The Kamloops Blazers headed into the weekend knowing that a real test awaited them. The next three games would be a true measuring stick.
They were looking at three games, against the Prince Albert Raiders, Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips.
The Blazers easily passed the first one on Friday, as they posted a 5-2 victory over the Raiders, who
were victimized by some shaky goaltending and whose skill level doesn’t match up with what’s in the Kamloops lineup.
|Don Hay, the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, was|
impressed with the Prince George Cougars
on Saturday night.(Photo: Christopher Mast, mastimages.com)
But the look on head coach Don Hay’s face after Saturday’s 7-0 loss to the Cougars told you all you needed to know about Part 2.
No, it wasn’t pretty.
(In fact, it matched the worst shutout loss on home ice in franchise history. The Blazers also suffered 7-0 home losses to the Spokane Chiefs on Feb. 17, 2010, and Everett on Dec.7, 2013.)
The Cougars had dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Thursday night. Prince George head coach Richard Matvichuk responded by having his guys on the ice on Friday at 9 a.m. Yes, he skated them hard.
By Saturday night, his charges were well-rested but you can bet that the memory of Friday morning coming down was fresh in their minds. They knew, too, that they needed a victory to at least maintain a piece of first place in the overall standings.
So the Cougars came out and dominated the Blazers in every aspect of the game. They go into the week atop the standings, one point ahead of Everett and the Regina Pats.
“They didn’t give us a chance to make plays,” Hay said. “Give them credit.”
Hay added that he was “not happy with our performance.”
How unhappy was he? The Blazers finished the first and second periods on the power play. In both instances, Hay had his pluggers on the ice, while his gunners sat and watched.
The Cougars came out of the first period with a 3-0 lead, with the first of those goals coming while they were shorthanded.
The visitors upped that lead to 4-0 with another shorthanded goal at 14:21 of the second period.
“We were a little bit better in the second period,” Hay said. “But their fourth goal was another shorthanded goal. Shorthanded goals really take away your momentum.
“We have to be better if we want to compete against the top teams.”
He mentioned Prince George, Everett and the Pats, who are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Nov. 25. Regina has yet to lose in regulation time as it heads out on a six-game road trip.
The Cougars, meanwhile, were most impressive on Saturday as they beat the Blazers for the second time in a week, having won 4-2 at home on No 5.
Asked what he felt was the difference between these Cougars and recent editions, Hay mentioned “discipline” and “more focus on how they have to play the game.”
The Cougars really were disciplined, although they rarely, if ever, were challenged physically by the Blazers. Prince George also had its way around the Kamloops net with Connor Ingram and Dylan Ferguson, the home team’s goaltenders, spending a lot of time on their butts or pressed up against the cross-bar.
As Hay said, his club didn’t play with much “spirit . . . and that was really disappointing.”
The Silvertips will play in Kamloops on Wednesday, just 24 hours after playing host to the Calgary Hitmen.
Everett is 14-2-3, including a 6-0-2 run in its last eight outings.
Kamloops (11-10-1) is 5-4-1 in its last 10.
If you have ever wondered about what it costs to run an arena, Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has a piece right here about the ShoWare Centre, the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, and how it lost $312,298 through the end of this year’s third quarter. That actually is good news because it is more than $300,000 better than projections. . . . Hunter writes: “Fans at concerts and hockey games are known to spend lots of money on concessions, which increased the food and beer sales. Food sales brought in $542,349 for the first nine months, about $207,000 above projections. Beer sales were at $686,681, nearly $230,000 higher than budget.”
In 1965-66 #Blackhawks G Glenn Hall edged D Al MacNeil 2-1 in assists. MacNeil: "You know why? Because Glenn played all the power plays."— Dave Stubbs (@Dave_Stubbs) November 14, 2016
The more I watch shootouts the more I want to see the return of ties. It really shouldn't feel like a win or a loss after a shootout.— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) November 14, 2016
At Brandon, F Stelio Mattheos scored in a shootout to give the Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . On Saturday night, it was Mattheos’s shootout goal that gave the Wheat Kings a 4-3
victory in Swift Current. . . . Last night, Mattheos was the only one of six shooters to score in the circus. . . . The Wheat Kings led 2-0 on goals from D Jordan Wharrie (2) at 9:58 of the second period and D James Shearer (3), on a PP, at 3:36 of the third. . . . F Connor Gutenberg assisted on both goals. . . . F Lane Pederson pulled the Broncos into a tie with goals at 10:18 and 19:50 of the third period, the latter coming on a PP. Pederson has 10 goals. One night earlier, he also scored twice in the third period. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 36 shots for Brandon. . . . Swift Current got 33 shots out of G Taz Burman. . . . The Wheat Kings were 1-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-7. . . . The Wheat Kings again were without F Nolan Patrick, who now has been out more than 30 days while listed as being day-to-day. . . . Brandon (10-7-3) has won three in a row. . . . The Broncos (10-6-5) have lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . Announced attendance: 2,971. . . . Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, reports that F Arthur Miller didn’t play after being injured in Saturday’s game and F Calvin Spencer left Sunday’s game. . . . The Broncos already were without F Glenn Gawdin, F Riley Stotts, F Conner Chault and D Matthew Stanley.
