By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers may not know until Tuesday just who will be available to play against the visiting Regina Pats that evening.
That's because the WHL is expected to discipline the Blazers for their part in a melee following the second period of what would become a 6-4 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland on Saturday night.
“Video will be viewed (today) to review the entire situation to determine what all took place,” a WHL official told The Daily News on Sunday night.
As the period drew to an end, with Portland holding a 4-3 lead, Winterhawks forward Brad Ross and centre Dylan Willick of the Blazers were fighting. As the officials got that cleaned up, both teams left their benches to go to their respective dressing rooms.
Portland winger Nino Niederreiter shot Willick's helmet along the ice and past Blazers goaltender Jeff Bosch in the direction of the exit to the Kamloops dressing room. Bosch and some of the Winterhawks exchanged words and the goaltender soon was surrounded. He and Portland goaltender Mac Carruth ended up fighting, with Bosch emerging with a cut to his forehead and a black eye.
At the same time, forwards JC Lipon of Kamloops and Seth Swenson of Portland were slugging it out at centre ice.
The fact that both goaltenders fought is likely to be worth a $250 fine to each team.
The WHL also may fine both teams for being involved in a multi-fight situation, if it rules that the three fights that occurred all were part of the same incident.
However, Willick and Ross had left the ice before the other two fights occurred.
At the same time, though, Kamloops left-winger Brendan Ranford and Portland defenceman Joe Morrow exchanged blows in one corner but weren't given fighting majors. Referees Matt Thurston and Derek Zalaksi gave Ranford a roughing minor and hit Morrow with two roughing minors.
On Sunday, the WHL announced that Morrow and Swenson had been suspended pending an investigation, thus couldn't play in a 3-1 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night.
The Blazers also lost captain Chase Schaber with a game misconduct, apparently for coming in contact with a linesman at some point during all of this.
Craig Bonner, the Blazers' general manager, wasn't in Portland - he was scouting on the Lower Mainland - but said he expects the Blazers to receive some discipline.
“I haven't talked to the league,” Bonner said, “but I don't think (Schaber) will (be suspended) but I don't know. I'm assuming Lipon will . . . for fighting at the end of the period. Swenson sat out (Sunday) . . . that was the guy Lipon fought.”
Bonner also said he is concerned that Ranford may end up with a suspension, if only because Morrow wasn't allowed to play last night.
With Portland losing Morrow and Swenson, Bonner said, “if it's going like that, my guess is Lipon and maybe Ranford will be suspended.”
Bonner spoke with trainer Colin Robinson about Bosch on Sunday.
“He had a black eye and we'll probably know more (Monday),” Bonner said. “He didn't think there would be any time missed. It was black and swollen but he didn't think it would be a big issue.”
The Winterhawks improved to 20-3-1 with the victory, their 14th in 15 games, as they became the first team to win 20 games this season.
While Portland is riding high atop the 10-team Western Conference, the Blazers (11-11-1) now find themselves in last place. A week ago, Kamloops was tied for fifth, just one point out of third.
This morning, the Blazers are in last place, one point behind the Chiefs, Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars, who are tied for seventh.
The Winterhawks scored the game's first three goals, only to have the Blazers, led by Ranford, roar back and tie it. Ranford got his club on the board at 3:59 of the second period and drew assists on goals by Schaber, at 15:09, and Bronson Maschmeyer, at 17:18, the latter on the power play.
However, Portland centre Ty Rattie put his guys out front at 18:49 and after that the Winterhawks never trailed.
Niederreiter, with two, Taylor Aronson, Spencer Bennett and Ryan Johansen had Portland's other goals.
Centre Dalibor Bortnak also scored for the Blazers, pulling them to within one at 9:34 of the third period.
Carruth stopped 22 shots before his exit, with Keith Hamilton coming on to turn aside 13. At the other end, Bosch kicked out 24 shots, with Cam Lanigan blocking 12 of 14 during the third period.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers had dropped a 4-2 decision to the Silvertips in Everett on Friday night. . . . Ranford leads the WHL in goals (21) and is fourth in points (37), four points off the lead. . . . Saturday's victory, in its first home game since a 5-1-0 run through the East Division, meant Portland had won 14 of its last 15 games. . . . Kamloops ended up taking 101 of the 166 penalty minutes handed out in the game. . . . Portland was 3-for-7 on the power play; the Blazers were 1-for-5. . . . Even though the Blazers never led after Bosch's expulsion, Lanigan is credited with the loss because he gave up Portland's fifth goal, which stood as the winner.
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