Weekend Summary: Blazers vs Giants
Thompson Blazers head coach Mark Chase described his team’s effort this past weekend “like night and day” as the T-Blazers hosted one of the top teams in the BCMML and gave the Vancouver North West Giants almost all that they could handle in the opener on Friday night, November 22nd at the Interior Savings Centre.
The visitors got out to a two-nothing lead less than six minutes into the first period with the goals exactly 60 seconds apart. But, with 65 seconds remaining in the first and the T-Blazers on the power play…Captain Dexter Robinson fed Nii Noi Tetteh (5th) a pass from behind the Giant’s goal and Tetteh cut the lead in half.
Vancouver didn’t waste any time getting started again in the middle frame as they restored their two goal lead, 3-1 just two minutes and 40 seconds in. Before Dante Callier (2nd) snapped a shot from the face-off dot, stick side and Callier got the home team back within one with five and half minutes remaining in the second period.
Special teams were a big factor in both games and during 4-on-4 play almost eight minutes to the third, Tylor Seabrooke (2nd) took a cross ice pass from Dexter Robinson and the big D-man’s wrist shot tied the game at three. The game winner came off of a backhander in front, through traffic with 2:22 remaining.
Despite the loss, T-Blazers head coach Mark Chase was extremely happy with his team’s performance.
“We executed very, very well for at least forty-five minutes…the North West Giants, they’re a very skilled hockey team but unfortunately they didn’t work as hard as we did. We outworked them consistently. Overall an excellent performance by every single player on this hockey team and I don’t think the North West Giants thought that we would have a team like this and they’re quite surprised.”
The two teams met again less than twelve hours later Saturday morning, November 23rd back at the Interior Savings Centre in downtown Kamloops and for the home team…a much different game.
“It was like night and day, we didn’t come to play today (Saturday). It seems like mental toughness is an issue for us, we don’t have the ability to regain composure and to regain our mental strength and bring our best foot forward for a second game in two days so…it was quite disappointing. I thought yesterday (Friday) our performance was excellent; we gave them nothing yesterday (Friday) and in spite of the loss very proud of the boys. No matter what we’ve taken some strides, we know we have the ability to play with the top teams in the league.”
Chase said as the Thompson Blazers were beaten 7-3 by the North West Giants on Saturday. Like the night before, the T-Blazers allowed the G-Men to get out to a two-nothing lead less than six minutes into the first period. Keaton Gordon (4th) capitalized on a rebound from captain Dexter Robinson’s shot at the side of the Giant’s goal and cut the lead in half with another power-play goal as they did on Friday night but Vancouver added two more goals before the period was done for a 4-1 lead.
Alex Astasiewicz (2nd) made it 4-2 with another power-play marker 3:35 into the second as he let a wrist shot go from the face-off dot but, the Northwest Giants answered back just eight seconds later and potted another in the middle period to go up 6-2 after 40 minutes.
Vancouver made it 7-2 in the third period before Nii Noi Tetteh (6th) in the slot took a pass from Dexter Robinson along the boards and Tetteh ripped home his second of weekend, another power-play goal.
The T-Blazers had 11 power-plays in the two games including a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities scoring five times with the extra man and were a perfect three-for-three on the penalty kill in the two games combined.
Bailey DePalma started Saturday’s game in goal but was relieved by Daniel Toews after Vancouver scored its third goal in the first period. Towes started and played all of Friday night’s game.
The T-Blazers are practicing and working out this week as usual as they get set to host and meet for the first time this season the Kootenay Ice. The Ice are coming off 5-2 and 8-2 losses at home to the Vancouver Canadians last weekend. The Thompson Blazers are three points back of Kootenay in the BCMML standings. Game times are 6:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Interior Savings Centre and 11 a.m. Sunday morning at Memorial Arena. All of the T-Blazers and BCMML games are also available online: http://www.bchockey.net/mml/MMLNewsItem.aspx?id=1642
Ian Douglas – Radio NL