ICE still on top but Blazers heating up – Kamloops Blazers

November 10, 2021 at 8:43 am  Kamloops Blazers, Sports


Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 6

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. London Knights
3. Kamloops Blazers
4. Everett Silvertips
5. Edmonton Oil Kings
6. Sherbrooke Phoenix
7. Quebec Remparts
8. Shawinigan Cataractes
9. Seattle Thunderbirds
10. Soo Greyhounds
HM. Moncton Wildcats
HM. Flint Firebirds
HM. Ottawa 67’s

While the Winnipeg ICE still stand atop the circuit with 28 points on the season, heating up out west is the Kamloops Blazers, winners of their last seven straight, with the past week highlighted by a big win versus Portland then back-to-back takedowns of Victoria, helping the Blazers to move to No. 3 in the Week 6 edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings.

Leading the way for Kamloops is veteran right-wing and Minnesota Wild draftee Josh Pillar who has collected seven points in his past three outings, including a career-high, five-point performance coming in Wednesday’s 7-1 win over the Winterhawks in which he scored twice and added three assists. In all, through 12 showings, Pillar has 20 points to his name, putting him just three back of the league lead. Beyond Pillar, the Blazers are also getting steady offensive contributions throughout the forward ranks – seven players have already reached double-digit production – a group that also includes third-year centre and Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven, who also starred versus Portland in coming away with five points counting his second-ever hat-trick. The Blazers will now look to make it eight-straight victories on Wednesday when they face off against rival Kelowna.

Also making noise in the WHL is the Everett Silvertips who climb to No. 4 after remaining undefeated in regulation through 10 contests. Among the top performers for the Silvertips is third-year netminder Braden Holt who has allowed just eight goals through five appearances, providing him with a 1.56 goals-against average and .930 save percentage that rank amongst the league’s best. Elsewhere, the Edmonton Oil Kings make the cut for the sixth week running in coming in at No. 5, while the ninth-ranked Seattle Thunderbirds make their first appearance of the season.

From the OHL, the London Knights hold steady at No. 2 in the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings. On Friday, the club pushed its season-opening win streak to nine games after coming away with a 2-1 victory versus Owen Sound – marking the Knights’ fifth win versus the Attack this season – before falling the next night in a hard-battled 3-2 final versus the Flint Firebirds, who clock in as an honourable mention in Week 6. For the Knights, among those providing impressive early returns is first-year left-wing Colton Smith whose nine points in 10 games rank third in team scoring. Rated as a Player to Watch ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft per Central Scouting, Smith has provided the Knights with solid secondary scoring support behind the likes of veteran centre Sean McGurn and Nashville Predators prospect Luke Evangelista, the latter who has recorded at least one point in each of his nine appearances. The Knights will look to recapture their winning ways when they return to the ice Tuesday versus rival Guelph.

Elsewhere, the Soo Greyhounds continue to blow by the opposition with an OHL-leading 65 goals, helping the club to secure 18 points through 14 appearances as well as No. 10 in the latest rankings, while the honourable mention Ottawa 67’s are also making noise, finding the win column in their two most recent outings to improve to 8-4-0-0 in 2021-22.

From the QMJHL, the Sherbrooke Phoenix are on the rise, coming in sixth in the latest Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings. After initiating a reshuffle a year ago, the Phoenix have seen promising early returns through early action where despite dropping their first two contests of 2021-22 the club has won 10 of its past 11, including its last four straight. That stretch includes a 5-2 victory coming against the No. 7 ranked Quebec Remparts in late October as well as back-to-back weekend wins versus Charlottetown and Rimouski. Pushing the pace for the Phoenix is Montreal Canadiens prospect Joshua Roy, who has recorded at least one point in 11 of his past 12 outings and now ranks second in QMJHL scoring with 23 points through 13 appearances. Roy and the Phoenix next return to the ice Thursday against Val-d’Or when the squad will look to push its win streak to five games.

Meanwhile, coming in at No. 8 is the Shawinigan Cataractes who lead the QMJHL with 22 points, while the red-hot Moncton Wildcats, winners of their last five, earn honourable mention and their first recognition this season as part of the CHL Kia Top-10 Rankings.

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