- On Monday, the Kansas City Smoke recalled F David Facinelli from their CHL affiliate in Omaha and returned C Edz Zalmanis to Omaha. The Smoke had a need for a center when Mike Rivera and Nile Bernard suffered injuries, so they promoted Zalmanis just over two weeks ago. He appeared in 9 games during his stint with Kansas City, scoring 2 goals and adding 2 assists.
- Also on Monday, the Michigan Gray Wolves placed RW Boris Badenov on the injured list. Badenov, who was playing for their minor-league affiliate in Cleveland, suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Omaha, and is expected to be out of action for 4 to 6 weeks. To replace Badenov on the roster, assistant coach Glenn Reichler was activated and added to the roster. (Story here.)
- On Wednesday, the Quebec Tigres activated LW Stellan Fisker from the injured list. Fisker missed 10 games with an upper-body injury suffered two and a half weeks earlier. In order to make room for Fisker’s return to the roster, the Tigres returned LW Carl Bleyer to their affiliate in Halifax. Bleyer appeared in 4 games for the Tigres, recording a goal.
- On Friday, the Hershey Bliss placed minor-league D Seth Dowd on the injured list. The 34-year-old Dowd, who was playing for their affiliate in Milwaukee, was taken off the ice on a stretcher after ramming head-first into the boards. He underwent surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the season. To replace Dowd on the Milwaukee roster, the Bliss signed D Knute Skoeglin, who appeared in 10 games for Milwaukee last season.
- On Saturday, the Washington Galaxy activated D Grant Warriner from the injured list. Warriner, the Galaxy’s top young blueliner, missed two and a half weeks with an upper-body injury. In order to accommodate Warriner’s return to the active roster, the Galaxy demoted D Serkan Mratic to their CHL affiliate in Baltimore and released D Nate Cimino. Mratic recorded 2 assists and a -18 rating in 22 games with Washington; the 19-year-old Cimino notched a goal and 2 assists over 13 games with Baltimore.
- On Wednesday, the Hershey Bliss‘ CHL affiliate in Milwaukee activated G Hobie Sanford from the injured list. Sanford suffered a bruised collarbone in the first week of the season, and had been on the IL ever since. In order to make room for Sanford on the roster, the organization released G Toby Kemper. Kemper, who had served as Milwaukee’s reserve netminder during Sanford’s injury, went 1-2-0 with a 4.66 GAA and an .869 save percentage during his time with the club.
- On Friday, the Quebec Tigres activated D Kevin Buchanan from the injured list. Buchanan went down with an upper-body injury two and a half weeks ago. In order to allow Buchanan to return, the Tigres demoted D Hampus Olsson to their CHL affiliate in Halifax. This season, Olsson appeared in 15 games with Quebec, recording 3 assists and a -2 rating. To make room for Olsson on the Halifax roster, the team did not renew D Gustaf Bergstrom’s 10-game contract.
- On Saturday, the Tigres placed LW Stellan Fisker on the injured list. Fisker exited Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Portland after suffering an upper-body injury late in the second period. The team described him as “week-to-week” with the injury. To replace Fisker on the roster, the Tigres called up LW Carl Bleyer from their affiliate in Halifax. This is the 21-year-old Bleyer’s second stint with Quebec; he was called up for 10 games last season.
- Also on Saturday, the Hamilton Pistols recalled F Michael Jennings from their farm club in Oshawa and reassigned C Hilliard Macy to Oshawa. The team called Macy up last week when C Calvin Frye went down with an injury and appeared in five game, recording a goal and two assists Frye returned to the lineup in mid-week, but LW Steven Alexander was injured in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Kansas City, and is expected to miss up to a week. With Frye back and Alexander out, the Pistols needed a winger instead of a center, so they brought Jennings back to the SHL.
- Finally, in another Saturday night move, the Kansas City Smoke demoted F David Facinelli to their affiliate in Omaha and called C Edz Zalmanis. Like Hamilton’s move, the transaction was driven be an injury. C Mike Rivera was hurt in Saturday’s tussle with Hamilton, and is expected to miss multiple games. With an opening at center, the Smoke took the opportunity to give a look to Zalmanis, who has been brilliant with Omaha (17 points and a +5 rating in 16 games). The 29-year-old Facinelli has appeared in 7 games with KC this second, registering a single point.
