In all three previous matchups this season between the Kamloops Blazers and The Vancouver Giants, the Giants have had the upper hand. The Blazers were out for revenge in this one but looked to be overmatched when Vancouver had a 2-0 lead half way through the third period. Kamloops battled back and scored twice, in under two minutes to send the game to overtime. In the extra frame, Bowen Byram took the puck hard to net around Connor Zary and squeaked the puck past Dylan Ferguson who got a big piece of it, but not enough
15-year-old Logan Stankoven, who plays day-to-day in the BC Major Midget league with the Thompson Blazers has 72 points in 30 games so far this season. This game, the third WHL game of his young career he was looking more and more confident.
“He’s earned my trust, there is no doubt about it. He started on the 4th line but played everywhere. I was just trying to get him ice time and put him with different players to settle the nerves down, I don’t know if there were any nerves.” Head Coach Serge Lajoie Continued “He pressures pucks, makes plays and sees the ice very well. I thought there was a connection there with Zary and Loewen. He provided a spark of youthful exuberance that we needed tonight… To me, Logan isn’t 15, he’s a player that can come in here and contribute.”
With Luke Zazula back in the lineup, it was evident that his creativity was not only missed in the offensive zone but also the defensive zone. The Blazers breakout is much more complete with Zazula on the ice.
“He moves pucks with his feet, and he supports the attack. It’s great we got him back, he jumped in with both feet and got a lot of ice time.” Said Lajoie.
Jeff Faith was given a five minute major and a game misconduct from a kneeing penalty on Tristin Nielsen. Due to a retaliation penalty, the Blazers were only on tap to kill three minutes, of which they did.
Early in the third period, after Kamloops had killed off a 48 second five-on-three power play, Vancouver’s Lukas Svejkovsky scored his fifth of the season past goaltender Dylan Ferguson giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Vancouver extended their lead later in the third when Davis Koch buried a one-timer off a pass from Jadon Joseph.
Just before the goal Kamloops’ Kobe Mohr attempted to get the puck out but failed, mostly due to what looked like a hook from the Giants player. There was no call on the play and the Giants score immediately after. While the officials can never be used as an excuse, they didn’t make it easy on the teams in this one. The consistency of their calls and non-calls left something to be desired.
“It’s a tough job for the officials. I had a chat with them after the second period, I thought they were getting away from the tone they had established… I have a lot of respect for the officials, it’s not an easy job for them.”
The Blazers were finally able to crack Giant’s netminder Trent Miner when both Zane Franklin and Orrin Centazzo scored under two minutes apart sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Blazers didn’t get a shot and star defenceman Bowen Byram won the game when he drove the front of the net passed Connor Zary barely squeaking the puck past Ferguson giving the Giants the two points.
Although the Blazers didn’t get full points, getting one was still important.
“If anything it shows the character in the dressing room, the resolve and never say die type of attitude,” said Lajoie.
The Kelowna Rockets and the Seattle Thunderbirds met tonight in the Okanagan with Seattle picking up the two points in overtime. That means that Kamloops kept pace with Kelowna, still three points back, and lost ground to Seattle who the Blazers find themselves two points back of.
Kamloops’ record drops to 19-25-3-1, good for 42 points. The Blazers are back on home ice Friday against the Prince George Cougars.
Announced attendance was 3441 and with a guess of 3456 @stephenhawco7 was the closest.
Without even lookin I'll say 3456 🤓
— Stephen Hawco (@stephenhawco7) January 31, 2019