The Kamloops Blazers got back in the win column taking down the Victoria Royals 5-1 in Victoria on Saturday night. The Royals opened the scoring in the first period. Tim Traber converted on a two-on-one play beating goaltender Cam Lanigan for a 1-0 lead. The Blazers carried the play in the first period outshooting the Royals 15-6 but goaltender Keith Hamilton kept the Royals in the game.
The Blazers finally broke Hamilton half way through the second period. Matt Needham created a turnover and Tim Bozon picked up the puck and fired a shot over Hamilton’s shoulder and in to tie the game at 1-1. The Blazers scored their 15th shorthanded marker of the year as Brendan Ranford created a turnover and scored on a breakaway to give the Blazers the lead. Colin Smith gave the Blazers a cushion as he tucked in an errant shot from Tyler Hansen as the Blazers led 3-1 after two periods.
It was a complete effort tonight, as the Blazers stuck to their game plan in the third period. JC Lipon added a power play marker blasting a shot by Hamilton to make it 4-1. Brock Balson scored his second goal of the season on a late power play to finish off the Royals 5-1. Cam Lanigan was solid in goal making 26 saves, while Hamilton finished with 31 stops. The Blazers were 2-for-5 on the power play and finished 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
With the win, the Blazers close out a terrific month of January with a 10-1-0-1 record. The Blazers also maintain their 1st overall position atop the WHL standings and have a comfortable 13 points lead over the Vancouver Giants for 1st place in the B.C. Division.
The Blazers return home Wednesday as Gordie Howe pays a visit when the Blazers host the Spokane Chiefs on February 1st.