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Blazers Head to Kelowna Tonight

February 1, 2014 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Kamloops Blazers News Release

HOME HEAVY SCHEDULE: The Kamloops Blazers are into their 33rd season in the Western Hockey League and the 30th season as the Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers have an 11-36-2-3 record through 52 games. The hockey club is on a home heavy stretch as they are playing 14 of 16 games on home ice between January 11th and February 15th. The two lone road games were both this week as the Blazers were in Vancouver Wednesday and in Kelowna tonight. The Blazers finished a stretch of seven straight games on home ice on Tuesday. Following tonight, the Blazers will play six straight home games over the next two weeks, including three next week. They will then play 10 straight games on the road.

Vs. Kelowna - Last Season (10-Game Series)

Game 1: 09/21/12, vs. Kelowna 5, Kamloops 6 OT

Game 2: 09/22/12, at Kelowna 2, Kamloops 3

Game 3: 11/01/12, at Kelowna 3, Kamloops 0

Game 4: 12/27/12, at Kelowna 7, Kamloops 3

Game 5: 01/28/13, vs. Kelowna 5, Kamloops 6 OT

Game 6: 02/15/13, vs. Kelowna 2, Kamloops 4

Game 7: 02/16/13, at Kelowna 1, Kamloops 3

Game 8: 03/03/13, vs. Kelowna 0, Kamloops 3

Game 9: 03/08/13, vs. Kelowna 3, Kamloops 2

Game 10: 03/09/13, at Kelowna 2, Kamloops 1

Blazers were 6-4-0-0 in season series

Vs. Kelowna - This Season (8-Game Series)

Game 1: 09/20/13, vs. Kelowna 5, Kamloops 2

Game 2: 09/21/13, at Kelowna 5, Kamloops 2

Game 3: 11/29/13, vs. Kelowna 3, Kamloops 2

Game 4: 11/30/13, at Kelowna 3, Kamloops 2 SO

Game 5: 12/27/13, at Kelowna 7, Kamloops 1

Game 6: 01/31/14, vs. Kelowna 4, Kamloops 2

Game 7: 02/01/14, at Kelowna, Kamloops

Game 8: 03/12/14, vs. Kelowna, Kamloops

Blazers are 0-5-0-1 in season series

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The Blazers roster currently sits at 25 players (3 goaltenders, 7 defensemen and 15 forwards). The roster includes nine players selected in the WHL Bantam Draft, two player from the free agent list, 12 players via trade, and one player selected from the CHL Import Draft. The roster breakdown by region includes 11 from B.C., eight players from Alberta, two from Saskatchewan, two from Manitoba, one from Switzerland and one from the USA.

THE MATCH UP: The Blazers and Rockets are meeting eight times this year. The Rockets have won the first six matches. These two teams will meet only once more after the home-and-home series concludes this weekend. That meeting will come in Kamloops on March 12th.

KAMLOOPS BLAZERS "˜Who to Watch': The Kamloops Blazers forwards had to get the job done this year by committee. Cole Ully (24+30=54), Matt Needham (10+20=30) and Chase Souto (20+11=31) are guys in their third and fourth seasons that are the offensive leaders. The 18-year-old Ully is a 5th round draft pick by the Dallas Stars. Needham is the team captain at only 18, and Chase Souto is the longest tenured Blazer playing his 200th game November 23rd. The Blazers have lost the services of Tyson Ness (12+12$) and Luke Harrison (4+0=4) long-term due to injuries. Newly acquired forwards Matt Bellerive (9+16$) and Matt Revel (12+23 = 35) are two players that can contribute now and will also be impact players next season. Collin Shirley (8+11=19) was acquired in the Tim Bozon trade and has picked up his offensive totals in the second half. Joe Kornelsen, (8+8=16) and Carson Bolduc (4+4=8) make up the supporting cast for the Blazers as WHL veterans. There has been plenty of opportunity for the young forwards on the Blazers roster as Jesse Shynkaruk, (3+3=6) Eric Krienke, (2+4=6) and Nathan Looysen (1+6=7) are all 17-year-olds looking to prove themselves. They've improved as the season has carried on. Nick Chyzowski (2+5=7) is the lone 16-year-old on the roster and has been impressive at both ends of the ice. On defence, the Blazers have some young players taking on big roles this season. Sam Grist (2+9=11) is the oldest defenseman on the roster and has played a ton for the hockey club. Returnees Ryan Rehill (2+12=14) and Josh Connolly (10+29=39) have done nothing but impress as they have been thrust into impact roles this year. Connolly has had a great season after posting only one goal and six points in his first WHL season. Rehill is one of the tougher players in the WHL with 139 penalty minutes and is among the league leaders in fighting majors. Matt Thomas (0+2=2) is an 18-year-old defensive minded defenseman. Edson Harlacher (0+6=6) was selected by the Blazers in the import draft and has steadily improved playing in all situations for the Blazers. Connor Clouston (0+2=2) is getting a chance to play every night and is getting better. Austin Douglas (0+1=1) is a towering 6'6" defenseman that was acquired at the trade deadline from Seattle. In goal, the Blazers have 19-year-old Bolton Pouliot (6-15-0-1, 3.94, .885) and 18-year-old Justin Myles (11-6-0-0, 3.66, .889). Cole Kehler is up with the Blazers once again due to an injury to goaltender Justin Myles, who has yet to play a game with the Blazers.

