Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blazers win, deal Caron

Chase Schaber and Brendan Ranford lit up Victoria’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday night.
Schaber scored three goals and Ranford drew four assists as the Kamloops Blazers escaped with a 4-3 WHL victory over the host Victoria Royals.
The game ended with the Royals holding a 6-on-4 advantage — they were on the power play and goaltender Keith Hamilton was on the bench. However, the home team wasn’t able to beat Kamloops goaltender Cole Cheveldave.
Following the game, the Blazers announced they have traded veteran defenceman Josh Caron, 20, to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. The two teams had been talking about this trade since at least Thursday. Caron, who didn’t make the trip to Victoria, completed a three-game suspension when he sat out last night’s game.
Caron, one of the toughest players and most-feared scrappers in the WHL, played 128 games with the Blazers, picking up 15 points and 375 penalty minutes. Caron never was selected in the NHL draft, but he went to camp with the Minnesota Wild prior to last season and signed a contract before returning to the Blazers.
This was the second recent deal between these teams. On Nov. 14, the Blazers sent right-winger J.T. Barnett to Everett for a third-round selection in the 2013 draft.
Interestingly, the Silvertips are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Dec. 7.
The Blazers have been carrying eight defencemen, meaning freshmen Tyler Bell and Landon Cross haven’t been able to get into the lineup on a consistent basis. Cross was a healthy scratch last night.
By moving Caron, the Blazers also open up a spot for a 20-year-old player. A WHL team is allowed to have three such players on their roster; the Blazers other two are Schaber and defenceman Bronson Maschmeyer.
The Silvertips had room for a 20-year-old after sending centre Tyler Maxwell to the Edmonton Oil Kings last week. Their other 20-year-olds are F Josh Birkholz and D Brennan Yadlowski.
Caron also becomes one of nine defencemen on the Everett roster, although Silvertips fans aren’t likely to see Ryan Murray until some time in January. He is out with an ankle injury and isn’t likely to play for them before head for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp early next month.
Schaber, who has played hurt for most of the last month, finished last night’s game with the second three-goal game of his WHL career; it came in his 241st regular-season game. He also scored three times in a 6-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Feb. 27, 2010.
Ranford enjoyed the first four-assist game of his career; he had drawn three assists in a game on four occasions. He now has six points in his last two games after recording a goal and an assist Saturday in an 8-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.
This was the start of a stretch of four games in five nights for the Blazers. They will play in Victoria again tonight, then return home to face the Prince George Cougars on Friday and the Royals on Saturday.
The Blazers (17-7-1) remain fourth in the Western Conference, but are only one point behind the Vancouver Giants (17-9-2) and Portland Winterhawks (17-9-2). Kamloops, which is 9-2-0 against B.C. Division opponents, is 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
The Royals, meanwhile, are 11-15-1. They have lost four in a row and eight of nine, and are seventh in the 10-team conference.
Last night, Schaber scored the game’s first, third and fifth goals. He gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, then broke 1-1 and 2-2 ties, his third goal coming at 5:33 of the third period.
Right-winger J.C. Lipon upped the Blazers’ lead to 4-2 at 14:54 of the third period. That goal proved important as centre Logan Nelson pulled Victoria to within one just a minute later.
Jamie Crooks had Victoria’s first two goals.
Cheveldave, an 18-year-old freshman from Calgary, stopped 26 shots as he made his sixth straight start. He also improved his record to 10-3-1.
Hamilton also finished with 26 saves.
JUST NOTES: Announced attendance was 4,400. . . . Lipon’s ninth goal was his 22nd point this season. He had 21 points in 65 games last season. . . . Kamloops D Brady Gaudet had two assists, giving him five over his last two games. He also has nine in 17 games this season; last season, he finished with seven in 56 games. . . . The Blazers were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Royals were 0-for-3. . . . Victoria F Kevin Sundher picked up two assists. The first was his 218th regular-season point. That broke the franchise’s career record that had been held by F Ryan Howse, who now is with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. . . . The Blazers scratched F Jordan DePape (shoulder), Caron, Cross and F Chase Souto. . . . When the Cougars are at Interior Savings Centre on Friday night, it’ll be the annual Teddy Bear/Toque Toss.

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