Avon's OT winner lifts Petes past Blazers, into Memorial Cup semifinal
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — J.R. Avon scored the game-winning goal 10:54 into overtime and the Peterborough Petes beat the Kamloops Blazers 5-4 on Thursday, earning a semifinal berth at the Memorial Cup.
Connor Lockhart, Brennan Othmann, Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti had the others for Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough. Michael Simpson made 43 saves.
Logan Stankoven, Olen Zellweger, Harrison Brunicke and Logan Bairos replied for host Kamloops. Dylan Ernst stopped 25 shots.
The Petes will next meet the Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds in Friday's semifinal for a chance to face the Quebec Remparts in the final on Sunday.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Remparts earned a berth into the final after opening the tournament with wins over Kamloops and Seattle.
Quebec later fell to Peterborough — which staved off elimination and forced Thursday's tiebreaker with the victory — 4-2 on Tuesday in both teams' final round-robin game.
Lockhart opened the scoring 7:52 into the first period. Chase Lefebvre sent the puck across the end boards to Jax Dubois, who found Lockhart with a slick pass into the slot and he beat Ernst five-hole.
Stankoven evened it up 11:20 into the frame, sending the Sandman Centre crowd into a frenzy. Connor Levis took a point shot and the rebound came out to the Blazers captain, who scored his second of the tournament.
Zellweger put Kamloops ahead 12:45 into the frame on the power play. The CHL Defenceman of the Year nominee saved the puck from getting out of the Petes' zone, moved into the slot and wired one past Simpson for his first.
With 2:27 remaining in the first, Brunicke piled it on for the Blazers. Peterborough's Konnor Smith attempted to clear it from the end boards but the puck ended up with Brunicke at the point, where he got around a defender and beat Simpson just over his right shoulder with little room to spare.
Bairos gave Kamloops a 4-1 edge 4:23 into the middle frame. He fired a point shot that ricocheted off Simpson's blocker, then over him and in.
Just over three minutes later, the Petes began to swing the momentum back in their favour.
Othmann stripped Bairos of the puck as the Blazers defenceman tried to skate out of his own zone. Othmann then turned around and roofed it past Ernst as he fell to one knee.
Mayer made it a one-goal game on the power play with 2:23 left in the second. He took a pass from Lockhart and fired in a one-timer from the point.
Zanetti knotted the contest just over a minute later. He tipped in a pass from Tucker Robertson while streaking toward the net and beat Ernst five-hole.
Both sides struggled to capitalize on prime scoring opportunities leading to a scoreless third period and extra time to settle the winner.
Following a dazzling effort by Zellweger that just missed, Owen Beck took the puck up ice for Peterborough and dropped it off for Avon, who put it past Ernst to seal the win.
WE MEET AGAIN
Kamloops defeated Peterborough 10-2 when the two last met on Sunday. But with 7:05 remaining in that game, Othmann laid a hit on Blazers defenceman Kyle Masters, who fell awkwardly into the boards.
Masters had to be stretchered off the ice and was taken to Royal Inland Hospital. Head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston said Monday that the blue liner was out for the tournament with a lower-body injury.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.