- On Monday, the Hamilton Pistols demoted RW Michael Jennings to their farm team in Oshawa, and called up D Russ Klemmer from Oshawa. This move reverses a transaction made at the end of last week, when the Pistols called up Jennings to fill a spot opened up by Claude Lafayette‘s injury. The return move proved necessary when Oshawa LW Troy Blackwood got hurt, leaving the Drive short a forward. Jennings’ second stint of the season in Hamilton lasted a grand total of one game; he failed to record a point.
- On Wednesday, the New York Night activated RW Ivan “Trainwreck” Trujwirnek from the injured list. Trujwirnek was out for the last two and a half weeks with an upper body injury. His absence was a major blow to the Night’s depth, as he was a key contributor on their second line. Recently acquired Nori Takoyaki had filled in on the second line during Trujwirnek’s absence. To make room for Trujwirnek on the roster, the Night sent RW Sylvester Catarino to their farm team in Utah. The 22-year-old Catarino, a New York native, was a fan favorite, but struggled to put up the numbers to keep himself in the lineup. In 34 games with New York this season, Catarino registered 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) and a +4 rating.
- On Friday, the Pistols activated G Lasse Koskinen from the injured list. It’s not a moment too soon for Hamilton, which has been treading water in the absence of their starting netminder. The 22-year-old Koskinen posted a 17-10-2 record with a 2.30 GAA and a .922 save percentage prior to his injury. With Koskinen returning, the Pistols returned G Hector Orinoco to Oshawa. The 23-year-old Orinoco went 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and an .878 save percentage during his stint with Hamilton.
- On Saturday, the Kansas City Smoke demoted RW Adriaen van der Veen to their CHL affiliate in Omaha, and promoted RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno from Omaha. This transaction reversed a move the Smoke made right after the All-Star break, when they sent Fortuno down and called van der Veen up. In 18 games with Kansas City, van der Veen put up only 3 points (2 goals, 1 assists) while recording a -14 rating. Fortuno started the season with the Smoke, and was demoted after recording 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in 24 games.
- On the Saturday of the All-Star Break, the Boston Badgers traded LW Cary Estabrook to the Hamilton Pistols for F Norris “Beaver” Young. Read more about the trade here.
- Prior to the beginning of play this week, the Dakota Jackalopes demoted D Victor Addison to their CHL affiliate in Idaho and called up D Rodney Black from Idaho to replace him. Addison was a lightly-used reserve in Dakota this season; he appeared in only 7 games, recording no points and a -4 rating. Recently, he had been passed on the depth chart by Geoff Moultrie. Black, meanwhile, was one of the CHL’s top blueliners, putting up 29 points (19 goals, 10 assists) in the first half and earning a berth in the All-Star Game.
- Also prior to the start of play, the Kansas City Smoke demoted C Edz Zalmanis and RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno to their CHL affiliate in Omaha, while calling up C Owen Griffin and RW Adriaen van der Veen from Omaha. Kansas City’s offense was lackluster in the first half; they averaged only 24.3 shots per game, second-worst in the league, and they are dead last in plus-minus at -30. The 23-year-old Zalmanis, who signed a 5-year, $3.5 million free agent contract in the offseason, put up only 4 assists and a -9 rating in 23 games. Fortuno did a bit better, with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) and a -6 plus-minus in 24 games. The 21-year-old van der Veen was a CHL All-Star and one of leading scorers, with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists). Griffin, 22, was leading the CHL in plus-minus at +24; he notched 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in the first half.
- On Wednesday, the Jackalopes placed Black on the 10-game disabled list. Black got off to a strong start with Dakota after being called up, with a goal and an assist in 2 games, but he exited in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Kansas City with an upper-body injury that’s expected to keep him out for 2 to 3 weeks. Since the Jackalopes had 8 defensemen on their roster already, they chose not to call anyone up at this time.
