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WHL  

Spokane held on Friday for a 2-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets

Rockets rally falls short

The Kelowna Rockets threw everything they had at Spokane Chiefs goaltender Dawson Cowan in the final period.

But, in the end, it wasn't quite enough in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the hometown Chiefs Friday.

Cowan turned aside 43 shots, including all 19 he faced during a frantic final 20 minutes.

All the scoring in this one came in the middle stanza.

After a scoreless first, the Chiefs built up a two goal lead with goals three-and-a-half minutes apart.

Ty Cheveldayoff and Saige Weinstein got pucks past Jari Kykkanen before the midway point of the second to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.

Elias Carmichael cut the lead in half minutes later. The Rockets turned the puck over in the neutral zone sending rookie Logan Peskett away down the left wing.

He dropped the puck to Carmichael who beat Cowan from the left circle.

It was the only puck to beat the Chiefs netminder.

The Rockets, who have lost two in a row, will play in Tri-City Saturday before closing the trip Sunday in Everett.



Ernst perfect on 38 shots as Blazers shutout Giants

Ernst, Blazers blank Giants

Dylan Ernst was perfect on 38 shots and Logan Stankoven scored the game winner late in the third period on Friday at Sandman Centre as the Kamloops Blazers skated to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Giants.

Stankoven, Connor Levis and Matthew Seminoff were the goal scorers. Stankoven and Caedan Bankier finished the night with two assists apiece.

After 55 scoreless minutes, Stankoven gave the Blazers the first lead of the game at 15:34 of the third period. Levis made it 2-0 with a power-play marker 55 seconds after that.

Seminoff made it a 3-0 final with a long-distance empty-netter at 18:21.

Ernst’s shutout was his first of the season and his 12th win. Giants goalie Jesper Vikman made 41 saves on 43 Kamloops shots in a losing effort.

The Blazers scored once on three power-play opportunities. Vancouver was scoreless on four chances.

Announced attendance at Sandman Centre was 4,192.

With the win, the Blazers move to 13-5-3-1 on the season, still good for top spot in the WHL’s B.C. Division — four points up on the Prince George Cougars (13-11-0-0), who fell 5-1 on Friday night to Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats (13-12-1-1)

The loss drops the Giants to 9-11-3-2.

The Blazers and Giants will do it again on Saturday at Langley Events Centre.

The Blazers will then head to Victoria for games against the Royals (3-19-3-0) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Their next home game will be next Friday, when the same Giants are back at Sandman Centre.



Stankoven's four-point night leads Blazers past Bedard's Pats

Blazers best Bedard, Pats

A three-point night for 17-year-old phenom Connor Bedard was not enough to get the Regina Pats into the win column Wednesday at Sandman Centre, where the Kamloops Blazers erupted for seven second-period goals en route to a 9-3 win.

A sellout crowd of 5,544 was on hand to catch Bedard’s first — and maybe only — WHL visit to the Tournament Capital. He finished the night with two goals and one assist, as well as nine shots on goal.

Matthew Seminoff, Logan Stankoven, Fraser Minten (2), Emmitt Finnie, Caedan Bankier (2), Connor Levis and Ashton Ferster were the goal scorers for the Blazers. Alexander Suzdalev scored the other Regina goal.

The Blazers led 2-1 after 20 minutes when the floodgates opened. Eight goals were tallied in the second — seven by the Blazers and one for Regina.

Bedard’s second goal of the night — a pretty one at 11:39 of the third period — was the only scoring of the final frame.

Five Blazers finished the night with multiple points. Stankoven led the way with one goal and three assists, followed by Minten and Bankier (2G, 1A apiece), Logan Bairos (3A) and Seminoff (1G, 1A).

Dylan Ernst was solid in net for the Blazers, stopping 33 of 36 Regina shots en route to his 11th win of the season. Matthew Kieper made 14 saves on 23 Kamloops shots before he was replaced by Drew Sim late in the second period. Sim was perfect on 10 shots in relief.

Kamloops product Luke Bateman, who patrols the blue line for the Pats, finished the night -3 with one shot on goal and two penalty minutes. Merritt twins Corbin and Jaxsin Vaughan were both held off the scoresheet for the Pats.

The win moves the Blazers to 12-5-3-1 on the season, back into top spot in the WHL’s B.C. Division — two points ahead of the Prince George Cougars (13-10-0-0). With the loss, the Pats fall to 12-12-1-1.

The Blazers will host the Vancouver Giants (9-10-2-2) on Friday at Sandman Centre before heading to Langley on Saturday for a rematch.



Regina scored on the power play with less than two minutes left in OT to edge the Rockets 6-5

Pats edge Rockets in OT

More than 6,400 fans jammed into Prospera Place Tuesday night - most hoping to get a glimpse of hockey's next phenom.

And, while Regina Pats centre Connor Bedard did extend his point streak to 24 games, he needed overtime to do it in the Pats 6-5 OT win.

His assist on Alexander Suzdalev's power play goal at 3:07 of sudden death overtime was his only point in a game billed as Bedard vs. Andrew Cristall, the battle of childhood best friends and sure-fire first round selections in next June's NHL draft.

While Bedard is the consensus first overall selection, it was Cristall and his two goals and two assists who stole the show and likely made a big impression on the large gathering of pro scouts in 6,407 in attendance.

And Cristall let everyone know how big this one was each time he hit the scoresheet.

"I didn't want him showing me up so when I scored a goal I was pretty amped up and the crowd definitely helped with that," said Cristall.

"I kind of like playing high pressure games and situations. I think I put more pressure on myself than anyone else could put on me. I just embraced it."

Cristall says the two joked about how much attention the game was getting in the local media.

"AC was AC tonight...he was in form, he scores two goal and he's making plays," said head coach Kris Mallette.

"He always wants to play his best hockey against other draft eligible players for sure, but he's just an ultra competitive guy through and through.

"But, I guess Connor has bragging rights."

The Rockets did a great job of containing Bedard, with the line of Dach, Golder and Pacheco and defenceman Caden Price assigned to shut him down for much of the night.

"It's just time and space. If our gap is compromised by our defence, he can make you look interesting to say the least.," added Mallette.

"He's a real shifty, real special player. He can turn on a dime, change speeds and it doesn't take much to get his shot off either.

"Trying to stay on top of him with numbers and be aware of where he is at all times."

Tuesday's game seesawed back and forth all night long. It was tied on five separate occasions and neither team was able to forge more than a one goal lead.

Cristall with his pair, Max Graham, Price and newly acquired Carson Golder in his first game in a Rocket's uniform all scored for the Rockets.

Trailing by a goal with less than two minutes to go in regulation, the Rockets found themselves with a two-man advantage after Tanner Howe drove the puck over the glass with the Pats already a man down.

Cristall, who seconds earlier hit the post from the edge of the crease, made no mistake when the puck squirted back to him in the same spot.

They carried the second power play into the overtime period, but were unable to find the winner.

The Pats did after Dach was sent to the box for slashing seconds after forward ty Spencer slid in front of a Price one-timer in the crease.

The Rockets did manage to score four times on seven power play chances while the Pats went three for four including the eventual winner.

Tuesday's crowd was the eighth largest for a regular season game at Prospera Place. The largest crowd to see a regular season game was Feb. 15, 2003 when 6,557 came through the doors to watch the Rockets edge Kamloops 4-3.

The Rockets now hit the road for games in Spokane Friday, Tri-City Saturday and Everett Sunday.



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