By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The video told the story, just as Kamloops Blazers head coach Guy Charron had said it would.
The Blazers outchanced the Spokane Chiefs 24-11 in Wednesday night’s WHL game at Interior Savings Centre.
That’s what Tim O’Donovan, the communications and media co-ordinator who handles the Blazers’ video work, discovered when he went over the game video. O’Donovan said it was the fourth time in five games that the Blazers have had more chances than the opposition.
The Blazers, though, are struggling to score. They have counted just 13 times which, more than anything, is why their record is 1-3-0-1, including Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Spokane. In fact, the Blazers have lost four straight games since opening the season with a 5-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars.
Kamloops has an opportunity to get back on track tonight, 7 o’clock, when it entertains the Prince Albert Raiders (3-3-0-0), who spent yesterday in our town after arriving late Wednesday.
The Blazers were without five regulars against Spokane and will have two of them back tonight as defencemen Linden Saip and Brandon Underwood return from WHL-issued suspensions.
However, right-wingers Jordan DePape (shoulder) and Chase Souto (concussion) remain sidelined, as does defenceman Josh Caron (broken collarbone).
DePape skated yesterday for the first time since being injured in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. But he is likely to miss all three weekend games — the Blazers go home-and-home with the Vancouver Giants on Saturday (there) and Monday afternoon (here) — before possibly returning on Wednesday against the Rockets in Kelowna.
“We don’t want to take a chance now,” Charron said of DePape. “The games are important for us to win but you don’t want to put a guy in jeopardy.”
Souto, who came out of that Everett game with a concussion, rode a stationary bike and did some weightlifting yesterday. But he has yet to get medical clearance to return to practice so isn’t expected to play on the weekend.
As well, centre Chase Schaber, the Blazers’ captain, didn’t practise yesterday. He left Wednesday’s game at 15:45 of the third period, favouring his left shoulder after getting tangled in traffic and falling to the ice deep in Spokane’s zone. Schaber missed little playing time after receiving treatment from trainer Colin Robinson and managed to take part, unsuccessfully, in the shootout.
However, after watching the end of yesterday’s practice, Schaber said he would be good to go tonight.
The Blazers will make a goaltending change, meaning that Jeff Bosch, who was acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 17, will make his second start of the season, but his first at home. In his first, the Blazers lost 6-1 to the Bruins in Chilliwack on Saturday. That was the only game in which the Blazers have been outchanced.
Jon Groenheyde, who is in his third season here, has gone the distance in the other four games, putting up a 3.19 GAA with a .895 save percentage.
Groenheyde hasn’t played poorly, but with the Blazers struggling on offence, the coaching staff is looking for sparks.
“Penalty killing is a team-builder,” Charron said. “Key saves are a team-builder.”
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