BCHL This Week: Spruce Kings shuffle crease, Cents continue to make deals and more

Spruce Kings change up crease composition

The Prince George Spruce Kings made a shift in backup goaltenders, trading 2001-born Jack McGovern to Rockland of the CCHL for future considerations and signing 2001-born Carter Woodside from the Princeton Posse of the KIJHL.

McGovern, from Waterdown, Ontario, was 0-2-1 with a 6.49 goals-against-average and a .771 save percentage in five games with the Spruce Kings this year. He led the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League last season with 1.90 GAA while with the St. Catharines Falcons.

Woodside played one game with the Merritt Centennials as an affiliate player on Nov. 17 against Surrey and came away with his first BCHL victory. In an interesting twist, after being signed by PG, he came on in relief against Merritt on Nov. 22 and stopped all 12 Cents’ shots he faced in just over 31 minutes of action. The Asquith, Saskatchewan product went 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .943 SV% with the junior B Posse this season.

Cents continue roster shuffle

The Merritt Centennials continue to adjust their roster as they look to turn around an early season funk. The Cents made four moves last week that saw two players join from the WHL, and two players leave to other leagues.

First, the Cents signed 2001-born forward Jerzy Orchard from the Saskatoon Blades. He was signed by Merritt earlier this season, but wound up seeing his WHL rights traded from Kamloops to Saskatoon while with the Centennials on a road trip to Coquitlam and he immediately left the team. Orchard had one assist in 11 games with the Blades this season.

Second, the Centennials inked 2002-born defenceman Braydon Clark from the Prince Albert Raiders. Clark had no points with the Raiders this season before being released from their active roster. In the last two seasons for the Valley West Giants of the BC Major Midget League, he had 10 goals, five assists and 374 penalty minutes over 47 games.

To make room for Orchard and Clark, Merritt GM Derek Sweet-Coulter made a pair of corresponding moves. He traded 2001-born blueliner Colton Sun to Selkirk Steelers of the MJHL for future considerations and released 2000-born forward Spencer Schneider to the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL in exchange for a player development fee.

Salmon Arm sends junior A veteran to Wenatchee

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks cleared up a roster logjam and traded 1999-born defenceman Noah Lugli to Wenatchee for future considerations. The move was prompted by 2000-born blueliner Devan Newhook coming off injured reserve.

Lugli had six assists in 25 games with the Backs this season after moving to Salmon Arm in an off-season trade. He played 118 career junior A games before being traded to the Wild and was a member of the Wellington Dukes team that went to the RBC Cup in 2018.

Capitals add UMass commit from USHL

Cowichan Valley added 2001-born forward John Lundy to its roster on Nov. 22. The Brooklyn, New York product comes to the BCHL after starting the season with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, where he had no points in four games.

Lundy is committed to the University of Massachusettes (Amherst) for next fall. He was a top point producer for North Jersey Avalanche U18 team last season, putting up 19 goals and 13 assists in 21 games.

Caps alternate captain commits to the University of Alaska-Anchorage

1999-born forward Oliver Gauthier is off to the University of Alaska-Anchorage in September 2020. The forward from Ferme-Neuve, Quebec is having a very solid season for Cowichan Valley with 10 goals and 14 assists in 30 games.

His 24 points is only two points back of his season total a year ago, when he had 13 goals and 13 assists in his first year with the Capitals. He is the eighth player on this year’s Cowichan team to be committed to a post-secondary institution.

Chilliwack adds Harvard commit

The Chilliwack Chiefs nabbed a forward from the USHL, signed 2000-born Tommy Lyons from the Sioux Falls Stampede. Lyons, who’s committed to Harvard for next fall, had two goals and one assist in 12 games with the Stampede this season.

The Westwood, Massachusetts product was selected in the 14th round, 247th overall by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Chiefs captain commits to Union College

Chilliwack Chiefs captain Nathan Kelly is the 11th member of the team’s roster to commit to post-secondary following his junior career as he is off to Union College next season after three years in the BCHL.

Kelly, from Delta, BC, has one goal and four assists in five games with the Chiefs this season.

Grizzlies on thin ice?

A report from CHEK TV in Victoria highlights the plight of the Grizzlies in attracting fans to The Q Centre. Crowds continue to dwindle for the Grizz, despite playing in one of the biggest markets in the BCHL. This is a story that will be interesting to follow as things progress for the junior A team in BC’s provincial capital.

Grizz netminder out for at least two more weeks

On Nov. 18, the Victoria Grizzlies extended the injured reserve status of 1999-born goaltender Liam Souliere by 15 days. The Penn State commit is eligible to return on Dec. 9.

Souliere hasn’t played any games with Victoria this season due to a lower body injury. The Brampton, Ontario product suited up for Team Canada East at last yearโ€™s World Junior A Challenge and was runner-up in voting for the 2018-19 CCHL goaltender of the year award.

Vees veteran won’t return before Dec. 5

Penticton extended the injured reserve status of 2000-born defenceman Ethan Martini on Nov. 20. It means he won’t be eligible to return to the Vees line-up until Dec. 5.

Martini was acquired from Powell River back in July and played 15 games with Penticton this season before being hurt in a game against Nanaimo on Oct. 19.

Clippers associate coach Birkas will be back in 2020-21

The Nanaimo Clippers inked associate coach Colin Birkas to a one-year contract extension through to the end of the 2020-21 season.

Birkas joined Clippers’ head coach Darren Naylor’s staff this past off-season after serving as an assistant coach for the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks in 2018-19. Nanaimo is in a battle with Cowichan Valley for top spot in the Island Division.

In a news release, Naylor says Birkas has impressed so far during his time in Nanaimo. “Colin has a real eye for detail which has helped us adapt throughout games this year. He is a great communicator with the players given his teaching background. The players respect him immensely.”

23 BCHL players invited to Canada West camp

Once again this year, the BCHL has a massive contingent of players selected to participate in the tryout camp for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. The camp runs Dec. 1 to 3 at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Chilliwack and Trail lead the way with five players invited each. Alberni Valley, Coquitlam, Langley, Nanaimo, Penticton and Prince George each have two players invited to the camp. Vernon has one player headed to Calgary in hopes of making Canada West.

Chilliwack:

  • Jack Agnew
  • Xavier Henry
  • Ethan Bowen
  • Kyle Penney
  • Peter Reynolds

Trail:

  • Logan Terness
  • Powell Connor
  • Kent Johnson
  • Philippe Lapointe
  • Owen Ozar

Alberni Valley:

  • Jackson Glassford
  • Austin Spiridakis

Coquitlam:

  • Massimo Rizzo
  • Connor Gregga

Langley:

  • Ryan Helliwell
  • Brendan Budy

Nanaimo:

  • Kyler Kovich
  • Trevor LeDonne

Penticton

  • Evan McIntyre
  • Lukas Sillinger

Prince George

  • Nick Poisson
  • Fin Williams

Rizzo is the lone invitee from the BCHL who also played on the 2018 Canada West team. Last yearโ€™s roster featured 14 BCHL players and won a bronze medal.

The 2019 World Junior A Challenge runs Dec. 7 – 15 in Dawson Creek, BC.