In a dominant performance at Sandman Centre on Tuesday night, the Kamloops Blazers outshot the Spokane Chiefs 51-28 and outscored the visitors 5-1 to pull within two points of the Kelowna Rockets and the final playoff spot in the B.C. Division.
Orrin Centazzo and Connor Zary each had two goals for Kamloops, while Ryley Appelt added a single marker. Spokane’s lone goal came from Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
Dylan Garand secured the win in net for the Blazers, stopping 27 of 28 shots. Chiefs’ netminder Reece Klassen turned aside 46 of 51 shots he faced.
The win, before 3,317 fans in Kamloops, was the Blazers’ third straight as the club fights for the final playoff spot in its division.
The victory also served as the game in hand Kamloops had on Kelowna.
Both teams have three games remaining in the regular season, with Kelowna at 61 points and Kamloops at 59 points.
Kamloops hosts Victoria on Wednesday at Sandman Centre (7 p.m. start), with the Royals entrenched in second place in the B.C. Division and awaiting either the Blazers or Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Kamloops will finish the regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series against cellar-dwelling Prince George, with Friday’s game at Sandman Centre (7 p.m. start) and Saturday’s contest in the Northern Capital.
Kelowna hosts Spokane on Wednesday night. The Chiefs will play the Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs, with Portland sitting three points up on Spokane, each squad having three games remaining.
The Rockets will then end the season with a home-and-home set against the Vancouver Giants, the top team in the Western Conference and the second-best roster in the Western Hockey League.
While Kamloops chases Kelowna for third in the B.C. Division, there remains a remote chance the Blazers can catch the Seattle Thunderbirds for the second and final wild card spot in the conference.
Seattle, which lost 5-1 to Vancouver on Tuesday night, is five points ahead of Kamloops, with both teams having three games remaining.