Blazers blow lead, fall 5-2 to last-place Royals in Victoria

Blazers outplayed by Royals

The Kamloops Blazers gave up three goals in less than five minutes early in the second period Wednesday in Victoria, falling 5-2 to the host Royals.

Teague Patton, Tanner Scott, Jake Poole (2) and Matthew Hodson scored for the Royals. Caedan Bankier and Fraser Minten were the goal scorers for the Blazers.

Kamloops led 1-0 after the first period, but Victoria scored three times early in the second to take a commanding lead. Minten made it 3-2 midway through the second, but Victoria scored twice in the third to make it a 5-2 final.

Michael Schnattinger allowed three goals on 15 shots before he was yanked early in the second period. Dylan Ernst made 21 saves on 23 Victoria shots in relief.

Royals goalie Nicholas Cristiano was solid in net, stopping 25 of 27 Kamloops shots to earn his first WHL win.

The Blazers scored twice on three power-play opportunities. Victoria did not score on two chances.

Announced attendance at Save-On Foods Memorial Arena was 1,941.

With the win, the Royals improve to 4-21-3-0. The loss moves the Blazers to 14-6-3-2, still first in the WHL’s B.C. Division — five points up on the second-place Prince George Cougars (14-13-0-0), who lost 4-2 Wednesday to the Western Conference-leading Winterhawks (19-4-2-1) in Portland.

The Blazers are third in the conference standings, eight points behind the Winterhawks and four points back of the second-place Seattle Thunderbirds (18-4-1-0). The Royals are dead last in the B.C. Division and the Western Conference.

Kamloops had won 24 straight over Victoria dating back to 2019.

The Blazers will be home for a pair at Sandman Centre this weekend, hosting the Vancouver Giants (10-12-3-2) on Friday and the same Royals on Saturday, which is the annual Teddy Bear Toss game.

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