After a brief respite, the Kamloops Blazers get to do it all over again this weekend.
The Blazers went 0-2-1 last weekend as they played three road games in less than 48 hours, losing 4-1 and 6-3 to the Victoria Royals and dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Vancouver Giants.
This weekend, Kamloops will play one road game — against the Everett Silvertips on Friday — and two at home, with the
Vancouver Giants here on Saturday and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday.
The Blazers will start the weekend without their captain, as Matt Needham serves a one-game suspension. He took a kneeing major and game misconduct 52 seconds into Sunday’s game in Vancouver for a hit on defenceman Dmitry Osipov, who wasn’t injured.
The Blazers (27-24-9) continue to hold down the 10-team Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot. They are one point behind the Spokane Chiefs (28-23-8), who hold a game in hand.
However, the Tri-City Americans (29-27-3) have closed to within two points of the Blazers after beating the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-1, on Tuesday night. The Americans still hold a game in hand on the Blazers.
The Cougars are third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kamloops. Each team has 12 games remaining.
The Cougars visit Spokane on Wednesday night. The Americans don’t play again until Friday when they are at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Vancouver, meanwhile, lost 5-3 to the host Thunderbirds on Tuesday. The Giants are 10th in the conference, 10 points behind the Blazers. Vancouver has 10 games remaining. The Giants will entertain the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night before visiting Kamloops on Saturday.
The U.S. national women’s team will hold its pre-tournament camp in Everett as it prepares to play in the IIHF world championship in Kamloops, March 28 through April 4. . . . That camp will be held at the Xfinity Arena, the home of the Everett Silvertips, from March 18 through 24. . . . The U.S., the two-time defending champion, opens the world tournament against Canada on March 28. . . . The U.S. is expected to reveal its national team roster today (Wednesday).