Great Northwest Showcase Finale – SFU Clan vs ASU Sun Devils

Amazingly, Vancouver-born Freshman Arizona State forward did not score on this play. He hit the post after a solid deke around third-year SFU Clan goaltender Graeme Gordon. His Sun Devils did win the game 5-3 however. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Amazingly, Vancouver-born Freshman Arizona State forward did not score on this play. He hit the post after a solid deke around third-year SFU Clan goaltender Graeme Gordon. His Sun Devils did win the game 5-3 however. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

I didn’t get a chance to post pictures from the final game of the Great Northwest Showcase, a 5-3 win for the Arizona State Sun Devils over the host SFU Clan. The Sun Devils found their legs between the previous day’s misadventures against the UBC Thunderbirds — and chatter by players during pre-game stretches suggested the Americans aren’t used to the aggressive forechecks thrown at them by the T-birds on Friday.

More after the jump.

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Great Northwest Showcase Day 2 – The Empire Strikes Back

Sophomore Oklahoma Sooners defenseman Kevin Zehnder pins UBC Thunderbirds forward Wyatt Hamilton during Great Western Showcase action at Bill Copeland Arena on December 29, 2012. The Thunderbirds won the game 4-3 in overtime. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Sophomore Oklahoma Sooners defenseman Kevin Zehnder pins UBC Thunderbirds forward Wyatt Hamilton during Great Western Showcase action at Bill Copeland Arena on December 29, 2012. The Thunderbirds won the game 4-3 in overtime. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Okay, I already feel bad about the title. Sure, the visiting teams in the inaugural Great Northwest Showcase are American. And yes, there are national politics and cultural question marks that make them the Darths and Emperors of the world next to our farmboy-cum-Jedi status up here. But goldang it if each and every one of the team members and staff that I met this weekend weren’t incredibly nice, wonderfully passionate people who revolve their lives around the great game of hockey. (I’m lookin’ at you, Oklahoma University men’s hockey Assistant GM Chris Kelly… Not naming any names…)

But hey, the title is what the title is. In the immortal words of Billy Crystal, “It’s already out there.” And after day one of this exhibition tournament, which saw the Canadian teams trounce their American visitors by a combined score of 12-2, the empire really did strike back. They had to, just to make the plane ride back to the south bearable.

More after the jump.

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Vancouver Giants lost in Rockets red glare

Vancouver Giants defenseman Brett Kulak had an assist in a losing cause as his team dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on December 28, 2012. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Vancouver Giants defenseman Brett Kulak had an assist in a losing cause as his team dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on December 28, 2012. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Vancouver Giants played an inspired second period against the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night, even managing to score twice on the power play, but it wasn’t enough. It’s becoming a familiar storyline this season, as the Giants were tied against the high-flying visitors after forty minutes, but surrendered two unanswered goals midway through the third for yet another loss. The Giants sit squarely in the Western Hockey League basement with 18 points in 35 games played.

More after the jump.

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Great Northwest Showcase Day 1: Home Cookin’

Sophomore goaltender Colin Fernandes makes a first-period save during SFU's only power play of the night on December 28, 2012. The Surrey-born netminder allowed four goals in the Sooners 4-0 loss to the home team at the Great Northwest Showcase at Bill Copeland Arena. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Sophomore goaltender Colin Fernandes makes a first-period save during SFU’s only power play of the night on December 28, 2012, with Jono Ceci waiting to pounce on the rebound. The Surrey-born netminder allowed four goals in the Sooners 4-0 loss to the home team at the Great Northwest Showcase at Bill Copeland Arena. Ceci had a goal and two assist in the win. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Day one of the inaugural Great Northwest Showcase is in the books, and it was a good day for the boys eating home cooking. Both the UBC Thunderbirds and SFU Clansmen iced winning sides against American collegiate sides — UBC thumped the NCAA’s number-one ranked Arizona State Sun Devils 8-2, while SFU shut out the number-six Oklahoma Sooners 4-0.

