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Blazers in Victoria for doubleheader

Revel expected to return to lineup tonight
By Gregg Drinnan
October 1, 2015 9:38 P.M.

The Kamloops Blazers expect to have veteran forward Matt Revel back in their lineup tonight when they open a weekend doubleheader in Victoria against the Royals.
Revel, 19, hasn’t played since suffering a shoulder injury in an exhibition game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Sept. 11.
The Abbotsford, B.C., native is entering his fourth WHL season. The Blazers will be able to make good use of his experience as they continue to carry four 20-year-olds while only being allowed to dress three per game.
In their first two games, the Blazers first scratched Ryan Rehill, then Marc McNulty. Both are veteran WHL defencemen. The other two 20-year-olds are forwards — Matt Needham, the team captain, and Luke Harrison.
Because the Blazers are winless (0-2-0), head coach Don Hay may choose to scratch Harrison tonight, a move that would allow the two defencemen to play.
Revel had 34 points, including 17 goals, in 72 games last season.
The Blazers spent a glorious Thursday riding over the Coquihalla Highway and taking a ferry to Vancouver Island. They arrived in B.C.’s capital city in time to practise at the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre at 4 p.m.
The Blazers will hook up with the Royals in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader, both games to start at 7:05 p.m.
The Royals go in having won both of their games this season — they dropped the visiting Portland Winterhawks 4-1 and 6-5 last weekend — while the Blazers lost 4-3 in Kelowna and 7-3 to the visiting Rockets.
The Royals hadn’t opened 2-0-0 since 2012-13 when they started with a sweep of the Vancouver Giants. The Royals started that season 3-0-0 after they defeated the visiting Blazers 4-3 in OT in the first game of the series. Kamloops took Game 2, 3-0, behind 22 saves from goaltender Cole Cheveldave.
If the Blazers are to have success in Victoria, they will have to find a way to cool down Royals F Alex Forsberg, the WHL and CHL player of the week after he put up two goals and five assists against Portland.
Forsberg, from Waldheim, Sask., was selected first overall by the Prince George Cougars in the 2010 bantam draft. (The Blazers took Needham with the eighth overall pick in that draft.) Forsberg will play in his 200th regular-season game tonight. He has 152 points, including 58 goals, in that time. He also has played with the Cougars and Saskatoon Blades.
Needham, meanwhile, will play in his 254th game tonight. He has career totals of 64 goals and 121 assists.
The Blazers had two players show up on NHL Central Scouting’s Watch List that was released earlier this week.
D Ondrej Vala is on the B list, meaning at this point he is projected as a second- or third-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft, while F Jake Kryski is a C prospect.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Vala is from Czech Republic. He is in his first WHL season after having been selected in the CHL’s 2015 import draft.
Kryski, from Vancouver, was taken by the Prince Albert Raiders with the 13th overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. He was acquired in a deal that had Cheveldave go the other way. Kryski, 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, has a goal and two assists in two games this season. Last season, he had 24 points, including 11 goals, in 65 games.
JUST NOTES: Kamloops F Deven Sideroff (ill, week-to-week) didn’t make the trip to Victoria. . . . In case you missed it, former Blazers G Cole Kehler, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17, has joined the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. Kehler was released by the Blazers last week when they decided to go with Connor Ingram and Dylan Ferguson as their goaltenders. The Blazers selected Kehler, who is from Altona, Man., in the sixth round of the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Kehler made his Merritt debut on Wednesday, stopping 29 shots in a 9-1 victory over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors. . . . The Blazers are next at home on Wednesday against the Tri-City Americans, who will go on to play a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Prince George.

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