Special teams play favored the Kamloops Blazers during their Teddy Bear Toss game as they beat the Winterhawks 4-1 at the Sandman Centre. Saturday night was the fourth and final head-to-head meeting between the two clubs this regular season. Both the Hawks and Blazers earned two wins against one another this year.
The Blazers had three early power play chances and they cashed in on a two-man advantage 10:57 into the first period. Alternate captain Connor Zary scored his team-leading 19th goal of the year to send the teddy bears flying at the Sandman Centre. A little over six minutes of game time later, Orrin Centazzo scored the game’s second goal of the night, assisted by Zary, to give Kamloops a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Kamloops increased their lead in the second period as Ryan Hughes tapped in a power play goal to make it 3-0 in the Blazers final home game before the holiday break. Joel Hofer had 26 saves after 40 minutes of play.
Daylan Kuefler scored his first Western Hockey League goal in the third period to make it 4-0 Kamloops, but the Hawks refused to get shut out on the road. With just over two minutes to play, Reece Newkirk ripped in his seventh goal of the season to put the Hawks on the scoreboard. Joel Hofer had his highest workload of the season, turning aside 42 shots.
- Mike Johnston coached in his 600th career game tonight with the Winterhawks and he owns a record of 371-190-16-23.
- The Winterhawks Teddy Bear Toss game will be held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, December 7 against the Prince George Cougars. Tickets are available here. Last year, the Hawks donated over 10,000 teddy bears with your help!
- Portland’s winning streak ends at five straight games.
- Kamloops top four leading scorers all recorded two points in tonight’s game. The Blazers improve to 12-2-0-1 at the Sandman Centre this season. Tonight was their last home game until December 28, 2019.
- With Newkirk’s late goal, it marked the 39th straight game the Hawks have avoided getting shutout.
- Portland travels north to Prince George tomorrow to begin a four-game series with the Cougars.
Box Score (Click the hyperlink to find all the scoring details)
SHOTS ON GOAL:
POR: Joel Hofer stopped 42-of-46 shots.
KAM: Dylan Garand stopped 30-of-31 shots.