KELOWNA ROCKETS "˜Who to Watch': The Rockets have done nothing but impress this season with a 41-7-0-3 record which is 10 points ahead of any other team in the WHL. What has been most impressive about the Rockets is the depth and how spread out the team scoring has been as every player on the roster is a plus player. The Rockets are extremely balance up and down their line-up with 20-year-old Myles Bell leading the way with 31 goals and 55 points. Tyson Baillie and Ryan Olson are right behind Bell with 50 and 47 points. Four young forwards have been dynamite for the Rockets this season. Rourke Chartier is only 17 and into his second season. He has come on as of late with 15 points in his past 11 games. Justin Kirkland, Kris Schmidli and and Nick Merkley are all in their first WHL seasons and are contributing on a regular basis.  The depth continues as 19-year-olds Tyrell Goulbourne, Colton Heffley, and Carter Rigby can kill penalties and pitch in with some offense. Add 20-year-old European Marek Tvrdon to the roster, and the Rockets have one of the best forwards groups in the WHL. The defence has been terrific offensively with Damon Severson and Madison Bowey with 44 and 43 points. Riley Stadel has 10 goals from the backend, while Colton Martin, Mitchell Wheaton and Jesse Lees round out the best defense in the WHL. Martin is as reliable as they come, sitting at +46. Wheaton is a big defender drafted by Detroit and Lees is into his third WHL season. Joe Gatenby and Dalton Yorke are the other defenders on the Rockets roster. In goal Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle form a terrific duo with each goaltender into their third WHL season.

NHL DRAFT: Cole Ully (Dallas, 5th round, 131st overall in 2013).

INJURY REPORT: Connor Clouston, Upper Body, TBD, Eric Krienke, Upper Body, 1-2 weeks, Matt Needham, Lower Body, week-to-week, Luke Harrison, Upper Body, Indefinite, Tyson Ness, Upper Body, Indefinite, Justin Myles, Upper Body, Indefinite.Man games lost due to injury - 83.

DID YOU KNOW... Deven Sideroff, Cameron Reagan and Jake Kryski have been added to the roster for the week... Matt Revel was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on January 8th... Matt Bellerive was acquired from the Red Deer Rebels on January 9th... Collin Shirley and Matt Thomas were acquired from the Kootenay Ice on October 22nd... Connor Clouston is the son of current Medicine Hat Tigers GM/Head Coach Shaun Clouston and the nephew of current Prince Albert Raiders Head Coach Cory Clouston... Ryan Rehill was ranked #98 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's mid-term rankings... Nick Chyzowski won a Silver Medal with Team Pacific at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge... 18-year-old Matt Needham is the youngest captain since Ajay Baines was named team captain as an 18-year-old in 1996-97 season... Associate Coach Mark Ferner is entering his second stint with the Blazers after serving as an Assistant, Associate and Head Coach with the Blazers from 2002-2006... Matt Needham's father Mike played for the Blazers from 1986-1990... Nick Chyzowski's father Dave played for the Blazers from 1987-1990... Guy Charron took over as Head Coach of the hockey club on January 11...

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