats (17-38-1-2) are back in action on Friday at the Brandt Centre against the Calgary Hitmen at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at reginapats.com, the Brandt Centre Box Office and at any Regina Safeway, where Fun Zone tickets are $13 plus tax.

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

ROUGHRIDERS ANNOUNCE 2019 FOOTBALL STAFF

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced their football operations and coaching staff for the 2019 season:

Vice President, Football Operations & General Manager -Jeremy O’Day
Assistant General Manager - Paul Jones
Director, Football Operations - Ryan Pollock
Manager, Player Personnel - Mike Davis
Coordinator, Football Operations - Jordan Greenly

Coaching Staff
Head Coach & Special Teams Coordinator - Craig Dickenson
Offensive Coordinator & Assistant Head Coach - Stephen McAdoo
Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs - Jason Shivers
Quarterbacks - Steve Walsh
Running Backs - Kent Maugeri
Receivers - Travis Moore
Offensive Line - Stephen Sorrells
Linebackers - Chris Tormey
Defensive Line - Mike Scheper
Special Teams - Mike Scheper
Defensive Assistant & Assistant Defensive Backs - Merritt Bowden

Equipment Staff
Equipment Manager - Gordon Gilroy
Assistant Equipment Manager - Mike MacNeil

Video Staff
Manager, Football Analytics and Scouting - Chad Hudson
Football Video & Research and Development - Alex Smith Jr.
Football Video & Research and Development - Nick Bowley

Health & Fitness
Head Athletic Therapist - Ryan Raftis
Assistant Athletic Therapist - Trevor Len
Strength and Conditioning Trainer - Clinton Spencer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

10 THINGS I THINK I THINK

1 - WAVE 2: We are into Week 2 of CFL Free Agency and things have slowed to a trickle. The biggest news on Tuesday was the BC Lions re-signing Canadian receiver Shaq Johnson. That wasn't even big news in Johnson's own house! Someone once told me CFL Free Agency is broken down into three waves. The huge names go in Wave 1, which we saw last week. We are currently in Wave 2, and Wave 3 doesn't happen until June.

2 - WHAT'S LEFT: It may be quiet now, but there's still some cannonballs left for the pool. For instance, why has it gone so quiet with Brandon Bridge, Kevin Glenn, Travis Lulay and the other QBs left on the market? And does Drew Willy fit into Wave 2 or has he slipped to Wave 3? (The players signed just before - or during - training camp and the early parts of the season).

3 - OTHER POSITIONS: The list of remaining players on the CFL's official Free Agent Tracker reads like a Who's Who. A potential Hall of Fame ballot! Rob Bagg, Ricky Ray, Chip Cox, Weston Dressler, Adarius Bowman, Marquay McDaniel, Chris Williams and Eddie Steele are still available. It also reads like a used car lot. There are a ton of miles on these models. When a team needs someone dependable, that's when these players' phones will ring.

4 - TRUTH & RUMOURS: Interesting that Duron Carter is a Category 1 free agent after being signed by the BC Lions just days into Free Agency. It took 2 weeks for Toronto to sign him last August after the Riders had had enough of him. As the story went, Wally Buono and his staff had meetings on Duron at the time, and elected to pass. Clearly new Lions boss DeVone Claybrooks feels the juice is worth the squeeze.

5 - MORE T & R: In Jovon Johnson's farewell letter to fans last week, he mentioned dysfunction in the Roughriders locker room in 2018. Meh, it's likely no more than any other pro football team. However players did grumble to me that Chris Jones had too many duties on his plate, and was spending too much time on managerial tasks rather than game-planning and 1-on-1 coaching. They felt that hurt the team, particularly in the playoffs. I suppose it doesn't matter now but fortunately that organizational structure has been scrapped for a more traditional one.

