The Hitmen were unable to fend off a late-game charge from the Blazers in their second and final meeting of the season on Tuesday night, as Kamloops persevered their way to a 3-2 shootout victory.
“I thought that tonight, pretty much from start to finish, we were solid. There were a couple lapses but a lot of that had to do with the push from Kamloops,” said Hitmen bench boss, Mike Williamson.
The win also bolstered the Blazers endeavor for first place in the WHL, now boasting a 25-7-1-2 record while dropping Calgary to 20-7-1-3.
Brady Brassart extended his point streak to five games after contributing an assist on the opening goal and was the second marksman of the night.
Zane Jones opened scoring with just over six minutes remaining in the first stanza. Brassart fed Jones through traffic, as the left-winger found himself on a partial break and landed it over the trapper of Cole Cheveldave.
Only 35 seconds into the second frame, Brady Brassart capitalized on a special teams’ opportunity to put Kamloops at a 2-0 deficit. He was the final recipient of a passing play by Victor Rask and Spencer Humphries and put a literal meaning to the term tic-tac-toe as he banked it off the toe of Cheveldave and in.
However WHL top point producer, Colin Smith was not deterred. About eight minutes into the second period, Smith put away a rebound off the pad of Chris Driedger to draw the visitors within one.
Kamloops reset the game 19 seconds into the third period, as Smith once again played the spoiler, this time on the powerplay. He deflected in his second goal of the night to knot things at 2 apiece. Left winger, Tim Bozon also had a hand in both Kamloops regulation tallies.
“Obviously when you have a 2-0 lead you would like to get that next one or close them out. I thought we had that opportunity. We had a [penalty] kill at the start of the third period that we did not get,” pointed out Williamson.
With under a minute remaining in overtime Victor Rask weaved into prime position and wired it off the inside post for the closest opportunity in the extra session.
Rask scored the lone shootout goal for the Hitmen while Smith and Brendan Ranford lit the lamp for Kamloops.
On a positive note, Williamson added, “We got our game back so I think we’ll take the effort we had tonight. That will lead to our share of wins, not tonight, but most times I think it will.”
With the road victory, Kamloops takes the season series against Calgary 2-0 after securing a 5-2 win in October.
Two familiar faces were dressed in blue and white as former Hitmen, Rob Trzonkowski and Joe Kornelsen laced up for the Blazers.
Calgary will head to Red Deer tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 12, before returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome for a three-game homestand that begins Saturday, Dec. 15 against the Regina Pats, with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
Single game day tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000. For more information on tickets, including the Sunday Ticket Pack and Name Your Game Flex Package, visit www.hitmenhockey.com or contact customer service at 403-777-4646.