The Kamloops Blazers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back on Saturday in front of a sellout Sandman Centre crowd, getting off the schneid with a 6-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets.
Logan Stankoven, Fraser Minten, Aapo Sarell, Matthew Seminoff, Kyle Masters and Connor Levis were the goal scorers for the Blazers. Andrew Cristall tallied the lone goal for Kelowna.
Stankoven and Minten scored 20 seconds apart midway through the first period to open the scoring, and goals from Sarell and Seminoff made it 4-0 before the end of the opening frame. Masters and Cristall traded goals early in the third before Levis notched a power-play marker at 16:19 of the third to make it a 6-1 final.
Dylan Ernst was solid in net for the Blazers, stopping 19 of 20 Kelowna shots to earn the win. Rockets netminder Talyn Boyko made 32 saves on 38 Kamloops shots in the loss.
The Blazers had their special teams clicking on Saturday. They scored three times on six power-play chances and held the Rockets scoreless on four opportunities — including a 90-second a five-on-three.
Sarell’s goal was his first in the WHL. Shea Van Olm, who was acquired last week in a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings, had an assist and 26 penalty minutes in his first game as a Blazer.
Announced attendance at Sandman Centre was 5,361 — a sellout crowd for the first Rockets visit of the young campaign.
The Blazers had been losers of three straight heading into Saturday’s matchup. The win moves the club to 8-4-2-1 on the season, vaulting them a single point ahead of the Prince George Cougars (9-9-0-0) and back into first place in the WHL’s B.C. Division.
With the loss, the Rockets fall to 6-8-1-0 on the season
The Blazers will hit the road for three straight starting Friday in Langley against the Vancouver Giants (7-7-2-2), who edged the Cougars 5-4 on Saturday. They will then head south for games against the U.S. Division-leading Winterhawks (13-1-1-1) in Portland on Nov. 19 and the Tri-City Americans (7-10-0-0) in Kennewick, Wash, on Nov. 23. Their next home game will be on Nov. 25, when the Moose Jaw Warriors (11-7-0-0) visit the Sandman Centre.
The Rockets will return to Kelowna for a pair at Prospera Place next weekend — hosting the Spokane Chiefs (3-11-0-1) on Friday and the Americans on Saturday. Puck drop both nights is 7 p.m.