Photo: Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers
The Kamloops Blazers did everything but find the game tying goal Friday night.
Trailing the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 3-0 after 40 minutes, the Blazers crept to within a goal, but couldn't manage to find the equalizer in a 3-2 defeat.
The Warriors snapped a scoreless tie when Ben Riche and Ryder Korczak scored power play goals a minute 35 seconds apart early in the second period.
Brayden Yager with the teams at even strength beat Michael Schnattinger later in the second to send the Warriors to the dressing room nursing a 3-0 lead.
The Blazers came out flying in the third and were rewarded just 43 seconds in when Logan Stankoven, parked below the left circle, took a backdoor feed from Dylan Kuefler and sent a one-timer past Connor Unger.
The two combined seven minutes later.
Stankoven dropped a pass to Kuefler, whose initial shot from the right faceoff circle was stopped by Unger. Kuefler followed up on his own rebound and, with his momentum carrying him behind the net reached out front and tucked the puck inside the near post.
The Blazers threw 14 shots at Unger during the final 20 minutes but were unable to find the equalizer.
Unger stopped 36 shots fired his way as the Blazers outshot the visitors 38-29.
The Blazers head north to face the BC Division-leading Prince George Cougars Saturday before hosting Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats Wednesday.
Only about two dozen tickets remain for that game.
Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/file
Dylan Wightman got the Rockets on the board Friday in Everett.
The Kelowna Rockets are heading home with a split of their two-game road trip south of the border.
Colton Dach snapped a 2-2 tie late in the second period Friday, leading the Rockets to a 4-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips.
Jackson DeSouza started the play, hitting Dach with a long stretch pass from deep in his own end.
Dach drifted toward the slot from the left wing and sent a shot from the top of the circle that appeared to deflect off an Everett defenceman and past goaltender Braden Holt.
Former Silvertip Max Graham hit the empty net in the dying seconds to seal the victory.
Everett took a 1-0 lead into the second period, but goals three minutes apart from Dylan Wightman and Nolan Flamand put the Rockets up a goal.
While enjoying a man advantage, the Rockets broke out on the rush. Andrew Cristall's initial shot was stopped, but Wightman, trailing the play, backhanded the rebound under Holt for the tying goal.
Three minutes later, Adam Kydd spotted Flamand alone in the slot. His one-timer beat Holt for his fourth of the season.
Cristall, who had his eight-game point streak snapped in Seattle, picked up a pair of assists in Everett.
DeSouza, on a goal scoring tear of late, also had a pair of assists, giving him eight points over the last six games.
The Rockets, back to .500 at 9-9-1-0, return home to host the Moose Jaw Warriors Saturday.
They'll entertain Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats Tuesday in a game that is already completely sold out.
Photo: Keith Hershmiller
Connor Bedard is used to constant attention and scrutiny.
It's life in a fishbowl for a 17-year-old hockey phenom called "the future of hockey," in a Hockey News article.
Now, hockey fans across the five Western Hockey League's five BC Division cities are ready to come out in droves to see what all the fuss is about.
Bedard and his Regina Pats make their only western road swing of the season over the next nine days.
The road trip begins Friday in Langley and concludes a week Friday in Prince George. In between, the Pats make stops in Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops.
Tickets, as expected, are at a premium.
The games against the Vancouver Giants Friday, Victoria Royals Saturday and Kelowna Rockets next Tuesday are already sold out.
There are less than 70 seats left for the game in Kamloops next Wednesday while plenty of seats remain for next Friday's game in Prince George, however those are expected to move quickly as game day approaches.
Special media scrums are being set up during many of these stops to accommodate the numerous media requests.
Is the hype real?
You bet it is.
Since coming into the league as a 15-year-old in 2020, and on a team struggling to be a playoff contender, Bedard has torn up the league.
He has 48 points in just 22 games this season and 176 points through 99 career games, including a 100 point season in 2021-2022 when the Pats missed the playoffs.
While this is the Pats lone trip out west, it may not be Bedard's only visit.
Rumours continue to swirl around the possibility he will be traded before the Jan. 10 trade deadline. His talent level would look good on a team with Memorial Cup aspirations.
The 2023 Memorial Cup is being hosted by the Kamloops Blazers.
Bedard is the consensus first overall pick in next summer's NHL draft and is expected to make the jump directly into the NHL.
Rockets celebrate DeSouza's goal
The Kelowna Rockets modest two-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday night in Seattle.
Kyle Crnkovic snapped a 2-2 tie midway through the second the Reid Schaefer found the empty net late in regulation time leading the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 home ice victory over the Rockets Wednesday night.
The T-Birds held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, only to see the Rockets come back to tie it on each occasion.
However, the Rockets were unable to find the equalizer a third time.
Trailing 1-0 during the opening moment of the game, Adam Kydd stole the puck along the side boards in the Seattle zone.
He played give-and-go with Gabriel Szturc before burying his own rebound, notching his 11th of the campaign.
After Jared Davidson restored the one goal lead early in the second, Jackson DeSouza went to work.
The stay-at-home defenceman who had just one goal in his first 84 games notched his third in two games to tie it.
After Szturc won a faceoff in the Seattle end, the puck came back to DeSouza whose wrist shot from the mid point seemed to handcuff Scott Ratzlaff in the T-Birds net.
Less than two minutes later, Crnkovic beat Talyn Boyko with what ;proved to be the game winner.
Andrew Cristall was held off the scoresheet Wednesday as his eight-game point streak came to an end.
The Rockets will travel up I-95 for a date with the Everett Silvertips Friday before returning home to host the Moose Jaw Warriors Saturday.