6 - THE AAF: It's too bad the Alliance of American Football is in the news this week for falling on hard financial times just two weeks into their inaugural season. Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon reportedly had to fork over $250-million to keep the league afloat, and a lot of it was payroll. If this is true, it’s the league’s own fault for paying too much and offering 3-year contracts. It's a shame because the football has been great and we're seeing what a national TV contract can do for a league's exposure. Their only slip so far is having two teams wear basically the same colour uniforms in the game Sunday evening in San Diego.

7 - DROP ANCHOR: Like everyone else, I'm optimistic about the CFL adding a 10th team in Halifax. Didn't they actually NAME the team at last year's Grey Cup? However influential media is now questioning whether this ship will ever leave the harbour and doubts are growing. Remember it was this ownership group's inability to get a new arena deal done in Phoenix which led to them selling off the Arizona Coyotes. At what point do they cut bait in Halifax, and stop beating their head against the wall with local, small-minded politicians? 

8 - PAYLESS NO MORE: We hear daily in the news that Payless Shoe Source is closing its 2,500 stores by the end of April, and going bankrupt. Of course they are! You haven't been able to "pay less" there for at least a decade. I remember in Spokane, WA in 1993 I bought a pair of dress shoes for $12. Then-Raiders coach Donn Clark quipped, "A buck an inch" for my Size 12's. Payless was perfect for a starving radio guy like me back then, but they got too expensive long ago. You may as well go to Walmart.

9 - ICE, ICE BABY: The Kootenay Ice will make their last-ever visit to the Brandt Centre Wednesday evening as beginning next year, they'll be the Winnipeg Ice. I'll be going tonight to pay my respects to the franchise, but will also remember their previous life as the Edmonton Ice. They played out of the 4,000-seat AgriCom from 1996-98, across the street from Northlands Coliseum. I remember one time Glen Sather came onto the bench to watch the Pats' morning skate and we all almost fainted. Good times. It’s Wiener Wednesday. 

10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: You know you live in Saskatchewan when you see -14 in the forecast and are thankful for a reprieve. ... What a soap opera the Edmonton Oilers have become. ... Kudos to the NLL's Saskatchewan Rush who are hosting the Colorado Mammoth Friday on Agriculture Appreciation Night. Has any other Saskatchewan team or league ever done this? Comemmorative jerseys have been produced with a tractor on them. I suppose every Rider game is Ag Apprecation Day. ... Kudos to P.A.'s Marc Habscheid for collecting WHL win #500 last week. He's a great coach and that's rare company. ... If you've ever had a steak in Mexico, you'll appreciate Canadian Beef EVEN MORE. We produce the best beef in the world right here. We're headed back to Mexico on Tuesday thanks to CTV/Bell Media. ... What's grosser than a Band-Aid floating in the pool? ... We are wrapping up Breaking Bad on Netflix and will be looking for a new series by week's end. Any suggestions? ...

Y'er welcome,
RP
@rodpedersen


NEUGSIE'S AROUND THE SJHL

By: Jamie Neugebauer
Voice of the N.D. Hounds

Two weeks of the regular season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League are left, and there's still so much we don't know! Here are my 10 things for this week:

1. Kudos to Carson Albrecht! – What a week it was the for the league in the area of commitments, as Melfort’s dynamic forward and captain Carson Albrecht has committed to the always top-of-the-heap Division I program at the University of North Dakota for next year. It is super impressive, and well-deserved, and further confirms the point I’ve been harping all year: that the SJHL is an excellent breeding ground for players ready to contribute right away at the NCAA Division I level. The only question I have is where league scoring champ Justin Ball, Albrecht’s linemate all year, is going to commit? Surely Ball’s blend of speed and skill will be too much for a college coach to ignore. Either way, well done Carson!

2. Kudos To Justen Close! – Similarly, the SJHL is flush with outstanding goaltending, and the Kindersley Klippers’ 20-year-old starter is the best of the bunch if you ask me. Close’s consistency for his hometown club has earned him a commitment to the prestigious University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for next season, and I have to say, he’s been ready to play at that level from Day 1 this campaign. Right now, he has a league-best 22 wins, and an SJ second-best save percentage of .929, to go with a goals-against average of 2.14. Kindersley head coach Clayton Jardine has done a brilliant job with the club this year, but he would absolutely be the first to admit that Close is their most valuable player. In fact, he might be the MVP of the whole league!

