Kamloops and Kelowna, the historic rivalry and battle of the K’s proved to be a bit of stalemate to start but ended up being an entertaining affair. Kelowna pushed the game into a shootout where the Blazers scored twice to take the extra point 2-1.
The first period lacked a lot of lustre, which probably should have been expected. Both teams knew how important these points were and didn’t want to give the game away early.
The first period ended deadlocked at zero. Blazers goaltender Dylan Garand, who started this one due to the injury sustained to Dylan Ferguson part way through last game, stopped all 12 shots Kelowna threw towards his net in the first.
The second period seemed destined for the same outcome before Martin Lang skated in down the left side and beat Roman Basran off the blocker for his 11th of the season putting the home side up 1-0 into the third period.
Early in the third, Kamloops found themselves in penalty trouble after Quinn Schmiemann flipped a puck over the glass from his own end giving the Rockets an extended 5-on-3 power play. Nolan Foote came in off the point uncontested and ripped a wrister passed Dylan Garand tying the game at one.
Kamloops pushed hard in the remainder of the third knowing they needed to win this in regulation time. An overtime win wouldn’t do them much good.
While that push was on Kamloops’ Connor Zary flipped the puck over the glass giving Kelowna a power play with 2:46 left to play in the third period. Kamloops killed that off and pushed hard to get the win without the need of overtime but couldn’t beat Rockets goaltender Roman Basran. Meaning the game went to the extra frame.
Nothing was settled in the overtime period so off to the shootout. Kamloops scored twice (Zary and Centazzo) while Kelowna missed both of their attempts (Topping and Foote) rewarding Kamloops with a 2-1 victory.
With this shootout victory, Kamloops moves to six points behind Kelowna for third in the BC Divison. Tomorrow these same two teams face-off at Prospera Place.
Seattle was in action tonight and beat Victoria 2-1. Kamloops is now eight points behind Seattle for the final playoff spot in the West.
While Kamloops is not officially eliminated, it’s getting close. After the game, Lajoie was giving off a rather positive vibe, which isn’t off after a win but might be considered odd giving the dire circumstances surrounding the Blazers playoff chances.
“I never focus on the end result, I focus on the process and the process was clean. We played the game the right away and against a team that doesn’t give us much. We played a heavy game and proved to ourselves we can play against a team that is heavy on the backend and heavy through a good portion of their forward lineup.”
Attendance – 5398 announced attendance
With a guess of 5176 @Everetts_Spot is our winner!
— Mike Wilson (@Everetts_Spot) March 9, 2019