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Knackstedt notches shutout as Cariboo Cougars beat Thompson Blazers

Damien Knackstedt was flawless.

The Cariboo Cougars goaltender stopped all 31 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory over the Thompson Blazers on Sunday at Kin 1. It was Knackstedt’s first-ever shutout in the U18 division of the BC Elite Hockey League and also the first of the season for the Cougars.

The Cats also beat the Blazers on Saturday, 5-4.

In Sunday’s game, the Blazers outshot the Cougars 16-10 in the first period but found themselves down 2-0 after 20 minutes. Marik Mamic and Colby Busche (shorthanded) scored the Cariboo goals. Then, after a scoreless second period in which the Blazers outshot the Cats 10-6, Amar Powar padded the Cariboo lead in the third.

Overall, the Blazers outshot the Cougars 31-25.

In Saturday’s opener, Max Sanford, Jordan Lagreca (power play), Decker Mujcin and Mamic had the Cougars ahead 4-0 by the early stages of the second period before Reid Gartrell finally got the Blazers on the board with a power-play marker. Keenan Holland restored the four-goal lead for the Cougars but Caleb DeHoog brought the score to 5-2 before the period ended. In the third, the Blazers got a goal from Lian Gayfer and then a power-play tally from Kaleb Preymak with 29 seconds left on the clock but got no closer.

The doubleheader was also a matchup between brothers, as assistant coaches RJay Berra (Cougars) and Hayden-James Berra (Blazers) squared off against each other.

The Cougars also swept the Blazers on Nov. 27-28 in Kamloops and are on a four-game winning streak. In the standings, they improved to 9-7-1-1, good for fifth place in the 10-team division.

The Blazers (5-12-1-2) are ninth.

The Cougars are scheduled to be in Delta and Surrey this coming weekend for games against the sixth-place Valley West Giants (8-9-3-0).

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