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Blazers’ first period outburst sinks Cougars Saturday in Kamloops

The Prince George Cougars ran out of gas on Saturday night. Playing their sixth game in nine days, the Cougars fell 6-3 to the Kamloops Blazers at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.

Kamloops stormed out to a commanding lead and never looked back. The Blazers scored five first period goals en route to a weekend sweep over the Cougars. Max Martin, Orrin Centazzo (power-play), Zane Franklin (power-play), Brodi Stuart and Logan Stankoven all scored in the first frame. Quinn Schmiemann added a power-play goal in the third period. Rayce Ramsay stopped 12 of 15 shots for his 11th win in the Blazers’ net.

Kamloops scored 50 seconds into the game and then scored two power-play goals one minute and 15 seconds apart to lead 3-0 before the three-minute mark. Their five first period goals was one off from tying a season high for goals in the first period.

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The Blazers’ power-play was red-hot, scoring three times on six opportunities. Kamloops came into Saturday’s game with the WHL’s second-best power-play average. Not to be outdone, the Cougars power-play chipped in with a pair of goals.

Vladislav Mikhalchuk (power-play) scored in the second period and Majid Kaddoura (power-play) and Brendan Boyle scored late in the third period. 15-year-old defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk picked up his first career WHL point, an assist on Boyle’s goal.

Tyler Brennan started in net for Prince George but was replaced by Taylor Gauthier after allowing four goals on eight shots in seven and a half minutes of action. Gauthier stopped 21 of 23 shots the rest of the way.

Filip Koffer picked up his first career fighting major, as he dropped the gloves with the Blazers’ Ryan Hughes late in the second period. Koffer scored the takedown after connecting twice with two right hooks.

Trailing 5-0 early in the second, the Cougars showed some life, as it was Mikhalchuk scoring his 11th on a five-on-three power-play goal at 1:10. Mikhalchuk hammered a one-timer from the slot after taking a pass from Ilijah Colina.

After Schmiemann scored a power-play goal early in the third period to make it 6-1, the Cougars chipped away with a pair of goals in the final four minutes.

On another power-play, Kaddoura took a pass at the top of the zone from Ethan Samson and moved down to the face-off circle before scoring short-side on Ramsay at 16:47. Kaddoura’s fourth and second as a Cougars. Then, two minutes later, it was Boyle banging in a rebound in front of the net. His third goal of the season made it 6-3 with 1:13 left on the clock. That goal was Boyle’s first since January 8th against Regina.

Things did get heated once again, as Josh Maser and Schmiemann both received 10-minute misconducts after a brief altercation right off a face-off with less than four minutes left in the game.

Game Notes: Josh Maser had his eight-game point streak come to an end in the loss. Maser had 12 points (4-8-12) during his streak. Defencemen Jack Sander (upper-body) and Marco Creta (personal), and forwards Ethan Browne (upper-body) and Nikita Krivokrasov (lower-body) did not play. With the loss, the Cougars are now 3-4-0-0 against the Blazers this season. The Cougars road record slipped to 7-17-2-2. The 15 shots are a new season low for Prince George.

Next Up: The Cougars (17-34-4-4) are back home Wednesday, March 4th against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Tickets for that game are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca

Power-Play

Cougars – 2/5

Blazers – 3/6

Shots

Cougars – 15

Blazers – 31

Three Stars: 1) Orrin Centazzo 2) Max Martin 3) Logan Stankoven


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