Kamloops Blazers' playoff pursuit will go down to the wire

Kamloops blanks Victoria 8-0, while Kelowna drops 6-5 OT decision to Spokane, setting up a nail-biting final weekend for both teams fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference

A week ago, the Kamloops Blazers’ playoff hopes were bleak at best.

Four straight wins later and with two games left in the regular season, the post-season is not only possible, but probable, based on the schedule and past results.

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Entering Western Hockey League play on Wednesday, Kamloops was two points behind Kelowna for third place in the B.C. Division and the final playoff spot.

Kamloops scored the most goals in a game this season in an 8-0 whitewash of the visiting Victoria Royals. Meanwhile, in Kelowna, visiting Spokane blew a 5-2 third-period lead before winning 6-5 in overtime, the extra-time loss giving the Rockets a crucial point.

The results leave Kelowna with 62 points and Kamloops with 61 points.

Both teams have two games remaining in the regular season.

Kamloops will play a home-and-home series against Prince George this weekend. Prince George, with 44 points, is dead last in the 10-team Western Conference and the Blazers are 6-1 against the Cougars this season.

Kelowna will play a home-and-home series against Vancouver this weekend. Vancouver, with 98 points, sits atop the Western Conference and the Giants are 6-1 against the Rockets this season.

Kelowna travels to Langley on Friday to face the Giants (7:30 p.m. start), with Vancouver returning to the Okanagan for a Saturday contest against the Rockets (7:05 p.m. faceoff).

Kamloops hosts Prince George on Friday in a 7 p.m. game and will travel to Prince George for a Saturday game at CN Centre, also starting at 7 p.m.

Whichever team makes the playoffs — Kamloops or Kelowna — will face Victoria in the opening round of the playoffs, with the Royals entrenched in second place in the B.C. Division.

Meanwhile, in Wednesday’s win over Victoria, Kamloops scored three goals in a span of less than three minutes in the second period to blow the game open.

Brodi Stuart had five points (one goal. four assists), Josh Pillar had four points (one goal, three assists) and Jermaine Loewen recorded three points (one goal, two assists). Goaltender Dylan Garand stopped all 22 shots he faced to record the shutout win, with Kamloops outshooting Victoria 36-22 before a crowd of 3,371 at Sandman Centre.

© Kamloops This Week

 

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