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WHL  

Ice sold, stay in Cranbrook

The Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice will remain in Cranbrook for the foreseeable future.

Owners of the club announced late Tuesday the team has been sold to interests out of Winnipeg.

Jeff Chynoweth, president of the Ice, said the family, which has owned the team since its inception as the Edmonton Ice in 1995, sold the team to Winnipeg entrepreneur Greg Fettes and hockey executive Matt Cockell.

The sale must still be approved by the league. A special meeting is scheduled for April 27 to review the new ownership application.

Cockell, who will be relocating his family to Cranbrook, plans to take over the role of president and general manager, and will be responsible for all business and hockey operations of the club.

“Our family is looking forward to becoming an active community member, and we are excited to engage directly with some of the greatest fans in the entire Western Hockey League,” said Cockell.

There had been speculation the Ice would be sold and relocated to Nanaimo. However, a referendum to build a new waterfront arena in the island city was soundly defeated earlier this month.



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Blazers climb back in series

The Kamloops Blazers won the game they desperately needed.

Trailing 2-0 in their best-of-seven WHL first round series, the Blazers took advantage of home ice and a raucous crowd in a 4-1 win over the Rockets Tuesday night.

Kamloops trail the series 2-1 with game four in Kamloops Wednesday.

It also means a fifth game will be played Friday at Prospera Place.

Lane Bauer, who hadn't scored in 10 games, scored twice for the Blazers, including the all important first goal.

Bauer and linemate Rudolfs Balcers executed a perfect give-and-go on a two-on-one break eight minutes into the opening period.

Kole Lind tied it before the end of the period, but Kamloops took over in the second. Despite being outshot 19-11, they scored the only three goals to take a commanding 4- lead.

Jermaine Loewen with what stood up at the game winner, Balcers 28 seconds later on a penalty shot, and Bauer again from the top of the right circle allowed the Blazers to pull away.

Neither team was able to score in the third.

The game threatened to get out of hand late in the game.

A pair of late skirmishes, including one after the final whistle sounded had the potential to become something more, but cooler heads eventually prevailed.

Both teams had 38 shots on the night but neither had any success on the power play.

Kamloops was 0-5 while the Rockets failed on their two chances.



Fan bus off to Kamloops

Some fans of the Kelowna Rockets hope to see some friendly faces in Kamloops over the next few days.

They've organized two fan buses to take ardent Rocket supporters to Kamloops for games three and four of the best-of-seven WHL first round series.

The Rockets won the opening games of the series 4-0 Friday and 3-2 Saturday.

The next two games are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

One bus will leave each night from Prospera Place at 4 p.m., and returns about midnight.

Cost each night is $50, which includes the return transportation, game ticket and pizza supplied by Papa John's.

For more information, contact Chantelle LaBrie at 250-808-9897 or by email [email protected]

 



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Rockets hang on in thriller

The Kamloops Blazers showed Saturday they won't go quietly into the night.

Embarrassed after being dominated for 60 minutes by the Kelowna Rockets Friday, the Blazers came out in game two of their opening round series and gave as good as they got.

They fell just short in a 3-2 defeat, but served notice this wouldn't be a cakewalk.

After managing just 15 shots in game one and barely a good chance, the Blazers peppered Michael Herringer with three shots in the first 30 seconds, two of them good scoring opportunities.

Although the Blazers started quick, it was the Rockets who drew first blood. Just three minutes in, Calvin Thurkauf gained the offensive zone and dropped a pass to nick Merkley, who in turn dropped the puck to Cal Foote who sent a wrist shot past Connor Ingram of the glove side.

The teams raced up and own the ice much of the rest of the game, forcing Herringer and Ingram to make key saves to keep their respective teams close.

But, it was Herringer, who barely raised a sweat in game one, who came up with the biggest save of the night, and possibly the season.

Kamloops sniper Collin Shirley had Herringer at his mercy on the tail end of a three-on-two, but Herringer dove to his right and somehow got the paddle of stick on the puck to deny Shirley.

"To be honest, I put my head down already because I know how good of a player Shirley is," said Dillon Dube.

"But, it was probably the nicest save I've ever seen...they had all the momentum, and it completely changed the game."

Dube gave the Rockets a 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 11:55 of the third. An errant back pass at the Rockets blueline was gobbled up by Dube who raced down the ice two-on-one.

Instead of passing, Dube sent a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Ingram five hole.

Ninety seconds later, on a Kelowna power play, Dube notched his second of the period with a shot from the right circle that beat Ingram high to the short side.

But, the Blazers kept coming, and goals from Quinn Benjafield and Ondrej Vala on a power play two-and-a-half minutes apart gave the Blazers some life.

Deven Sideroff had the best chance to tie it in the dying seconds, but his shot from in close went high and bounced out of the Rockets end, allowing them to hang on for the one -goal victory.

"It got crazy," Dube said of the final minutes of the game.

"I think we were trying to chase the game a little, I think we got pretty excited, and got a little too high I guess. It's a good thing we didn't panic. We stuck to the game, and we took it to them.

Herringer turned away 33 shots to earn the win.

The Rockets lead the best-of-seven opening round series 2-0.

Games three and four will be played Tuesday and Wednesday in Kamloops.

A fifth game, if necessary, would be played back at Prospera Place Friday.



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