Victoria Royals to host red-hot Kamloops Blazers

The Victoria Royals have a partner for the post-season dance.

The Royals will play the Kamloops Blazers in the first round of the Western Hockey playoffs, with the best-of-seven series beginning Friday and Saturday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

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The Blazers defeated the Kelowna Rockets 5-1 in the play-in game held Tuesday night in Kamloops. The game, the seventh play-in game in WHL history and first to feature B.C. teams, was required after the Blazers and Rockets tied for third place in the B.C. Division. The Blazers qualified to host the game because of a better head-to-head record in the regular season against the Rockets.

The Royals are the second seed in the division.

The third and fourth games are next Tuesday and Wednesday in Kamloops. If required, Game 5 is March 30 in Victoria, Game 6 on April 1 in Kamloops and Game 7 on April 3 in Victoria.

Victoria won the regular-season series against Kamloops 5-3-1, although the streaking Blazers won their last meeting 8-0 this month.

The Blazers are returning to the post season after failing to qualify last year. The Rockets, with a roster they will build around to host the 2020 Memorial Cup, have missed the playoffs for only the second time since the franchise moved to the Okanagan.

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