Blazers win seventh in a row against the Cougars, tied for final wildcard

By Chad Klassen
February 1, 2019 - 10:20pm Updated: February 2, 2019 - 8:10am

KAMLOOPS --- The Blazers continued their roll against Prince George, but they didn't make it easy on themselves. 

A pair of first-period goals and the Blazers seemed well on their way to another win against their B.C. Division foes. Kyrell Sopotyk scored 9:35 into the game before Orrin Centazzo tallied his 13th goal of the year with 25 seconds left in the opening frame. Kamloops outshot the Cougars 20-8 in the first. 

HIGHLIGHTS: Blazers defeat the Cougars 4-1

But early in the second period, a hooking call on Josh Pillar sent the Cougars to the power play, where Vladislav Mikhalchuk banked one in off Dylan Ferguson. It was 2-1 after the second, which head coach Serge Lajoie said after the game was a down period. 

"I think we came out strong, dipped in the second and put ourselves in a tough spot at the start of the third, having to kill some penalties," he noted. 

The Blazers took back-to-back penalties early in the third period, first on a Luke Zazula slashing call. The team killed it off, then Montana Onyebuchi found himself in the box on a high stick. Ferguson bailed his team out on both penalty kills with key saves to keep it a one-goal lead.

POST GAME: Serge Lajoie after another win vs. PG

After allowing Prince George to hang around, Brodi Stuart got the insurance goal, his 14th of the season and first in eight games to give the Blazers a 3-1 cushion. 

"I think it was huge," said Stuart about his goal. "In the second there, we kind of seemed to let off on our energy and just getting that goal really brought it up a little bit. It was huge for us."

POST GAME: Brodi Stuart talks about 3-1 insurance goal

Sopotyk scored his second of the game into the empty net to secure a 4-1 win over the Cougars. Kamloops is now 6-0 against PG this season. They've now won seven straight games against the Cougars dating back to the final game of the regular season last year. 

"This team kind of bends but doesn't break as of late," said Lajoie following the win. "We showed some resolve. I was very happy to see Stewie [Brodi Stuart] get rewarded for his hard work. He's been such a consistent worker for us dating back to training camp."

With the win, the Blazers are also back in a tie with Seattle for the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference after the Thunderbirds lost 4-1 at home to Everett on Friday night. 

Kamloops are in Kelowna on Saturday night. The Rockets also lost on Friday night in Spokane, putting the Blazers just one point behind Kelowna for third in the B.C. Division. 

Rockets bump Blazers in OT