Royals lose close one to Blazers

Victoria will play a home-and-home series with Vancouver next weekend

Forward Riley Gannon collected his 15th goal of the season for the Victoria Royals in a 4-3 loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday.

The Nanaimo native currently ranks third on the team in scoring, recording 31 total points on 15 goals and 16 assists over 51 games this season.

Victoria also benefited from a pair of strong performances by forwards Teague Patton and Alex Thacker, who recorded two assists each, as well as goaltender Braden Holt, who made 46 saves on 50 shots in the loss.

The game remained in the Royals favour for the first two periods, however, some late game heroics by Blazers forward Caden Bankier–who scored the game-tying goal with under five minutes remaining–and defenceman Olen Zellwegger, who collected the game-winner in the final minute, would make the difference in the victory for Kamloops.

Bankier led all scorers with two goals for the Blazers, while starting goaltender Dylan Ernst made 21 saves on 24 shots in the win.

Victoria (14-32-4-1) would take an early 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal by forward Riley Gannon (15) at the 15:01 mark of the first period. Forwards Alex Thacker and Teague Patton would collect assists on the play.

However, Kamloops (31-10-4-2) would soon even the game at 1-1 on a goal by forward Ryan Hoefer (32) at 16:39 of the first.

The Royals regained the lead at the 19:55 mark of the first on a highlight-reel goal by forward Teydon Trembecky (7), who swerved through the Blazers defence and deked out Kamloops goaltender Dylan Ernst to put Victoria up 2-1 headed into the second period.

Forward Reggie Newman and defenceman Justin Kipkie would pick up assists on the goal.

Victoria would then take a two goal advantage on a powerplay goal by defenceman Kalem Parker (6) at 0:52 of the second, with Alex Thacker and Teague Patton once again on the assists.

But the Blazers would cut into the Royals lead in the back-half of the second period, with forward Caden Bankier (24) striking at the 14:23 mark to bring the score to 3-2 entering the third.

Kamloops would continue to up the pressure in the third, as Bankier (25) collected his second of the game at the 16:40 mark to tie the game at 3-3 with only a few minutes remaining.

The game appeared to be headed for overtime, however, a point shot by Blazers defenceman Olen Zelwegger (16) would sneak past the pads of Victoria goaltender Braden Holt at 19:37, giving Kamloops a 4-3 lead with under 30 seconds to play and eventually seal the comeback win.

Looking ahead, the Blazers will take the next few days off as they prepare for a matchup against the Saskatoon Blades next Friday night in Kamloops.

Meanwhile, the Royals will return home to host the Vancouver Giants for the first leg of a home-and-home series on Friday, Feb. 10 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.

The Royals will be hosting their annual Pink In The Rink game that night with $1 from every ticket sold being donated to the BC Cancer Foundation. The Royals will also be auctioning off jerseys with proceed benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation as well. Tickets start at $15 and can be found here.

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About the Victoria Royals

The Victoria Royals are a Canadian major junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League (WHL) owned and operated by GSL Group. The Royals play all their home games at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and have entered their 12th season of their existence.

About Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC) is designed, constructed, developed and operated by GSL Group. SOFMC is Victoria’s premier entertainment facility and the largest arena in British Columbia outside Vancouver. The state-of-the-art 7,000 seat facility is home to the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League and regularly hosts large-scale concerts and other special events such as figure skating, curling, plays, trade shows and conferences. SOFMC also features a fine dining Lion’s Den Restaurant, as well as retail and meeting space.

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