The Kamloops Blazers earned an electrifying come-from-behind win on Sunday at Sandman Centre, scoring twice late in the third to beat the Victoria Royals 4-3.
Ryan Hofer, Caedan Bankier (2) and Olen Zellweger were the goal scorers for the Blazers. Riley Gannon, Teydon Trembecky and Kalem Parker scored for the Royals.
The Blazers trailed 3-2 late in the third period until Bankier tied the game on the power-play with 3:20 remaining. Zellweger scored the winner with 23 seconds left on the clock.
Dylan Ernst made 21 saves on 24 Victoria shots to earn his WHL-leading 27th win of the season. Braden Holt was solid in a losing effort for the Royals, stopping 46 of 50 Kamloops shots.
The Blazers scored twice on seven power-play opportunities, while the Royals had two goals on five chances.
Announced attendance at Sandman Centre was 4,920.
Kamloops captain Logan Stankoven did not suit up for the Blazers on Sunday. His league-best 32-game point streak remains intact.
With the win, the Blazers clinch a playoff spot and improve to 31-10-4-2 on the season, first place in the WHL’s B.C. Division and second in the Western Conference. They move to within five points of the conference-leading Portland Winterhawks (35-10-2-1).
The Royals are now 14-32-4-1 with the loss.
The Blazers will play two more games at home before heading east for a season-long six-game road trip while the Scotties Tournament of Hearts takes over Sandman Centre.
They will host the Saskatoon Blades (32-12-3-1) on Friday and the Prince George Cougars (21-21-4-0) on Saturday. After that, the club’s next home game will not be until March 3, when the Kelowna Rockets (17-26-3-0) pay a visit.