By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
If by chance the Kamloops Blazers were at all concerned about sophomore goaltender Cole Cheveldave, those doubts were erased Tuesday night.
Cheveldave, playing for Team Blue, stopped 26 of 27 shots in the first half of the annual Blue-White intrasquad game, although his side went on to drop a 5-3 decision to Team White before about 400 fans.
This was Cheveldave’s first ‘game’ action since he suffered a concussion late in Game 1 of a second-round WHL playoff series with the Portland Winterhawks on April 6.
“I just wanted to get going,” the 19-year-old Calgary native said. “I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Cheveldave was injured when he was run over by Portland forward Oliver Gabriel late in a game the Blazers would lose 5-3. Cheveldave, who had been the Blazers’ starting goaltender since early in the season, didn’t play again.
“I felt good tonight,” he said. “I trained hard all summer and I got quicker. I always work to get better.”
This was only an intrasquad game but Cheveldave looked sharp for a team that was badly outworked.
“Chevy kept us in the game for the first two periods,” offered winger Brendan Ranford, who had a goal and an assist for Team Blue. “(Brayden) Krogfoss played well for us, as well.
“It was a good game but it was a little bit scrambly. You’re going to get that in an intrasquad game but, hey, it was a good hockey game.”
The score was 1-1 after two periods, despite Team White holding a 30-18 edge in shots.
The dam finally broke in the third period as the teams combined for six goals, three of them shorthanded and two on the power play.
Jordan DePape, Tim Bozon, Mitch Lipon, the younger brother of veteran J.C. Lipon, Colin Smith and Charlie Gawlicki scored for the winners, with Smith’s shorthanded goal breaking a 3-3 tie at 14:50 of the third period.
Matt Needham and Jayden Halbgewachs also scored for Team Blue.
This was more shinny than intense hockey, as these games have a tendency to be, although Team White’s Chase Souto tried to inject some feistiness late in the second period. But other than exchanging words and shoves with Blue’s J.C. Lipon and Jaiden Focht, it didn’t amount to much.
Souto was one of the better players, too, as he continually went to the net and created havoc if not chances.
JUST NOTES: After the game, the Blazers trimmed their roster to 31 players. . . . Dan De Palma, the Blazers’ goaltending coach, handled Team White, while assistant coach Ed Patterson ran Team Blue. . . . Three veterans sat out last night — F Dylan Willick (lower body), D Tyler Hansen and D Austin Madaisky. With the latter two not dressing, it gave younger defencemen the opportunity to show their stuff. . . . Willick said he expects to take part in practice today. . . . The Blazers have signed D Cameron Reagan of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He had 27 points in 30 games with a bantam team in Sherwood Park last season. He is likely to play there with a midget AAA team this season. . . . Kamloops now has signed its first three 2012 draft picks, having earlier signed F Jayden Halgbewachs, a first-round selection from Emerald Park, Sask., and F Nick Chyzowski of Kamloops, who was taken in the second round. . . . Halbgewachs picked up a goal and an assist last night. . . . Bozon added two assists to his goal for Team White. . . . The only thing close to a scrap occurred late in the game when veterans Aspen Sterzer and Tyler Bell roughed it up a bit. . . . The Blazers play their first exhibition game on Thursday when the Victoria Royals visit Interior Savings Centre. Game time is 7 p.m. . . . The same teams meet Friday in Maple Ridge.
(x – veteran; y – injured; year of birth in parentheses)
Goal (2) — x-Cole Cheveldave (93), Calgary; Taran Kozun (94), Nipawin, Sask.
Defence (10) — x-Tyler Bell (94), Regina; Connor Clouston (96), Medicine Hat; Josh Connolly (95), Prince George; x-Landon Cross (94), Brandon; x-Brady Gaudet (94), Redvers, Sask.; x-Tyler Hansen (93), Magrath, Alta; x-Marek Hrbas (93), Plzen, Czech Republic; x-Austin Madaisky (92), Surrey; Ryan Rehill (95), Edmonton; Jordan Thomson (96), Wawanesa, Man.
Forwards (19) — x-Brock Balson (93), Kamloops; x-Tim Bozon (94), Lugano, Switzerland; Nick Chyzowski (97), Kamloops; x-Jordan DePape (92), Winnipeg; Mitch Friesen (96), Surrey; Brayden Gelsinger (95), Regina; Jayden Halbgewachs (97), Emerald Park, Sask.; x-J.C. Lipon (93), Regina; Aaron Macklin (95), High River, Alta.; x-Matt Needham (95), Penticton; y-Devin Oakes (95), Prince Rupert; x-Brendan Ranford (92), Edmonton; Jesse Shynkaruk (96), Saskatoon; x-Colin Smith (93), Edmonton; x-Chase Souto (94), Yorba Linda, Calif.; x-Aspen Sterzer (94), Canal Flats; x-Rob Trzonkowski (94), Calgary; x-Cole Ully (95), Calgary; xy-Dylan Willick (92), Prince George.
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