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HomeNewsDezainde leads third period charge as Cougars snap Blazers win streak

Dezainde leads third period charge as Cougars snap Blazers win streak

After a five-game road trip, Prince George Cougar fans returned to their regularly scheduled programming at the CN Centre.

They were treated to another third-period comeback from the Cats, despite the Kamloops Blazers’ best attempts to wrestle away the remote control and change the channel.

A pair of two-goal efforts from Carlin Dezainde and Zac Funk led the Cougars to a 5-3 win in front of 3,542 fans on Sunday.

It was a doughnut game of sorts for PG, which saw a strong start and finish but not a lot to be desired in the middle.

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The Cougars opened the scoring twice in the first eleven minutes of the contest.

Zac Funk potted his 45th of the season at 5:31 after a Keaton Dowhaniuk point blast deflected off the stick of Ondrej Becher and right to the overage forward who beat Blazers netminder Jesse Sanche for a 1-0 lead.

Bauer Dumanski doubled the Cougars’ lead with a hard shot from inside the Kamloops blueline that cleanly beat Sanche.

Becher won the offensive zone draw clean, pushing it straight back to the 18-year-old from Lockwood, Saskatchewan.

However, the Cats laid off the gas and went on autopilot, for half the game and it proved costly.

On a transition rush, Jordan Keller dished a pass to Detroit Red Wings prospect Emmitt Finnie who blew past Cougars defender Viliam Kmec, delivering a weak shot that fooled Josh Ravensbergen.

The early-game miscues continued before the intermission as Max Sullivan led a 2-on-1 for Kamloops – his shot attempted caromed off the leg of Kmec and into the goal evening the score at 2-2.

Despite only two registered shots on goal, the Blazers were the much hungrier team in the middle period.

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A trio of close shaves could have blown the game open for the Blazers.

While on a power-play, a point shot by Logan Bairos rung off the post and wide past an unsuspecting Ravensbergen.

Then, a Jordan Keller tip-in goal was waved off by the official due to a high stick, while Cole Wadsworth also pinged the iron.

The fourth time proved to be the charm as a shot from the point by Ryan Michael put Kamloops in front 3-2, further stunning a rather silent CN Centre crowd.

Like Tuesday’s win against Seattle, PG turned on the jets in the final twenty.

Dezainde notched his first of two on a breakaway at the 5:37 mark beating Sanche’s glove side to even the score at 3-3.

Four minutes later, Dezainde struck again accepting a Terik Parascak feed, that went over the shoulder of Sanche.

“I thought we came out strong with two quick ones in the first period and we kind of let our foot off the gas a little, which they got two. We had to push back and I think after that third one it gave us a little more motivation to come back. It was a good push and I am glad we got the win,” Dezainde told post-game.

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Funk provided the exclamation point on a 2-on-1 inside the Kamloops zone, roofing a hard slap shot into the yawning cage, delivering the knockout blow.

“We knew we had a job to do. A lot of this season we have been in a similar situation but we have always pulled through so I think the belief in the room is that we are never out of a game,” added Funk.

The 20-year-old from Coldstream BC has 46 goals in 50 games this season for the Cougars and is eight away from tying Quinn Hancock’s franchise record of 54.

“It’s always there (the record), you hear about it from people but like you said, winning with the team comes first and hopefully that comes out of it (the record).”

Territorially, the Cougars dominated the game and the shot clock told that story with the hosts outshooting the Blazers 36-14.

Ravensbergen picked up his 17th win of the season despite allowing three goals on 14 shots.

Sanche on the other hand, made 31 stops on 36 Cougar attempts. Blazers head coach Shaun Clouston gave props to the 17-year-old who battled through some adverse moments to give his team a chance on the road.

“He made some key saves at important times. I liked our game when we went down a couple and I liked it in the first and down the stretch with some better puck management and a little more assertive on the forecheck. Prince George is a good team and they caught us halfway a few times.’

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“We were a little bit fortunate on our goals but we were in the hockey game going into the third. We got caught a couple of times, once on the end of the power-play – just game management and the one-off of a rush where we didn’t pick up a late driver. You can’t give them opportunities like that.”

The Sunday matinee was the first of six meetings between the BC Division rivals over 49 days (about 1 and a half months).

Kamloops (14-29-3-2), who sits last in the Western Conference saw its four-game win streak snapped. The Blazers are in a rebuild since taking a run at the Memorial Cup last season, losing all nine of their leading scorers via the pro ranks or by trade.

The Cougars (33-15-0-2) continue a four-game home stand on Friday (7 pm) and Saturday (6 pm) against the Victoria Royals (25-17-4-4).

“They are not like what we have seen from them before. They are a good team now, really good defensively so we need to play within our structure to ensure we get the win,” added Funk.

During the first intermission, PG posted on its video board that the next Mega 50-50 Jackpot ($60,000) is set for Monday, February 19th vs the Seattle Thunderbirds at 3 pm.

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