Logan Stankoven scored the overtime winner and had four points in the Kamloops Blazers’ 4-3 win over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna on Saturday night.
The win pushed the Blazers’ record in this truncated, 24-game 2020-2021 season to 4-0 and leaves the club as the lone undefeated team in the Western Hockey League. Granted, Kamloops has only played four games. The Edmonton Oil Kings of the Central Division are 11-1, the Saskatoon Blades of the Eastern Division are 9-1-1 and the Everett Silvertips of the U.S. Division are 7-1.
Saturday’s game in Kelowna was a makeup contest. The Blazers and Royals were originally scheduled to play on April 1, but that game, along with many others, was shifted due to the Kelowna Rockets being shelved until at least April 14 due to numerous COVID-19 cases.
Kamloops overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 in its 4-3 overtime win, with Stankoven scoring twice and adding two assists. Orrin Centazzo added a goal and two assists and Josh Pillar scored and had an assist. Connor Zary, Inaki Baragano and goaltender Dylan Garand also registered helpers.
Victoria was paced by rookie Brayden Schuurman’s two goals —his first in the league — and a tally from the stick of Ty Yoder.
Kamloops dominated the game, outshooting Victoria 52-19, including a lopsided 23-2 margin in the third period, The only shot on goal in overtime by either team was Stankoven’s marker, which came at 1:39 of the extra frame.
Garand recorded his fourth win of the season, turning aside 16 of 19 shots, while Victoria netminder Adam Evanoff was extremely busy, stopping 48 of 52 shots coming his way.
Kamloops did not take a penalty in the game, while Victoria was called for five minors, with the Blazers capitalizing with two power play goals.
Kamloops faces Vancouver at Sandman Centre on Monday, April 5. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.
All Blazers’ games can be heard on Radio NL (AM 650), with Jon Keen doing the play by play. Viewing options are available online at whl.ca.
Due to the pandemic, the WHL is playing a truncated season, with teams in B.C. playing one another only, as are teams in the U.S. and teams on the Prairies (Alberta and Saskatchewan and Manitoba).
There has been no word on whether the 24-game season will be followed by playoffs.
Kelowna and Victoria are based in Kelowna, while Kamloops is home to the Blazers, the Prince George Cougars and the Vancouver Giants. All games are being played in Kamloops and Kelowna.