Friday, 21 October 2011

Blazers Hand Hurricanes 10th Straight Loss

LETHBRIDGE - Three goals in the first and three more in the second helped the Kamloops Blazers to 7-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.

A decent start for the Hurricanees in this game, but the Kamloops Blazers would draw first blood. Cole Ully scored his first goal of the year to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Before the game was 10 minutes old, the Blazers would get another one when Colin Smith scored his 7th of the season on the power play to give Kamloops a 2-0 lead. Shortly after that, the Hurricanes would get one of those back. Cam Braes took a huge hit, but in the process he dished the puck off to Brody Sutter who fired a low shot by Kamloops rookie goalie Cole Cheveldave to cut the lead to 2-1. That was Sutter's 5th of the year. Before the end of the period Kamloops would regain it's two-goal lead. This time, J.C. Lipon lifted a shot over the glove of Liston to make it a 3-1 game in favour of the Blazers. Before the end of the period, the Hurricanes made it 3-2. Russ Maxwell burst into the Kamloops zone and fired a backhander by Cheveldave. That was his 4th goal of season and made it a one-goal hockey game heading into the dressing room. The Canes were out shot 20-12 in what was a fairly wide-open first period of play.

In the second, the Canes found the equalizer on a power play. Cam Braes wired a shot top corner for his 6th goal of the season, tying the game up at 3-3. The Hurricanes would eventually take the lead for the first time. Landon Oslanski scored a beautiful, highlight reel goal for his 3rd of the season to put the home side ahead for the first time, 4-3. That goal chased Kamloops' starting goalie Cole Cheveldave. He was replaced by the veteran Cam Lanigan. The Blazers would tie the game a few minutes later. J.T. Barnett stole the puck down the left wing and put the shot between the legs on Liston to make it a 4-4 hockey game. Kamloops took the lead back again with a couple of quick goals late in the period. Cole Ully notched his second goal of the night to make it 5-4 on a power play and then 30 seconds later Dylan Willick fired a shot by Liston to make 6-4 for the Blazers. Kamloops also had one goal waved off in that period. After 40 minutes the shots were 37 for Kamloops and 23 for Lethbridge.

In the third period, the Blazers would take a three goal lead on a giveaway by the Hurricanes in front of their own goal. Colin Smith stole puck and put it overtop of Liam Liston to make it a 7-4 game in favour of Kamloops. That would be it in this onC, as the Blazers would skate away with the victory. Lethbridge finished the night 1 for 4 on the power play and Kamloops was 2 for 4. The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 2-10-0-1 on the season for just 5 points overall. The Canes have also lost 10 games in a row. The last time the Hurricanes won was their home opener on September 30th when they beat Calgary. Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post-game show that the team has been going back to the basics in practices and video sessions as they try and turn this streak around.

The Canes played against Kamloops with a few players still sidelined due to injury. Defencemen Daniel Johnston and Albin Blomqvist remained out of the line-up and Phil Tot missed the Friday game as well with a lower body injury. Forward Jay Merkley made his return for Lethbridge after missing the past two weeks with a concussion. He played well and had a few good scoring chances.


The Hurricanes next action is set for Saturday (Oct 22) when they play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. This will be game four of a 7 game home stand for the Canes. Lots of interesting story lines in the game too, especially given the trade the team clubs made a week ago. Goalie Brandon Anderson will dress for the Wheat Kings in his first game against his former team as so will goalie Liam Liston and defenceman Spencer Galbraith for the Hurricanes against Brandon. Game time from the ENMAX Centre is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.


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  1. I thought Jay Merkley was the best forward tonight. He had a great feed on Oslanski's goal and should have had 2 more assists with great feeds that we didn't connect on. I thought Craig L played with allot of energy. He took a big hit and was out a few shifts later. Erkamps and Oslanski were our best dmen. I can't believe Erkamps is only 16! Congrats to Pilon and Duke. All these young Canes are going to make Lethbridge proud someday I would just like some wins soon.

