Royals in danger of facing match point

The Kamloops Blazers held serve at Interior Savings Centre and have a chance to win match point in Victoria against the Royals this week.

The Kamloops Blazers held serve at Interior Savings Centre and have a chance to win match point in Victoria against the Royals this week.

A straight-sets victory, though, will be no cakewalk.

There will likely be a crowd of about 6,000 people — all dressed in blue, if Victoria’s fans are more co-ordinated than the Kamloops patrons who could not quite pull off a whiteout last week — on hand for Game 3 tomorrow night (March 27).

Dave Hunchak, the Blazers’ associate coach, wants his players to focus on what’s happening inside the boards, rather than what’s transpiring in the stands.

“If you’re worried about stuff that’s going on outside the glass, you’re not focused on what you’ve got to get done,” Hunchak said.

“We’ve got to channel that energy and enthusiasm that will be in both rinks in our favour.”

Victoria’s best period of the series opening games — both Kamloops wins, 4-1 on Friday, March 23, and 7-4 on Saturday, March 24 — was arguably the first period of Game 1.

The Royals came out flying — and, more importantly, hitting — in the opening frame, just as the Blazers expected they would.

“We know they’re going to be extremely physical and try and pound us and that’s been the case for the past three months,” Hunchak said before Game 1.

“I expect Victoria to try and grind us down and we expect our guys to push right back.”

Period 1 ended in a 1-1 tie — then the Royals lost a bit of their physicality.

Kamloops scored three times in the second period and that was all she wrote.

The Royals had a strong third period in Game 2, but Kamloops looked to be in cruise control by that point and gave up a couple of soft goals.

Hunchak and the Blazers can expect their opposition to come out all-guns-a-blazing in Game 3, with the Royals’ faithful in full voice.

Bodies will be flying, there is no question about it.

The Blazers will have to weather the early storm — and silence the crowd — to keep the rally from returning to ISC.

“When we get there, we want it as quiet as possible and we’re the ones that can dictate that,” Hunchak said.

We’re Island-bound

KTW will be joining the Blazers on Vancouver Island for games three and four.

Stories, pictures and videos will be filed online at kamloopsthisweek.com.

The best way to keep track of what’s happening in Victoria — Twitter.

Follow two accounts — @MarTheReporter and @KTWonBlazers — for all you need to know about the Blazers’ road trip.

 

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