- On Friday, the Badgers activated G Roger Orion from the disabled list, after he’d missed three and a half weeks with a lower-body injury. With Orion activated, Boston returned Jonas Schemko to their minor-league affiliate in Hartford. Schemko looked good in his brief stint with the Badgers, going 1-1-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
- On Saturday, the Washington Galaxy placed LW Charlie Brooks on the disabled list. Brooks suffered a lower-body injury in Saturday’s 6-0 rout of Boston. To replace Brooks on the roster, the Galaxy promoted LW Alan Youngman from their farm team in Baltimore. Youngman is one of the CHL’s top scorers, notching 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) so far on the season.
There’s no denying that it’s been another long season for the Saskatchewan Shockers. They fell out of contention from almost the beginning of the season, and they were mathematically eliminated with almost three weeks left. They unleashed yet another disastrous promotion on their fans, this time a poorly designed kids’ activity book. Until this week, perhaps the most notable event of Saskatchewan’s season was when one of their players accidentally set fire to the locker room.
That all changed on Friday, as the Shockers finally delivered a season highlight worth celebrating. They may be having a season to forget, but Friday was a game to remember, as Saskatchewan set a new SHL record for goals in a game in an 11-5 thumping of the Dakota Jackalopes.
“We sure know how to deliver excitement, huh?” said Shockers coach Myron Beasley with a huge grin. “You saw more goals in this game than you’d see in a week watching Michigan or Anchorage. You want fun, come see us!”
C Elliott Rafferty pointed out that Saskatchewan had scored 11 despite the fact that no player managed a hat trick. “That’s a testament to the kind of depth we have here,” the center said. Rafferty, C Napoleon Beasley, and D Dick Bradshaw each scored two goals, while LW Troy Chamberlain, D Wyatt Barnes, RW Brad Stevens, D Ed Francis, and RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno got one apiece.
The game was not a blowout at the beginning; at the end of the first period, the score stood 4-3. The Shockers peppered Dakota goalie Buzz Carson, but the Jackalopes fired 19 shots at Oliver Richardson and put three behind him. In the second period, Saskatchewan blew it open, scoring five unanswered goals and sending Carson to the showers.
The Shockers came into the third chasing history, but it seems that no one was aware of it. The PA announcer made no mention of it, and the fans and benches seemed equally unaware. Eight and a half minutes into the period, Chamberlain snapped a shot past new Dakota netminder Christen Adamsson for Saskatchewan’s tenth goal, tying the SHL record, first set by Dakota against the Shockers last season. Five minutes later, Barnes buried a rebound to set a new record. The crowd roared its approval, but again, no mention was made of the new record.
It wasn’t until after the game, when a journalist who had looked up the record asked about it, that the Shockers discovered what they had done. “Hey, we’re famous!” shouted Beasley when informed of the record. “That’s really cool. Now we’ll be able to go to the record books and point and say, ‘Hey, I was part of that.'”
“This team is more dangerous than people think,” said Rafferty, who had two assists in the game in addition to his pair of goals. “We’ve got some real snipers here. We’re a young team and we’re still learning, but games like this show what we’re capable of.”
Owner Heinz Doofenschmirtz, whose passion for his team is well-known around the league, was ecstatic with his team’s performance. The owner reportedly came into the locker room after the game and gave each player an $1,100 bonus check in recognition of the record-setting performance. “I believe he’s doing a few laps around the ceiling about now,” said Beasley.
For the Shockers, the game was a welcome bright spot in an unremarkable year. For the Jackalopes, it was yet another reminder of a season gone wrong. Small-market Dakota spent heavily in the offseason to build a team that could contend for a title. Instead, the Jackalopes have turned in another so-so season, and ownership has signaled that they intend to cut payroll next season.
Jackalopes coach Harold Engellund, whose job is reportedly in jeopardy, responded wearily to news of Saskatchewan’s record-setting performance. “Well, congratulations to them,” said Engellund. “They’re a team on the rise and they deserve it. But that’s not a record you really want to be part of, not on the other end. If this is what we’re remembered for this year, that’s not too good.”