  2. It's not a good sign for the team when the best d-man is a 16 year old! He got into a fight, played hard all night and dished out some good body checks. The only thing he didn't get was something on the score sheet. Not sure why we were down to 5 d-men by the 3rd period? Anyone know what happened??

    Preston needs to get this ship righted and soon. The amount of shots, scoring chances and giveaways need to end before this home stand is over.

    Interested to see what happens tomorrow night against Brandon. Anderson was pulled tonight against the 'Hat.

  3. And yes, it was good to see Merkley back in the lineup and making such a huge impact on the game. Ya, he should've had at least two more points.

  4. Pat, do you have any way to find out the record of most losses in a row by a WHL team before the GM finally fired the coach??

    How many games in a row does a dual-role GM-manager have to lose in a row before he finally fires himself as the coach?

  5. Is there any timeline for Johnston and Bloomquist to return...the defence looks awful small and struggled last night.

  6. Both D-men are expected back within the week.

  7. That would be good to get those to d-men back. I agree their defence struggles without at least one of them in the lineup. I'm willing to give this group the current homestand to get back on track.

    I realize the comment by Anonymous (11:31) is sarcastic, but it raises an interesting dilemma for the Board of Directors (if it comes to a firing situation that is). I don't think they are thinking along those lines just yet, but this team needs to get healthy and win a game or two.

    Not sure if anyone else was aware, but Cole Ully (16 years) of Kamloops has family in Lethbridge and Calgary. They were all in attendance at last night's game and were beaming when Cole recorded his 1st and 2nd goals of his WHL career. I'm told the family is trying to find tickets for tonight's game in the 'Hat. I've played golf with Cole's Dad (Mark) and Grandpa (Roy) and wish them all the best!!

  8. Does someone want to explain to me why we would want to fire Rich as a GM.? If I am correct he has only conducted 2 bantam drafts. Merkley and Erkamps are arguably our best players on our team at 16. Watson and Craig look good as 16 year olds with Topping in the wings. 8 out of 11 2011 bantam draft picks made the under 16 challenge (that’s 10% of the players picked) Two of which are on the 17 man roster for the youth Olympic Games. Do we need another Mr. S that drafts the likes of Reiners and Theriau that are average at best? Not sure what more we can ask for in a GM. Please enlighten me.
    Sorry if the optimism offends some of the readers/bloggers.

  9. Preston may stay for a bit as GM lets see what happens this year..but as a coach RJS is right..and we said this all last season this game has passed preston by..he does not have the new knowledge for the DUB game as it is played now.. get a new young winning coach that has had success in Jr A


  10. A lot of those players you have are from trades not Leth. drafts. Maybe you should of kept your own draft picks...............

  11. I don't want him fired as GM yet because I think the player list is fine. Up until lately, I didn't want him fired as coach because I think he showed during his time in Regina that he can perform that role well.

    Because of this, I question his ability to perform the GM-Coach DUAL role.

    Not many guys are successful in performing both roles. If Preston doesn't get things figured out before Christmas, they may all find their names in the WHL record book come Spring in more than one "Fewest" categories (Fewest Wins, Fewest Home wins, Fewest away wins, fewest season points...) I am certain none of the coaches want their names attached to these categories. - Richie.

  12. Pat, I appreciate you as a broadcaster and a fan, and I can appreciate that you may not want to host a negative blog, but is all your blog sensorship really necessary? Are you not looking for fan opinion and discussion here? Its not like any of these comments are either your own, or are "DSC Slanderous" or anything.

    You have always been one to keep it real, whats up? Why the rose-colored glasses?

    Canes Most recent Coaching Records:

    08/09 - Michael Dyck, 35Wins, 10 teams in the WHL had fewer wins.

    09/10 - Rich Preston, 20Wins, 3teams in the WHL had fewer wins.

    10/11 - Rich Preston, 23Wins, 1 team in the WHL had fewer wins.

    11/12 - Rich Preston, 2Wins, ZERO teams in the WHL have fewer wins, and we have played as many games as any other team.

    When does it become ok to discuss and question the abilities of your WHL head coach?

  13. What players are from trades and not Leth. drafts? Rich stockpiled the draft picks and had 2 great drafts!