(Red Deer Rebels photo)
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers have added the enigmatic Charles Inglis to their roster.
Inglis, 20, was sent home to Saskatoon by Brent Sutter, the owner/general manager/interim head coach of the Red Deer Rebels last week to await a trade.
That trade occurred Monday morning when the Blazers surrendered a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.
WHL teams rarely reveal what constitutes such ‘conditions’ but, in this case, it could be that the draft pick changes hands only if Inglis remains on the Blazers’ roster after the WHL trade deadline of Jan. 10.
WHL teams are allowed to have three 20-year-olds on their rosters. Inglis replaces right-winger Jordan DePape, who ended his WHL career on Saturday because of right shoulder problems. DePape has returned to Winnipeg and will have surgery on Nov. 26. Dr. Peter MacDonald, who did reconstructive surgery on DePape’s left shoulder a year ago, will handle this one, too.
Inglis, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound centre, has played with three other WHL teams and been traded three times.
The Saskatoon Blades selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 bantam draft. He played two full seasons with the Blades, recording 37 points in 64 games in the second one (2009-10), before he was dealt to the Prince George Cougars for a second-round selection in the 2011 bantam draft.
He had 60 points, including 32 goals, in 69 games with the Cougars in 2010-11. But 16 games into last season – and following a game in Kamloops – Cougars management tired of his off-ice indiscretions and sent him home to await a trade.
Inglis said he was “happy to get out of Prince George,” saying that he felt he wasn’t treated fairly. The Cougars chose not to comment.
Inglis ended up in Red Deer – the Cougars got back forward Daulton Siwak and a 2012 third-round draft pick – and put up 26 points in 36 games. This season, he led the Rebels in goals (11) and points (14) when Sutter sent him home last week.
“I’m more than excited,” Inglis said Monday afternoon. “This is a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.
Asked what happened in Red Deer, he replied: “I’m not too sure. Brent said they were playing younger guys . . . I likely wouldn’t have played Saturday (in a 2-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos).
“I was doing my best and I worked hard. In Red Deer, I did everything they asked. I took on a leadership role . . . things just didn‘t work out.”
Sutter appeared on The Pipeline Show on Saturday. When asked about Inglis’s departure from Red Deer, Sutter replied:
“Well I'll put it this way. At this point in time he was the leading goal scorer on the team, he was the leading scorer on the team and when a general manager has to send him home . . . I don't think I need to say any more than that."
Inglis is scheduled to practise with the Blazers today and could be in the lineup Wednesday against the visiting Regina Pats. It is expected that he will play centre with Brendan Ranford on the left side and perhaps Joe Kornelsen opening on right wing.
“That would be good,” Inglis said of playing with Ranford. “He and I could have some good chemistry.”
Lost in the departure of DePape on Saturday night was Kornelsen’s debut.
The Blazers acquired Kornelsen on Friday, sending a fifth-round selection in the 2013 WHL bantam draft to the Calgary Hitmen in exchange.
Kornelsen was in the Blazers’ lineup, playing mostly on a line with Ranford and Matt Needham, for a 5-4 shootout victory over Prince George at Interior Savings Centre on Saturday. He also took a regular turn killing penalties.
“My first period wasn’t very good . . . nerves,” Kornelsen admitted later. “I thought I started playing better in the second and third.”
After that shaky first 20 minutes, the native of Abbotsford settled down and turned in a workmanlike effort. In 188 career regular-season WHL games, he has 62 points, including 24 goals. This season, he has yet to score, with four assists in 19 games.
This was the second trade of Kornelsen’s career. On Oct. 26, 2011, he and defenceman Collin Bowman, along with a 2012 fourth-round bantam draft pick, went to the Hitmen with the Warriors getting forwards Justin Kirsch and Kenton Miller.
“This (trade) is different because the last time I got traded it was with a teammate,” Kornelsen said. “This one, I’m on my own.”
However, he added, “it’s nice knowing” a couple of his new teammates.
Kornelsen and winger Rob Trzonkowski, who was acquired over the summer, were teammates in Calgary, and Kornelsen and centre Colin Smith were roommates with Team Pacific at the U17 World Hockey Challenge three years ago.
Kornelsen also is familiar with Kamloops associate coach Dave Hunchak, who was the head coach in Moose Jaw when he played there. As well, assistant trainer Jan Antons worked with the Hitmen last season.
Kornelsen didn’t dress for his last game with the Hitmen, a 4-0 loss to the visiting Kootenay Ice on Nov. 13. The next day, the Hitmen revealed that forward Victor Rask, 19, a 33-goal man last season, was on his way back from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
“I got scratched the night before he got sent back so I kind of knew something was up,” Kornelsen said.
The Blazers unveiled a new look to their power play during Saturday’s victory over the Cougars.
During their 14-game winning streak, the Blazers got a lot of mileage out of a formation that would culminate with someone, usually left-winger Tim Bozon, getting great chances off a play to him at opposing goaltender’s blind side.
But as that winning streak wound down, teams started to take away that play. Which is how the Blazers came to go 1-for-23 in losing five of six games.
In winning their last two games, they went 2-for-8, scoring once with the man advantage in each game.
On Saturday, the Blazers, with the puck in the offensive zone, had a defenceman start the power play on the point and then go to the front of the net. It worked on their third goal — Cole Ully’s second of the game gave them a 3-2 lead early in the third period — when Sam Grist charged from the blue-line to screen Prince George goaltender Mac Engel.
The Blazers are expected to start goaltender Cole Cheveldave Wednesday against the Pats, who will be playing their fourth game in six nights — and second in two nights — on this B.C. tour. Regina spent Monday travelling from Victoria to Prince George for a game tonight.
Cheveldave was good in Friday’s 6-4 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks, although he felt he had some problems with rebound control.
Against Prince George, head coach Guy Charron said, Cheveldave “didn’t have one of his better games. (He gave up) a couple of goals along the ice and those are the goals that usually aren’t scored against him.”
Cheveldave also got help in the shootout when Zach Pochiro put a shot off the crossbar and Alex Forsberg hit the outside of a post.
In the end, though, Cheveldave, a 19-year-old sophomore, got the victory. He is 8-0-0 against the Cougars.
Even though Saturday’s game was in doubt until right-winger JC Lipon won it in the fourth round of the shootout — and Cheveldave stopped forward Jordan Tkatch — the Blazers’ offence showed that it is out of its slump.
In the second period, the Blazers had 16 shots on goal. More importantly, Charron said his side had 15 scoring chances.
“I thought their goaltender played exceptionally well,” Charron said. “With 15 scoring chances in the second period, what can I say? The puck didn’t go in. We played against a hot goaltender.”
Early in the second period, Engel came across to take an apparent empty net away from Bozon, who didn’t let up as he rifled the puck on what he must have thought would be his 16th goal. Instead, the puck ended up in Engel’s big trapper.
Bozon, gritting his teeth, could only skate into a corner, muttering to himself.
JUST NOTES: After Wednesday, the Blazers will be at home to the Saskatoon Blades on Friday and the Vancouver Giants on Saturday. . . . Lipon goes into this week with the WHL lead in goals (21) and points (50). C Colin Smith has the lead in assists (33) and is second in points (49). . . . Bozon is tied for fourth, with 36 points. . . . Smith was named the WHL’s player of the week on Monday, the second time this season he has won the honour. . . . The Blazers have added G Cameron Pateman, 16, to their protected list. From Regina, he is 4-2-2, 1.23, .937 with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. Two other players off that team – F Jayden Halbgewachs and F Mitch Lipon, JC’s younger brother – also are on the Blazers’ list.
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