Shootout
By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posts tagged ‘Warren Rychel’
Posted: February 20th, 2013

Erie Otters (17-33-3-5) at Windsor Spitfires (22-28-1-6)
When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.
Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Friday at Sarnia, 7:05 p.m., Sunday vs. Kingston, 2 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters would be eliminated from OHL playoff contention for the second straight season and sixth time since the 2001-02 league championship season with a loss in regulation, overtime or shootout tonight. … The Otters are on pace to earn the No. 2 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. They have the second-worst record in the league, behind only Ottawa, which entered Wednesday night’s game at Belleville with a 15-38-0-4 mark. Peterborough stands third worst at 20-30-3-4. … The Otters are expected to play without captain Connor Brown because of a head injury suffered in Monday’s loss at London. The second-year winger, who leads the team with 26 goals, 40 assists and 66 points, has played in every game – 126 in all – since joining the club a season ago. … League officials will announce today if D Adam Pelech will be suspended for a five-minute, cross-checking penalty and game misconduct against the Knights. League vice president Ted Baker didn’t rule out suspending Pelech indefinitely if more time is needed for the review. Pelech was suspended indefinitely before being issued a four-game ban less than a month ago for a five-minute kneeing penalty and game misconduct Jan. 23 against Saginaw. … C Connor McDavid (24-31-55) holds a three-point lead over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-28-52) in the league’s rookie scoring race. Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-27-45) trails McDavid by 10 points. … J.P. Labardo (20-34-54) has scored 20 goals in a season for the first time in his five-year OHL career. … The Otters lost the first two meetings with the Spitfires by a goal – 2-1 in Windsor Oct. 18 and 3-2 two nights later at Erie Insurance Arena. They meet for the final time March 2 in Erie. … Windsor has lost five straight games and eight of its last 10 to fall 11 points behind Saginaw in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Any combination of Windsor losses, as well as Spirit wins in regulation, overtime and shootouts, totaling 12 points would eliminate the Spitfires from contention. … The Spitfires rank near the bottom of the league with 169 goals scored and 221 goals against. … RW Kerby Rychel, son of Spitfires vice president and general manager Warren Rychel, ranks among the league leaders with 33 goals and 69 points. … C Alexander Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 28 points in 18 games since leaving the Kontinental Hockey League in his native Russia to rejoin the Spitfires. … RW Josh Ho-Sang, McDavid’s former teammate with the Toronto Marlboros and the fifth pick in the 2012 OHL draft, has 11 goals and 37 points in 52 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 19th, 2012

This week, I’ll break down all 20 OHL clubs division by division and unveil my predictions for the 2012-13 season. Today, let’s look at the Western Conference’s West Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Plymouth Whalers
Coach/GM: Michael Vellucci
2011-12 finish: 47-18-2-1, 1st division, 2nd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Kitchener 4-3 in conference semifinals
Key players: LW Stefan Noesen (38 goals, 44 assists, 82 points; signed with Ottawa), C Mitchell Heard (29-28-57; signed with Colorado), RW Alex Aleardi (36-29-65), LW J.T. Miller (25-37-62; signed with N.Y. Rangers; G Matt Mahalak (19-8-0-0 record, 2.66 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, 3 shutouts; Carolina prospect)
Key losses: G Scott Wedgewood (28-10-2-1, 3.02, .911, 3 SO; signed with New Jersey), D Beau Schmitz (14-40-54, +37; signed with Carolina), C Andy Bathgate (19-44-63)
Outlook: The Whalers had a chance to reach the Western finals last season, but they lost Game 7 at home to Kitchener. They lost some key players off that team, but the Whalers still have are strong enough to make a deeper run this season.

Saginaw Spirit
Coach/GM: Greg Gilbert/Jim Paliafito
2011-12 finish: 40-22-4-2, 3rd division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-2 in conference semifinals
Key players: C Vincent Trocheck (29-56-85; signed with Florida), LW Brandon Saad (34-42-76; signed with Chicago), LW Garret Ross (25-29-54), C Eric Locke (20-20-40), D Dalton Young (5-15-20)
Key losses: LW Josh Shalla (40-36-76; signed with Nashville), RW Michael Fine (22-45-67), C John McFarland (20-21-41; signed with Florida), D Brad Walch (5-18-23, +21)
Outlook: Trocheck and Saad headline an offense that ranked fifth in the league a season ago with 259 goals. Now they have to solidify a defense that allowed 259 goals, the fourth most in the league. Clint Windsor and Jake Paterson are the keys in net.

