The Kamloops Blazers have been aching for what coaches refer to as secondary scoring — goals from players other than the top guns.
The Blazers got just that on Saturday night as they beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-3, in overtime.
Defenceman Ryan Rehill scored his sixth goal of the season, at 2:16 of OT, to win it. It was the third time in four games
that the Blazers have ended up in overtime, but the first time they have gotten the victory.
Forwards Matt Campese and Quinn Benjafield, both of whom went 0-for December in the goal-scoring department, found the range in this one, something that allowed the visitors to take 3-2 lead into the last minute of the third period.
Campese’s fourth goal, which ended a 16-game drought, gave the Blazers a 2-1 lead at 6:32 of the second period.
The Winterhawks tied it at 13:29 when forward Evan Weinger scored his sixth goal.
Benjafield’s fourth goal, ending a 14-game drought, gave Kamloops a 3-2 lead at 19:13 of the second period.
The Blazers nursed that lead into the game’s final moments, only to have Portland sniper Rihards Bukarts tie it with his 21st goal of the season at 19:17.
The game’s first two goals came in the last minute of the first period, with Kamloops centre Matt Revel scoring his 12th goal, on a power play, at 19:04, and Portland forward Skyler McKenzie getting a shorthanded goal just 21 seconds later.
Goaltender Dylan Ferguson, making just the sixth start of his freshman season, was solid for Kamloops, making 29 saves. At the other end, Portland’s Adin Hill turned aside 26 shots.
The teams played in the Moda Center, the home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. When the Blazers and Winterhawks meet again tonight, it’ll be in Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Blazers (20-14-6) are sixth in the Western Conference and now are three points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who dropped a 7-2 decision to the visiting Regina Pats, and just one behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who beat the visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2 in OT.
The Winterhawks (20-18-2) are a point behind the Chiefs.
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 8,437. . . . Rehill’s goal was his first game-winner this season. . . . The Blazers were 1-for-4 on the power play; the Winterhawks were 0-for-2. . . . Once again, the Blazers scratched F Gage Quinney, D Dallas Valentine and D Dawson Davidson, all of whom are injured, and D Patrik Maier. Quinney and Davidson didn’t make the trip, so won’t play before at least Jan. 20 when Kamloops entertains the Everett Silvertips. . . . Davidson is on the trip and it is hoped he will play Wednesday in Medicine Hat, when Maier also should return. Maier is making his way back after playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. . . . F Paul Bittner, who has had hip surgery, was among Portland’s scratches. One of Portland’s top players, he may not return this season. . . . Kamloops is 3-3-2 in eight games since the Christmas break. It is 3-0-2 in the last five of those games. . . . The Blazers next play at home on Jan. 20 against the Everett Silvertips.
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