The Kamloops Storm dispatched the 100 Mile House Wranglers 3-0 on Sunday at Memorial Arena.
Kamloops, which started the campaign with four straight losses and was 3-12 heading into November, has won four consecutive games to drag itself out of the Doug Birks Division basement.
“After the first win, it’s snowballing together and starting to build and build,” said Storm goaltender Jakob Drapeau, the 19-year-old Prince George product who stopped 33 shots to pick up the shutout.
The Wranglers are six points clear of the Storm, who have much to prove after a dismal start to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League campaign. But the home team's performance on Sunday was notable.
They held advantages in possession and territory, played edgy and aggressive without taking bonehead penalties and put together a smart, methodical, convincing third period to vanquish 100 Mile House.
“Any time you can keep that goose egg on the board, you’re looking closer to being a well-rounded hockey team,” Storm head coach Steve Gainey said.
“Our lines are starting to make sense, our D-pairings looked good tonight and our goaltender played real solid.”
Garrett Ewert, a 20-year-old defenceman from Kamloops, on Sunday played his first game this season for the Storm.
He recorded two assists, including one on Brett Mero’s power-play goal that opened the scoring with 6:53 remaining in the second period.
“I haven’t been here long, but the team looks good,” said Ewert, who joined the Storm after playing parts of three seasons for West Kelowna in the junior A BC Hockey League.
Mero, a 19-year-old forward from Quesnel, and Therann Kincross, a 20-year-old forward from Victoria, are tied for the team lead in scoring, with 23 points apiece. Yewta Plamondon is second, with 21 points.
Plamondon gave the Storm a 2-0 lead before the halfway point of the third period and iced the contest with an empty-net marker. He finished with three points.
“We’re coming together as a team,” said Plamondon, an 18-year-old forward from Quesnel. “We’re not getting caught up in all that other stuff.
“Like today, 100 Mile, we know they like to get in our heads. We just stayed focused to our game plan and it worked for us.”
Birks Division standings: Revelstoke (37 points), Chase (34 points), 100 Mile House (27 points), Kamloops (21 points) and Sicamous (19 points).
The Storm (10-16-0-1) will play twice on the road this weekend — against Summerland (11-13-0-3) on Friday and Osoyoos (3-18-1-2) on Saturday.
Plamondon and company will be aiming to keep their winning streak alive.
“We’ve been working hard since the start of the season,” Plamondon said. “We had a rough start, but it’s starting to pay off now because the boys are grinding and the boys are not giving up.”