This game has a bit of everything. Goals, hits, match penalties and momentum swings. Kamloops used a monster third period and momentum from a Kody McDonald match penalty to surge passed the Royals by a score of 6-3. The series, now knotted at two, heads back to Vancouver Island.
Kamloops opened the scoring when Kyrell Sopotyk turned and fired a loose puck past Royals’ goaltender Griffen Outhouse. The 5193 fans in attendance appreciated the hot start.
I’m told it was louder than Game 3.
Everything was going swimmingly for the home side until when on the power play, there was a proverbial malfunction at the junction that saw two Blazer d-men collide and Dylan Ferguson fall giving Dino Kambeitz an empty net to tap the puck into and tie the game.
Victoria extended their lead a little over three minutes later when Kambietz scored again, this time off a one-timer on the power play.
Connor Zary entered the game on a six-game goal streak and with 20 seconds left in the first, he extended that to seven. Zary picked the puck up off a broken play and buried his second of the series tying the game at two.
The second period had turned into a bit of a stalemate, entertaining sure, but a stalemate.
The Blazer faithful, clearly not happy with the lack of power plays their team had seen thus far were found chanting “We Want A Ref” on multiple occasions.
Kamloops took that enthusiasm and turned that into another lead. Zane Franklin jammed home his first of the playoffs after a Luke Zazula shot bounced right to his tape.
The Royals did what the Royals do, they bounced back. Igor Martynov danced down the lefthand side and beat Ferguson short side, one he would like back, tying the game, once again, this time at three.
The Blazers pulled away in the third period, something they could have used last game, but don’t get me wrong, they were still happy to get it this game.
“I thought they broke us down yesterday, I think we were able to get the best of them and break them down a bit. What I saw was our players maintain their composure and it was able to put us on the power play and we took advantage of it,” said Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie.
Kamloops scored three unanswered goals in the third taking game 4 by a score of 6-3.
Midway through the period, just as the puck was about to drop all eyes turned to the spot between the two benches as Kody Mcdonald was reaching around the glass separating the teams swinging his stick, aimed at Zane Franklin. Mcdonald was assessed a match penalty which comes along with an automatic one game suspension.
“I don’t know how that transpired. To show that much disrespect to the game, it was ugly. To act the way he did and put some of the players on our bench in danger with some stick swinging.” Lajoie continued “I’ll be interested to see what the league does, i’ve never seen anything like it in the years that i’ve coached.”
Whether it was something that was said, or just the way the game was playing out for the 20-year-old forward, he was clearly upset.
Franklin was asked after the game about the incident.
“Some friendly hockey chatter, I’m not sure what really started it, I put my two cents in there and I pinched a nerve.” Franklin chuckled, comparing the play to the movie SlapShot “He did most of his talking with his stick… It kinda went off my visor and hit my cheek.”
Franklin wasn’t the only one who caught some of McDonald’s stick.
Royals head coach Dan Price also commented on the play. “There were some things said from their bench that I can’t repeat on air, some very personal things, disappointing to hear that from players in our league but that’s why it escalated.”
Here’s a fan video.
Here’s video of tonight’s stick swinging incident at bench. Mcdonald gets Franklin and trainer Toledo Robinson. Broke his glasses. How this didn’t result in serious injury is a miracle. Match penalty. pic.twitter.com/Gcwwo5agtZ
— Jon Keen (@JonKeenNLSports) March 28, 2019
This best of seven series now shifts to back to Vancouver Island and turns into a best of three. The two teams will meet in Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday.