Forward Logan Stankoven’s second period goal would make the difference in the Kamloops Blazers’ 2-1 win over the Victoria Royals on Saturday night.
Goaltending was the story of this game, which saw Victoria’s Tyler Palmer stop all but two of 43 shots, while counterpart Dylan Ernst held his opponents scoreless for the first 53 minutes, stopping 25 of 26 shots in the victory.
Victoria forward Riley Gannon recorded the only marker for his team in the loss.
Kamloops’ record improves to 39-14-2-0 as they jump into a tie with the Everett Silvertips for first place in the conference following the win.
Meanwhile, the Royals defeat sees them remain in ninth place with a 15-32-5-1 record with 36 points on the year. They now sit three points back of the Spokane Chiefs for the final playoff spot in the West.
Kamloops forward Matthew Seminoff would kick off the scoring early in the second period, scoring his 23rd goal of the season at 1:25 of the frame to make it 1-0 for the home side.
The Blazers would add on to their lead late in period two on a Logan Stankoven shorthanded marker (31) at 17:35 to head into the final period with a 2-0 advantage.
Victoria would end the shutout bid for Blazers’ goalie Dylan Ernst at 13:35 of the final frame on Riley Gannon’s 15th goal of the year, bringing his team within one with six minutes remaining in regulation. Forward Marcus Almquist and defenceman Wyatt Wilson wound count assists on the goal.
Despite a number of chances with the goaltender pulled in the final minutes, the Royals were ultimately unable to mount a comeback and time would expire with Kamloops earning the 2-1 victory.
Kamloops will have the next six days off before beginning a home-and-home weekend set against the Kelowna Rockets starting on Mar. 11.
Meanwhile, the Royals will have a short two day break before welcoming the Portland Winterhawks to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for a pair of midweek contests on Tuesday, Mar. 8 and Wednesday Mar. 9. Puck drop for both games is set for 7:05pm.