As Head Coach Guy Charron said it post-game… “ it was our best road effort…certainly in my time here.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t end in two points, instead a tough loss to swallow for the visitors in Everett.
The Blazers, outshot, out chanced, outworked and outplayed the Silvertips in their barn but fell 4-2 to an opportunistic home team.
Credit the ‘Tips. They found a way to win, making the most of their opportunities and a mid 3rd penalty shot chance to break a 2-2 tie.
Josh Birkholz found a loose puck in neutral ice on a Blazer powerplay and raced towards the Blazer goal. A chasing Bernhard Keil slashed Birkholz en-route to the goal but let go of his stick on impact. Referee Pat Smith ruled Keil threw his stick – awarding the speedy Everett forward a penalty shot.
Birkholz scored on the ensuing opportunity to the Silvertips up 3-2. They would add an empty-netter for the 4-2 win.
The Blazers carried the bulk load of the play all night and ran into a hot Kent Simpson between the pipes as he made 42 saves for the win. Shots on the night favoured the Blazers 44-20.
Only Dylan Willick and Brendan Ranford found the back of the ‘Tips net on the night.
The Silvertips scored three of their goals on breakaways after Blazer mis-cues. The Blazers played a solid game, but with any mistake, they paid for it.
Jon Groenheyde took the loss in goal. I thought he played well but just couldn’t bail out his team in front of him when called upon.
Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron tried to get an explanation from referee Pat Smith on the penalty shot call in the third. Smith said that Keil threw his stick which means an automatic penalty shot. Apparently there is no discretion involved in that instance.
Sure it was a loss. But if the Blazers can put forth that effort on the road consistently they will be in good shape.
There was a trio of scraps on the night. Brandon Underwood scrapped with Campbell Elyniuk. JC Lipon squared off with defenseman Nick Walters. Jordan Depape scrapped with Tyler Maxwell. At the end of the game, Lipon was involved in an altercation with Silvertips D Alex Theriau.
Video game highlights are available at www.blazerhockey.com.
The team bussed to Chilliwack after the game. They will face the Bruins Saturday night to conclude the weekend. The Bruins haven’t played since last Saturday in Kamloops when they posted a 5-2 win.