Blazers score early, often in 7-4 win over Royals in Victoria – WHL
Tim Petruk – 27.01.2023 / 21:42 | History: 408687
Photo: Jay Wallace/Victoria Royals
Matthew Seminoff, Fraser Minten, Logan Stankoven and Olen Zellweger combined for 13 points on Friday in the provincial capital as the Kamloops Blazers stifled a comeback and defeated the Victoria Royals 7-4.
Seminoff (2), Stankoven (2), Caedan Bankier and Minten (2) were the Blazers’ top scorers. Robin Sapousek, Alex Edwards, Riley Gannon and Teydon Trembecky scored for the Royals.
The Blazers led 3-0 in the first half and led 6-2 midway through the second. Victoria scored two more to halve the lead but that was the closest they were going to get.
Stankoven scored an empty net from center ice with 1:43 left to make it a 7-4 final.
Dylan Ernst was solid at the net for the Blazers, stopping 26 of 30 Victoria shots to earn his 24th win of the season in the WHL. Braden Holt made 39 saves on 45 Kamloops shots in a loss.
The Blazers scored two goals on five power play opportunities. In three chances, the Royals converted once.
Seminoff (2G, 2A), Minten (2G, 1A), Stankoven (2G, 1A) and Zellweger (3A) finished with multiple points.
Announced attendance at the Save-On Foods Memorial Arena was 4,252.
With the win, the Blazers improve to 27-9-4-2 this season, still first in the BC Division of the WHL and second in the Western Conference, eight points behind first-place seed Seattle Thunderbirds (33-7-1 – 1), who were also victorious on Friday evening.
The loss puts the Royals at 13-28-4-1, bottom in the five-team BC division and ninth of ten teams in the Western Conference.
The Blazers and Royals will do it again in Victoria on Saturday. The Blazers’ next home game is Wednesday when the Portland Winterhawks (31-8-2-1) visit the Sandman Center.
Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/File
It seems the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants can’t get enough of each other these days.
After sharing a home-and-home streak last weekend, clubs will be doing it all again this weekend.
The two teams will meet at Langley tonight before a return leg at Prospera Place on Saturday.
Last weekend, the Rockets won 4-1 at Langley before losing 4-3 on the falling night on home ice.
The Rockets have struggled since returning from the Christmas break, leading 2-11 in that span.
On home ice, they are just 1-8-1-0 in their last 10, which dates back to November 26.
Their recent stumbling blocks have put them in a tie with the Victoria Royals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Rockets have three games in their hands.
The Giants have been tied 5-5 since returning from the break. Seventh in the West, nine ahead of the Rockets but just three points behind Everett and Tri-City, who share fourth place.
Andrew Cristall and newly acquired Ty Hurley are expected to miss the weekend as they recover from lower body injuries. Both are listed as weekly.
Cristall missed seven games while Hurley was sidelined for six games.
Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/File
An injury will keep Kelowna Rockets forward Andrew Cristall out of this week’s Top Prospects game at Langley.
Cristall, who is listed on the injury report as a day-to-day with a lower-body injury, has missed the last six games.
He sustained the injury during a Jan. 7 game in Kamloops.
Cristall is expected to be selected in the first round when the NHL holds its Entry Draft in Nashville next June.
He leads the Rockets with 26 goals and 36 assists in 36 games
The Canadian Hockey League announced Monday that London Knights forward Denver Barkey will replace Cristall for the game.
The Rockets will continue to be represented at the Prospects Game. Defender Caden Price will go on ice at Langley on Wednesday.
Photo: Steve Dunsmoor
The Kelowna Rockets continue to plummet in the Western Conference rankings.
On Sunday, the Rockets saw their post-Christmas record fall to 2-11 in an uninspiring 5-1 loss to the attacking Victoria Royals.
Victoria’s win put her in a tie with the Rockets for the west’s eighth and final playoff spot.
Kelowna, too, slipped to 1-8-1-0 in the last 10 at home.
It was the third game in as many days for the Rockets, but the Royals, who had to travel overnight from Spokane, faced the same scenario.
“We should have been the fresher team, we should have been the hungrier team,” said head coach Kris Mallette.
“They came as promised. The first goal they scored was what they did…throw a puck in the neutral zone, get a good bounce and hope some guy cheats on the wrong side, and that’s actually what happened.
“Then our inability to physically play to stop the game while a team is skating around us.”
The game was level late into the first as the Royals scored three goals in three minutes and 10 seconds.
Teydon Trembecky ran down the right wing onto a loose puck and hit Talyn Boyko with a rising shot from the bottom of the right circle.
Marcus Almquist from the slot with what emerged as the winner and Robin Sapoursek 62 seconds later with a backdoor one-timer gave the Royals a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
There was no urgency in the Rockets’ game in the second period when they threw just five shots at Braden Holt, or in the third when they were five behind and only had four shots.
Defenseman Jackson DeSouza spoiled Holt’s shutout bid with his fifth of the season three minutes from time, and the Rockets made their most sustained pressure of the night.
Despite recent troubles, Mallette remains confident the team will pull out of this.
“I’m not giving up on our group
“We’ve made some progress. Of course we would have liked to have had two or three of those wins this weekend, but our group will be fine, we’ll make it.
“It’s going to take some work and we’ll have to get back to it.”
The Rockets now have until the weekend off when they play back-to-back games against the Vancouver Giants on Friday at Langley and again on Saturday at Prospera Place.
Top scorer Andrew Cristall missed his sixth game with a lower body injury.