- On Monday, the Quebec Tigres activated LW Stellan Fisker from the disabled list. The 32-year-old Fisker missed nearly four weeks after suffering an upper-body injury. It was the second DL stint of the season for the winger, who suffered a lower-body injury in the first week of the season and has missed a total of 25 games so far on the year. In order to make room for Fisker’s return, the Tigres returned LW Carl Bleyer to their farm club in Maine. Bleyer has appeared in 10 games with Quebec, and recorded 1 assist during that time.
- On Wednesday, the Washington Galaxy placed D Ambroz Melicar on the disabled list. The Galaxy called up the 23-year-old Melicar a couple of weeks ago after a strong season with their affiliate in Baltimore. He appeared in 10 games with Washington, recording 2 assists, before suffering an upper-body injury on Tuesday that will end his season. To replace Melicar, the Galaxy promoted D Buster Kratz from Baltimore. Kratz, 21, was acquired from Hamilton in the Eddie Costello trade at the deadline.
- Also on Wednesday, the Tigres placed D Ward Jones on the injured list. Jones suffered a lower-body injury during the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Hamilton, a blow that will likely end Jones’ season. It’s the second significant injury of the season for the 29-year-old blueliner, who missed over a month with an upper-body injury that happened just before the All-Star break. It’s rumored that this latest injury has Jones pondering retirement. To replace Jones, the Tigres called up D Ross Hruschka from Maine. The 19-year-old Hruschka has had a solid season with Maine, with a goal and 16 assists.
- On Monday, the Quebec Tigres activated D Ward Jones from the disabled list. Jones had missed more than a month with an upper-body that he suffered before the All-Star break. To make room for Jones on the active roster, the Tigres reassigned D Serge Rimbaud to their farm team in Maine. The 18-year-old Rimbaud appeared in 13 games with Quebec, recording 8 assists and a +1 rating.
- Also on Monday, the Hamilton Pistols placed goaltender Lasse Koskinen on the disabled list. Koskinen suffered an upper-body injury during Sunday’s 7-4 win over New York. He is expected to miss 2 to 3 weeks, a serious blow for a Pistols team that is trying to snatch a playoff spot in the East. To replace Koskinen, the Pistols called up Hector Orinoco from their affiliate in Oshawa. The 23-year-old Orinoco has gone 13-11-0 with a 2.69 GAA and a .902 save percentage with Oshawa this season.
- On Tuesday, the Tigres placed LW Stellan Fisker on the disabled list. Fisker suffered an upper-body injury during the Tigres’ 3-0 win over Hershey. He is expected to miss 3 to 4 weeks. To replace Fisker on the roster, the Tigres called up LW Carl Bleyer from their farm team in Maine. Bleyer has put up 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) with the Moose on the year.
- Wednesday was the trading deadline. The following trades were consummated at the deadline:
- The New York Night traded RW Mickey Simpson, D Andy Ruger, and a 3rd-round draft pick to the Washington Galaxy for RW Nori Takoyaki. (More details here.) After making the trade, the Night promoted D Craig Werner from their farm team in Utah and signed D Sheldon Harville to a minor-league contract.
- The Galaxy traded Ruger to the Kansas City Smoke in exchange for a 3rd-round pick.
- The Michigan Gray Wolves traded RW Cleo Rodgers, G Gus Parrish, and a 2nd-round pick to the Smoke in exchange for LW Kevin Starkey and D Scott Hexton. (More details here.) After the trade, Kansas City called up Parrish and LW Veikko Sikanen from their CHL affiliate in Omaha, and demoted G Jim Fleetwood to Omaha. They also released G Toby Kemper. Meanwhile, Michigan released D Igor Shovshenkov, demoted F Yann Eberlein to their affiliate in Cleveland, and signed Kemper to a minor-league deal.
