Victoria comes up short against Kamloops in back-and-forth Wednesday night contest.
Kamloops Blazers forward Drew Englot played the hero by scoring two goals with under ten minutes remaining in the third to hand his team the 6-4 victory over the Victoria Royals (12-29-4-1) on Wednesday.
Kamloops (34-12-1-0) forward Fraser Minten also had a big night for the winning side, recording a pair of second period goals and earning an assist on Englot’s second goal to cap a three-point performance.
Captain Tarun Fizer was the top performer for the Royals, scoring once and recording two assists for three points of his own. Other notables included forwards Bailey Peach and Riley Gannon–who had one goal apiece–and forward Brayden Schuurman, who registered a goal and an assist.
Blazers forward Luke Toporowski would open the scoring on Wednesday, netting his 30th of the year at 3:57 of the period.
That would be all the offence either team could manage in the first, and the period would end with Kamloops holding a slim 1-0 lead.
Kamloops would increase their lead to start the second on a Fraser Minten goal (15) at 8:43, making it 2-0, but a power play goal scored by Royals forward Riley Gannon (12) at 10:26 would cut the lead in half a little over a minute later.
Victoria’s momentum wouldn’t last long as the Blazers would respond with Minten’s second of the period and 16th of the season at 11:30, reopening a two-goal lead as the game entered its second half.
The back-and-forth action would continue as the period came to a close, with Royals forward Brayden Schuurman scoring his 25th of the season at 12:24 to make it 3-2 for Kamloops heading into the third.
Royals forward Bailey Peach would take advantage of a powerplay opportunity to begin the final frame, netting his 27th goal of the season at 00:24 to even the game at 3-3.
The Blazers would retake the lead a few minutes after Peach’s tying goal, going up 4-3 on a marker by Dylan Sydor at 3:38 of the period, but that lead would also prove to be short lived as Victoria would tie the game for the second time with a Tarun Fizer goal (7) at 4:29.
Kamloops forward Drew Englot would be the hero his team needed on Wednesday night, shoving the puck past Victoria goaltender Campbell Arnold at 10:13 to break the 4-4 tie. That goal would be reviewed for potential goalie interference, as the forward appeared to knock over Arnold prior to the puck crossing the line, but it was eventually ruled a good goal.
Englot would then double up with a goal at 12:02 to put his team up 6-4 and ultimately hand his team their 34th win of the season.
Arnold stopped 36 out of 42 shots faced in the loss, while Kamloops starting goaltender Dylan Garand would make 13 of 15 saves before going down with an injury late in the second. The team would bring in backup Dylan Ernst, who would save nine out of eleven shots against and ultimately earn the win.
Kamloops’ next game will take place this Friday night when they welcome the US Division-leading Everett Silvertips to town in the first of a two-game weekend home stand.
Meanwhile, Victoria will stay on the road and head to Langley for a tilt against the Vancouver Giants this Friday, Feb. 18. Puck drop for that game is scheduled for 7:05 pm at the Langley Events Centre.
The next Victoria Royals home game will be on Saturday, February 26 at 7:05 p.m. against the Vancouver Giants. The game will have a “Hockey For All” theme presented by Charlsey Macgregor and will highlight diversity and inclusivity.