Despite a loss in Kamloops last night, the Vancouver Giants still have a chance to make the top three in the B.C. division.
Friday night in the Langley-based hockey team dropped a 5-1 decision to the Blazers at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.
Luc Smith paced the Blazers attack with two goals and an assist, while Brady Reagan and Jermaine Loewen also added two points each.
Dylan Ferguson turned aside 30 of the 31 Giants shots fired his way.
Ty Ronning had the lone tally for the Giants, while goaltender David Tendeck made 31 saves on 35 Kamloops attempts.
How did the game break down
Rookie Ryley Appelt opened the scoring for Kamloops at 7:08 of the first period off the rush.
Travis Walton started the play with a perfect back-door pass from the right-wing circle that bounced off Appelt’s stick and home for his fourth of the season.
Shots after one were 16-8 for Kamloops who held the 1-0 lead.
Early in the second, the Blazers power play clicked when rookie Connor Zary deflected home a Nolan Kneen point shot for his eight of the season and a 2-0 Blazers advantage.
The Giants countered with 11 second period shots, but were unable to solve Ferguson. Shots through 40 minutes were 28-19 Kamloops.
Forty seconds into the third, Kamloops increased their lead to three when veteran Luc Smith parked himself in front of the Giants goal and knocked home a Brady Reagan feed from the left-wing behind the net for his 18th, and his first of two on the night.
Vancouver’s lone goal came at 7:34 of the third period when James Malm knocked puck down from mid-air in the slot of the Blazers zone and then fed a pass to Ronning.
The Giants leading scorer had nobody between him and Ferguson and he deked him out to the backhand before tucking home his 55th. Bowen Byram snagged the second assist on the goal.
That’s as close as the Giants would get to a comeback as Smith (13:05) and Reagan (15:07) each added late markers to help Kamloops to their 29th win of the season.
The Blazers outshot the Giants 36-31 and went one-for-four on the power play. The Giants went zero-for-one on their lone power play chance.
The good news for Vancouver: A quick turnaround.
These two teams will battle each other for a third time in a span of six days tonight (Saturday, March 4) at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
The season series between the Giants and Blazers now sits at 3-3. The Giants are 2-1 against Kamloops at home.
– The Giants (32-22-6-3) claim to still be in “complete control” of their playoff destiny as one more victory (with nine games to go) or one more loss for Kamloops (with six games to go) would clinch the Giants a top-three spot in the B.C. division.