- The Saskatchewan Shockers traded C Tanner Brooks to the Dakota Jackalopes in exchange for D Rusty Anderson. (More details here.) After the trade, the Shockers demoted D Valeri Nistrumov to their farm team in Virginia. They also released D Knute Skoeglin and signed F Marvin Cascio to a minor-league deal.
- The Hamilton Pistols traded C Pat Collistone, D Buster Kratz, and a 1st-round pick to the Galaxy in exchange for C Eddie Costello. (More details here.) After the trade, the Pistols called up D Russ Klemmer from their CHL affiliate in Oshawa, and demoted RW Michael Jennings to Oshawa. They also signed D Gresham Sourwine to a minor-league contract. The Galaxy demoted Kratz to their affiliate in Baltimore and promoted C Tucker Barnhill from Baltimore. They also released D Sheldon Harville.
- The Quebec Tigres traded D Kirby Hanlon, C Jacob Cunniff, and a 1st-round pick to the Jackalopes in exchange for D Matt Cherner. (More details here.) After the trade, Dakota released RW Omar Zdurchek; Quebec then signed him to a minor-league deal.
- Finally, the Seattle Sailors traded D Serkan Mratic to the Galaxy for D Stan Gallagher. (More details here.)
- On Saturday, the Jackalopes activated D Rodney Black from the injured list. Black, who was sidelined in only his second SHL game, missed two and a half weeks with an upper-body injury. Since Dakota was one player short of the roster limit, they did not make a corresponding move.
- Also on Saturday, the Hershey Bliss placed LW Lance Sweet on long-term injured reserve. Sweet was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being crunched into the boards late in the second period during Saturday’s 6-3 win over Saskatchewan. Sweet underwent surgery on his right leg, and is expected to be out for the rest of the season. To fill Sweet’s roster spot, Hershey called up D Seth Dowd from their CHL affiliate in Milwaukee. The 33-year-old Dowd, who last played in the SHL in 2016, recorded 27 points with Milwaukee this season.
- On Monday, the Dakota Jackalopes placed star LW “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston on the 10-game DL. Airston was knocked out with an upper-body injury on Sunday against Saskatchewan. Airston’s injury was a major blow to Dakota’s feeble offense, as he is one of their leading scorers. To take his place, the Jackalopes promoted LW Van Dyke Browning from their minor-league affiliate in Idaho. Browning, 20, was off to a strong start in Idaho (2 goals and 4 assists in 9 games); he made his SHL debut on Thursday against Kansas City
- On Friday, the Boston Badgers placed D Patrick Banks on the 10-game DL. Banks suffered an upper-body injury during Thursday’s game against Quebec. It’s the second injury-marred season in a row for Banks, who missed most of 2018’s second half after suffering a broken leg and torn ACL. To fill Banks’ roster spot, Boston called up D Kermit Kaufman from their minor-league affiliate in Hartford. The 21-year-old Kaufman, who appeared in 21 games for the Badgers last season, recorded 3 assists in 11 games with Hartford.
- Also on Friday, the Quebec Tigres placed D Richard McKinley on the DL. McKinley left Thursday’s contest against Boston with an upper-body injury; he is expected to be out of action for up to 4 weeks. McKinley was one of Quebec’s top blueliners, posting 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) and a +7 rating. The Tigres promoted RW Luc LePettier from their CHL affiliate in Maine to fill the open roster slot. LePettier had recorded 4 goals and 5 assists on the season with the Moose.
- On the good-news front for Quebec, they activated LW Stellan Fisker on Saturday. Fisker went on the DL with a lower-body injury during the season’s opening week. Fisker was an essential piece of last year’s Eastern Division-winning Tigres squad, as he scored 23 goals and anchored the second line.
- On Saturday, the Kansas City Smoke demoted G Brooks Copeland to their affiliate in Omaha, and called up G Bill Bates from Omaha. The Smoke’s 4.30 GAA and .875 save percentage are worst in the league, both by significant margins. Copeland is off to a dismal start between the pipes, going 0-5-0 with a 5.00 GAA and an .843 save percentage. He lost the starting netminder job this to rookie Jim Fleetwood. With Omaha this season, Bates recorded a 4-2-1 record with a 2.51 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
- The Quebec Tigres placed LW Stellan Fisker on the 10-game disabled list. Fisker suffered a lower-body injury after blocking a shot in the third period of Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Hershey. The winger had not recorded a point in the season to date. Weldon “Candy” Kane has taken Fisker’s spot in the lineup; for the time being, the Tigres have not called up anyone from the minors to fill the open roster slot.
