Bellingham's Cody Foster stopped 40 of
41 shots, and his team mates supported that effort with three goals to beat the
West Sound Warriors 3-1 in game five to claim the Northern Pacific Hockey League's
Cascade Cup. The Blazers will represent the league at USA Hockey's Tier III Junior
National Championship in April.
The 2012-2013 season got off to a
rough start for the Blazers, losing 10-2 to the West Sound Warriors in their
first game back in October. The expansion team would start off their existence with
a 1-8-1 record which included a loss to the Vancouver Vipers. The team never
gave up on the coach and the coach never gave up on his team. Blazers' coach
Mark Collins is one of the few bench bosses that believe in developing his
players while others continued to make trades and tinker with the roster. The
Blazers never got into that part of the game and now they are the league
In Sunday's game, West Sound's Jake
McMullen's power play goal 4:22 into the first period gave his Warriors an
early 1-0 lead after Bryce Kenning was whistled for a high sticking penalty,
giving West Sound their second power play in the first four minutes of the
Bellingham's go-to man Cody Rich
evened things up just 33 seconds into the 2nd period when he made
good on a Dawson Quint pass and lit the lamp with his fifth goal of the
playoffs. Kenning made up for his first period transgression by notching a
unassisted power play goal of his own at the 12:15 mark to put the Blazers up
for good at 2-1.
Adam Papayoanou put the icing on the
cake 3:23 into the third period when he converted a pair of passes from Kyler
Moore and Mason Wade into a goal, giving the Blazers the 3-1 lead. West Sound
never gave up, outshooting the Blazers in each of the three periods but were unable
to get anything else past Foster.
West Sound's Forrest Savel stopped 28
of 31 in the loss.
Bellingham will face-off against the
Minnesota Junior Hockey League champions on April 4th in Rochester,
Minnesota in the first of three pool play games.