It was an offensive explosion the likes of which the Kamloops Blazers hadn't seen this season, and it was a little mystifying even to the players.
The Blazers knocked off the Lethbridge Hurricanes 7-1 in a Monday afternoon WHL game at Interior Savings Centre. Kamloops (3-7-0) is back at it Wednesday, 7 p.m., when the Seattle Thunderbirds come to town.
The Blazers caught a struggling team having an off-night, and took full advantage, scoring four goals in the second period and three more in the third. Before Monday, the Blazers hadn't scored more than two goals in a period all season.
It was a little hard to keep track of all the goals, especially considering Kamloops had scored seven goals - total - over its previous four games.
"It feels good being able to put up six goals like that . . . was it six or seven?" said Blazers forward Tyson Ness, who had two assists in the victory. "Seven! That brings everyone's confidence up . . . we know we can score goals, it's just a matter of doing it."
The Blazers knew they would eventually break out of the offensive slump that had befallen the club early in the season. According to head coach Dave Hunchak, the turnaround began in Friday's 4-1 loss to the host Tri-City Americans, and continued in Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland.
"That game in Tri-City, we produced more as well," Hunchak said. "Tonight we were over 25 scoring chances for, which is a real good stat, but we kept the scoring chances against to under 15."
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak, while sending Lethbridge to its sixth straight loss.
Whether this is simply a temporary revival remains to be seen, but the Blazers looked like an offensive powerhouse on Monday, scoring all different types of goals in all different situations.
The team's power play, which had only scored three goals in 34 tries this season, went 3-for-6. The penalty kill also scored a goal - Aspen Sterzer striking shorthanded in the second period - giving it three on the season.
"We're getting pucks to the net and we're playing more simple hockey," said 20-year-old Chase Souto, who had a goal in the victory, giving him six over the past four games. "The last few games, it didn't pay off, but we got a few more goals and we needed the confidence boost."
As much as the Hurricanes struggled, the Blazers didn't score any cheap goals. Sterzer ended up with a pair, with Cole Ully, Aaron Macklin, Josh Connolly, Souto and Landon Cross also scoring. A number of players hit the scoresheet, with Tim Bozon, Mitch Lipon and Nick Chyzowski each recording two assists, and Nathan Looysen picking up an assist, his first in the WHL.
"A lot of things started to go our way tonight," Ness said. "Our flow, we seemed to have a lot of flow in the offensive zone. We were cycling well, and everyone was on the same page."
Hunchak has been juggling lines all season, and may have found a decent one with Ully playing between Sterzer and Bozon. That leaves captain Matt Needham between Souto and Ness, another line that appears to have potential.
"Guys will continue to get opportunities when they earn them," Hunchak said. "Aspen got an opportunity tonight, and certainly garners himself another opportunity on Wednesday."
Bolton Pouliot made 26 saves for the Blazers.
Giorgio Estephan scored a second-period power-play goal for Lethbridge. The Blazers scored four goals on 18 shots on starter Corbin Boes, then put three more on 21 shots past Chris Tai.
On Saturday, Portland scored five second-period goals and won going away. Derrick Pouliot, with two, Chase De Leo, Adam Rossignol, Alex Schoenborn, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Brendan Leipsic scored for the Winterhawks.
Souto had two more goals for the Blazers, with Ully and Sterzer also tallying. Taran Kozun started in goal, but was pulled after allowing five goals on 29 shots. Bolton Pouliot replaced him, stopping 12 of 13 shots.
JUST NOTES: Attendance on Monday was 4,008. . . . Connolly had four assists in the Portland game. . . . The Daily News' Three Stars (Monday): 1. Ness: two assists, should have had a few goals, too; 2. Cross: Looked like Bobby Orr on his goal; 3. Souto: Playing hard, playing smart. . . . Blazers F Joe Kornelsen left Monday's game with what appeared to be a leg injury. . . . After Wednesday, the Blazers will be back on the road to play the Giants in Vancouver on Friday and the Silvertips in Everett on Saturday. . . . The Blazers held a skate with members of the public after the game. . . . Former Blazers D Brad Lukowich is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Hurricanes.