Daylan Kuefler scored the game winner 5:39 into overtime on Friday at Sandman Centre to put the Kamloops Blazers one win away from the WHL Championship series with a 4-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The victory capped an electric night on Mark Recchi Way, starting with an announcement that the Blazers would host the 2023 Memorial Cup.
The winner was Kuefler’s second of the night. The other Kamloops goals were scored by Matthew Seminoff and Connor Levis. Conner Roulette, Lukas Svejkovsky and Kevin Korchinski were the goal scorers for Seattle.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, tied 2-2 after 40 minutes before Levis gave the Blazers their first lead of the night five minutes into the third period. Korchinski tied it for the T-Birds midway through the final frame.
Kuefler’s overtime winner came on a rebound after a wraparound attempt from Fraser Minten, who finished the night with a pair of assists.
Dylan Garand made 34 saves on 37 shots to earn the win in net for the Blazers. Seattle goalie Thomas Milic stopped 28 of 32 Kamloops shots in the loss.
Neither team scored on two power-play opportunities.
Announced attendance at Sandman Centre was 5,124.
The win gives the Blazers a three-games-to-two lead over the T-Birds in the best-of-seven WHL Western Conference Championship.
Game 6 will go Sunday at Accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. If necessary, Game 7 will be played Tuesday at Sandman Centre.
Oil Kings oust Ice, await winner
The Edmonton Oil Kings scored three goals in a 55-second span early in the first period on Friday and never looked back, skating to a 7-1 to knock the top-seeded Winnipeg Ice out of the WHL Playoffs.
The win gives the Oil Kings the WHL Eastern Conference Championship and a spot in the league final, where they will take on the winner of the Kamloops-Seattle series.
The Ice had been the top seed in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and finished the regular season with the best record in the league. The Ice and Oil Kings finished the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Kia CHL Top 10.
UPDATE 7:15 p.m.
It's official. Kamloops will be hosting the 2023 Memorial Cup.
The announcement was made prior to puck drop of Game 5 Friday night at the Sandman Centre.
The Canadian Hockey League released a promotional video with the news.
ORGINAL 11 a.m.
The 2023 Memorial Cup appears to be headed to the Tournament Capital.
Canadian Hockey League president Dan MacKenzie is in Kamloops to make what is being billed as a "special event announcement" prior to puck drop of Game 5 of the Western Conference final at the Sandman Centre.
A brief media advisory states Blazers owner Tom Gaglardi, Blazers alumni and community stakeholders will also be on hand for the announcement.
Kamloops has been rumoured to be the front runner for next year's Memorial Cup.
The city lost out to Kelowna for the 2020 championship, which was ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kamloops previously hosted the Memorial Cup in 1995, when they won their third national championship in a four year span (1992, 1993).
The team had previously appeared in the national tournament in 1984, 1986 and 1990.
The Western Conference final between the Blazers is deadlocked at two games apiece.
Game six is scheduled for Seattle Sunday with a seventh game, if needed, next Tuesday back at the Sandman Centre.
A 37-save performance from Dylan Garand was not enough to get the Kamloops Blazers in the win column on Wednesday, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to the Seattle Thunderbirds to even their WHL Western Conference Championship series at two games apiece.
Nico Myatovic scored the game-winning goal at 11:16 of overtime at Accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash.
Daylan Kuefler opened the scoring for the Blazers with 54 seconds remaining in the first period and Jordan Gustafson tied it at 1:55 of the second.
Garand stopped 37 of 39 Seattle shots in a losing effort. Thomas Milic stopped all but one of the Blazers’ 36 shots on goal to earn the win in net.
The Blazers scored once on four power-play chances. The T-Birds tallied on their only power-play opportunity.
Announced attendance at Accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent was 2,721.
The best-of-seven series is now tied at two games apiece with Game 5 slated to go Friday at Sandman Centre with puck drop at 7 p.m. Game 6 will be played Sunday in Kent. If necessary, Game 7 would take place on Tuesday back at Sandman Centre.
Top-seeded Ice pushed to brink
Carter Souch scored twice and Josh Williams added two helpers on Wednesday as the Edmonton Oil Kings doubled up on the Winnipeg Ice to push the WHL’s top seed to the brink of elimination.
Edmonton goalie Sebastian Costa stopped 20 of 22 Winnipeg shots to earn the win in net. Gage Alexander made 32 saves on 36 Oil Kings shots in the loss.
The Oil Kings now lead the best-of-seven series three games to one.
The Ice were the top seed in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and finished the regular season with the best record in the league. The Ice and Oil Kings finished the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Kia CHL Top 10.
The winner of the Edmonton-Winnipeg series will play the winner of the Kamloops-Seattle series in the WHL Championship.
Logan Stankoven hit an empty net with 75 seconds remaining on Tuesday in Kent, Wash., to earn a hat trick as the Kamloops Blazers doubled up on the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 to take a two-games-to-one lead in the WHL Western Conference Championship.
Stankoven (3), Daylan Kuefler (2) and Quinn Schmiemann were the goal scorers for the Blazers. Kevin Korchinski and Jared Davidson tallied for Seattle.
The Blazers jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and led 3-1 after 20 minutes. The teams traded goals in the second and third before Stankoven’s empty-netter made it a 6-3 final.
Luke Toporowski, Connor Levis and Schmiemann each finished the night with two assists.
Dylan Garand made 27 saves on 30 Seattle shots to earn the win in net. T-Birds goalie Thomas Milic stopped 23 of 28 in the loss.
Both teams were one for three on the power play.
Announced attendance at Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent was 4,684.
The Blazers now take a two-games-to-one lead into Game 4, which will go Wednesday in Kent.
Game 5 will be played Friday at Sandman Centre. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Oil Kings regain series lead
Justin Sourdif scored the game-winner at 8:03 of overtime on Monday to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Ice — and a two-games-to-one series lead.
Game 4 will be played Wednesday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
The winner of the Edmonton-Winnipeg series will play the winner of Kamloops-Seattle in the WHL Championship.
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