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Lipon line powers Kamloops' to 13th straight win

by Adam Kimelman

It took a few extra seconds, but the Kamloops Blazers made it a baker's dozen Sunday -- 13 straight wins with a 4-3 overtime victory at the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The win streak matches a franchise record set during the 1986-87 season and matched by the 1989-90 team.

Sunday's game saw the Blazers trail 2-0 2:22 into the second period after Seattle scored twice in a 70-second span.

JC Lipon

In a recent interview with, Kamloops coach Guy Charron said he has yet to see his team panic and they stayed in that form Sunday, getting back in the game with goals 1:13 apart midway through the period. JC Lipon, the WHL's top offensive star, scored on the power play at 8:19 of the second for his 14th goal of the season. Just over a minute later, defenseman Sam Grist's shot from the blue line went through traffic and into the net at 9:32.

Seattle re-claimed the lead just 58 seconds later on a goal by defenseman Shea Theodore, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft. Theodore went end-to-end to score his fourth of the season.

But Lipon, who was elevated to a C-ranked skater due to his fast start, scored his league-best 15th of the season at 13:32 to tie the game 3-3.

After a scoreless third period, it took just 25 seconds for Tim Bozon to spot a streaking Colin Smith in the slot, and Smith scored his 13th of the season.

The win improves Kamloops to 15-0-1 on the season -- the best record in the Western Hockey League, and leaving them the only team of the 60 in the Canadian Hockey League to be without a regulation loss. The only game they didn't finish on the winning side was their third game of the season, Sept. 28, when they lost a 4-3 shootout to the Victoria Royals. During the 13-game streak, they've outscored the opposition 66-25.

Individually, they're being carried by the line of Lipon (39 points), Smith (38) and Bozon (29), who are the top three scorers in the WHL. Lipon also leads the league in goals, and his 24 assists are one behind Smith's league-best total.

The Blazers have a league-best 78 goals, while no other team in the WHL has 60. And only the Portland Winterhawks -- who have played three fewer games -- have allowed fewer goals than the Blazers' 36.

Kamloops will go for its 14th straight win Tuesday at the Everett Silvertips.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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