By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Guy Charron was in his office early Thursday and, yes, he watched the flick from the previous night.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers had stood behind the bench and watched as his charges were felled, 7-3, by the Kootenay Ice, the WHL’s defending champion.
Charron then began the work of preparing his guys for two weekend home games, tonight against the Victoria Royals (11-12-1) and Saturday against the Seattle Thunderbirds (10-11-0).
Kamloops goes into the weekend at 14-7-1, good for fourth spot in the Western Conference, although it has the conference’s second-best winning percentage (.659).
If you weren’t in Interior Savings Centre on Wednesday, you missed a six-goal second-period explosion by the visitors that broke open a 1-1 game.
After watching the video, Charron decided that “the score was not an indication of the game.”
As he pointed out, the Ice had 15 scoring chances, while the Blazers had “18 or 19.”
Of course, such use of numbers gives credence to Mark Twain’s theory that “facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
Because, as Charron was well aware, while his guys owned the third period, outscoring the Ice 2-0, both goals coming via the power play, and outshooting it 11-4, the game had ended in the second period.
The Blazers actually came out of the first period in good shape, despite a major penalty handed to defenceman Josh Caron for a hit to the head of Ice centre Max Reinhart. The WHL has suspended Caron for three games, meaning he won’t play this weekend.
Still, the Blazers came out of the first period tied 1-1. The home side also held an 11-8 edge in shots.
“Even though we took the major penalty,” Charron said, “I thought we did very well. Our first period was dominant.”
The second period, however, was a different story. The Ice scored six times on eight shots, while the Blazers mustered only two scoring chances.
“Their second period was dominant . . .,” Charron said. “In the third, we outchanced them. But, in saying that, you (allow a team to) score x number of goals on x number of shots, it’s going to be tough to win the hockey game.”
The Blazers’ downfall began with two penalties — a goaltender interference call against left-winger Brendan Ranford and a checking-from-behind minor to defenceman Austin Madaisky — in the period’s first five minutes.
The Ice scored on each of the power plays to take a 3-1 lead. And the Blazers were done, if for no other reason than they now were too caught up in the work of referee Derek Zalaski.
“For sure . . . for sure . . . for sure,” Charron said. “That’s a valid point, for sure.
“Something we as a team have to get better at is dealing with some of the adversity. For me, we didn’t play badly, but we didn’t . . . when things go well for us on the road we are more focused to play the way we need to play and at home we get away from it a little bit.”
So the work in progress will continued tonight against Marc Habscheid’s Royals, who have won three of their last 10 games and have given up a WHL-high 121 goals.
With Caron out, Brady Gaudet, 17, draws back into the Blazers’ lineup after being a healthy scratch for three straight games. Landon Cross, another 17-year-old defenceman, has been a healthy scratch for six straight games and nine of the last 10, but may play tonight in place of Tyler Bell.
Two Kamloops forwards — team captain Chase Schaber and freshman winger Cole Ully — were missing from practice yesterday.
Charron said Schaber was given a maintenance day — “He’s resting. He’s been banged up for quite some time,” Charron said — while Ully has a “lower body injury.”
And who to start in goal? Cole Cheveldave started Wednesday and gave up four goals on 12 shots, before being relieved by Cam Lanigan, who was beaten three times on four shots. Cheveldave re-entered and stopped the last six shots he faced.
So . . . Cheveldave is expected to make his fourth straight start tonight.
JUST NOTES: Caron will be eligible to return for a game in Victoria on Wednesday. The Blazers also play in Victoria on Tuesday. . . . Kamloops D Bronson Maschmeyer was playing the role of proud brother yesterday, after his sister, Emerance, a 17-year-old goaltender, was named to the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World championship in Prerov and Zlin, Czech Republic, Dec. 31 through Jan. 7. Emerance plays for the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . The Royals signed F Ben Walker, 18, from the Edina, Minn., High School Hornets on Monday. He could make his WHL debut tonight. . . . Victoria remains without D Tyler Stahl (concussion), who was injured on Oct. 1. . . . Seattle, which has won three in a row, is at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight. . . . Seattle F Branden Troock, 17, is back after missing all of last season with what was thought to be a concussion. In short, it turned out to be a problem with a nerve in his neck that was mimicking a concussion. He now visits an acupuncturist once a week and, so far, it’s keeping him in the lineup.
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