At Lethbridge, F Kolten Olynek scored two goals to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Olynek was a second-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . The Blades
(9-11-1) had lost the first two games of a three-game Alberta swing. . . . The Hurricanes (7-9-3) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . This was the Hurricanes’ first game since they traded F Brayden Burke, their leading scorer, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Tyler Wong put Lethbridge out front 1-0 with the 100th goal of this career at 8:52 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Mason McCarty (14), at 15:18, and F Ryan Graham (1), on a PP, at 14:15 of the second period. . . . Wong forged a 2-2 tie with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 1:41 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon put it away with three straight goals. Olynek got his fifth at 11:53, F Wyatt Sloboshan (2) struck on a PP at 14:33, and Olynek added an empty-netter at 17:30. . . . F Dylan Cozens (1) got Lethbridge to within two at 19:55. . . . The Blades got two assists from each of F Logan Christensen and D Nolan Reid, while McCarty added one to his goal. . . . D Brennan Menell and F Jadon Joseph each had two assists for Lethbridge. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 27 shots for Saskatoon, while Stuart Skinner blocked 28 at the other end. . . . The Blades were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 3-8. . . . Announced attendance: 3,306. . . . From Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Blades: “That ended an eight-game losing streak for the Double Blue, head-to-head against the Hurricanes. It was also the first time, in 13 occasions, that the Blades won this season when allowing the first goal of the game.”
In their 10 game win streak the Pats have outscored opponents 68-33. PP 16/48. PK 47/61. Outshot opponents 471-300. #WHL #yqr— Phil Andrews (@Phil_Andrews_) November 14, 2016
At Regina, F Sam Steel moved back into the WHL scoring lead with four points to lead the Pats to an 8-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Steel scored his 16th goal and added three assists. His 34 points
now have him three ahead of F Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Austin Pratt gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the first period. . . . The Pats then scored the next four goals. . . . D Chase Harrison (4) tied the game at 16:35 — he is on a WHL-best 12-game point streak — and F Adam Brooks (7) put the Pats in front at 19:59. . . . D Connor Hobbs (5) made it 3-1 just 48 seconds into the second frame and F Filip Ahl (15) upped it to 4-1 at 7:49. . . . Steel and F Dawson Leedahl assisted on each of the first three goals. . . . D Carson Sass got Red Deer to within two with his second goal, on a PP, at 9:57. . . . However, Regina came back with two goals before the period ended, with Steel and Ahl each scoring No. 16. . . . Goals from F Jeff de Wit (3) and F Brandon Hagel (8) again pulled Red Deer to within two in the third period. . . . Regina put it away with goals from Hobbs (6) and F Jake Leschyshyn (10) in the last five minutes. . . . Brooks added two assists to his goal. The reigning WHL scoring champion has 25 points, including 18 assists, in 11 games. . . . Regina got two assists from F Lane Zablocki and one from Leschyshyn. . . . F Evan Polei had two assists for Red Deer, with Hagel getting one. . . . G Tyler Brown, in his third straight start, stopped 17 shots for the Pats. . . . Red Deer G Lasse Petersen made 53 saves. . . . The Rebels were 2-6 on the PP; the Pats were 1-5. . . . The Pats (14-0-3), who open a six-game road trip in Edmonton on Wednesday, continue to roll along as the only one of the CHL’s 60 teams not to have lost in regulation time. The Pats now have won 10 in a row and are one victory away from matching the franchise’s best start — 14-0-4 (four ties) in 1964-65 when they were in the SJHL. . . . WHL Facts (@WHLFacts) points out on Twitter that the Pats “have now scored 6 or more goals in 7 of their last 9 games. Putting up at least 3 in all 17 games so far this season.” . . . The Rebels slipped to 10-9-2. Red Deer played three games on the weekend, winning one and being outscored 20-14. . . . “We’ve given up 20 goals on this road trip and that’s ridiculous,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM and head coach, told Greg Meachem for a story that is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484. It was the Pats’ second sellout of the season.
#WHL RD/REG: @WHLPats extend their win streak to 10 (and are still undefeated in regulation). Longest since 9 game streak 11/17-12-5/01.— Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) November 14, 2016
MONDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
No Games Scheduled.
TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Calgary at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Prince George at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Seattle at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Red Deer at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
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