Bozon's winner wows ISC crowd
Tim Bozon electrified with a game-winning goal in overtime, lifting the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-5 win over the Kelowna Rockets in WHL action on Friday, Sept. 21.
"I tried twice before my goal to go coast-to-coast, but I got hooked," said Bozon, who must have been reminded of playing in Switzerland with the open ice afforded to him in the four-on-four extra frame.
"I back-checked, got the puck and tried again for a third time."
Third time was the charm. Bozon beat three Rockets and fired across his body, finding the inside of Kelowna goaltender Jordon Cooke's left post and, eventually, the back of the net.
It was Bozon's third goal of the game.
Kamloops (1-0) will travel to Kelowna (0-0-1-0) for a rematch on Saturday, Sept. 22.
A pair of injuries put a damper on the win.
Blazer goaltender Cole Cheveldave did not return to his net after the second period and defenceman Tyler Bell left the game after being hit from behind late in the first frame.
Bell was favouring his right leg when he was escorted off the ice by Kamloops trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson.
Cheveldave's injury was less obvious. He was involved in a collision with Rockets' captain Colton Sissons in the second period, but the netminder looked to be OK and finished the frame in net.
"I haven't talked to the doctors," Blazer bench boss Guy Charron told reporters after the game.
"All I can say is lower-body injuries."
Matt Needham opened the scoring at 9:52 of the first period before Ryan Olsen drew Kelowna level at 11:23.
Colin Smith and Landon Cross gave Kamloops a two-goal cushion early in the second stanza, but Tyson Baillie got one back for the visitors midway through the period.
The teams exchanged goals — Bozon for the Blazers and Henrik Nyberg for the Rockets — before the period was out.
Bozon notched his second of the game early in the third stanza, but Myles Bell and Dylan McKinlay scored to tie the game and force overtime.
Cross racked up three points, including the goal — a howling slap-shot that beat Cooke clean.
"I just had to think of a celebration," Cross said. "So many were going through my mind. Arms were going everywhere. I blacked out. That would be a good way to put it."
The defenceman from Brandon, Man., had one goal and six points in 46 regular-season tilts last season.
"I want a bigger role this year and I want to put pucks in the net," Cross said.
Bozon's linemates, Smith and JC Lipon, were among the Blue and Orange's best players.
Smith finished with one goal and four points, while Lipon pitched in with three helpers.
Blazer back-up Taran Kozun allowed two goals on 11 shots in relief of Cheveldave.
The game-tying goal was one he might want back.
Dylan Willick, one of three Blazer alternate captains (Smith and Tyler Hansen are the others), was happy to get the win, but not thrilled with his team's inability to put the game away in the third.
Thankfully, he said, Bozon bailed them out.
"He proved what he can do tonight," Willick said.
"When the puck is on his stick, you never know what's going to happen."