By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports EditorThe Kamloops Blazers played Friday night without right-winger Jordan DePape.
They will have to get used to it as the 19-year-old Winnipegger is expected to miss at least four months of the WHL season with a dislocated left shoulder that is
Without DePape, the Blazers beat the host Portland Winterhawks 5-4 in overtime last night as goaltender Cam Lanigan stopped 37 shots, including two penalty shots, and left-winger Brendan Ranford scored four goals and set up another.
Chase Schaber had the Blazers’ other goal. Ty Rattie, Brad Ross, Sven Bartschi and Nic Petan scored for Portland (4-4-1).
The Blazers (5-2-0) are back at it tonight, 7 o’clock, at Interior Savings Centre as they face the Prince George Cougars (3-5-1), who have been sitting in Kamloops awaiting the Blazers.
DePape, meanwhile, flew home to Winnipeg yesterday afternoon. He expects to undergo surgery and, with the help of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, hopes to be back with the Blazers before the end of the season. DePape played for the Jets’ rookie team at the Young Guns tournament in Penticton in September.
“I dislocated the shoulder and now need repairs all around that area,” DePape said.
DePape was injured Monday afternoon when he got into a scrap with right-winger Emerson Etem of the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.
“It was right when I grabbed Etem and brought him in, before any punches were thrown,” DePape recalled. “I heard ‘POP!’ and in my head, I’m, like, ‘Oh, no!’ For the rest of the fight, I was just, like, ’I’m just going to hold on and get this over with.’ That was all I could do.
“I was scared as hell, to be honest with you.”
For the first couple of days, DePape thought he might be out a month or so. But then he got the bad news.
“It was some tough news,” he said. “It’s out of my control now, other than to get back in tip-top shape eventually.”
DePape has an appointment with Dr. Peter MacDonald, a renowned orthopedic surgeon, in Winnipeg on Monday morning.
“He is supposed to be one of the best around,” said DePape. “He’ll have a look at my MRI and X-rays and see what needs to be done.”
Two of DePape’s friends -- twin brothers Jeremy and Josh Schappert, both of whom played with the Seattle Thunderbirds -- have had shoulder surgeries performed by Dr. MacDonald.
“Jeremy said Dr. MacDonald saved his hockey career,” DePape said.
DePape had 48 points, including 21 goals, in 54 games last season. This season, he had five points, including three goals, in six games. Last season, he found some chemistry with Schaber and Ranford on the Blazers’ top line and the coaching staff was hoping they could recapture that magic again.
“My goal now,” DePape said, “is to come back at the end of February or early March and play hockey again.”
The Cougars arrived in Kamloops on Thursday after completing a 2-4 swing through the East Division on Wednesday with a 5-4 loss to the Swift Current Broncos. The Cougars then had a leisurely trip west — they lunched with former pro wrestling star Bret (Hitman) Hart in Calgary — before arriving in Kamloops. Last night, while the Blazers were playing in Portland, the Cougars went bowling.
The Blazers also are at home Sunday, 6 p.m., against the Kelowna Rockets. That will be the third game in as many nights for the Rockets, too, as they are in Victoria for a doubleheader with the Royals.
Kelowna opened the season with three straight victories, but now has lost four in a row. Last night in Victoria, the Rockets blew a 5-3 lead and dropped a 7-5 decision to the Royals.
JUST NOTES: Ranford enjoyed career highs with four goals and five points. He has two four-point games to his credit, both in 2010-11. He also had two three-goal games, one in each of the last two seasons. . . . With DePape on the long-term injury list, the Blazers are carring 24 players, including three goaltenders and 13 forwards. . . . Last night, the Blazers scratched D Tyler Bell, F Logan McVeigh, D Landon Cross and G Cole Cheveldave. . . . The Cougars are without F Brett Connolly, who is with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, D Jesse Forsberg (shoulder), F Brock Hirsche (undisclosed), D Joshua Smith (WHL suspension) and F Charles Inglis (WHL suspension). . . . As well, the Cougars have released F Wilson Dumais. . . . D Dane Phaneuf, 17, who was released by the Cougars before the season began, has been claimed on waivers by the QMJHL’s P.E.I. Rocket. He is the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs D Dion Phaneuf. . . . The Rockets are without D Madison Bowey (knee), who was injured in an exhibition game in Kamloops, and F Brett Bulmer, who is with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
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