Logan Stankoven and the Kamloops Blazers were looking to make a statement Friday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Vancouver Giants, and it did not take them long to do just that.
Stankoven, the club’s homegrown captain, opened the scoring two minutes in and the Blazers had a 3-0 lead built up by the midway point of the first period, en route to an 8-0 beatdown of the Giants.
“We just came out ready to go,” Stankoven said after the game.
“We’re all pretty determined in that room. We don’t want to be the team that loses out in the first round with hosting the Memorial Cup. We kind of wanted to make a statement here tonight and we’ve got to do the same thing tomorrow night.”
Stankoven (3), Emmitt Finnie, Dylan Sydor, Ryan Hofer, Caedan Bankier and Ashton Ferster scored for the Blazers while defenceman Olen Zellweger put up four assists.
Kamloops head coach Shaun Clouston said he was pleased with the effort he saw on Friday.
“Guys worked hard. We managed the puck really well,” he said.
“We committed to getting pucks in and getting after them. The power play was a big part of it. We got everybody involved. Everybody played a role.”
Dylan Ernst was perfect on 15 shots, earning his first playoff shutout. Jesper Vikman and Brett Mirwald split duties in net for the Giants, making a combined 45 saves on 53 Kamloops shots.
Stankoven said he was happy to see Ernst start the postseason with a clean sheet.
“It’s nice when you can start out on the right foot with him getting a shutout,” he said. “You can’t ask for anything more.”
The Blazers scored three times on eight power-play opportunities. The Giants were scoreless on one chance.
Clouston said the Blazers were ready to get the postseason underway after a long season knowing they'd be playing deep into the spring no matter what.
“I think the guys were ready," he said. "It’s an exciting time of the year — just excited about getting it started.”
Announced attendance at Sandman Centre was 4,851.
Blazers forward Fraser Minten was a late scratch Friday. Clouston said he's day-to-day and could suit up for Game 2.
Kamloops now leads the first-round series 1-0. Game 2 will go Saturday at Sandman Centre before the series shifts to Langley.