Chevy steals Game 1
The Interior Savings Centre crowd chanted in unison — "Chevy! Chevy! Chevy!" — after Kamloops Blazers' netminder Cole Cheveldave made a series of saves usually reserved for video games.
He couldn't hear a thing.
"Thank you, fans, but I'm in the zone," Cheveldave said, relaying the message through reporters after the game, a 3-2 win over the Victoria Royals in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final at ISC on Friday, March 22.
"I can't hear anything."
With Blazer D-man Tyler Hansen in the box for interference and the Royals pressing for the equalizer, Cheveldave slid to his left and stacked his pads to stop Jamie Crooks with less than eight minutes to play in the third period.
The rebound fell to Brandon Magee in the slot and he fired a shot at what looked to be a yawning cage, but Cheveldave shot his right pad out to thwart the attempt.
"You gotta toss something in front of it," said Cheveldave, sporting a leather Harley Davidson vest for post-game interviews.
"That's all I tried to do. Fortunately, it hit me. That's as much as I could ask for."
Minutes later, the cage was yawning again.
This time, an out-of-position Cheveldave dove full-stretch from his right to his left and got his glove on a Logan Nelson shot.
The Royals continued to press through the game's dying moments, but could not beat the Blazers' netminder.
JC Lipon scored twice, including the game-winning goal at 4:37 of the third period, and Kale Kessy tallied once to round out the home team's scoring.
Brendan Ranford and Joel Edmundson each had a pair of assists for Kamloops.
Steven Hodges scored both Victoria goals and Patrik Polivka was very good in the Royals' crease, making 33 saves.
River City product Joe Hicketts proved why he was the Vancouver Island club's rookie of the year, playing well in his own zone and providing offensive spark for the visitors.
Kamloops is hosting Game 2 on Saturday, March 23, at ISC. Game time is 7 p.m.