Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blazers trim roster to 29

Following their intrasquad game on Tuesday night, the Kamloops Blazers trimmed 17 players from their roster.
D MacKenzie Ferner (Vernon, B.C.), F Mitch Friesen (Surrey, B.C.), F Brayden Gelsinger (Regina), F Eric Krienke (Calgary), G Braden Krogfoss (Cloverdale, B.C.), G Scott Lapp (Surrey, B.C.), F Matt McLeod (Saskatoon), F Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary), F Tre Potskin (Prince George) and F Evan Tordiff (Fort Smith, N.W.T.) are expected to play for midget AAA teams this season.
D Tyson Harvey (Nanaimo, B.C.) and F Diego Cuglietta (Kamloops) will play for the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International junior league, with F Jared Marchi (Kimberley, B.C.) joining his hometown Dynamiters, who play in the KIJHL.
D Braden Pears (Duncan, B.C.), D Ryan Rehill (Edmonton), F Cam Rowat (Souris, Man.) and G Troy Trombley (Sherwood Park, Alta.) will be joining junior A teams.
With those players having been assigned, the Blazers’ roster is down to 29 players — 16 forwards, 10 defencemen and three goaltenders.
It is fair to say that there haven’t been any surprises in the Blazers’ camp, which wrapped up with the intrasquad game.
The three goaltenders still standing are Cam Lanigan, 19, who has played in 90 regular-season WHL games with the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Blazers but who has a lot to prove after a horrible finish to last season; G Cole Cheveldave, the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Drumheller Dragons last season; and, Taran Kozun, who starred with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. Cheveldave is 18; Kozun is 17.
The Blazers will open the exhibition season on Friday against the visiting Victoria Royals. The six exhibition games will determine the pecking order for the goaltenders come the regular-season opener on Sept. 24 when the Prince George Cougars come calling.
One of the remaining 10 defencemen, Jordan Thomson, is the only 15-year-old still on the roster. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, he will be heading home to Wawanesa, Man., sometime during the long weekend.
The Blazers are carrying six veteran defencemen, with three rookies looking for spots — Tyler Bell of Regina and Landon Cross of Regina both are 17, while Josh Connolly of Prince George is 16. Connolly is the younger brother of Prince George Cougars star Brett Connolly.
The Blazers will have two defencemen — Josh Caron (Minnesota) and Austin Madaisky (Columbus) — going to pro camp, so they may carry Bell, Cross and Connolly for a while.
Of the 16 remaining forwards, 10 are veterans, while Matt Needham (13 games) and Aspen Sterzer (10) got a taste of the WHL with the Blazers last season.
Swiss F Tim Bozon, Dallas Calvin of Trail, B.C., Devin Oakes of Prince Rupert, B.C., and Cole Ully of Calgary are the other newcomers still on the roster.
Needham (elbow) and veteran F Jordan DePape (hip flexor) didn’t play in the intrasquad game, while veteran F J.C. Lipon left in the third period with an injury to his left leg.
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