More after the jump, including a photo gallery for your visual pleasure.

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Great Northwest Showcase: SFU Clan, UBC T-birds, ASU Sun Devils, OU Sooners

Netminder Evan Kurylo is 16-3-1 with two shutouts in his collegiate career. He also has the coolest family name in the history of families. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Netminder Evan Kurylo is 16-3-1 with two shutouts in his collegiate career. He also has the coolest family name in the history of families. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Simon Fraser University Clansmen are hosting familiar crosstown rivals and distant strangers alike this weekend, as the Great Northwest Showcase goes down on December 28-29 at the Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby, BC.

Featured in the inaugural running of the GNS tournament are SFU, the UBC Thunderbirds, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Arizona State Sun Devils. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students and children). Check out the schedule here — and of course, there is a Facebook event page as well.

It’s a great opportunity to check out some quality hockey in a very intimate setting — the Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby screams small-town puck despite being in the middle of the Lower Mainland — and there are some interesting players to watch for as well.

More after the jump.

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Maxim Shalunov suspended at World Juniors

The Chicago Blackhawks picked Maxim Shalunov in the fourth round of last year's NHL draft. If the Subway Super Series is any indication — and if the big league decides to play at some future point in time — they may have turned that 109th pick into a bit of larceny. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The Chicago Blackhawks picked Maxim Shalunov in the fourth round of last year’s NHL draft. If the Subway Super Series is any indication — and if the big league decides to play at some future point in time — they may have turned that 109th pick into a bit of larceny. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Russian superstar-in-waiting Nail Yakupov made waves when he announced that Canadians play dirty hockey, but it was his teammate who made headlines on the second day of the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia for all the wrong reasons.

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov delivered a wicked cross check to the face of Slovakian defenseman Tomas Nechala in Russia’s opening game at the WJC, prompting a one-game suspension from the IIHF. On the ice, Shalunov was assessed a double minor penalty (four minutes) for the incident. Nechala received medical treatment for a facial laceration, but continued play in the game.

Russia ended up winning the game 3-2 in overtime after the Slovakians tied the game with less than a minute remaining in the third period. Surprisingly, the host Russians did not manage to sell out their team’s opening matchup — some observers on Twitter suggested there were as many as 2,000 empty seats out of the 8,000+ available for the game.

Check out the video after the jump.

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Vancouver Giants goalie Liam Liston retires

After a rough start to the season, Liam Liston spent much of 2012 on the Vancouver Giants bench. Reports indicate that Liston has retired from competitive hockey on Boxing Day 2012. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
After a rough start to the season, Liam Liston spent much of 2012 on the Vancouver Giants bench. Reports indicate that Liston has retired from competitive hockey on Boxing Day 2012. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Reports out of the Vancouver Giants camp today indicate that Liam Liston, a 19-year-old goaltender from St Albert, Alberta, has elected to retired from competitive hockey after a rough start to the 2012-13 season.

Liston was brought in from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the off-season to be the number one goalie in Vancouver, but never found his footing. He gave up five goals on 17 shots in the season opener against the Victoria Royals, and put up similarly weak numbers in following games.

Details are few at this juncture, but in true Pucked in the Head fashion, there will be more after the jump anyway.

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Last Minute Gifts for the Family Hockey Fan (Lockout Edition) – Part 4

It’s Christmas Eve, and you still haven’t gotten that damned hockey fan in your life something for the big day.

So why not go digital? In particular… well, you’ll find out after the jump.

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Last Minute Gifts for the Family Hockey Fan (Lockout Edition) – Part 3

What do you buy the hockey fan who has nothing to cheer for, NHL-wise, anyway?

The third in our get gifts quick series moves away from the printed word, which we focused upon in parts one and two, and on to live attendance at actual, real-life hockey games. No, we don’t recommend putting deposits down for NHL ticket packages. Rather, we want to push you to attend games at other levels of hockey.

After the jump, check out how.

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