For the second straight season the Kamloops Blazers played a Family Day afternoon game in front of a very packed Sandman Centre. For the second straight season the team would struggle to score in that game.
The first period would see the Blazers jump out to the early lead 1:52 into the game. Sean Strange’s point shot would take a “strange” deflection off Oil King defenseman Brayden Gorda’s skate before Jackson Shepard would deflect the puck. It would then trickle past a sliding Josh Dechaine and the crowd of just over 5500 in Kamloops celebrated. The Blazers would have control of the majority of the first frame, out shooting the Oil Kings 10 -7. However, they would be unable to solve Dechaine again.
The second period would start with the Blazers having 32 seconds left on a PP from a Kobe Mohr hooking penalty. They were unable to capitalize to extend the lead. Shortly after the penalty kill former Blazer Conner McDonald’s point shot would be deflected by Edmonton captain Colton Kehler, tying the game. 22 seconds after the Oil Kings goal the home crowd would be ecstatic at an amazing glove save by Dylan Ferguson on Kamloops native Brendan Semchuk, or so they thought. Minutes later on a partial two-on-one break for the Blazers, the horn would sound stopping play. The replay booth had sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the ice. Ferguson had stopped the puck, however his glove was deemed over the goal line. The clock would be turned back and the Oil Kings had quickly taken the lead. Former Kelowna Rockets teammates Tomas Soustal and Joe Gatenby would drop the gloves mid period at centre ice and some ‘friendly’ hugging would ensue. Tylor Ludwar would take, what the home fans thought to be, a very questionable charging call shortly after that. The ensuing power play would see Kehler notch his second of the night, with another assist to McDonald. Edmonton would lead 3-1 after two periods.
The third period would see the Blazers out shoot the Oil Kings for the third straight frame. Despite out shooting and out playing the visitors for most of the game Kamloops was unable to solve Dechaine for the last 58 plus minutes of play. Dechaine would finish with 29 saves on the night and the First Star selection. Ethan Cap would ice the game with a clearing attempt from his own end that would find the Kamloops empty net. Edmonton would finish the afternoon 1/1 on the PP, while Kamloops was 0/3 and never managed to get much going with the man advantage.
3 Stars in building:
Kamloops plays in Spokane on Wednesday night before hosting two home games against Kelowna and Prince George on the weekend. Edmonton heads south to play in Victoria on Wednesday, Vancouver on Friday, and Kelowna on Saturday.