One might think the Country Night promotion Friday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre might be more apropos of a team from the Interior than one from the Island.
But no such luck for the Kamloops Blazers (15-21-3), who dropped their 12 consecutive road game in a 4-1 WHL loss to the Victoria Royals before 5,547 fans.
Not only that, it was Victoria’s eighth straight home victory over the Blazers as part of a 16-game stretch in which the Royals have gone 14-2 against Kamloops on Blanshard Street.
It was the Royals (22-15-1) fourth consecutive victory and ninth in their last 12 games.
There is a reason the Royals have made 20-year-old Kody McDonald an assistant captain in just his fourth game with the team since coming across as part of the trade that sent all-time top-five Royals points-getter Dante Hannoun to the Prince Albert Raiders.
McDonald scored his third goal for the Royals, not including a shootout game winner, when he opened scoring in the first period on a two-man Victoria power play. The Royals’ formerly woeful odd-man has moved up from its previous last-in-the-league ranking by counting three times over the last two games, although it reverted to form during a scoreless effort on a five-minute Kamloops major in the second period.
That major, and a game misconduct, was assessed against Kamloops defenceman Joonas Sillanpaa during a breakaway goal scored by Dino Kambeitz at 13:13 of the second period.
Defenceman Scott Walford, also stellar on defence, popped home a Kambeitz deflection to make it 3-0 early in the third period. A power-play deflection by Kamloops captain and Dallas Stars draft-pick Jermaine Loewen denied Griffen Outhouse’s shutout bid at 10:00 of the third period. Outhouse, however, made 26 saves. Tanner Sidaway put the game away at 15:55 on an assist from Brandon Cutler.
Blazers goaltender and Las Vegas Golden Knights prospect Dylan Ferguson from Lantzville made 24 saves.
The Royals’ winning streak will certainly be challenged when they meet the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips (32-8-2) tonight at the Memorial Centre.