Royals’ season over as Blazers complete sweep

The Kamloops Blazers won 4-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday to sweep the Victoria Royals in the first round of the playoffs

All good things come to an end: defenceman Hayden Rintoul and goalie Jared Rathjen look away from the net after giving up a shorthanded goal to the Kamloops Blazers in Game 3. Disillusionment surrounded the team as it was swept from the first round of the WHL playoffs.

The Victoria Royals first season in Victoria ended with a first round playoff exit at the hands of the Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night.

The Blazers won Game 4 of the WHL playoffs 4-1 at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Ben Walker opened the scoring and gave the Royals the 1-0 lead. The Royals actually scored first in both home games of the series.

Blazer Matt Needham evened the score 1-1 in the first period. Brendan Ranford and Dylan Willick scored in the second to give the Blazers a cushion. Willick scored his second of the game with the Royals’ net empty in the dying moments of the series.

“It’s a shitty feeling. The guys battled. We worked as hard as we could,” said captain Hayden Rintoul of his team’s elimination from the 2012 playoffs.

It was the final junior game for over-agers Rintoul and Robin Soudek. For Rintoul, it ends a whirlwind year. Rintoul went to the Memorial Cup with the WHL champions Kootenay Ice in 2011, then was traded to and named captain of the Victoria Royals as the organization transitioned out of Chilliwack.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to play out my final season.”

Coach and general manager Marc Habscheid said it’s always disappointing not to win the Memorial Cup, but that this season fits with his vision, and that of the team’s ownership.

“(Kamloops) deserved to win,” he said.

“This year was about heavy lifting, a lot of it, to get this team in place. We only lose two players, we have a young group coming back.”

 

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