Kamloops’ Ryan Hofer (10) and Silvertips’ Beau Courtney (10) fight for the puck during a game between the Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers at the Angel of the Winds Arena on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. The Silvertips fell to the Kamloops, 3-6. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Kamloops’ Ryan Hofer (10) and Silvertips’ Beau Courtney (10) fight for the puck during a game between the Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers at the Angel of the Winds Arena on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. The Silvertips fell to the Kamloops, 3-6. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Zellweger, Hofer score in return, Blazers top Silvertips

Not even a week after one of the largest trades in WHL history, the standout leads Kamloops to a 6-3 win in Everett.

EVERETT — Olen Zellweger and Ryan Hofer both scored in their return to Everett as the Kamloops Blazers defeated the Everett Silvertips 6-3 Friday night at Angel of the Winds Arena.

Zellweger and Hofer, who were traded from Everett to Kamloops last Sunday as part of one of the biggest trades in WHL history, each scored during a 4-minute, 14-second stretch early in the first period during which the Blazers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead.

Everett, after falling behind 4-1, rallied back within 4-3 in the second period and had several good looks at tying it, but could never quite catch up.

“We had to have an honest talk about our group,” Everett coach Dennis Williams said about the difference between the first and second periods. “I’m never upset being down in a game, but we were on our heels, we looked scared to make plays, we looked scared to play on our toes. It’s one thing if you’re going out and playing hard, competing, managing pucks and finishing checks. But we got to a point where they scored those quickly on us and it was like, ‘Oh boy, now what?’

“In the second period we did what we needed to do,” Williams added. “We came out and battled, we competed, and that’s a good hockey club over there.”

Matthew Seminoff, Ashton Ferster and Daylan Kueffler also scored for Kamloops (24-8-4-2), Logan Stankoven added an empty netter, and Dylan Ernst earned the win in goal with 25 saves.

Jackson Berezowski scored twice and Austin Roest also scored for Everett (19-19-1-0). Berezowski’s two goals gave him 108 in his Everett career, putting him four behind Patrick Bajkov’s franchise record of 112. Tyler Palmer made 36 saves in goal for the Tips.

Zellweger’s goal snapped a 1-1 tie 4:08 into the game when Fraser Minten intercepted an errant outlet pass and fed Zellweger in the slot. Zellweger sniped the corner to give the Blazers the lead. Hofer then made it 3-1 at 7:28, squeezing a shot from in tight past Palmer after Ferster stole the puck behind the Tips’ net. Everett spent the rest of the period struggling to get out of its own zone, and Ferster’s breakaway goal late in the period made it 4-1 heading into the second.

Everett recovered in the second and pulled back within one. Berezowski scored his second of the night 2:29 into the period. With the teams skating four-on-four, Aidan Sutter got around his marker on the left and centered a pass that Berezowski tipped in at the far post. Roest then made it 4-3 at 5:37. The Tips entered the zone three-on-two, and when Niko Tsakumis shot wide while getting hit, Roest was there to tuck the puck into the opposite corner after the puck caromed off the back boards.

Everett had good chances to tie it later in the period, but Ernst made several good saves, while other chances went wide. Everett held out in the third period thanks to two miracle saves by Palmer, until Kueffler put it away with 2:59 remaining when he took the shot himself on an odd-man rush and found the top corner.

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