By Nick Patterson Herald writer
It’s tough times for the Kamloops Blazers, and the Everett Silvertips just heaped more misery on the team.
Kamloops hit a new low when the Blazers were blown out by Everett 7-0 Saturday night in their teddy bear toss game.
The loss was Kamloops’ 12th straight, which tied a franchise worst that was suffered in 1981-82, when the team was the Junior Oilers. It also came one night after another blowout loss, when the Blazers were smacked 7-3 at home by Kootenay.
Kamloops, which finished 47-20-2-3 each of the past two seasons, has the worst record in the Western Conference at 6-20-2-2, and at 13 points off the bottom of the conference standings it seems the Blazers’ postseason hopes are already gone.
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Kamloops coach Dave Hunchak told the Kamloops Daily News following Saturday’s loss to Everett. “We just basically fell apart. You can see the frustration on guys, but at the same time, there’s no excuse for that to happen in our building, ever.
“We’ve been embarrassed in our building the last two nights (so) I would hope (the players) would be angry. Just from a personal perspective, you should be angry with what’s going on.”
Adding insult to injury, Saturday’s game was Kamloops’ teddy bear toss, in which fans throw teddy bears onto the ice following the home team’s first goal, with the bears then donated to charity. The Blazers fans had to settle for tossing their bears after the final whistle, and Kamloops Daily News reporter Mark Hunter wrote: “If ever a moment could describe a season, the Kamloops Blazers despondently picking teddy bears off the Interior Savings Centre ice following Saturday’s WHL game would be it.”
Said Hunchak: “Right now our group is so wishy-washy as far as the decisions they make with the puck. We didn’t have the puck tonight. That’s the bottom line — (Everett) had the puck pretty much the final 40 minutes, and when you don’t have the puck, it’s hard to generate anything.
“We’ve tried different things to get a spark here and at some point, it has to fall on the players’ laps. I’m willing to take as much criticism as anybody, but at some point, it’s got to start falling on some players’ laps here as well.”
The Silvertips know something about being shut out on toss night. Everett held toss nights in each of its first two seasons, a teddy bear toss in 2003 and a toque toss in 2004. The Tips were shut out on both occasions, and the organization hasn’t held a toss night since.
Around the WHL
Spokane’s Liam Stewart will play for Great Britain in Division I of the World Junior Hockey Championships. The 19-year-old forward, who hails from California but has a British passport after being born in London, will participate in the tournament on Dec. 9-15 in Scotland. … Edmonton’s Henrik Samuelsson was one of 26 players named to the United States’ preliminary roster for World Juniors. Samuelsson, a 19-year-old forward, was the only WHL player on the roster. … Goaltender Christopher Tai was on the move for the second time in less than three weeks. The 18-year-old, who was acquired by Brandon from Lethbridge on Nov. 21 to help cover for the injured Curtis Honey, was flipped to Medicine Hat for a conditional pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Tai will cover for Tigers goalie Marek Langhamer while Langhamer plays for the Czech Republic at World Juniors. … Regina’s Chandler Stephenson was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 19-year-old forward had four goals and two assists as the Pats went 2-1. … Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for November. The 18-year-old went 7-1-0-0 with a 1.25 goals against average and .950 save percentage.
Points — Mitch Holmberg (Spokane) 67; goals — Holmberg 33; assists — Nicolas Petan (Portland) 46; penalty minutes — Jaimen Yakubowski (Seattle) 93; wins — Brendan Burke (Portland) 19; goals against average — Tristan Jarry (Edmonton) 2.02; save percentage — Coleman Vollrath (Victoria) .937.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.