On a night where Vancouver Giants fans were asked to wear the ugliest blazer in their closet, the best Kamloops Blazer was between the pipes.
Blazers goalie Dylan Ferguson, who has been thrust into the Kamloops starting job after regular starter Connor Ingram was added to Canada’s world junior team, made 39 saves to earn the win.
He may have been named the game’s third star, but Giants head coach Jason McKee said he was a huge factor in the game.
“Their goalie played well and I thought he was the difference in the game,” he said.
McKee said he liked his team’s effort, but that Ferguson was too hard to solve on Friday.
“I can’t fault our guys effort,” he said. “I liked our game. I really liked our power play and the chances we were creating all night. I’ll take our game tonight any night. I’m not disappointed in our effort.”
Kamloops opened the scoring at 14:39 of the first, when Dallas Valentine ripped a shot from the point past Giants goalie Ryan Kubic.
The Blazers added to their lead 1:06 into the second period after Garrett Pilon capitalized on a Giants turnover. Quinn Benjafield, the game’s first star, notched the game-winning goal on a power at 19:47 of the second.
Vancouver didn’t give up though, as McKee called a timeout late in the third period and then pulled his goalie when the Giants were on a power play.
The 6-on-4 man advantage paid off when James Malm scored his tenth goal, and about two minutes later Ty Ronning made it a one-goal game.
Kamloops added an empty-netter to end the comeback bid for the Giants and the 4,446 fans in attendance.
The Giants now hit the road to kick off 2017, with games in Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Cranbrook from Jan. 2 to 8.
The next home game occurs on Jan. 13 when the Moose Jaw Warriors come to Langley.