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Calgary

We’ve Really Become An Enemy

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Alberta

Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

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CALGARY — Jacob Markstrom stopped all 17 shots he faced and the Calgary Flames put an end to their four-game losing skid with a commanding 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Johnny Gaudreau and captain Mark Giordano each had a goal and an assist, while Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and Brett Ritchie also scored for Calgary (17-21-3). Sam Bennett and Mikael Backlund each tallied a pair of helpers.

The Flames improved to 3-5 against their provincial rivals this season.

Playing their fourth game in six nights, the Oilers (25-15-2) were blanked for only the third time this year. They dropped to third in the North Division — seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and one point behind the Winnipeg Jets.

Goalie Mike Smith stopped 27-of-32 shots in defeat, Edmonton’s second regulation loss in its last 11 outings.

A tentative first 20 minutes of play saw the teams withdraw to the dressing room with a 0-0 tie.

But the Calgary Flames exploded for four goals on 10 shots in the second period from four different shooters.

Monahan got the barrage going with his first since Mar. 13, snapping a 13-game goalless drought. Alone at the side of the net, he capitalized on a defensive mix-up from the Oilers and converted Andrew Mangiapane’s pass at 3:12.

Calgary gained in confidence as the period progressed. They kept the pressure on and it paid off at 10:43 when Gaudreau took a perfect pass across the crease from Noah Hanifin to beat Smith over the glove from a tight angle.

The Flames were again rewarded for good puck movement when Lindholm netted his 10th of the season, five-hole on Smith on the power play. The big-bodied Milan Lucic got the play started and later screened Smith in the crease.

The captain got in on the second period’s deluge of goals. Coming off the bench and storming into the offensive zone, Giordano called for a pass and fired from the right face-off dot, beating Smith between the pads.

Calgary limited Edmonton to very few high-danger chances. Connor McDavid ended the game with one shot.

The Oilers upped the pressure in the third period but could not solve Markstrom. Tyson Barrie came closest when he fired a puck off the post.

Ritchie padded the lead and made it 5-0 with 6:30 left in the game.

There was some confusion shortly after puck drop, possibly related to the Oilers’ lineup card, as Calgary coach Darryl Sutter chatted with officials from behind the bench.

The Flames are back in action in Toronto on Tuesday. The Oilers are off until Friday when they face the Canucks in Vancouver’s first game since their COVID-19 outbreak.

Notes: Edmonton held a ceremony to honour the late Colby Cave earlier Saturday. The 25-year-old Oilers forward died last April after doctors discovered a cyst in his brain. … Mangiapane and Bennett extended their point streaks to four games. … The Oilers placed 27-year-old centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (upper body) on the injured-reserve list earlier Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta expands rapid tests for schools, but critics demand vaccines for teachers

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s premier and education minister say a pilot program that has been using rapid screening tests in some Calgary schools is being expanded to about 300 other schools in the province.

Premier Jason Kenney says approximately 400,000 of the rapid tests will be rolled out for use in junior and senior high schools in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.

He says that will mean rapid testing will be available for approximately 200,000 students and 20,000 staff.

Teachers, however, aren’t being added to the list of professions who are getting prioritized for vaccination — a move that teachers’ organizations have called for.

“We are not going to do this based on, sort of arbitrary pressure, but rather the scientific advice,” Kenney told reporters during a virtual news conference Saturday.

“You could have for example, a 25-year-old teacher who is very healthy and whose risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19 is statistically negligible. But to put that person ahead in the queue of, let’s say a 65-year-old senior with underlying chronic conditions, would be a real misallocation of the scarce supply that we have.”

Kenney also announced Saturday that thousands of health-care workers will become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday, including community physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other professionals like chiropractors, physiotherapists and optometrists.

He said that to support those professions and keep their workplaces safe, their reception, cleaning and secretarial staff are also being made eligible for vaccinations.

The Alberta Teachers Association reacted in a news release by calling the decision to exclude school workers from expansions to the vaccination program “mindboggling.”

“This is the single biggest thing that would make teachers feel safer. Contrary to the premier’s statements, this is offside with national recommendations on immunization and with what is happening in most other provinces,” ATA president Jason Schilling said in the release.

The province says rapid screening tests may potentially detect the virus quickly in people who don’t have symptoms, allowing them to immediately isolate.

Edmonton Catholic Schools welcomed the rapid-testing expansion, but also echoed the ATA’s call for vaccines.

“Allowing for teachers and school support staff to be considered front-line workers so that they can be vaccinated now would ensure maximum safety for our schools,” board chair Sandra Palazzo said in a news release.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said during Saturday’s news conference that the priority for which schools in the four cities that will receive rapid-testing kits depends on how prevalent COVID-19 is in the school or surrounding community, as well as whether a school has experienced previous outbreaks or alerts.

“We are committed to ensuring in-person learning remains safe, and we are working closely with school boards on dealing with the challenges that arise,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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