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Giants take out Blazers in shootout

Kamloops erases 3-0 deficit in loss
February 21, 2016 8:35 P.M.

First, the Kamloops Blazers lost their captain.
Then, they gave up the game’s first three goals.
Then, they thought they had lost the game in overtime.
Then, they lost the game in a shootout.
Yes, it was that kind of night for the Blazers at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on Sunday as they lost, 4-3, to the Giants.
Things started to go wrong for the visitors just 52 seconds into the game when left-winger Matt Needham, their captain, was given a kneeing major and game misconduct.
With both teams playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, the visitors found themselves trailing 3-0 before the second period was three minutes old.
The comeback began when centre Jiri Smejkal scored his first goal in 18 games since being acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors for defenceman Patrik Maier on Jan. 10. Smejkal’s fifth goal of the season came at 5:12 of the second period.
Just 42 seconds later, centre Nick Chyzowski scored his 12th goal to get the Blazers to within a goal.
Centre Gage Quinney, who didn’t play in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals in Victoria, pulled the Blazers even with his 24th goal at 7:15 of the third period.
The teams played through a scoreless five-minute overtime period, although Vancouver centre Cliff Ronning thought he had scored the winner, off a 2-on-1 break, only to have it nullified by an offside call.
Giants winger Trevor Cox scored the only goal of the shootout. With Vancouver shooting first, he was the fifth shooter. Kamloops forwards Jake Kryski, Quinney and Deven Sideroff weren’t able to solve Vancouver goaltender Jake Morrissey, while Vancouver’s first two shooters, Carter Popoff and Ronning, were blanked by Kamloops goaltender Connor Ingram.
Cox, Chase Lang, with his fifth goal in three weekend games and Radovan Bondra had Vancouver’s regulation-time goals.
Morrissey finished with 32 saves, 10 more than Ingram.
The Giants (23-31-7) went 2-1-0 on the weekend — they split a home-and-home series with the Kelowna Rockets — and now are 10 points behind the Blazers (27-24-9), who hold down the 10-team Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot. Kamloops now is one point behind the Spokane Chiefs and four points ahead of the ninth-place Tri-City Americans.
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 5,511. . . . The Blazers were 0-for-7 on the power play; the Giants were 1-for-5. . . . Needham was tossed for a hit on D Dmitry Osipov, who left the game briefly before returning to the bench. He ended up with two assists and was named the game’s first star. . . . The Blazers scratched F Erik Miller, F Jermaine Loewen and D Conner McDonald. . . . F Tyler Benson, Vancouver’s captain, played for the first time since Dec. 30. He had one assist. . . . Kamloops is 0-2-1 after having a four-game winning streak end. . . . The Blazers now return home for a few days before hitting the highway for a game against the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips on Friday. That will be the first of three games in fewer than 48 hours, as the Giants are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Saturday, with the Seattle Thunderbirds here the following night. . . .
Former Blazers C Colin Smith was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL deal on Sunday. Toronto also got a fourth-round 2016 draft pick from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for F Shawn Matthias, 28. Smith, 22, has 34 points, including 13 goals, in 54 games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Smith will join the Toronto Marlies, who have the AHL’s best record.
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