3. First-Place Race Neck-and-Neck – Speaking of the Klippers, they are one of five (yes, FIVE) teams that, with only between four and seven games left in the campaign, still have a realistic chance at the No. 1 seed, heading into the post-season. Nipawin is in the pole position at time of writing, holding a three-point edge on the Klips with 74 points through 52 games played. Kindersley and Humboldt at 71, and Melfort and Battlefords at 68 all have reasonable shots at the spot as well. Melfort plays Humboldt, and Kindersley faces Nipawin, all on Friday night (Feb. 22). Get out to the rink, get your HockeyTV packages right now, or beg someone who does, because those will be playoff games.

4. Regular Season Award Nominees Announced – The SJHL has announced the nominees for the various player awards over the course of the regular season, and you can find the full list here: https://www.sjhl.ca/news_article/show/995491. As a media member, I got to vote, and my votes, for your information, went as follows: Rookie of the Year: Nolan Renwick, Notre Dame Hounds; Player of the Year: Carson Albrecht, Melfort Mustangs; MVP: Justen Close, Kindersley Klippers; Top Goalie: Justen Close, Kindersley Klippers; Best Defenceman: Cody Spagrud, Battlefords North Stars. Feel free to disagree with me if you’d like!

5. Survivor Series Home Ice? – One of the two Survivor Series are all-but set, as it looks very likely that the Notre Dame Hounds and Yorkton Terriers will do battle in the No. 8 vs No. 9 best-of-three series. Both teams are on 55 points through 52 games played, with Yorkton holding a clear edge in the tie-breaker due to regulation-plus-overtime wins. I have no clue which team will get that home-ice-advantage No. 8 spot, but I was also wondering if ND bench boss Phil Roy or Terriers coach Matt Hehr will be too bothered either way. A couple ways to look at it, and of course ND especially would like to play on their big rink as much as possible, but if your team does finish ninth, then to steal a road win in Game 1, it would mean that you can take the series at home in Game 2. Obviously, both the Hounds and Terriers will want to go into the post-season as hot as possible, and it should be a very interesting series either way, so I am probably just overthinking this.

6. Global Ag Risk Dogfight Continues – Speaking of the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, the teams above ND in the group – Kindersley, Humboldt, and Battlefords – are locked in as epic a dogfight-to-the-end as anyone could have asked for. You can see the point totals at time of writing in my Point No. 3, but the Broncos have won 10 of 11, Kindersley seven of 10, and the Stars have seven points out of a possible eight in their last four games. Humboldt only has four games left, and they are all very tough, while the Klippers have a similarly difficult schedule remaining. Battlefords’ fixture list is probably the most manageable of the three, but those three teams have been so consistent in the 2019 calendar year so far, so who would place a big bet on any of the three to take the division right now? Kindersley has the best goalie, so I’ll run with them, but who knows!?

7. Humboldt Finally Beaten – I talked just there about the Broncos winning 10 of 11, well they actually had won 10 in a row, before finally falling to the Klippers in last Monday’s matinee in front of almost 1,300 at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt. What a job Scott Barney and Troy Smith have done with those Broncos since taking over just after the new year! Humboldt had fallen to the survivor series spots at one point, and were mired in a nine losses out of 11 games streak, but look at them now. They are exceedingly healthy, really look like they’re pulling on the same rope, and, just as importantly, are getting outstanding goaltending from near-future Kamloops Blazers net minder Rayce Ramsay.

