BLAZERS HEAD TO EVERETT
A SLOW START: The Kamloops Blazers are into their 33rd season in the Western Hockey League and the 30th season as the Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers are off to a 6-10-1-1 start with wins over Prince George, Victoria, Lethbridge, Seattle, Spokane and Red Deer. The hockey club is on a stretch in which they’ve earned points in three straight games going 2-0-0-1 in that span. The Blazers finished off a 5-game home stand last night and will begin another 5-game home stand following tonight’s game. The hockey club will conclude the week by hosting the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday and the Prince George Cougars on Sunday this week.
Vs. Everett – Last Season (4-Game Series)
Game 1: 10/30/12, at Everett 2, Kamloops 3 SO
Game 2: 01/23/13, vs. Everett 3, Kamloops 4 OT
Game 3: 02/02/13, at Everett 2, Kamloops 3 SO
Game 4: 02/07/13, vs. Everett 0, Kamloops 6
Blazers were 4-0-0-0 in season series
Vs. Everett – This Season (4-Game Series)
Game 1: 10/19/13, at Everett 1, Kamloops 0
Game 2: 10/26/13, vs. Everett 7, Kamloops 6
Game 3: 11/06/13, at Everett, Kamloops
Game 4: 12/07/13, vs. Everett, Kamloops
Blazers are 0-1-1-0 in season series
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The Blazers roster currently sits at 22 players (2 goaltenders, 7 defensemen and 13 forwards). The roster includes 10 players selected in the WHL Bantam Draft, five players from the free agent list, six players via trade, and one player selected from the CHL Import Draft. The roster breakdown by region includes seven from B.C., eight players from Alberta, four from Saskatchewan, one from Manitoba, one from Switzerland and one from the USA.
THE MATCH UP: The Blazers and Silvertips will meet four times this season. These two teams have already met twice with the Silvertips winning in Everett 1-0 back on October 19th. It took overtime, but the Silvertips won the second game of the season series in Kamloops 7-6 on October 26th. These two teams will play their entire season series by December 7th as the Silvertips will make their last appearance at the ISC.
KAMLOOPS BLAZERS ‘Who to Watch’: The Kamloops Blazers forwards held their own despite a major turnover this past year. Cole Ully (8+12=20), Matt Needham (3+11=14) and Chase Souto (10+4=14) are guys entering their third and fourth seasons that are the offensive leaders. The 18-year-old Ully posted 22 goals and 50 points last season which got him drafted in the 5th round by the Dallas Stars. Needham is the team captain at only 18, and Chase Souto is the longest tenured Blazer closing in on 200 games played. Tyson Ness (5+4=9) also joins that group of players expected to score for the Blazers after being acquired from Red Deer prior to the start of the season. The 20-year-old plays in all situations for the hockey club. Collin Shirley (3+2=5) was acquired in the Tim Bozon trade and will have plenty of opportunity to play with good players and succeed. Joe Kornelsen, (2+1=3), Aspen Sterzer (9+6=15), and Aaron Macklin (2+3=5) make up the supporting cast for the Blazers. Sterzer has had a great start to the season earning additional ice time. There is plenty of opportunity for the young forwards on the Blazers roster as Jesse Shynkaruk, (0+0=0) Eric Krienke, (0+0=0) Nathan Looysen (0+1=1) and Mitch Lipon (1+3=4) are all 17-year-olds looking to prove themselves. Nick Chyzowski (2+2=4) is the lone 16-year-old on the roster and has also earned additional ice time contributing already. On defence, the Blazers have some young players who will need to take on a bigger role this year. Sam Grist (0+3=3) is the oldest defenseman on the roster and has shown he is capable of leading a young group. Returnees Ryan Rehill (0+2=2) and Josh Connolly (4+13=17) have done nothing but impress in their respective roles. Connolly has had a great start tied for the team lead in points, while Rehill has been able to shut down the opponents top players. Matt Thomas (0+1=1) is the newest addition to the group. At 18, he is a defensive minded defenseman. A trio of 17-year-olds are all looking to establish themselves this season. Jordan Thomson (0+7=7) will be in the line-up every night and will need to play in all situations. Edson Harlacher (0+0=0) was selected by the Blazers in the import draft and he has shown he has the tools to be a solid defender. Connor Clouston (0+0=0) spent some time with the Blazers last year. In goal, the Blazers have two 19-year-old options in returnee Taran Kozun (1-6-1-0, 3.96, .898) and acquired veteran Bolton Pouliot (5-4-0-1, 2.62, .925). Both Kozun and Pouliot have performed well this season as their stats show.
EVERETT SILVERTIPS ‘Who to Watch’: The Silvertips are a much improved team over last season with many returning veterans to their roster. Up front, Joshua Winquist and Manraj Hayer will pace the offense as two 20-year-olds. Winquist is among the WHL top scorers with 27 points. Tons of younger players will also carry the load as Tyler Sandhu is due for a big year after a strong season at 16. Ivan Nikolishin is an outstanding young European who has 14 points already this season. Kohl Bauml is 19 now and has proven himself in his first two seasons. Jujhar Khaira is an Edmonton Oilers draft pick and was added to the roster after leaving NCAA hockey. Other players to watch up front include Carson Stadnyk, Dawson Leedahl, Patrick Bajkov, and Logan Aasman. On defence, the Silvertips are a year older and a year stronger. The acquisition of 20-year-old Matt Pufahl has helped in the early going with 17 points already this season. Mirco Mueller is a first round pick of the San Jose Sharks and is a pleasure to watch. Ben Betker is another NHL drafted defenseman who prides himself as a defensive defenseman. Kevin Davis is a 16-year-old rookie from Kamloops playing in 16 games so far this season. Others on the backend include Cole MacDonald, Micheal Zipp, Noah Juulsen and Austin Adam. Goaltending is where the Silvertips are strong as 18-year-old Austin Lotz has the reigns once again. Lotz is into his second full season as the starter and third season overall in the WHL. Lotz is out right now due to an injury suffered in Kamloops so 19-year-old Daniel Cotton is who the Silvertips are counting on. The Silvertips have brought in 16-year-old Nik Amundrud to carry the load with Cotton until Lotz returns.
NHL DRAFT: Cole Ully (Dallas, 5th round, 131st overall in 2013).
INJURY REPORT: None.Man games lost due to injury – 2.
DID YOU KNOW… Collin Shirley and Matt Thomas were acquired from the Kootenay Ice on October 22nd… Connor Clouston is the son of current Medicine Hat Tigers GM/Head Coach Shaun Clouston and the nephew of current Prince Albert Raiders Head Coach Cory Clouston… Chase Souto and Sam Grist have both been named permanent assistant captains… 18-year-old Matt Needham was named the Kamloops Blazers captain… Needham is the youngest Blazers captain since Ajay Baines was named team captain as an 18-year-old in 1996-97 season… Nick Chyzowski scored his first two WHL goals on November 2nd against the Vancouver Giants… The Blazers acquired 20-year-old Tyson Ness from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a 3rd round WHL Bantam Draft pick in 2014 in September… Head Coach Dave Hunchak is entering his 10th season in the Western Hockey League after serving three years in Swift Current as an Assistant Coach, four years in Moose Jaw as a Head Coach, and the past two years as an Associate Coach with the Kamloops Blazers… Associate Coach Mark Ferner is entering his second stint with the Blazers after serving as an Assistant, Associate and Head Coach with the Blazers from 2002-2006… Mitch Lipon is the younger brother of former Blazers forward JC Lipon… Matt Needham’s father Mike played for the Blazers from 1986-1990… Nick Chyzowski’s father Dave played for the Blazers from 1987-1990…