Blazers Move Up to 7th in CHL Rankings – Kamloops Blazers

March 9, 2022 at 10:17 am  Kamloops Blazers, Sports


Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 19 

1. Edmonton Oil Kings
2. Charlottetown Islanders
3. Hamilton Bulldogs
4. Winnipeg ICE
5. Everett Silvertips
6. Portland Winterhawks
7. Kamloops Blazers
8. Shawinigan Cataractes
9. Quebec Remparts
10. London Knights
HM. Flint Firebirds
HM. Sherbrooke Phoenix
HM. Saint John Sea Dogs

The Edmonton Oil Kings have retained the throne in the Week 19 edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings. Standing atop the WHL with a 41-11-2-1 showing and 85 points, the Oil Kings have heated up in the season’s stretch drive, having won 11 straight. Among the most impressive feats over the past week was a decisive 6-1 road win over rival Calgary that saw overage right-wing Josh Williams as well as Arizona Coyotes 2021 first-round pick Dylan Guenther lead the way, each with two-goal performances.

Picking up four points in three outings, the Winnipeg ICE’s week was highlighted by Friday’s 4-3 overtime thriller against Saskatoon that saw 2022 NHL Draft eligible centre Matthew Savoie push the pace with a pair of tallies. A projected early first-round selection this summer, on the season Savoie headlines all WHL freshmen with 68 points counting 25 goals and 43 assists through 50 appearances, a stretch that includes at least one point in eight of his past nine outings.

Coming in at No. 5, the Everett Silvertips earned national recognition for the 16th week running. Despite coming up short in a pair of contests, the Silvertips put up valiant efforts in close-battled contests against Portland and Seattle that included a two-point performance from talented blue-liner and Anaheim Ducks draftee Olen Zellweger coming against the latter. The Silvertips will look to return to their winning ways when they retake the ice Friday versus Spokane.

Holding steady at sixth, the Portland Winterhawks closed out the week with two wins in two games, including Saturday’s 8-3 final over Tri-City that saw the club rally for five unanswered goals. In all, the contest saw eight different Winterhawks skaters finish with at least a pair of points, headlined by Detroit Red Wings 2020 second-round selection Cross Hanas who notched a trio of helpers to move into top spot in team scoring with 65 points in 49 appearances.

Rounding out recognition from the WHL, the No. 7 slotted Kamloops Blazers climb the ranks after winning three straight underscored by Friday’s late comeback victory over rival Vancouver that saw the squad come away with a 4-3 overtime decision. Leading the way for the Blazers was veteran left-wing Daylan Kuefler who netted the equalizer with only 29 seconds remaining before then finding the back of the net again in the bonus frame.

Rising to No. 2 in the national rankings, the Charlottetown Islanders closed out the week with a pair of road victories to maintain top spot in the QMJHL’s Maritimes Division with a record of 30-8-3-0 and 63 points. Putting together two-straight contests in which the Islanders prevented the opposition from finding the scoresheet, netminders Oliver Satny and Francesco Lapenna combined for 27 saves in the two victories over Victoriaville and nationally recognized Shawinigan.

Coming in at No. 8, the Shawinigan Cataractes picked up four of six points on the week highlighted by Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win against Gatineau that saw a three-point effort from budding right-wing Olivier Nadeau, who sealed the contest in the extra frame. On the season, Nadeau tops the Cataractes with 59 points in 43 games. The Buffalo Sabres 2021 fourth-round selection will look to keep up that scoring proficiency when the Cataractes take to the national stage Friday on TSN against Victoriaville, with puck drop set for 7 p.m. Eastern.

Holding steady at No. 9, the week saw the Quebec Remparts twice find the win column that included Thursday’s 4-1 road victory in Chicoutimi in which four different skaters found the back of the net, including a trio of NHL draftees in Zachary Bolduc (St. Louis Blues), James Malatesta (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Viljami Marjala (Buffalo Sabres), as well as 2002-born forward Theo Rochette who headlines the well-balanced squad with 61 points through 44 appearances.

In the honourable mention category, the Sherbrooke Phoenix came away with a pair of victories to improve to 28-11-2-1 on the season, good for 59 points and second place in the QMJHL’s Central Division. Elsewhere, the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia host Saint John Sea Dogs continue to find their offensive stride following three victories on the week in which the squad combined for 24 goals, led by 2002-born centre Josh Lawrence who collected 10 points along the way.

Continuing to climb the national rankings, the No. 3 slotted Hamilton Bulldogs have found the win column nine games in a row to take over top spot in the OHL with a 34-11-2-2 showing and 72 points. Picking up wins over Mississauga and Ottawa, the latter saw the Bulldogs come away with the victory on the national stage with a 2-1 shootout decision. On the week, Hamilton saw impressive play between the pipes as 2002-born netminder Marco Costantini went undefeated in the pair of appearances while turning aside a combined 50 shots, helping him to take home OHL Goaltender of the Week honours.

Returning to the national spotlight, the No. 10 ranked London Knights picked up four of six points on the week to stand 32-14-2-0 on the season and four points shy of top spot in the OHL’s Western Conference. Among the highlights of the week for the Knights was the play of 2002-born left-wing Antonio Stranges who recorded three goals and two assists for five points in three games, coming on the heels of the budding forward landing his entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars.

Earning honourable mention, the Flint Firebirds banked four points on the week, punctuated by Sunday’s 5-1 road win in Guelph that saw budding blue-liner and Winnipeg Jets 2021 third-round selection Dmitry Kuzmin push the pace with a two-goal performance. On the season, the Firebirds now stand atop the OHL’s Western Conference with a record of 33-16-1-3 and 70 points.

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