By MARK HUNTER
Daily News Sports Reporter
Tim Bozon didn’t get the farewell he deserved Friday, but he certainly had a night to remember.
Bozon had two goals and two assists as the Kootenay Ice defeated the Kamloops Blazers 7-3 at Interior Savings Centre. It was Bozon’s first game in Kamloops since the Blazers traded him and defenceman Landon Cross to the Ice in an October deal that brought Collin Shirley, Matt Thomas and a trio of draft picks to town.
Bozon had been a big reason the Blazers were so successful in 2011-12 and 2012-13, in which the team had more playoff success than it had had in the previous decade combined.
The 19-year-old Bozon has signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens, so likely won’t be back next season. Even then, the Ice, which plays in the Eastern Conference, only stops here every other season.
With this in mind, Bozon played his best game of the season, helping the Ice snap a three-game losing streak.
“I knew it was my last time playing here ever, and obviously I wanted to make it special,” said Bozon, who plays internationally for France. “Lots of emotion right now — for sure it’s going to be my last time, and it feels good.”
Nothing is feeling good for the Blazers, whose losing skid has hit 11 games. And, while they might have felt good about themselves after a pair of close losses to the Kelowna Rockets the previous weekend, there were few positives to gain from Friday’s thumping.
“We didn’t play well at all,” said head coach Dave Hunchak. “Every time we turned the puck over, every time we made a mistake, it ended up in the back of our net. . . .
“I’m very disappointed in our effort tonight.”
Since trading away Bozon and Cross, who played well and earned an assist in the victory, Kamloops has gone 2-9-4.
The Blazers have been decent in some of those games, and absolutely horrible in others.
The latter was the case last night, as Kootenay scored twice in the first period, and put the game away with four goals in the last nine minutes of the second period.
“No emotion, no jump whatsoever from our group tonight,” Hunchak said. “I’m at a loss to explain why that is. We had a good week of practice again, thought we were making steps forward, then we lay an egg like this.”
If the Blazers are trying to forget this one, they certainly haven’t forgotten Bozon, or the fact that he asked to be traded. With this in mind, whoever chooses the three stars left the winger out of the post-game ritual, keeping him from getting a farewell cheer from the fans.
Ice head coach Ryan McGill was fuming after the game, and Bozon seemed a little disappointed.
“I can’t control that, it’s up to whoever picks,” Bozon said. “But, for sure, I really wanted to have a last chance to thank the fans for everything they did over the last two seasons.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it, but I just want to make sure they know that (I’ll) always love them and it was fun to play for the Blazers.”
Jaedon Descheneau had two goals for the Ice, and Matt Alfaro, Zak Zborosky and Luke Philp also scored in the victory. Wyatt Hoflin stopped 30 shots as the Ice was outshot 33-26.
Josh Connolly, Cole Ully and Eric Krienke, with his first career WHL goal, scored for Kamloops. Taran Kozun was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 20 shots; Cole Kehler stopped four of six shots in relief in what was his WHL debut.
Kamloops is home to the Everett Silvertips tonight, 7 o’clock, at ISC.
JUST NOTES: Attendance was 4,053. . . . The Blazers were without G Bolton Pouliot (right hand) and F Aspen Sterzer (lower body) due to injury. Pouliot, who has missed three straight games, is out until after Christmas, while Sterzer, who has sat out two straight, is day-to-day. Hunchak said Sterzer won’t be playing tonight. . . . Kamloops F Joe Kornelsen left Friday’s game with what appeared to be a head injury after taking an early hit from Hudson Elynuik. Kornelsen returned later in the period, but wasn’t on the bench at game’s end. “I’m not sure what the extent is,” Hunchak said. . . . Elynuik was assessed a checking-to-the-head minor on the play. . . . Blazers D Sam Grist was assessed a match penalty for an incident during a third-period fight with Jon Martin. Grist had in his hand Martin’s helmet as he swung for a punch and appeared to hit Martin. He faces a WHL suspension. . . . The Daily News’ Three Stars: 1. Bozon: Everyone in the rink could see he was the best player on the ice; 2. Descheneau: 21 goals playing in the shadow of Sam Reinhart; 3. Reinhart: Great player. . . . The Ice was 3-for-4 on the power play, while Kamloops went 2-for-4.
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