A night after scoring his first WHL goal, Jesse Shynkaruk helped the Kamloops Blazers to their first victory in a month.
Shynkaruk scored in the shootout as the Blazers defeated the host Regina Pats 4-3 on Thursday. The victory ended Kamloops’ franchise-record 13-game losing streak, which dates back to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 5.
Since that victory, the Blazers were outscored 64-23. After last night’s victory, the Blazers are 7-21-4 and last in the WHL’s Western Conference, with the playoffs all but out of the question.
“That’s a long, long time between wins,” head coach Dave Hunchak told the Regina Leader-Post. “Our last one was at home against Red Deer (on Nov. 5). It has been real tough.”
Shynkaruk scored the winner, beating Regina goaltender Nick Schneider on the second shootout attempt. Shynkaruk, a 17-year-old Saskatoon native, had scored his first WHL goal in a 5-2 loss to the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday.
Taran Kozun, who stopped 39 shots in regulation and overtime, stopped all three Pats shootout attempts to seal the victory.
Boston Leier scored the only goal of the first period, striking at 10:02 to allow the Pats fans to litter the ice with stuffed animals as part of Teddy Bear Toss night.
Kamloops captain Matt Needham tied the game at 1:49 of the second period, before Dryden Hunt restored the Pats’ lead on a power play with 7:12 remaining in the period.
The score stayed the same until the late stages of the third period. The Blazers scored two goals in 31 seconds — from Cole Ully and Needham — to take a 3-2 lead with 53 seconds remaining. But Leier struck again, this time with only 35 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
“With what we’ve been going through, to say it’s surprising, I can’t say that,” Hunchak said. “Some of the stuff that has happened has been ridiculous.”
Kozun stopped Leier, Dyson Stevenson and Chandler Stephenson in the shootout, sending the Blazers into a celebration.
Kamloops will look to make it two in a row on Friday, when it visits the Raiders in Prince Albert.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers got two assists from Ully. In the Blazers’ previous victory (on Nov. 5), he also had a goal and two assists. . . . Kozun’s record improves to 2-13-3. . . . Schneider, a 16-year-old rookie from Leduc, Alta., fell to 2-1-1. . . . Kamloops was 0-for-5 on the power play, while Regina was 1-for-4. . . . Pats D Dmitry Sinitsyn had two helpers. . . . Blazers F Joe Kornelsen (head) missed his third straight game. . . . Former Kamloops D Austin Madaisky has been reassigned from the AHL’s Springfield Falcons to the ECHL’s Evansville IceMen. Madaisky, 21, is a prospect for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, but had only gotten into eight games with Springfield this season, picking up three points, including one goal. He had two goals and four assists in 11 games in Evansville last season.