Teddy Bear Toss tease — Chyzowski, Blazers’ fans robbed of warm, fuzzy moment after disallowed goal

It was nothing against Minnie Mouse, but Kamloops Blazers’ forward Jermaine Loewen didn’t look thrilled to be in her company. On Teddy Bear Toss Day, fans are encouraged to launch stuffed animals and winter wear onto the ice after the Blazers’ first goal. The haul is donated to local charities, part of the tradition that started in Kamloops in 1993 and is now a fixture in junior hockey cities across North America. Nick Chyzowski made it rain Minnies and monkeys and everything in between on Sunday at Sandman Centre, the 20-year-old Blazers’ captain from Kamloops poking home a rebound at 10:45 of the first period on Teddy Bear Toss Day 2017. The goal was waved off (Brodi Stuart was called for goaltender interference), but there was no turning back for the Mark Recchi Way mob, which rained down boos along with stuffed animals, mittens, tuques and scarves. Public address announcer Bill O’Donovan tried to quell the furry onslaught, but his voice was barely heard over the commotion. Volunteers joined the Blazers to help with cleanup, Loewen posed for a sad picture with Minnie and the game resumed with a 0-0 scoreline. Kootenay went on to win 4-0. Chyzowski is the only current Blazer who was on the ice when the Everett Silvertips shellacked hometown Kamloops 7-0 on Teddy Bear Toss Night at Interior Savings Centre on Dec. 7, 2013. When no goals are scored by the home team, the final horn signals Teddy-tossing time. It was a depressing scene, the defeated Blazers ambling about the rink scooping up stuffed animals knowing they weren’t able to muster a goal for the 4,119 in attendance. Fans this year were at least given the joy of a goal, albeit a disallowed one, but that wasn’t comfort to Chyzowski. “Both scenarios are brutal,” Chyzowski said. An announced crowd of 4,975 was recorded for the Sunday game that started at 3 p.m. The early marker would have pumped life into the building and may have sparked the Blazers, who played on Saturday night in Seattle and on Friday night in Kamloops. “It’s a huge disappointment that we weren’t able to score that goal to get our fans going,” Kamloops head coach Don Hay said. “They got excited and it was a big let down. We should have responded better.” Dallas Hines scored at 14:01 of the first period, Sebastian Streu tallied at 18:49 of the second period, Vince Loschavio notched a goal at 3:11 of the third period and Colton Veloso’s power-play marker at 9:55 finished off the Blazers. Kamloops outshout Kootenay 20-14 in the first two periods, but the Ice — who fell 5-2 to the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday — took over the game in the final frame, outshooting the home team 11-7. Hay was asked if the taxing travel schedule affected his charges. “At the end it was, but not at the start,” he said. “At the start, we should have had a lot more jump. I thought the call that went against us didn’t help us at all and we ended up taking eight penalties, which didn’t give us a chance to be successful.” The Ice were 1-for- 8 on the power play. The Blazers were 0-for-4. Duncan McGovern made 27 saves to post the shutout between the pipes for Kootenay. Kamloops backstop Dylan Ferguson allowed four goals on 22 shots and was replaced by Max Palaga with 8:31 to play in the third period. Palaga made three saves. Kootenay (13-15- 1-0) will continue its B.C. Division swing against the Cougars (10-14-2-2) in Prince George on Tuesday. The Blazers (13-15) will leave Kamloops on Tuesday for a sixgame tour of the East Division. The Prince Albert Raiders (11- 11-4-1) will play host to Kamloops on Friday. “If we go out there and have a good road trip, it really sets the tone for the second half,” Blazers’ leading scorer Garrett Pilon said. “If we don’t, it kind of changes the plan of what’s going to happen with the organization.” As for Chyzowski, he will end his WHL career without truly knowing what it feels like to score the Teddy Bear Toss goal, but he will have a story to tell, nonetheless. “The call is the call,” Chyzowski said. “We can’t really change it now. Stuey made a great play below the goal line. He was battling real hard and got pushed into the net. “It would have been really nice and given us a good start, but the call is the call.” EXTRA FRAME: Kamloops is second- last in the Western Conference, but only one point out of the second wildcard position and two points behind the Vancouver Giants, who are third in the B.C. Division… . The Blazers have won seven of their last 10 games… . Kamloops is bidding to host the 2020 Memorial Cup… . The WHL trade deadline is Jan. 10… . The Blazers will next play at home on Dec. 29, when the Kelowna Rockets come to town… . Victoria (18-10-3-0, 39 points) leads the B.C. Division. Kelowna (17- 8-2-1, 37 points) is second

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