Kamloops, BC (ISN) – In their first ever WHL playoff contest, the Victoria Royals were defeated 4-1 by the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night in Kamloops.
In the first game of the best of seven Western Conference Quarter-Final series, the Victoria Royals faced off against the Kamloops Blazers at the Interior Savings Centre. Victoria started Keith Hamilton in net, while Kamloops countered with Cole Cheveldave.
The Blazers opened the scoring just prior to the midway point of the first period. Forward Dylan Willick found a loose puck in the crease before he slid it past the out-stretched left pad of Hamilton. Victoria answered on the power play at 11:36 when Hayden Rintoul’s shot from the left point was blocked and found the stick of Robin Soudek at the right faceoff circle. The Royals’ winger hammered a shot off the right post and past Cheveldave for the franchise’s first ever playoff goal. The teams remained tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Kamloops re-established a one goal lead at 4:13 of the second period when Colin Smith set up behind the net to feed Tim Bozon at the right side of the crease. The Blazers’ forward one-timed a shot past Hamilton on the glove side. Kamloops extended their lead to three when Chase Schaber and Bozon scored just 47 seconds apart in the last five minutes of the frame to take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
Victoria’s best scoring chance of the final frame came at the mid-way point of the period. Royals’ center Ben Walker fired a shot from the slot that missed the net and took a fortuitous bounce off the back boards. Walker corralled the rebound and found himself all alone and snapped a quick wrist shot to the glove side that was thwarted by Cheveldave. Blazers 4 Royals 1.
Victoria went 1/4 = 25.0% on the power play, while Kamloops was 0/4 = 0.0%. The Blazers outshot the Royals 34-27.
The first WHL playoff games in Victoria since 1989 will be played next Tuesday, March 27th and Wednesday, March 28th, which are games three and four of the series. Single game tickets for the 2012 WHL Playoffs are now on sale at the Select Your Tickets box office located at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Tickets can be purchased at the Select Your Tickets box office, online at selectyourtickets.com or over the phone at (250)220-7777. Group rates for playoff tickets are also available, starting as low as $10 per ticket.
For more information or to purchase your tickets today, please visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.victoriaroyals.com, or call 250-220-7889.