Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blazers feast on Bruins

Daily News Sports Editor
The WHL game being played in the half-full mausoleum was 14 minutes old when
the voice of Kamloops Blazers head coach Barry Smith echoed through the
“COME ON! WAKE UP! RIGHT NOW!” Smith yelled, his voice crystal clear in
Interior Savings Centre, which was as quiet as a library and about as
At that point, the Blazers were in the process of frittering away an early
3-0 lead over the Chilliwack Bruins. But the Blazers did answer the yelling
in their ears shortly thereafter and simply overwhelmed a badly overmatched
and fragile bunch of Bruins to post a 6-3 victory.
“We started the game good. We got some bounces,” Kamloops head coach Barry
Smith said. “And after that we took over and did all the right things. I
don’t think they were in the game after that. No matter what the score was
we kept doing the right things.”
The Blazers scored on their first shot. They scored on their second shot.
They scored on their fourth shot.
They led 1-0 at 1:16 of the first period, 2-0 just 13 seconds later and 3-0
at 5:05, thanks to goals from, in order, centre Jake Trask, who has a goal
in each of his last four games, and defencemen Jordan Rowley and Giffen
But the Bruins got two back, by winger David Robinson and defenceman Brandon
Manning, the latter shorthanded, and when Nyren took a double minor at 18:05
of the first period, well, you wondered . . .
After all, this was a Kamloops team that had taken a four-game winning
streak into Prince George on Saturday and got wasted to the tune of 7-2.
”Sometimes you have a winning streak going and you think it’s going to be
easy,” offered Kamloops defenceman Nick Ross, who really was in control of
this one. “That (Saturday loss) will keep the guys from taking any team
He added that getting the quick 3-0 lead “was pretty impressive but I think
we let off the gas a bit.”
The Blazers, however, came out with the pedal to the metal for the second
period and, although they only got one goal, that from left-winger Shayne
Wiebe, they outshot the visitors, 17-4.
“We didn’t want to give them any breathing room or give them anything to get
excited about,” Smith said.
Wiebe, who finished with two goals and an assist for his second three-point
night in three games, added: “Any team we want to go hard on their
(defencemen) and cause turnovers. And we have had good success against (the
Bruins) when we pound them.”
And pound them they did, with a forecheck that was relentless.
“Kamloops has a quick group of forwards,” offered Chilliwack head coach Jim
Hiller, whose squad, which now has lost nine in a row, is missing veteran
defencemen Jesse Craige and Matt Strong with long-term injuries. “We had a
tough time on the rush, a tough time in our own zone . . .”
In the end, the Blazers held a 41-21 edge in shots and that pretty much told
the story.
“Everyone wanted to compete,” said Wiebe, who has 10 points in his last five
games. “We came with good focus and we knew what we had to do to come back
from what happened (Saturday) night. That wasn’t too good.
“But you learn from it. You can’t dwell on it . . . you learn from it and
come back even stronger.”
As for his sudden offensive prowess, Wiebe, who now has 19 points, two more
than he finished with last season, said it’s a matter of keeping things
“It always comes down to the same things . . . working hard, being in the
spots you’re supposed to be in, playing the system and not trying to do
anything too fancy,” he said. “All that, and good teammates too.”
Left-winger Kenton Dulle had the other goal for the Blazers, with
left-winger Alexander Wiklund getting the Bruins’ last goal.
Chilliwack goaltender Lucas Gore, who beat the Blazers 3-2 in last visit to
his hometown, on Oct. 11, stopped 35 shots. Justin Leclerc of the Blazers
turned aside 18.
JUST NOTES: The attendance never was announced due to what the Blazers said
were phone problems within the arena. . . . Wiebe has seven goals in four
games against the Bruins this season. . . . Referee Pat Smith gave the
Bruins 12 of 22 minors. . . . The Blazers were 1-for-9 on the PP; the Bruins
were 2-for-6. . . . Each team scored a shorthanded goal. . . . The Bruins
have been outshot in 15 of their 18 games this season.

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