Oklahoma City Blazers Hockey

Blazers Earn Split on Road in First WSHL Action

Blazers Earn Split on Road in First WSHL Action

The Oklahoma City Blazers travelled to Cheyenne, Wyoming this past weekend for a pair of exhibition games against the Cheyenne Stampede. The Blazers left OKC Friday night and made the 750 mile journey for their first taste of the Western States Hockey League.

Saturday, the Blazers took on Cheyenne on “Pack the House Night” and were greeted by a very loyal and rowdy Stampede crowd.

Blazers forward Matt Levene scored with 31 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Blazers the win over the Cheyenne Stampede. The Blazers opened the scoring on the power play a little over four minutes into the game when forward Colton Nelson jumped on a rebound to make it 1-0.

The Stampede tied the game on deflected point shot at 9:59. A little under 5 minutes into the second period Stampede forward Jacob Rudloff put the home club ahead when he was able to tip a loose puck over the shoulder of Blazer goaltender Braden Lajoie. With Blazers on the power play, defenseman Drake Johnson cranked a bomb past the Cheyenne goaltender on a nice set up by Kole Hudson. Shortly after the Johnson tying goal, Blazer forward Devin Burchett dropped the gloves with Cheyenne winger Mitch Reynders. The two battled back and forth with Burchett landing a haymaker at the end to send the opposing player to the ice. The Blazers and Stampede headed into the second intermission tied. The Blazers outshot their opponent 24-14 after two and 36-22 by the end.

Cheyenne came out hard in the 3rd, Stampede 80 point man Heath Lantz, got loose in the slot and put the Stampede up 3-2 just 13 seconds in. A scary moment 9 minutes into the last frame, Blazer rookie Scott Sharkey was hit from behind by Cheyenne dman Sebastien Crystal and layed motionless for a short period before being helped to the lockeroom. Crystal was assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. On the ensuing power play veteran forward Matthew Audette would slam in a rebound to tie the game at 3. The teams would head to overtime and with 31 seconds left in the 1st OT, the speedy Levene would force a turnover in the neutral zone and walk in and rifle a shot high to the glove side, beating the goaltender and giving the Blazers the win. Blazers 16 year old goaltender, Braden Lajoie was solid in net making 19 saves on 22 shots picking up the win.

On Sunday, the Blazers and Stampede hooked up again but this time it was the hometown team the potted the first goal just under 5 minutes in. Cheyenne forward Jack Speer scored on a nice set up in front of the Blazers goal. The Blazers struggled at times in the first period clearing the zone and at the 7:58 mark Stampede forward Cody Key picked off a clearing attempt by one of the Blazers and made no mistake putting the  Cheyenne team up by 2.  With 3 minutes remaining and the Blazers on the powerplay Saturday nights hero, Matt Levene took a pass from Hunter Smith and wired a shot passed a screened Donovan Roy to cut the lead in half. Cheyenne would regain the lead less than 2 minutes later when a pair of Blazers were assessed minor penalties at the same time. With Blazers 2 men down, Andrew Burton made the Blazers pay with a nice individual effort beating the a Blazers defender and deking out Oklahoma City netminder Tyrel Heap.

The Stampede would extend their lead in the 2nd period to 4-1 when Michael Ballard blasted a shot through the five hole of a seemingly screended Heap less than 2 minutes in. After a several penalties the Blazers found themselves on an extended 5 on 3 man advantage. Forward Matthew Audette would bang home his second goal in as many nights to cut the lead to 2. The Blazers power play went to work again late in the period and this time it was defenseman Drake Johnson who let a hard snapper go, beating a screened Stampede goaltender to make it a 1 goal game after two periods. It was Johnson’s second PP goal in as many night as well.

The Blazers carried the play in the 3rd period but at the 10 minute mark it was Stampede forward Bailey Shaver who took advantage of a loose puck in the neutral zone and wired a long wrister behind the Blazer goaltender. Oklahoma City kept coming however and it was Levene again scoring his 3rd goal of the weekend. Jetting down the slot, Audette was able to shovel a puck in front and Levene made no mistake going top shelf on Roy.  The Blazers kept the pressure on, but Roy stood his ground making several key saves late in the game including another breakaway attempt from Levene. Oklahoma City was unable to battle back before the final buzzard. Final score Stampede 5 Blazers 4. Blazer goaltender Tyrel Heap made 34 saves on 39 shots taking the loss.