Friday, 19 October 2012

Blazers Sneak Past Hurricanes 5-4 in Overtime

LETHBRIDGE - The red hot Kamloops Blazers scored three times on the power play and held off a huge 3rd period rally as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.

A pretty good, fast-paced opening period in this one. It looked like perhaps the game was going to be scoreless following the first 20 minutes, but Kamloops would get a lucky bounce on a power play late in the period, when JC Lipon's shot went off Tim Bozon in front and by Ty Rimmer to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead after one period of play.  Both teams had some excellent scoring chances in the period.  Kamloops out shot Lethbridge 15-7.

In the second, the Blazers would make good on another power play.  This time Colin Smith would get in on the action as Kamloops would jump ahead 2-0 early in the period. The Canes would take another penalty shortly after, but they would get themselves back into the game with a shorthanded goal.  Dan Johnston moves up on a two-on-one rush and fired shot through the pads of Kamloops goaltender Taran Kozun to make it a 2-1 hockey game.  That was Johnston's 3rd of the year and also the Canes 3rd shorthanded marker of the season, tied with Everett in that stat category.  Before the end of the period, Kamloops would get that one back when Dylan Willick snapped a laser beam off the bar and past Rimmer to put the visitors ahead 3-1.  The Blazers would score once more on the power play before the buzzer would sound when Brendan Ranford found the back of the net with less than a minute remaining to put Kamloops ahead 4-1 after two periods of play.  The Blazers held the edge in shots 24-16.

In the third, the Hurricanes would begin a major comeback with two quick goals in the first 2:30 of the period and then the tying goal 3 minutes after that.  First, Russ Maxwell hammered a shot into the back of the net 26 seconds in the period for his 7th of the season.  That cut the Kamloops lead to 4-2. Then 2 minutes later, Jay Merkley would continue his recent strong play when he notched his 3rd of the season to make it a one goal game.  That was Merkley's 3rd goal in his last 3 games.  Those two goals sparked the Hurricanes because 3 minutes after Merkley scored, Russ Maxwell was sprung free on a partial breakaway and lifted a backhander over Kozun for the game-tying goal.  That made it 4-4 and sent the ENMAX Centre crowd to it's feet.  The Hurricanes found a way to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 tie in a span of 6:25.  Both teams were fired up after that to get the game winner, but the rest of regulation would solve nothing and for the first time this season, the Hurricanes would see extra time.  3:20 into the overtime, Brendan Ranford tipped home his 2nd of the night to seal the game for the Blazers and Kamloops would skate away with a very close 5-4 victory.  The Blazers out shot the Canes 39-27 in this game.  Specialty teams was clearly the difference.  Kamloops went 3/8 while Lethbridge finished the night 0/2.  Assistant Coach Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post game show he was disappointed with his team's penalty kill in this game, but at the same time very happy with the comeback and the big point earned against the best team in the league.

The Hurricanes have two wins in their past 6 games.  The loss drops their record to 4-6-0-1 on the season.  Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers unreal start to the season continues.  They now sit at 11-0-0-1 with this victory and have yet to lose in regulation time.  They lead the WHL with 23 points.  JC Lipon and Colin Smith have a combined 53 points in those 12 games. 

Tyler Wong returned to the Canes line-up Friday against Kamloops.  Wong had missed the past 7 games with an upper body injury.  Michael Sofillas sat out this one with an injury he suffered against Brandon and is listed day-to-day.  Head Coach and GM Rich Preston said Ryal Pilon is very close to returning to the roster.  Pilon took a nasty hit in Medicine Hat back in the second game of the season and hasn't played since because of concussion issues. 


The Hurricanes will close out this current home stand Saturday (Oct 20) when they host the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.  It'll be the first of two games in the next week between the two teams.  The Hurricanes will travel to Moose Jaw next Wednesday for the rematch.  Game time Saturday is 7:00 pm.  The Canes hit the road next week for a game in Swift Current Tuesday (Oct. 23) and then Wednesday against the Warriors.  Lethbridge returns home next Friday for the start of another 6 game home stand as they welcome Regina (Oct. 26) and Swift Current Saturday (Oct. 27).  In total, the Canes play 4 games in 5 nights in what will be a busy week upcoming.



  1. That was one heck of an exciting game. The rally was great and the fans made it feels like there was a sellout in the building. I'd get on the players about too many penalties but I don't think they truly deserved at least three of them. They stole a point from the Blazers which is something only one other team can say this season. Not much to complain about when that happens. We are looking forward to tomorrow night.


