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Cougars complete weekend sweep of Blazers

Injured Ingram unable to play for visitors
January 23, 2016 11:16 P.M.

Now that was a lost weekend for the Kamloops Blazers.
Not only did they lose two games to the host Prince George Cougars, but the Blazers also lost their starting goaltender.
Connor Ingram went into the weekend doubleheader having appeared in 38 of the Blazers’ 45 regular-season games.
However, he wasn’t able to play in Saturday’s second game, which the Cougars won, 6-1, after being injured in the second period of Friday’s 9-4 setback.
Ingram, who suffered a leg injury and will be evaluated by the Blazers’ medical staff on Monday, went down at 11:21 of the second period with his side trailing, 3-2. He was injured in a behind-the-net collision with Cougars forward Jesse Gabrielle, who has a lot of sandpaper in his game.
Gabrielle was given a goaltending interference penalty on the play and the Blazers scored shortly after to tie the game. But the Cougars caught fire later in the period and ran away with the victory.
“Was it an accident? I don’t think so,” Kamloops head coach Don Hay told Jon Keen, the team’s radio voice, before Saturday’s game. “Not from that player.”
Still, the Blazers chose not to ask the WHL for supplemental discipline, so Gabrielle was in the home team’s lineup last night — he scored the Cougars’ second goal — and the visitors had freshman Dylan Ferguson make his eighth start of the season and third this month.
Ferguson was beaten twice early in the first period — centre Jansen Harkins scored at 3:09 and Gabrielle, who has 29 goals, at 4:27 — and the Cougars went from there.
Harkins, who scored twice on Friday, added two more Saturday, giving him 15 goals on the season, and added an assist, while Brad Morrison scored his 20th goal and added an assist. Jared Bethune and Brogan O’Brien also scored for the Cougars.
Defenceman Conner McDonald, a 16-year-old freshman from Delta, scored for the Blazers, getting his first WHL goal at 4:16 of the third period.
Ferguson finished with 25 saves, three fewer than Ty Edmonds of the Cougars.
This was the eighth meeting of the season between these teams. The Blazers won the first four, outscoring the Cougars 24-7 in the process. The Cougars have won the last four, with a 26-11 edge on the scoreboard.
The teams will conclude the season series on the last weekend of the regular-season — in Kamloops on March 18 and in Prince George on March 19.
The Cougars (29-17-2) are third in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Victoria Royals. Prince George now is nine points ahead of the Blazers (22-18-7), who are 1-4-1 in their last six games. Still, Kamloops holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card playoff berth, but is just two points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs (22-19-5).
The Blazers will be back on the practice ice Monday as they prepare for two weekend home games. The Vancouver Giants (18-26-5), who are last in the conference, will be here Friday with the Portland Winterhawks (24-21-2) here Saturday. The Winterhawks are third in the U.S. Division, just a point ahead of Spokane.
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 4,668. . . . The Cougars were 1-for-6 on the power play; the Blazers were 0-for-7. . . . The Cougars took 54 of the game’s 96 penalty minutes. . . . With Ingram out, the Blazers had G Jake Sweet backing up Ferguson. Sweet plays for the midget Tier I Cougars. . . . The Blazers scratched D Dawson Davidson, who may return Friday after being out since Dec. 28, Ingram, F Jake Kryski and F Spencer Bast. . . . Kamloops C Matt Needham returned after missing Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury.
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