The Vancouver Giants hosted the division-leading Kamloops Blazers for the first time of the 2019/20 season, with the visiting team earning a 4-0 decision.
Both squads entered Sunday afternoon on the tail end of a three-in-three with two wins each.
It was clear Vancouver’s previous two games, a home-and-home against Victoria that saw them win 4-1 and 6-2, took more of a toll on them than the Blazers’.
Kamloops played two home games against the Tri-City Americans that saw them score 21 goals against a struggling team.
Vancouver spent most of the opening frame playing catch up, thanks to four first period Kamloops power plays, the first coming just 15 seconds in.
“In order to beat Kamloops, a lot of things have to go right for us. We got into a hole early that we couldn’t get out of,” Michael Dyck said postgame.
Kamloops wound up with six-man advantages on the night, capitalizing once in the first period.
Orrin Centazzo kicked off the scoring — on the power play — with his 33rd goal of the season to give him a tie for the league lead in goals with Spokane’s Adam Beckman.
The Blazers out-skilled the Giants throughout the first period, which is all it took for the damage to be done.
Before period’s end, Kamloops also saw goals from Logan Stankoven (17) and Libor Zabranksy (4) while out-shooting the Giants 17-7 in 20 minutes.
“When you’re down 3-0 at the end of a three-in-three, you want to put yourself in a position where you can generate some energy, but it was hard to do that with all the penalties and with that, we could never really recover,” said Dyck.
With their struggling power play finally gaining some traction, going 4-for-7 the night prior, Vancouver had only one man advantage the whole night, 5:36 into the second period.
The Giants did up their game in the second and third periods but it was not enough to penetrate the second-best defense in the WHL.
Projected 2020 first-round pick Connor Zary scored his 28th of the season to give the Blazers their fourth goal of the game — second on the power play — with just over two minutes remaining in the game as Kamloops piled on 40 shots.
David Tendeck was the best Giants player, making some key saves to keep the game within reach in his 36-save effort.
The Giants play host to the Everett Silvertips on a rare Thursday night game at the Langley Events Centre. It will be the third meeting between the two teams with the Silvertips winning the two previous, both by 3-2 scores.