KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Blazers' playoff hopes took a hit in a 3-1 home ice loss to the Spokane Chiefs.
Spokane, which holds the second wild card, now has a nine point lead over the Blazers, and with a game in hand.
Brodi Stuart put the Blazers on the board first, midway through the first period, taking a pass from Orrin Centazzo, and then from the corner and behind the goal line banked it in off Spokane netminder Dawson Weatherill.
HIGHLIGHTS: Blazers drop 3-1 decision on home ice
It sayed a 1-0 lead until the middle of the second when Luke Toporowski fired a laser past Dylan Ferguson.
With under two minutes left Riley Woods scored on a shorthanded breakaway to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead after the second.
The Blazers came as close as a goal post by Nick Chyzowski to tie it in the first minute of the third.
15-year-old Josh Pillar, in his Western League debut, was given some important shifts in the third with his team down a goal.
Using his speed Pillar split the Spokane defence for a shot and had another scoring chance on a six attackers situation with a minute left.
But Spokane added an empty net goal to seal a 3-1 win.
"I thought Spokane really played a good team game." said Blazers coach Don Hay. "They really checked us, they got above us, they did'nt give us a lot and at times they frustrated us, and you can't play when frustration is in your game."
Spokane coach Dan Lambert said " I though defensively we were fairly solid. I mean when they got that goal early on which kind of put us on our heels a little bit. But I thought we recovered well and really when you think about it a shorthanded goal was the difference, but it was certainly not a game that we were better than they were."
Facing a nine point deficit in the wild card the Blazers travel to Prince George for games Friday and Saturday before returning home to host the Edmonton Oil Kings in a Family Day matinee on Monday.
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