  2. Want Rich out or not, I challenge all readers to look at our past drafts. I give Rich and his scouting staff an A plus plus. When 17 yr old Lenny steady Hackman is a plus 2 after 11 games as a 17yr old first yr 9th round pick, I say watch out W. Also nice to see our prospect leading the Sask midget league. Tonight was a glimpse of what us Hurricanes are going to see night in and night out. A very very fast hard working never quit crew. I expect ups and downs this yr but the next two and beyond watch out W. Also remember 12 of our 25 are 17and 16 yrs old. We just kept up with the number one ranked team in Canada. HLR

  3. Great game by the Canes. 5 on 5 they went toe to toe with Blazers. All around effort was excellent. Russ Maxwell is playing fantastic he is doing exactly what forwards needs to do bury chances and in addition he is creating his own chances. The fans were great last night and after Johnstons short handed goal they were into it and you could see it lift the team. previous comment about Hackman is interesting. Hackman is doing well but once again anyone who plays with Johnston is going to be a plus no matter how bad the team plays, it happened last year when Henry and Blomquist played with Johnston. Playing with Johnston is no doubt giving him confidence which is great. We will see if he stays in the lineup when Pilon gets back. Need a big win tonight! TD

  4. Excellent comeback last night, certainly got the fans into the game which the players must have fed off of it. Looking back at this week's schedule, I figured if the Hurricanes got 2 points out of it, then that would be a success. But with their win over Brandon, overtime loss to the #1 team in Canada, the Hurricanes could make it 5 of 6 pts with a win over MJ tonight. Hopefully the high from last night will carry over to tonight.
    There is still a couple of concerns. How anyone could miss the efficiency of the Blazer's power play is beyond me. Their PP is based on quick puck movement, players constantly moving, thus forcing the defending team to chase. Which opens up holes. Their PP is a perfect example of one based on systems, lots of practice and taking advantage of speed and puck movement. Hmmmmm Hurricanes have both elements. But no PP system. Also when killing penalties, the Blazers run a 1-2-1 formation in neutal zone, making the opposition dump and chase, thus making it harder to set up. This is another example of a system being taught.The young Hurricanes need to be taught such strategies.

    Rimmer looked tired last night! Mental and physical fatigue can lead to injuries.......Preston needs to rest Rimmer.
    4 games in 5 days next week....he can't play them all!


  5. Agree with cc that it was one helluva game! I also didn't think we deserved a few of the penalties!! (The interference on Yakubowski was a joke! A good clean hit in the 2nd period on a player who was trying to play the puck).

    The boys showed a lot of heart coming back from the 4-1 deficit. I was very happy for them and sad to see them lose it 4-4. But they played a helluva a 3rd period!

    I was not overly impressed with Kamloops last night (Did they play on Thursday night??). The best best in the CHL???? They aren't even the best team that's played on Enmax ice.....I give that to Edmonton and the PA Raiders. Can't believe that's the best team in Canada. Not exactly an overly physical team.
    I also get the feeling the West isn't a tough as the East because when the Hurricane's (yes, even Hood!) starting getting physical in the 3rd period, the Blazers seemed to disappear and seemed to be on the run. I never sensed that with the Oil Kings or Raiders.

    I continue to love the play of Axel Blomqvist! He's getting involved, he's feisty and is skating hard. He had a couple of really good scoring chances on wrap-arounds and dragging the puck to the front of the net. Same goes for Merkley and good to see he's getting rewarded!

    I noticed Watson didn't play much in the 3rd period.....HIT THE NET!!!

    3 Stars:
    1) Dan Johnston
    2) Russ Maxwell
    3) Axel Blomqvist
    Honourable Mention: Jay Merkley/Graham Hood

    Great showing Canes! Keep up the hard work for 3 periods and it will pay off tonight!!

    ps. What's wrong with Pilon now?


  6. Fantastic Game. Even with the refs and linesman doing all they could to make sure we lost. I will not say anything about Hood anymore since it is what it is. Another game with hustle and puck pressure. Keep up the hard work boys and good things will happen. Talked to Pilon last night after the pre game warm-up and he said he will play tonight unless the headaches return. Was Sofilas a healthy scratch or is he hurt. He is not playing good enough to stay in the line-up. He has 0 points so far. I will however cut him a little slack because of what he went through last year. AJ

  7. Darren;
    Unless I am completely wrong, Pilon just dressed for the warm-ups and was not scheduled to play. He still has to clear all the protocals that are called for when a player has a concussion. I asked Pat last night when he was expected back, and Pat said likely sometime next week.


  8. bad on Pilon. I didn't read the fine print on Pat's previous blog saying he was still out.

    As for the scouting mentioned earlier, I agree that Brad Robson and his crew have done an excellent job highlighting players they think would make good Hurricanes. If I remember Pat's interview with him, they are not only looking for skilled hockey players, but young men with character and integrity. That is a good way to build a franchise. Lord know Roy Stasiuk didn't have a clue about character and integrity (ie. Kyle Beach was a laughable acquisition as he caused more turmoil on and off the ice than he was worth). If I understood Robson correctly, they are not only trying to develop good hockey players, but quality young men.

    I won't comment on Preston's picks as it is all laid out there for him. All he has to do is pick the best fit for this organization. His work is ahead in developing the talent he has drafted. As we have discussed on here several times, there is some question as to the development process. I'm willing to give him a little bit of time.