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Blizzard win one at home


The OCN Blizzard continued their pre-season exhibition games as they faced off against the Swan Valley Stampeders here at home. This effort ended with a much better outcome compared to the previous two games OCN had with the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
In the first period OCN took the lead against Swan Valley, scoring at 4:36, an unassisted marker from returning right-winger Wyatt Riendeau. Later on Swan Valley right-winger Jackson Betcher tied the score near the end of the period.
The second frame saw Swan Valley pull ahead briefly scoring two goals at 6:02 and 14:59 from right-winger Morgan Venne and right-winger Tanner Booth respectively, however OCN tied the game back up again as forward Carson Cutknife-Bear scored at 16:55 along with fellow forward Evan Herman at 18:59, making the score 3-3 entering the final frame.
OCN was back in the groove of things as they proceeded to score two goals at either end of the third period, the first from Kobe Campbell just 52 seconds in and then sealing the game with a tally from Bryden Sinclair at 19:03. OCN would hold on for the 5-3 win.
This was a much needed victory for the players in light of the prior two losses.
“It’s awesome because it was feeling like we were playing exhibitions for quite a while. Just because the kids are tired -they’ve been working hard- it feels pretty rewarding that we can do it and we needed that excitement going into two days of practice. We really needed that momentum to help things go in the right direction,” said Matt Summers, Head Coach of the OCN Blizzard.
Pushing the other team and putting pressure on them was the priority he added rather than seeing how the other team is going to do at first.
“We changed our game plan; our game plan was to stay on the gas for two periods. The last two games was too busy feeling them out for 40 minutes, 50 minutes sometimes. We were feeling them out, seeing what they’re going to do instead of going for the first crack at it,” Summers explained.
Some lines and players included Campbell, Herman among others stood out for Summers.
“Kobe Campbell and Evan Herman, they set up for some nice plays. The (Trygve) Many Guns and Herman line, they got a lot of offense going, but the thing that sticks out the most is we got through a big penalty kill to keep the game in reach. I thought we gained momentum off that kill to get us back in the game, that kill was huge it could have easily been out of reach,” said Summers, referring to a nearly two minute long five-on-three in the first period the Blizzard successfully killed.
While there’s still some adjustments the coaching staff want to make they feel they are ready to take on Swan Valley again at the start of the regular season.
“We’re still looking for the right combination but you’ve seen it tonight we’re not far off. I’m glad we get to play Swan on Friday because we play them at the start of the season too. Good little rivalry to build, get the momentum in our favor at home,” he added.
OCN takes on Swan Valley once again tonight on the road, read Wednesday’s edition of the Opasquia Times for more coverage of the OCN Blizzard.

Trevor Wright