KAMLOOPS — A lead in a game has been as elusive as the tooth fairy --- and if you don't have a lead, well, quite simply, you're not going to win.
Once again getting an early lead to build on escaped the Blazers when Dylan Ferguson blocked a shot on the chest and then inadvertently knocks it into the net.
Three minutes later the Prince George Cougars scored again and before the game was nine minutes old the homeside was down by two.
"We don't have a lot of confidence right now", says coach Don Hay, "when you get down your mind starts thinking about the end of the game instead of the process you go through to play the game."
The Blazers scored twice sandwiched around another Prince George goal. First Connor Zary on the power play for his first Western League goal.
Then Nic Holowko drove the net to keep his team within a goal after the first period.
But the wind quickly goes out of the sails in the second ---- Aaron Boyd scored for the Cougars on a rebound.
Then back to back goals 35 seconds apart and it's 6-2 Prince George.
Dylan Ferguson is in a fragile place with his game right now, and got the mercy hook.
"Like all of us" says goaltender coach Dan DePalma, "we don't always peel the layers as things happen. Our job now is to dig in a little bit deeper and see how he's doing emotionally and personally."
Don't put all the blame on Dylan Ferguson. Defensively this group isn't at the level it should be ---- giving up 42 shots and at times looking like a fire drill gone horribly wrong.
Max Palaga came in and held the fort the rest of the way in stopping 20 of 20 shots.
Says Hay, "He was in the game Sunday in Victoria --- I thought it was an average game, but he responded with a real good effort tonight --- I thought he was probably our best player."
But it was another game without a lead, meaning another loss ---- testing the acumen of the most veteran coach in the league, looking for answers and solutions to an 0-and-6 start.
"As a coach you have to find ways to give your group hope", says Hay, "And that's my job right now to find ways to have the guys come to the rink everyday wanting to get better, stay energized and playing hard. A young group gets frustrated much too quickly ---- that leadership has to come from our older guys with good body language, good leadership and good work ethic."
It doesn't get any easier on Friday night, when the Blazers host the 5-and-0 Victoria Royals.
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