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Blazers drop wild one in Prince George

Sideroff back but illness keeps him out
September 19, 2015 10:07 P.M.

Ready or not, the Kamloops Blazers will open the WHL’s 50th regular season by going home-and-home with the defending-champion Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday.
The Blazers concluded their exhibition season last night by dropping a wild 6-5 decision to the Cougars in Prince George.
Kamloops, which has missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, will open in Kelowna on Friday as the Rockets hold a pennant-raising party. The two teams will conclude the series in Kamloops on Saturday.
The Blazers finished the preseason at 2-3-0; the Cougars went 3-2-1. The Rockets wound up at 3-2-0 after beating the visiting Vancouver Giants (3-2-0), 3-0, last night. The Victoria Royals, the other team in the B.C. Division, finished 3-4-0 after losing 3-1 to the host Everett Silvertips last night.
It was the final night of exhibition play, as the regular season is to open with a Thursday night game in Moose Jaw between the Warriors and Regina Pats.
In Prince George, the Blazers were without the three players off their roster who attended NHL training camps. Forward Deven Sideroff has returned from the Anaheim Ducks but was ill and couldn’t play. Goaltender Connor Ingram (Detroit Red Wings) and defenceman Ryan Rehill (New Jersey Devils) have yet to return. Ingram will be back, likely early in the week. Rehill, 20, is hoping to earn a contract and play in the Devils’ organization.
The Blazers took a 2-1 lead into the second period, only to surrender three goals.
Veteran forwards Collin Shirley and Jesse Zaharichuk scored for the visitors in the first period, the latter giving his side a 2-1 lead at 19:22.
But the Cougars got two goals from Brogan O’Brien and one from Justin Almeida to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. O’Brien, an 18-year-old freshman from Prince George, tied the score at 7:12 on a PP and then gave the Cougars the lead at 17:52.
The home team, which got its first-period goal from Kolby Johnson, appeared to really take control on Jared Bethune’s shorthand goal off a breakaway just eight seconds into the third period.
However, Shirley and Luke Harrison got the Blazers to within one, at 5-4, with goals at 5:49 and 11:20. Almeida restored the Cougars’ two-goal lead at 15:44.
Harrison got the Blazers back to within one when he scored his fourth goal of the preseason at 16:06.
The Blazers opened with sophomore Cole Kehler in goal and he stopped 18 of 21 shots. Freshman Dylan Ferguson came on midway through the second period and made 18 saves on 21 shots.
At the other end, starter Ty Edmonds made nine saves on 11 shots, with Mack Shields playing the second half and making 17 stops on 20 shots.
JUST NOTES: Announced attendance was 3,108. . . . With the Vancouver Canucks holding training camp in the CN Centre this weekend, the Blazers dressed in a different facility and then rode a bus to the game. . . . The Blazers scratched Ingram, F Matt Revel (shoulder), Rehill, D Conner McDonald, Sideroff and D Dawson Davidson. . . . Kamloops F Matt Campese, who had been nursing a shoulder injury, was back in the lineup. . . . Among the Cougars scratches were F Chase Witala, F Brad Morrison, F Tyler Mrkonjic, F Jansen Harkins, F Jesse Gabrielle and D Tate Olson, all veterans.

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