Monday, 31 December 2018

Ridley set to call 3,900th game for Tigers

Bob Ridley has called 3,899 games for the Tigers.
    Bob Ridley is “the Dean” of major junior hockey broadcasters, and the iconic play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers is on the verge of another longevity milestone.
    On Wednesday when the Tigers host the Vancouver Giants at 7 p.m. local time at the Canalta Centre, Ridley will call his 3,900th game as the play-by-play voice of the Tigers. The 74-year-old is the only play-by-play voice in the history of the WHL’s Tigers, who are playing through their 49th season of existence.
    No one is close to his mark for games called as the play-by-play voice of one hockey team at any level.
    To date, Ridley has called 3,473 of the Tigers 3,474 regular season games. His total also includes the one standings tiebreaker game the club appeared in, all of the Tigers 405 games in the WHL playoffs and all 20 of their contests in the Memorial Cup tournament.
    The Tigers have appeared in the Memorial Cup in 1973, 1987, 1988, 2004 and 2007 and won the event in 1987 and 1988.
    As it stands already, someone could call 80 games on average between the regular season and playoffs each season for 48 seasons and still fall short of Ridley’s current total of 3,899 games called.
Bob Ridley, right, calls a game at the 2007 Memorial Cup.
    For most of his broadcasting career, Ridley drove the team bus as well. He gave up those duties about four years back.
    Of course, a number of WHL followers are watching to see if Ridley will reach 4,000 games called as the Tigers play-by-play voice. If the Tigers make the WHL playoffs this season, Ridley would be targeted to reach that milestone sometime near the end of the 2019-20 campaign, which would be the Tigers 50th anniversary season.
    At present, 3,900 is an impressive number to hit and is a moment to be observed and celebrated.
    The Tigers have won their last three straight games to improve to 20-15-1-2. In their last outing on Sunday which was Ridley’s 3,899th game, the Tigers rallied from a 4-2 third period deficit to down the Hurricanes in Lethbridge 5-4 after a tiebreaking shootout before 4,186 spectators at the Enmax Centre.
Ryan Jevne scored in regulation and the tiebreaking shootout for the Tigers.
    In regulation, Joel Craven scored twice for the Tigers, while Ryan Jevne and Elijah Brown has singles. Brown scored the equalizer that forced overtime with 2:02 remaining in the third period.
    Justin Hall, Nick Henry, Dylan Cozens and Jake Leschyshyn replied with singles for the Hurricanes.
    The Tigers claimed the tiebreaking shootout 2-1 after four rounds. Josh Williams and Jevne scored for the Tigers, while captain Jordy Bellerive replied for the Hurricanes.
    Jordan Hollett turned away 36 shots through 65 minutes of play and three shooters in the shootout to earn the win in goal for the Tigers. Reece Klassen stopped 31 shots over 65 minutes and two shooters in the shootout for Lethbridge as the Hurricanes record moved to 19-10-4-3.

Raiders undefeated home record comes to an end

Noah Gregor scored for the Raiders on Sunday.
    The Prince Albert Raiders saw their undefeated record at home come to an end at the hands of a hot goalie.
    On Sunday before a standing room crowd of 2,633 spectators at the 2,580 seat Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders fell 2-1 to the Regina Pats despite holding a 44-13 edge in shots on goal. The Raiders threw everything including the kitchen sink at Pats netminder Dean McNabb, but the Davidson, Sask., product made 43 saves to steal the win for the visitors.
    The Raiders, who had won five straight overall, were 17-0 at home heading into that contest, and their home record fell to 17-1 with the setback. Prince Albert still leads the entire WHL with a 33-3-0-1 record.
    Logan Nijhoff and overage defenceman Liam Schioler pushed the Pats out to a 2-0 lead at the 8:01 mark of the first period.
    Raiders overage star centre Noah Gregor netted his 24th goal of the season at the 12:37 mark of the first period to cut the Pats lead to 2-1. Prince Albert couldn’t net the equalizer after that.
    Donovan Buskey made 11 saves to take the setback in goal for the Raiders.
    The Raiders were 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Pats failed to score on two power-play chances.
    The Pats, who are going through a major rebuild after hosting last season’s Memorial Cup and earning a berth in the 2017 WHL Championship series, have won three straight to improve to 12-24-0-1.
    On Monday, Gregor was named the WHL player of the week for the week ending Dec. 30. In three games, he had five goals, two assists and a plus-seven rating in the plus-minus department. He has points in his last six straight games recording 10 goals and 4 assists over that stretch.
    McNabb took WHL goaltender of the week honours for his effort against the Raiders, which was his lone appearance over the past week.
    The Raiders and Pats go at it again on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Brandt Centre in Regina.

Dach breaks slump in Blades romp

Kirby Dach broke out of a scoring slump for the Blades.
    Saskatoon Blades star centre Kirby Dach put the boots to a scoring slump.
    On Sunday, Dach had a goal and two assists as the Blades thumped the Broncos 9-3 before 2,400 spectators at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex in Swift Current. With that outburst, Dach ended a string of where he went seven straight games without scoring a point.
    Before Sunday’s win over the Broncos, Dach’s last point came on Dec.7, when he recorded an assist in a 3-2 home ice loss at the SaskTel Centre to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.
    Dach leads the Blades in scoring piling up 15 goals and 30 assists appearing in all of the club’s 38 regular season games to date. During his seven-game stretch of not recording a point, Dach was still playing with a lot of energy and with more of a physical edge to counter the extra attention he receives from opponents. He wasn’t rewarded for his efforts on the scoresheet.
    In 109 career regular season games, Dach has 28 goals and 73 assists for 101 points for the Blades.
    Defenceman Nolan Kneen netted and a goal and three assists, while captain Chase Wouters had a goal and two assists for the Blades. Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen, Max Gerlach, Majid Kaddoura, Riley McKay, Zach Huber and Josh Paterson all recorded singles for the Blades.
    Kaddoura’s goal was the first of his WHL career. The Chestermere, Alta., product is a 17-year-old rookie defenceman.
    Billy Sowa, Matthew Culling and Joona Kiviniemi replied with singles for the Broncos. Sowa’s tally was the first goal of his WHL career. The Calgary, Alta., product is a 16-year-old rookie defenceman.
    Nolan Maier made 12 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Blades (22-11-5). Isaac Poulter turned away 38 shots to take the setback in goal for the majorly rebuilding Broncos (7-26-2-1).
    The two teams go at it again on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.

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