Allen Douglas

WHL recap: Blazers finally find some home offense; Tigers and Pats net OT wins

Kamloops 4 Victoria 1

The Kamloops Blazers (17-19-0-2) could not wait to get 2018 started. They went six straight periods at the end of 2017 without a goal at hone and had dropped four straight overall. With the coming of the 2018 calendar year, the Blazers and their home fans were hoping for some needed offense. 

It would take until 6:25 into the second period in their game against the Victoria Royals (21-15-3-1)  before the Blazers would finally get a puck across an opponent’s goal line. The third period would provide much more offense for them as they fired 15 shots on net and scored thee times.

Quinn Benjafield led the way for Kamloops with two goals and an assist. Dylan Ferguson turned away 23 of 24 between the Blazers pipes for the win.

Victoria actually opened the scoring as, while on the power play Tyley Soy had a shot blocked in tight on the Kamloops net. He then found the rebound and shuffled it past Ferguson for his 17th this year.

The Blazers would finally net a goal five minutes later for their first in eight periods of hockey. Carson Denomie finished off a tic-tac-toe play on the rush set up by Jermaine Loewen and Garrett Pilon. Luke Zazula started the whole thing with an incredible outlet pass.

Kamloops then took the lead 8:50 into the third period. Nick Chyzowski, playing in his 309th career game scored on the power play. Connor Zary got him the puck off the half boards. He then wired a shot up high over Outhouse’s glove. It was his first point in eight games.

Some insurance was added by Brodi Stuart and Benjafield added a goal scored into the empty net with Outhouse pulled for an extra attacker.

Outhouse was stellar in the loss for Victoria as he turned away 43 of 46.

Kamloops will next play on Saturday when they host Victoria again, while the Royals will play in Everett the previous night.

Medicine Hat 5 @Kootenay 4 (OT)

Kristians Rubins provided the overtime winner as the Medicine Hat Tigers (21-15-2-0) netted a 5-4 win over the Kootenay ICE (18-17-3-0), ending the ICE’s five-game winning streak.

After beating the ICE by scores of 4-1 and 11-1 earlier this year, the Tigers looked to be well on their way to another comfortable win after James Hamblin provided back-to-back short handed tallies. Instead the ICE surged back and showed why thet look like a very different team than the one who lost the earlier games to Med Hat.

Hamblin’s two-goal effort led the way for the Tigers, who also got a three point night from Mark Rassell. Jordan Hollett turned away 35 of 39 in the win.

Kootenay got two goals from Alec Baer and two points from Brett Davis. Bailey Brkin as good for 31 stops on 36 chances.

Ryan Chyzowski scored on the power play and Mark Rassell added one on even strength to give Medicine Hat a 2-0 lead after 40. The Rassell marker was his 32nd this year.

Breatt Davis got the ICE on the board in the third period as netted his 10th just 1:18 in.

Medicine Hat then roared out to a 4-1 lead thanks to two goals from James Hamblin over a span of 35 seconds. Both goals were scored short-handed, while killing the same penalty.

Kootenay cut into the lead on that same power play, thanks to a marker from Alec Baer.

Cameron Hausinger then notched his 12th this year 38 seconds later to make the score 4-3.

Barer then added his second on the night as he followed up his own shot and as Hollett went down low, Baer’s shot went up high, tying the game.

This would eventually be what forced overtime in a game where the ICE looked down and out after the two short-handed markers from Hamblin made it 4-1 Medicine Hat.

The come back effort would end up only giving Kootenay the once point though as Gary Haden dropped a pass to Rubins and the rearguard rifled a wrist shot by Brkin for the win.

The Tigers next play Wednesday in Calgary, while the ICE will head to Lethbridge for a tilt on Tuesday.

Regina 5 Prince Albert 4 (OT)

Even without Sam Steel (who is at the World Juniors), the Regina Pats (19-18-3-0) seem to have started to right the ship. The team that will be hosting the Memorial Cup in May, looked nothing like a contender for most of December. With a big 5-4 overtime win Sunday evening, thanks to the winning goal by Matt Bradley, the Pats have won three straight ad started off 2018 right.

The Prince Albert Raiders (13-17-6-2) meanwhile continue to struggle after regulation. The loss Sunday means they are tied for the league lead in losses after 60 minutes (eight) with the Red Deer Rebels.

Bradley had three points on the night. He helped start the scoring when he found a streaking Dawson Davidson at the back post for a short-handed marker. 

P.A. took a 3-1 lead after 40, thanks to a trio of marks in the middle frame.

Brayden Pachal started the scoring with a blast by a screened Tyler Brown 7:27 in. Then Cole Fonstad notched a power play marker as he buried a shot from the slot off a pass from Jordy Stallard. Parker Kelly finished off the 3-0 period with a goal while on a two-on-one rush with Pachal.

Regina would not go away though as their star d-man, who had just returned to the lineup cut the P.A. lead to one. 4:46 into the third, he drove right at the Raiders defense and by them before beating Curtis Meger through the five-hole.

Nick Henry then tied things up off the rush as his shot was stopped but the puck ricocheted around before getting behind Meger.

Just 10 seconds later, the Pats took a 4-3 lead. Robbies Holmes drove the left wing and dished to Jake Leschshyn on the inside. Leschshyn drove a shot by Meger and the Pats had reeled off three goals of their own in just 2:38.

That still left a lot of time though and with a sniper like Stallard that is a dangerous proposition. The overage winger took a cross-ice feed on the power play and threw a low shot, appearing to look for a tip. Instead the puck found a path through Brown’s pads, tying the game at four.

In the overtime session, Bradley notched his 24th this season. He took a pass from Mahura, drove the zone and beat Meger by his glove.

Regina takes their three-game winning streak into a Wednesday evening tile vs. Brandon at home. The Raiders will take on Kootenay Friday at home.

 

 

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