Blazers centre Keagan Rowland looks for a teammate out front while Canadians defenceman Devyn Justice-Riar gives chase. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The Lloydminster midget AA Sobeys Blazers are starting to catch fire.
The Blazers battled the top-ranked Edmonton CAC Butchers and Packers Canadians (8-2-3) for a full 60 minutes at the Servus Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Two late Canadians goals ensured the end result would reside in their favour, but the feeling among the Blazers was the play belonged to them.
“We played a great game,” said Blazers defenceman and captain Christopher Kerstens. “To stay close with a top team, it feels good. We’re starting to come together as a team.”
The Canadians controlled the play off the opening puck drop, but it was the Blazers that took charge following the storm.
Blazers left wing Kohl Gregoire led the way on a backhand from the slot that beat Canadians netminder Trevor Devlin top corner glove side at the 8:12 mark of the first period.
Chase McAllister made it 2-0 about 11 minutes into the second period by firing a shot from the top of the circle that found the low far side corner of the Canadians net.
Canadians forward Justin Duquay got his team on the board less than 30 seconds after McAllister’s marker by tapping in a cross-crease pass from Alex Coulter. Jacob Bowen tied the contest three minutes later on a deke to his backhand in close that beat Blazers goalie Hunter Duriez glove side.
Ryley Stewart then put his team ahead 3-2 by firing a shot from the top of the circle through a screen 1:04 into the third period.
Blazers defenceman Ethan Smith replied about two minutes later with a wire from the faceoff dot to once again even the score.
Both teams exchanged chances for the remainder of the game, but it was Canadians forward Blake Caron that would light the lamp with 53 seconds remaining on a two-on-one break. Austin Rossman scored the insurance marker into an empty net.
Kerstens said the Blazers (3-10-2) got off to a slow start this season, but they’ve been making strides lately.
He said they notched a good 3-3 tie in Camrose against the Vikings on Friday night before matching up strong against the Canadians and if they can keep that effort up during a four-game home stand in December they should be able to make up some ground.
“We’ve got a solid team,” said Kerstens.
“We’ve just got to string some wins together and work hard.”