8. Flin Flon’s Slump Setting Up Fantastic Round 1 – Injuries to Flin Flon’s Top 2 defenders Calvon Boots and Tyler Higgins have the Bombers mired in a rut to the tune of two wins out of their last nine games, though the super-talented Manitoba-based outfit can get themselves out of the Survivor Spots still with a great run to end the year. That being said, if they do end up in the play-in round against either Melville (likely) or Weyburn (slightly less likely), and get past said team, then that should set up a pretty uncomfortable Round 1 for the league’s No. 2 seed. No matter what happens in the regular season, going up to the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon is an uncomfortable preposition come playoff time, and with the intense parity in the league this year, things are going to get spicy very quick in early March. Stay tuned folks!

9. ND’s 3-Headed Monster – I got to send out more love to Notre Dame’s line of Marshall Wilton, Jakob Breault, and Jarrett Penner. The first two are on eight-game point-scoring streaks, with the Quebec-born Breault – the son of former NHLer Frank – looking almost unstoppable, with 15 points over that span. Also, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder Wilton is a real load for anyone in the league to handle, as he can protect the puck as a well as anyone in the SJHL, has a cannon of a shot, loves to pass, and can hit and fight equally as well. Penner has been a perfect complement, scoring goals by getting his nose dirty in the blue-paint, working his behind off, and is the No. 4 rookie scorer in the league at time of writing. Love watching those guys play!

10. Notre Dame Bringing in Elite U15 (bonus) – And to end it off, I have to tip my cap the College of Notre Dame for announcing that they will be adding an Elite U15 program to the campus. It will be a place for top 15-year-olds to go, and really shine by getting good ice-time instead of necessarily biding their time in midget behind 16- and 17-year olds. I have a lot to say about this, but it’s a great move by ND and I can’t wait to watch this program kick off next year!

On a related note, it’s about time for the Western Hockey League started drafting from 15 year olds instead of 14s, if you ask me, but that’s for another time, and I’ll leave the WHL stuff for Darren Dupont, who did an awesome job kicking off his ‘Dub’ column on this very site!

(Follow Jamie on Twitter at @neugsie)

PREVIEW: PATS HOST KOOTENAY WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Overview
The Regina Pats (16-38-1-2) return to home ice on Wednesday night to take on the Kootenay ICE (11-37-7-1). Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats were last in action on Saturday, falling 6-3 in Moose Jaw to the Warriors. The ICE were home to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in their last game on Monday, losing 5-2. Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between Regina and Kootenay in 2018-19, the Pats are 1-2-0-0 in the season series. Tonight’s game can be heard with Bennett Dunlop Ford Pats Hockey starting at 6:35 p.m. on 620 CKRM.

Streu Keeps Going
Pats forward Sebastian Streu continued his strong 19-year-old season on Saturday with a goal against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Streu has points in three straight games and in four of his last five, putting up a goal and three assists in that stretch. He has put up seven goals and 19 points in 29 games this season, already passing his season totals from last year with Kootenay where he had 12 points in 53 games.

Three Game Goal Streak
Pats forward Austin Pratt has scored a goal in three consecutive games entering Wednesday night against the Kootenay ICE. The 19-year-old has also put together back to back two-point nights, with a goal and an assist in his last two contests. Pratt has had multi-point games, nine times this season. He has put up six goals and 10 points in his last 12 games to reach 22 goals and 45 points in 57 games this season, all of which are career highs.

Alternating Wins and Losses
The Pats have alternated a win and then a loss in their last six games, going 3-3-0-0 in that stretch. Regina has put up wins over Lethbridge, Red Deer and Edmonton in their last six games, outscoring their opponents 9-3 in the three victories. Conversely, the Pats have dropped games to Calgary, Edmonton and Moose Jaw. Going back further, the Pats have put up a 4-5-0-1 record in their last 10, their best stretch in the second half of the season. Austin Pratt leads the club with nine points in those 10 games, Sebastian Streu has but up seven points and Nikita Sedov and Ty Kolle each have six points.

Upcoming Schedule
Pats Vs Calgary – Friday February 22, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats @ Moose Jaw – Saturday February 23, 2:30 p.m. – Mosaic Place (CKRM)
Pats Vs Red Deer – Wednesday February 27, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)