Lipon scores twice as Blazers down T-Birds
JC Lipon scored twice and three other players had three points as the Kamloops Blazers ran the Seattle Thunderbirds out of Interior Savings Centre tonight (Jan. 13) in a 7-1 drubbing.
The Blazers, who are now nine points up on the Vancouver Giants in the WHL's B.C. Division, didn't take long to get on the scoresheet, as Lipon opened the scoring from Colin Smith and Tim Bozon just 19 seconds into the first period.
Thirteen seconds after that, captain Chase Schaber beat highly touted Seattle goaltender Calvin Pickard to put the home team up 2-0 — prompting Thunderbird head coach Steve Konowalchuk to burn his one and only timeout, just 32 seconds into the game.
It worked for a few minutes, as the Thunderbirds managed to hold Kamloops scoreless until Colin Smith notched his team-leading 23rd goal of the season — from Brendan Ranford and Tyler Bell — shorthanded at 5:03 of the first.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Brendan Ranford beat Pickard again to put Kamloops up 4-0.
That was enough for Pickard, who appeared to pull himself from the game in favour of backup Daniel Cotton.
The Blazers added a late first-period power play marker when Bronson Maschmeyer beat Cotton at 18:33, much to the delight of the 4,053 fans at ISC.
It would stay 5-0 until 6:21 of the second period, when Seattle's Dave Sutter got one past Cole Cheveldave to bring the T-Birds back to within a hat trick plus one.
Kamloops wouldn't score again until 3:32 of the third, when JC Lipon tallied his second of the night and 15th on the season.
As if they needed it, Dylan Willick added an insurance marker for the Blazers — his 20th of the year — to put them up 7-1 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Smith, Schaber and Ranford each finished the game with one goal and two assists, while Lipon's helper on Maschmeyer's goal gave him three points as well.
The Blazers' penalty-kill was a perfect six for six on the night, while they managed one power-play goal in their half-dozen opportunities with the man advantage.
Despite the win, Kamloops remains one point behind the Tri-City Americans for tops in the WHL's Western Conference — and the league itself.
The Thunderbirds are back in action tomorrow night, when they host the Portland Winterhawks at ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.
The Blazers, meanwhile, will welcome former teammates J.T. Barnett and Josh Caron, along with the rest of the Everett Silvertips, to ISC tomorrow.
Puck-drop against Everett is slated for 7 p.m.