Blazers sniper leads WHL scoring race

JC Lipon added four points to his campaign as Kamloops beat the Kootenay Ice 6-3 last Saturday night.

JC Lipon is at the top of his game.

He’s also on top of the WHL scoring race.

The wily forward added four points to his campaign on Saturday night when the Kamloops Blazers rolled through Cranbrook, earning a 6-3 victory against the Kootenay Ice along the way.

Not only does Lipon lead the league with 32 points, his linemates—not just teammates—are second and third, respectively, as Colin Smith and Tim Bozon are hot on his heels, while another teammate, Brendan Ranford, is fourth overall.

Those four Blazers collectively have 102 points in 13 games this year, as Kamloops is still undefeated in regulation (12-0-0-1) and is the top ranked club in the CHL.

“It’s definitely exciting, not losing yet,” said Lipon. “We’re just playing good hockey and when we get a lead, we’re shutting it down and playing smart.”

Not that the Blazers haven’t had some scares.

Kamloops went to a shootout against the Edmonton Oil Kings last week, as Lipon scored a late shorthanded goal in the third period to force overtime. Their following game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes was a tight affair, as Kamloops saw a three-goal lead evaporate in the final frame.

Whether through luck or skill, the Blazers seem to have momentum and confidence on their side, while the pairing of Bozon, Smith and Lipon has been devastating to any opposition Kamloops has faced.

Bozon, 18, was the Western Conference nominee for Rookie of the Year last year, while Smith and Lipon have played together since they were 16 years old.

“Last year was the first full year we played together and it was really exciting,” said Lipon. “We built good friendships and on the ice, it seemed to work out and it’s just carried on to this year.”

While their ability to score has been a big factor in winning—they lead the league in the Goals For category—the work of netminder Cole Cheveldave has contributed to their success.

Cheveldave, 19, is the second-ranked goaltender in the WHL with a 2.06 goals against average and a 0.924 save percentage.

But one of those intangibles have also been a factor to the Blazers’ success, according to Lipon.

“The refusal to lose,” he said. “No one likes losing and we’re just finding our way right now, whether on the power play or five-on-five.”

Lipon has currently tallied 13 goals and 19 assists, which puts him atop the WHL for points. Last year, he collected 65 points in his second full year in the league.

Needless to say, leading the league is a pleasant surprise, even if it wasn’t what he was expecting.

“My goal is just be on the first page and the main thing is to win as a team and we’re doing that right now and that’s what feels good,” said Lipon.

The Prince Albert Raiders (8-3-0-2) and the Portland Winterhawks (8-3-1-0) are the only other WHL teams  in the top-10 of the CHL rankings, at seventh and eighth respectively.

Despite all their success so far this season, Lipon said the team can’t let their wining record get to their heads.

“The main thing is you got to start everyday at zero and forget about what you’ve done,” Lipon said. “We got to expect that every team is going to give us their best because we’re up there, they’re chasing us.

“It’s a challenge but our team can do it.”

Just Posted

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.
Graduation ceremony in the works for MBSS Class of 2021

The Mount Bake Secondary School Class of 2021 will have a graduation… Continue reading

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

210615
The auto and the bike: A paean to them both

One becomes an extension of one’s self. The other offers the sensation of flight.

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Most Read