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Blazers let one get away in Medicine Hat

Tigers win after trailing 5-1 in third period
January 13, 2016 9:55 P.M.

With a 5-1 lead in the first minute of the third period in the Canalta Centre on Wednesday night, the Kamloops Blazers seemed well on their way to a third straight victory on what is a five-game road trip.
Instead, they gave up four straight regulation-time goals and ended up dropping a 6-5 shootout decision to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The shootout went six rounds, with the Tigers winning it, 2-1. Forward Jake Kryski, the second shooter, gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead. Forward Mason Shaw answered that in the second round and forward Matt Bradley won it in Round 6.
The Blazers, who were coming off two weekend victories over the Winterhawks in Portland, were in complete control of this one when centre Matt Needham gave them a 5-1 lead with his 13th goal of the season at 16:44 of the second period and another just 38 seconds into the third.
However, the Tigers showed there isn’t any quit in their game.
Shaw’s 10th goal, on a power play at 2:09, got the home team started on the comeback trail.
Forward Mark Rassell cut the deficit to 5-3 with his 10th goal, at 6:00, and Alex Mowbray’s sixth goal, on another power play, got the Tigers to within one at 11:28.
Rassell’s second goal of the period, at 17:17, forced extra time.
Earlier, the Blazers had taken a 3-0 lead — on first-period goals from forwards Jermaine Loewen and Matt Campese, both of whom have six goals, and a second-period power-play score from winger Devan Sideroff, who has 12 goals.
Kamloops native Chad Butcher got the Tigers on the board with his 12th goal, at 15:03 of the second.
Needham’s first goal drove Medicine Hat starter Mack Shields to the bench; he surrendered four goals on 16 shots. Nick Schneider came on in relief and stopped eight of nine shots.
Goaltender Connor Ingram turned aside 31 shots for Kamloops, including 13 in the third period when his side was outshot, 17-6.
The Tigers scored two power-play goals in five opportunities, burning the WHL’s top penalty-killing unit, one that went into the game having killed off 11 shorthanded situations over its past four games.
The Blazers were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Kamloops continues its road trip against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday and the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday. The Hurricanes (31-12-0) beat the host Swift Current Broncos, 5-2, last night to remain atop the overall standings. The Oil Kings (17-21-5) lost, 3-1, to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders and are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot, three points ahead of the Tigers (16-22-4).
The Blazers (21-14-7), who now lead the WHL in loser points (7), are 4-0-3 in their past seven games. They hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card playoff berth and are fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals, who are tied for second.
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 4,057. . . . Campese has goals in three straight games. When the Blazers left on this trip, he had five goals in 67 career games. Now he has eight goals in 70 games. . . . Originally, Campese was credited with the Blazers’ first two goals, but the first one was changed to Loewen. . . . F Jiri Smejkal, who was acquired Sunday from the Moose Jaw Warriors for D Patrik Maier, picked up an assist in his first game with the Blazers. . . .
D Dallas Valentine was back in the Blazers’ lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury. . . . With Valentine back, D Travis Verveda left the Blazers on Monday to return to the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlies. He played in the Blazers’ previous four games. . . . The Blazers scratched F Gage Quinney, who has missed all 10 post-Christmas games, and D Dawson Davidson (8), with undisclosed injuries. They also scratched F Erik Miller. . . .
F Gary Haden, who leads the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League in scoring, was in the Tigers’ lineup for the first time. He was acquired Sunday from the Regina Pats in a deal in which F Cole Sanford, the Tigers’ captain, went the other way. . . . Haden has 44 points, including 16 goals, with the CFR Chemical Bisons, who play out of Strathmore, Alta. . . . The Blazers next play at home on Wednesday against the Everett Silvertips.
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