Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cougars' victory good for Blazers

By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers’ dreams of finishing atop the WHL’s overall standings are alive with five days left in the regular-season.
The visiting Prince George Cougars scored a 5-4 overtime victory over host Tri-City on Tuesday night, a result that left the Blazers, who have three games left, five points behind the Americans, who are atop the overall standings and the Western Conference.
The Cougars, meanwhile, kept their slim playoff hopes alive. They are three points behind the eighth-place Victoria Royals.
The Cougars have two games remaining, both against the Blazers. They’ll play here on Friday and Saturday in Prince George.
The Blazers rode their bus to Spokane on Tuesday and they will meet the Chiefs there tonight.
Goaltender Cole Cheveldave (33-11-5) is expected to start in goal for Kamloops. Forward Chase Schaber (leg) didn’t make the trip and the team captain will miss his fourth straight game. Forward Chase Souto (shoulder) is with the Blazers and may play tonight after sitting out Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.
The Blazers are 3-0-0 against the Chiefs this season.
The Chiefs lost 3-1 to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., last night. That result leaves the Chiefs fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Giants.
The Thunderbirds are ninth, one point behind Victoria and two ahead of the Cougars.
The Everett Silvertips remain seventh, one point ahead of Victoria.
The Americans lead the overall standings by one point over the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Western Conference by two points over the Portland Winterhawks.
The Blazers, as B.C. Division regular-season champions, will be, at worst, the conference’s No. 2 seed and will open the playoffs with games at home on March 23 and 24.

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