Royals crown Blazers

Five third-period goals carry Victoria to victory

Kamloops Daily News
January 16, 2013 01:00 AM

With Victoria Royals forward Trent Lofthouse providing a screen, goaltender Cole Cheveldave of the Kamloops Blazers watches a shot go just wide of his net during WHL action on Tuesday night.

The Victoria Royals scored on three consecutive shots during a five-goal third period Tuesday night as they beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-4.

Kamloops took a 3-1 lead into the third period but ran into penalty problems and gave up four power-play goals, the last one coming at 16:48, just 43 seconds after defenceman Joel Edmundson was ejected with a boarding major for a check on Royals forward Alex Gogolev.

The game was the first of four in five nights for both teams.

The WHL teams will meet again tonight in Victoria. The Blazers then travel to Kennewick, Wash., for a Friday date with the Tri-City Americans, before returning home to face the Royals on Saturday. Before journeying to Kamloops, the Royals will stop off in Vancouver for a Friday game with the Giants.

Last night, the teams played through a scoreless first period, before second-period goals by Matt Needham, Cole Ully and Colin Smith gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, Stephen Hodges having scored for the Royals.

Victoria tied it in the first half of the third period on power-play goals by Austin Carroll, who has goals in three straight games, and Gogolev. However, left-winger Tim Bozon gave the Blazers a 4-3 at 13:04, just 3:44 after Gogolev had scored.

Victoria defenceman Brett Cote pulled his side even at 14:59 and Jack Walker, another defenceman, broke the tie with his second goal of the season just 31 seconds later.

Hodges iced it with another power-play goal, at 16:48.

The Royals' power-play unit went through a 2-for-30 skid over six games, but was 4-for-7 last night and now is 8-for-17 in its last three outings.

The Blazers (29-13-4) remain third in the Western Conference, while the Royals (22-17-3) are sixth. If the playoffs began today, they would meet in a first-round series, as they did last spring. The Blazers won that best-of-seven series in four games.

JUST NOTES: The Blazers are 3-1-1 against the Royals, who are 2-3-0 in the series thanks to a shootout victory in the series opener. . . . The Blazers scratched F Aspen Sterzer (undisclosed), D Jordan Thomson and F Mitch Friesen. . . . The Blazers will be without associate coach Dave Hunchak until at least Saturday. He is in Saskatoon following the death of his mother, Irene, on Saturday. A funeral service will be held Thursday in Saskatoon. . . . When Saturday's game is done, the Blazers and Royals will face each other just once more this season, that game in Kamloops on March 5. . . . The Royals have points in six straight home games. . . .

NHL Central Scouting released its midseason rankings yesterday and the Blazers had two forwards listed among the North American skaters. JC Lipon appeared at No. 96, with Ully at No. 97. . . . The Blazers have signed F Eric Krienke, 16, who was a ninth-round selection in the 2011 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 182-pound Krienke, from Calgary, plays for the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. He has 23 points with the Northstars, and also has a goal and an assist in two games with the AJHL's Okotoks Oilers. . . .

F Jamie Benn, who played for the Kelowna Rockets, has been skating with the Royals as his agent, Richard Evans, negotiates a deal with the NHL's Dallas Stars. Benn is from Victoria.


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