|Killian Hutt of Swift Current is tended to|
by Kamloops trainers Colin Robinson (left) and Pete Friedel,
Dr. Todd Ring and Broncos trainer Jamie LeBlanc
on Friday night at Interior Savings Centre.
(Photo by Murray Mitchell/Kamloops Daily News)
By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports EditorIt should have been a joyous time, what with it being the Kamloops Blazers’ last home game before the Christmas break and the Teddy Bear Toss game, all rolled into one.
Instead, fans who watched the Kamloops Blazers post a 3-2 WHL victory over Swift Current on Friday night left with visions of Broncos forward Killian Hutt on the ice and convulsing, before being taken by ambulance to Royal Inland Hospital.
Hutt, a 19-year-old forward from Edmonton, went down at 9:17 of the third period after taking a shoulder-to-head blindside hit from Kamloops winger Jordan DePape.
DePape, who immediately was set upon by Broncos defenceman Jordan Evans, left with a charging major and game misconduct and almost certainly is looking at a WHL-issued suspension.
With the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Hutt down between the hash marks in the Blazers’ zone, Jamie LeBlanc, the Broncos’ athletic therapist, rushed onto the ice and quickly signalled for help. He soon was joined by Blazers trainer Colin Robinson, assistant trainer Pete Friedel and Dr. Todd Ring.
Hutt, a 19-year-old from Edmonton, was stabilized, placed on a backboard and taken to hospital.
“He was conscious and there was movement in his extremities when he left the ice,” LeBlanc said, adding that he didn’t think it was too serious at first because it looked like Hutt was getting to his feet.
But he then crumpled to the ice and went into convulsions.
“It’s scary,” said Kamloops captain Chase Schaber. “All you can do is hope that he’s OK and that he’ll make it back out.”
At press time, it wasn’t know whether Hutt would spend the night at RIH, just that, as one medical official put it, “he will get a good looking over.”
“Kudos,” LeBlanc said, “to (Robinson) and the staff here. It’s nice to know you can count on people like these at a time like this.”
DePape, meanwhile, was beside himself with concern.
“I’m not a cheap guy like that,” the 6-foot-0, 195-pound DePape said. “I never look for those blindside . . . I guess he didn’t see me coming. I know he’s a smaller guy but, no, I had no intention of hurting him like that.
“I hope he’s OK.”
DePape said he saw Hutt taking a shot and went for the hit.
“It was a physical game,” DePape said. “I had no intention of hurting him. I saw him taking a shot and I hit him. I had no idea. . . . I ended up fighting and had no idea he was still laying on the ground. Until I heard the reaction from the crowd . . . it got pretty quiet. I had absolutely no idea.”
At that point, the Blazers had the game under control, with a 3-1 lead. The Broncos cut that to 3-2 on centre Cody Eakin’s second goal of the game at 17:10, but the visitors didn’t have much spunk left after watching Hutt leave the ice.
The Blazers got one goal from each skater on their big line — left-winger Brendan Ranford got his WHL-leading 26th goal, with Schaber and DePape each adding No. 12.
Ranford’s goal, 49 seconds into the second period, launched a shower of stuffed toys from the 4,332 fans who were in attendance.
If anything, the Blazers won this game with special teams, DePape scoring on their only power-play opportunity and the much-maligned penalty killers going 7-for-7.
“It seemed like there was a lot more (than seven),” Kamloops head coach Guy Charron said. “It’s a credit to the guys who killed penalties. I don’t understand how it can be so lopsided but I guess I can’t really say anything. It baffles me . . . it really does.”
The Blazers held a 3-2 edge in shots at the end of the first period, a result, Charron said, of having to “kill three penalties in the first six minutes. You lose momentum. They were all one after the other.”
(The Blazers took minors at 5:50, 11:50 and 13:46 of the first period.)
“What bothers me,” Charron continued, “is that the calls are made from the person that’s not even close to the play. You got one (referee) next to the play; he doesn’t call it. You got someone away from the play that calls it. It’s happened to us too many times.
“I don’t know what to say. We are one of the most penalized teams in the league and I don’t know why. I really don’t.”
This was the Blazers’ last home game until Dec. 28 and the victory kept them out of the Western Conference basement. They are ninth, but just four points out of second.
“We have some huge road games before the Christmas break,” DePape said. “To get a win at home for our fans was pretty big.”
The Blazers (15-14-2) left after the game for Spokane where they will play the Chiefs tonight. Kamloops then meets the Winterhawks in Portland on Wednesday, before heading to Prince George and a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars.
JUST NOTES: Referees Steve Papp and Ryan Bonnett worked the game. Papp was filling in for Jason Nissen, whose flight out of Portland was cancelled early in the day. . . . Kamloops G Jeff Bosch stopped 16 shots, while Mark Friesen of the Broncos turned aside 17. . . . The Daily News Three Stars: 1. Schaber: Another gritty effort; 2. Ranford: Showed again why he’s a prime-time player; 3. Eakin: Did he ever leave the ice? . . . The Regina Pats have dealt RW Carter Ashton, 19, and a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick to the Tri-City Americans for F Nils Moser, 17, F Tanner Olstad, 18, a 2011 first-round bantam pick and second- and fifth-rounders in the 2012 draft. Ashton was a first-round selection of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2009 draft. . . . Former Blazers G Dustin Butler is the Canada West Husky-WHL graduate of the month for November/December. Butler, who attends the U of Calgary and plays for Dinos, was 2-2-1, 1.12, .966.
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