Bankier's hat trick leads Blazers to 4-3 overtime win over Kelowna

Blazers blast Rockets in OT

Caedan Bankier scored three times, including the overtime winner, in a 4-3 Kamloops Blazers win over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Saturday inside an empty Sandman Centre.

The win improves the Blazers record to 13-4 — tops in the WHL’s B.C. Division bubble — while the Rockets now sit at 8-2-1-0.

Following a scoreless opening frame, Bankier opened the scoring at 3:45 of the second period, beating Kelowna goalie Roman Basran to put the Blazers up 1-0.

Josh Pillar’s ninth of the year, a shorthanded goal unassisted midway through the second, increased the Blazers lead to 2-0, but Kelowna goals from David Kope and Alex Swetlikoff evened things up 2-2 heading into the third.

Bankier’s second of the game, on the power play from Inaki Bargano and Connor Levis, put the Blazers up early in the third, but Kope’s second of the game had the score tied 3-3 after 60 minutes.

Montana Onyebuchi set up Bankier for his third of the night in overtime, ending the extra time 13 seconds early.

Dylan Garand made 35 saves on 38 Kelowna shots in the win. Basran stopped 30 of 34 Kamloops shots on goal in the loss.

The Blazers are back in action on Monday, taking on the Victoria Royals at 7 p.m. at Sandman Centre. The Rockets play next on Tuesday, when the Prince George Cougars will pay a visit to Prospera Place.

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