Blazers to wrap regular season against Cats
There is nothing left to be decided in the standings, but Dave Hunchak says the Kamloops Blazers’ last two games of the WHL regular season are not lacking in importance.
“I don’t think they’re tough to get up for,” said Hunchak, the Blazers’ associate coach.
“Any time you play, you play to win, and we want to make sure we’re playing well, so we’re ready for playoffs.”
Kamloops (45-20-2-3) will finish third in the Western Conference and meet the sixth-place Victoria Royals in Round 1 of the post-season, with Game 1 of the best-of-seven series slated for March 22 at Interior Savings Centre.
The Blazers wrap their regular season this weekend with a pair of tilts against the Prince George Cougars, who will likely miss the playoffs.
Prince George is in the River City on Friday, March 15. Game time at ISC is 7 p.m. The rematch will be played on Saturday, March 16, in the Gateway to the North.
Hunchak said there are a few areas of the game in particular where the Blue and Orange need to be better.
“I want to make sure that our special teams are on and we’re checking well,” he said.
“The biggest thing is just playing a solid team game five-on-five.”
Kamloops will likely be without centre Matt Needham. He is still recovering from an upper-body injury and will likely return for Game 1 against the Royals.
The last thing the Blazers need is anyone joining Needham in the infirmary.
“I don’t think we even worry about that,” Hunchak said.
“Injuries take place when guys back off a little bit. It’s important that our guys’ intensity is up and they play hard.”
Hunchak was asked if the Blazers’ big guns would receive less ice time this weekend.
“We’ll play it by ear and see how the games go,” he replied. “That’ll dictate who plays.”