Sarnia Sting
Coach/GM: Jacques Beaulieu
2011-12 finish: 34-27-2-5, 2nd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost 4-2 to Saginaw in conference quarterfinals
Key players: C Alex Galchenyuk (0-0-0 in 2 games; signed with Montreal), G J.P. Anderson (27-23-2-4, 3.03, .908, 3 SO), LW Reid Boucher (28-22-50), D Connor Murphy (8-18-26; signed with Phoenix), D Alex Basso (9-27-36, +5)
Key losses: RW Nail Yakupov (31-38-69 in 42 games; signed with Edmonton), C Brett Thompson (32-38-70; former Otter), C Ryan Spooner (29-37-66; signed with Boston), LW Tyler J. Brown (21-27-48), D Adrian Robertson (10-28-38, +13)
Outlook: Yakupov, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, isn’t expected to rejoin the Sting. But Galchenyuk, the No. 3 pick in the draft, returns after missing nearly all of last season with a knee injury. But can the Sting overcome other key losses?

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Coach/GM: Mike Stapleton/Kyle Dubas
2011-12 finish: 29-33-2-4, 5th division, 9th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Nick Cousins (35-53-88; signed with Philadelphia), G Matt Murray (13-19-0-1, 4.08, .876; Pittsburgh prospect), D Ryan Sproul (23-31-54, +16), RW Andrew Fritsch (13-19-32 in 35 games; Phoenix prospect), LW Michael Schumacher (26-24-50)
Key losses: C Brett Findlay (20-36-56; traded to Peterborough), C Carson Dubchak (16-16-32)
Outlook: The Greyhounds are trying to avoid a third straight season out of the playoff picture. But does Stapleton, the Otters’ former associate and assistant coach, have enough talented depth to make that happen in a challenging conference?

Windsor Spitfires
Coach/GM: Bob Boughner/Warren Rychel
2011-12 finish: 29-32-5-2, 4th division, 8th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Kerby Rychel (41-33-74); C Brady Vail (22-30-52), LW Chris Marchese (18-25-43; former Otter), D Nick Ebert (6-33-39), RW Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 5 pick in OHL Priority Selection), LW Ben Johnson (18-20-38)
Key losses: C Alexander Khokhlachev (25-44-69; playing in Russia), C Zack MacQueen (18-20-38; son of former Otters coach Dave MacQueen)
Outlook: The unexpected departure of Khokhlachev will hurt thre Spitfires, unless forwards like Rychel, Vail, former Otter Marchese and first-round pick Ho-Sang pick up the slack. But will they have enough on defense and in net to win consistently?

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: May 31st, 2012

Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Kitchener Rangers’ Chief Operating Officer and Governor Steve Bienkowski is the recipient of the OHL Executive of the Year Award for the 2011-12 season.

Bienkowski championed the 2012 expansion of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex creating a business plan that will see the Rangers Hockey Club fully fund the $10.6 million upgrade to the city owned facility. The venture will see an additional 968 seats installed providing more opportunities for fans to enjoy Kitchener Rangers hockey.

The facility will also receive new media boxes and suite expansions, new concourse, washrooms and concessions, improved accessibility, along with a dressing room upgrade for the club, new medical and training facilities for players, and business offices for staff. The renovations will also create a new Rangers “Hall of History” in time for the franchise’s 50th Anniversary celebrations next season.

“We are very fortunate to have Steve leading our business operations,” said Craig Campbell, President of the Kitchener Rangers Board of Directors. “Steve complements the vision of our entire Board in recognizing the importance of our role in supporting community. On behalf of our Board, I offer congratulations to Steve on this most deserving recognition.”

Under Bienkowski’s leadership the Rangers maintain a strong focus on their community supporting hundreds of charitable programs and non-profit organizations including: St. John Ambulance, Kitchener Sports Association, Children’s Wish Foundation, Kitchener Minor Hockey Association, House of Friendship, Kitchener Panthers Baseball Club, Food Bank of Waterloo Region , THEMUSEUM, Waterloo Regional Boxing Academy, and the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Bienkowski, the Rangers’ COO since 2002, previously served six years on the club’s Board of Director’s Executive Committee. He is also a graduate of the league playing two seasons with the Rangers from 1979-81 winning an OHL Championship in his final season. His tireless efforts have also been recognized by the community as Bienkowski received the 2011 Citizen of the Year Award bestowed by the Lions Club of Kitchener, and also recently received the Order of St. John from the Governor General of Canada in recognition of his many years of volunteer service to St. John Ambulance.

The OHL Executive of the Year Award is presented annually to the executive whose team demonstrates success both on the ice and at the administration level through excellent organization and franchise success. The winner is selected by the League’s Executive Council.

This marks Bienkowski’s second OHL Executive of the Year Award having first received the honour following the Rangers’ Memorial Cup-winning season in 2002-03. Other recipients of the award include Craig Goslin of the Saginaw Spirit who won the award back-to-back in 2005-06 and 2006-07, followed by Denise Burke of the Niagara IceDogs in 2007-08, Warren Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires in 2008-09, Rick Gaetz of the Guelph Storm in 2009-10, and Dale DeGray of the Owen Sound Attack who won the award last season.

Bienkowski will be formally presented with the OHL’s Executive of the Year Award at the league’s annual award ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

- From OHL new release

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