Kamloops Blazers beat Vancouver Giants to stay perfect in playoffs

“We played a team-first game,” said Bankier, the Minnesota Wild prospect from Cloverdale. “Blocking shots, taking pucks out — all the little things we could do to get the job done.”

Caedan Bankier runs a 16-point run and his Kamloops Blazers have won six straight games after the season.

The Blazers, beating the Spokane Chiefs in Round 1, restrained a valiant effort from the injury that plagued the Vancouver Giants in Saturday’s 4-3 win at Sandman Center to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of- seven Western Conference semifinal series.

“We played a team-first game,” said Bankier, the Minnesota Wild prospect from Cloverdale. “Blocking shots, taking pucks out — all the little things we could do to get the job done.”

Game 3 is scheduled to kick off at 7pm on Tuesday at the Langley Events Center. KTW will be there. Follow live updates on Twitter — @KTWonBlazers — and find the game story online at kamloopsthisweek.com.

Almost nothing happened in the opening 10 minutes of Saturday’s game, a lack of action in favor of the visiting Giants, who know the Blazers got off to a good start in the postseason but couldn’t stop scoring early in the game on Friday. Game 1.

So it must have been frustrating when, with an early concession avoided in Game 2, they conceded a goal at 11:04 a.m., when a rebound created by Reese Belton beautifully set up for Drew Englot, the Candiac, Sask., product who took the lead. puck overturned in the gaping cage.

“We thought the game was up for grabs from both sides,” said Giants assistant coach Keith McCambridge. Kamloops didn’t get it in the first period. Same on our side. That’s probably the most disappointing part.”

The Blazers’ goal seemed to fuel the Giants, whose Alex Cotton was given ample time to pick his spot from the point and beat a screened Dylan Garand, who stopped 23 shots on Saturday.

Kamloops was in position to strike as time ran out in the opening frame, on the power play with less than a minute to go.

Evan Toth scored at 7:53 PM with a shortage of players to send the visitors into the locker room with a 2-1 lead, sort of an excuse I needed from the goal judge, who has been loyal to a large number of the Sandman Center. red-light trigger finger.

Officials gathered and determined that he did not jump with the gun.

Kamloops started as a shot in the second stanza.

Snapper of NHL Draft prospect Fraser Minten was stopped by Vancouver goalkeeper Jesper Vikman, but the rebound was landed by Connor Levis, his second goal of the postseason coming at 1:47 to make the game 2-2.

“We had a chance to refocus” [during the first intermission]Blazers head coach Shaun Clouston said. “A few memories. I thought, again, we weren’t really direct in the first period. We handled the puck better and went after it.”

Banker gave Kamloops the lead at 6:41 and improved his points streak to 16 games with the individual effort with the highlights, hanging on the puck while dodging defenders before sending a sharp shot past the sprawling Vikman, the Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect who stopped 35 shots in a losing effort.

“Smelly” [Logan Stankoven] gave me a good pass from the wall,” said Banker. “I honestly thought I had waited too long, but I found a small hole. I was lucky it went in.”

Stankoven saved a bloodless Blazers’ power play with a handy backhand pass to Daylan Kuefler, who accepted the tap-in gift at 2:21 pm to give his club a two-goal kiss.

“Special teams were the difference,” McCambridge said. “We had some chances on the power play. We couldn’t capitalize. Kamloops capitalized.”

Kamloops was 1-for-9 on the power play. Vancouver was 0-for-5.

Stankoven is second in WHL score in the playoffs, with 16 points in six games. Vancouver forward Zack Ostapchuk leads the way, with 17 points in eight games.

Refusing to roll over, the undermanned Giants got one back via Ethan Semeniuk, who rattled home a loose puck that landed on his stick after a strong rush down Jaden Lipinski’s left wing.

“We don’t dwell on it too much,” McCambridge said when asked about the injury list, which includes about half of the Giants’ first picks. “The guys who came in made the most of their minutes. We’re in the next man’s mentality.”

Stankoven, only shorthanded as the closing seconds of the second frame ticked away, shifted to his backhand and lifted a shot over Vikman and into the net, but the horn had already sounded to signal the end of the period.

Vancouver disagreed with Stankoven’s late attempt—and neither did the crew on duty.

The Kamloops product was handed a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, a violation that gave Vancouver one minute and 47 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time to start the third period.

“I’m not much of a player,” Stankoven said. “It was so loud when I got that breakout. I see that puck. I chase it. I don’t look at the clock. I’m not such a cheap player to go after the horn. The Giants players thought there otherwise about.”

Fraser Minten, Ethan Brandwood and Quinn Schmiemann worked on the penalty kill before Giants attacker Ty Thorpe took a penalty and relegated the power play to a 4-on-3 man advantage.

“And discipline… to take that many penalties, it will eventually come back and bite you,” McCambridge said.

The scoreless third period ended with Thorpe in the penalty area and the Blazers on the power play.

Luke Toporowski, who appeared to have sustained a shoulder injury when he crashed into the boards in Game 1 on Friday, is 50-50 to return to the Blazers’ lineup on Tuesday, Clouston said.

His recording would bring the Blazers back to full blast. The Giants don’t come close to that goal.

“We still try to approach every match as if they have every man in their lineup,” said Bankier. “They are playing very hard the last two games. We want to play just as hard in the two games coming up in Vancouver.”

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