Kamloops Blazers rally back to burn Victoria Royals

Consider it a glimpse into the future.

Dylan Garand won the battle of the crease heir apparents Wednesday as the Kamloops Blazers edged the Victoria Royals 3-2 in WHL action before 3,715 fans at the Sandman Centre.

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Sixteen-year-old Garand, who hails from Victoria, made 19 saves in goal for the Blazers and Colorado-native Brock Gould, who turns 17 on Tuesday, 26 for the Royals. Both have been in the nets the past three games for their teams while 20-year-old veterans Griffen Outhouse of the Royals and Lantzville-product Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers, under NHL contract to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, have been out with injuries listed as day-to-day. Outhouse met the Royals in Kamloops but did not dress.

Victoria built a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Brandon Cutler and Phillip Schultz, the latter who leaves next week for the Danish selection camp ahead of the 2019 IIHF world junior championship.

But three consecutive goals by the Blazers, two by Luke Zazula won it for the hosts as the reeling Royals (13-11) lost for the fifth time in six games. The Blazers (12-11-2) have won their last three games with Garand between the pipes. Gould is 1-2 in starting the last three games for Victoria.

The Blazers’ league top-five power play went 1-6 and Victoria’s lowly oddman 0-5.

“There was a lot of special teams play that made for a scrambly game,” said Royals head coach Dan Price.

“When you’re short-handed so much, like we were, you’re always playing with fire.”

As for Outhouse, Price said: “We were playing it safe with him,” but added he should be ready for the weekend.

The Royals conclude their five-game road trip Friday in Kelowna against the Rockets and Saturday against the Vancouver Giants in a nationally-televised game at the Pacific Coliseum.

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