Kamloops beats Victoria for second day in a row.
Kamloops Blazers goaltender Dylan Ernst made 29 of 31 saves in a close 3-2 victory over the Victoria Royals on Sunday.
Teammate Luke Toporowski also had a strong game, recording two points on a goal and an assist. The Bettendorf, Iowa native now has seven goals in five games against the Royals this season.
Victoria (12-26-4-1) goaltender Campbell Arnold put in a bounce back performance after allowing eight goals on Saturday, stopping 32 of 35 shots in the contest, and not allowing a goal for the final 27 minutes of the game.
Defenceman Gannon Laroque added a goal and an assist in the loss, while Keanu Derungs capped off a strong weekend with a goal of his own.
“That game was a very accurate reflection of what our team is.” Said Royals Head Coach Dan Price postgame. “That level of execution, effort, offensive and defensive play–that’s our team…it’s going to be a really fun second half of the year, there’s your evidence right there.”
Kamloops (31-11-1-0) picked up right where they left off on Saturday scoring a pair of goals to open the game, the first by forward Logan Stankoven (25) at 3:59 and the second by forward Connor Levis (13) at 14:44.
However, the Royals would score to make it 2-1 on a powerplay goal by Keanu Derungs (13) at 16:55. The Swiss-born forward now has goals in back-to-back games and has registered seven points in nine games against the Blazers this season.
The second period saw Kamloops would carry a 3-1 lead into the third after a second period goal scored on the powerplay by Luke Toporowski at 12:26 (26).
The Royals found the back of the net for the second time on a goal by Gannon Laroque (7) at 12:35 of the third, pulling them within one with just under eight minutes remaining. The next few minutes saw Victoria gain a number of prime chances, including a two-on-one opportunity that nearly had Tanner Scott tie the game at 3-3 but Kamloops goaltender Dylan Ernst would turn away the shot to keep his team up by one.
The Royals would pull goaltender Campbell Arnold in the final minute in a last-ditch attempt to tie the game, however the clock became Victoria’s enemy, expiring with the score standing at 3-2 for the Blazers. The loss extends the Royals losing streak to a season-high 14 games.
The Blazers will head back to Kamloops for a mid-week set against the Tri-City Americans on Feb. 9 and 11, while the Royals will have four days off before welcoming the Seattle Thunderbirds to town for a pair of games on Feb. 11 and 12.