Friday, April 17, 2015

Former Viper Tambellini Aiming For Game 5 Return:

The Calgary Hitmen are coming off a 2-1 overtime victory in Medicine Hat on Wednesday giving the Hitmen a 3-1 lead in the series.  Former Vernon Vipers forward Adam Tambellini leads the WHL playoffs in assists with 10 and points with 19 missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, but was back on skates Thursday.  Tambellini likely will skate again this morning and then be re-evaluated.

Tambellini attended the New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp in July was one of twenty players reassigned from the Rangers Training Camp in September. The Rangers reassigned Tambellini to the Hitmen on September 24th 2014.

Tambellini left the University of North Dakota last season for the Western Hockey League joining the Calgary Hitmen in early January after being acquired in a trade with the Portland Winterhawks. Tambellini played a season and a half in Vernon (2011-13) before being traded to Surrey on January 10th 2013 along with future considerations (Michael Roberts) for Mason Blacklock & future considerations (Jordan Klimek and Demico Hannoun). In 91 regular season games with the Vipers Tambellini collected (49-goals-46-assists-95-points). Tambellini was drafted 64th overall in the 3rd Round by the New York Rangers at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Adam Tambellini's Player Profile:

This was in the Calgary Herald Newspaper:

Hitmen star Tambellini aiming for Game 5 return

Laurence Heinen, For the Calgary Herald

Published on: April 16, 2015

Adam Tambellini found himself in an unfamiliar situation on Wednesday in Medicine Hat.

The Western Hockey League’s leading playoff scorer was forced to watch from the sidelines while his Calgary Hitmen edged the Medicine Hat Tigers 2-1 in overtime to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“It was a little weird not being out there with my teammates,” said Tambellini after practising with the Hitmen on Thursday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “I’d rather be out there trying to help them, but it was a great win by them. They played extremely well.”

Hitmen head coach Mark French wouldn’t divulge the severity of Tambellini’s ailment, but noted that he’d like to have his leading scorer back in the lineup as soon as possible.

“I think it’s appropriate at this time just to say that it’s an undisclosed injury,” French said. “Hopefully it’s just day-to-day and we get him back.”

Whether that happens in time for Game 5 of the series on Friday night (6 p.m., at the Saddledome remains to be seen.

Regardless of not getting the chance to add to the nine goals and 10 assists he has accumulated in Calgary’s first 10 playoff contests, Tambellini was extremely happy to see rookie Jordy Stallard score at 7:22 of the extra session on Wednesday to help the Hitmen take control of the series.

“Obviously, Stally with that overtime winner was great, but you look behind that with Taylor Sanheim making that play to him was obviously very impressive,” Tambellini said. “They played really strong all game and stuck to our system and didn’t look their age out there.”

Stallard now sits fifth among rookie playoff scorers with three goals and two assists in 11 games. Not bad for the product of the Brandon minor hockey system who doesn’t turn 18 until Sept. 18.

“It was a great feeling and it was nice to contribute and come out with the win,” said Stallard, who was happy to play a bigger role with both Tambellini and Chase Lang (lower body) not playing. “We’ve got to when we have big guys like that (out of the lineup). Tambo and Langer, they’re huge guys for our team. Other guys just have to step up and play our game.”

Overage forward Connor Rankin was also impressed with how everyone played in the absence of Tambellini and Lang.

“That’s been one of our powers this year is we’ve had a lot of depth and a lot of guys that can step up at any time,” said Rankin, who’s tied for second in the playoff scoring race with Brandon Magee of the Victoria Royals at nine goals and five assists. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys right now and we’ve been doing a great job with everyone stepping up and doing their part.”

Rankin added that it was a little unusual to not have Tambellini as his centre for the first the first time in recent memory.

“I’ve played next to him for 71 games this year and through the playoffs,” said the 20-year-old left winger from North Vancouver. “It was different without him for sure and obviously (he was) a guy that was missed. He’s such a great player and he’s had a great year obviously so far.”

With a chance to eliminate the Tigers at home on Friday night, the Hitmen remain cautiously optimistic. They also held a 3-1 lead on the Kootenay Ice in the first round before needing to win 6-2 in a Game 7 at home on April 6.

“It definitely was a learning experience,” said Jake Virtanen of the Kootenay comeback. “We let off the pedal a bit and they came back. We’re just going to have to obviously stick together and finish it off (on Friday).”

French has already addressed the matter with his players and expects them to have a bigger sense of urgency on Friday.

“We’ve been in the situation before and we need to learn from it and hopefully handle it in a better way,” French said. “As a group it’s our first playoff experience and I don’t think we handled Game 5 in the appropriate fashion against Kootenay. I prefer we learn from that, learn how to handle our emotions the right way (and) understand how to handle this situation.”

ICE CHIPS: Via, the team has a special online promo offer for Friday’s game where all seats are $15 + tax … Fans are invited to remain in their seats after the contest to watch Game 2 of the Calgary Flames/Vancouver Canucks series on the jumbotron, and the concessions will remain open.

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