When the Anchorage Igloos won the first three games of this championship series, the pundits were all but ready to hand them the Vandy. Maybe the Quebec Tigres would win one to avoid the embarrassment of a sweep, but that was all. Surely, Quebec couldn’t win back-to-back games in the hostile confines of Arctic Circle Arena, much less the four straight they’d need to win the series.
But after today’s 4-2 win in Game 5, the Tigres now have the back-to-back road wins they needed. And after they scored three goals in the third period to secure a come-from-behind win, the momentum is firmly in Quebec’s corner. Mind you, they haven’t won yet. They still need to win two more. But after a game that seemed virtually tailor-made to sow doubt in the minds of the Igloos, a miracle comeback no longer seems like an impossibility.
“Seems like Anchorage might have been taking this win for granted,” said LW Stellan Fisker. “But we never gave up on ourselves, and we aren’t going to.”
As for the Igloos, there was a definite undercurrent of unease in the locker room after the game. “We definitely felt like this was one we could have had,” said C Jake Frost.
Similar to Game 4, the first couple of periods were a little on the slow side, as the Tigres used their defense to set the pace. And just like Game 4, the visitors got on the board first, with RW Stephane Mirac getting on the board just 20 seconds in on a shot that banked in off the left post. Unlike in Game 4, Anchorage struck back and re-took the lead. RW Ben Summers tied it up on a power-play goal eight minutes in, and C Harvey Bellmore put the Igloos ahead with a redirect that found the upper left corner of the net with six minutes left in the period.
As the teams headed to the locker room after the first intermission with the Igloos up 2-1, the crowd seemed cheerful and confident of victory. Forty more minutes, and their heroes would be circling the ice showing off their latest trophy. Perhaps the boys in blue allowed themselves to entertain the same fantasies.
After a scoreless second period, the Igloos found themselves a mere 20 minutes away from the title. The crowd’s cheering became more intense, and the fans began serenading some of the players by name. “We might have gotten ahead of ourselves a bit,” admitted Frost.
Neither the Igloos nor their fans were ready for what happened in the third period, but it’s likely to be seared in their minds for a long time to come. 49 seconds into the period, Fisker fired a low line drive that deflected off of Anchorage goalie Ty Worthington‘s stick, bounced off his arm, and went into the net. “That was a soft one,” admitted Worthington. “I should have stopped it.”
After that, Tigres LW Walt Camernitz stole the show. Quebec made a splash in the offseason by signing the ex-Washington winger to a five-year, $20 million deal. Camernitz proved to be a worthwhile investment, jump-starting their moribund offense and turning the Tigres from a promising young club into a contender. It was only fitting that he would provide the winning goals in the biggest game of their season so far.
At 7:15 into the third, during the tail end of a power play, Camernitz fired a severe-angle shot that somehow eluded Worthington and found the twice, giving Quebec its first lead of the period. Just over three minutes later, C Mikhail Ilyushin fed him a pass in the left faceoff circle, and he thundered a slapper that Worthington never seemed to see to make it a 4-2 game.
“Walt is worth every penny we paid him,” said Tigres coach Martin Delorme. “He has brought us scoring, defense, and leadership all in one package.”
The Tigres weren’t quite out of the woods yet. They had to kill off an extended 5-on-3 situation in the latter half of the third; Frost nearly scored on the two-man advantage, but his shot rang off the post. But that was as close as the Igloos would come to scoring. By the time the final siren sounded, the crowd sat stunned and virtually silent, denied the celebration they were sure was coming.
Anchorage coach Sam Castor cautioned against panic. “We still just have to win one of these in order to get the title,” the coach said. “But we’ll need to play a sharper, more disciplined game than we saw out there tonight. We’re close, but we haven’t won anything yet. We need to remember that.”