VANCOUVER (CP) - Kenndal McArdle scored three goals and added an assist as the short-staffed Vancouver Giants defeated the Kamloops Blazers 6-1 in Western Hockey League action Sunday night.
The B.C. Division-leading Giants (38-14-3-7) moved six points ahead of second-place Kamloops (38-20-3-1) as the Blazers suffered their sixth straight loss. It was only Vancouver's second win in seven meetings with Kamloops this season.
The Giants began the game without seven regulars because of injuries, Canada Winter Games commitments and league disciplinary action - and lost two more players during the contest.
Tim Kraus, Spencer Machacek, and Wacey Rabbit also scored for Vancouver as the Giants outshot the Blazers 39-13 before a crowd of 14,228 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Ray Macias tallied for Kamloops.
Macias gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the game as he fired home a wrist shot from the slot after taking C.J. Stretch's pass from the corner. It was the first shot of the game for the Blazers, but they would manage only two more over the rest of the first period.
McArdle created a 1-1 tie at 6:35 as he converted Rabbit's goalmouth pass during a power play.
Penalties dominated the duration of the opening session. Vancouver's Evander Kane was ejected after he received a major for kneeing Stretch at 16:47. Stretch remained down on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice.
Then Vancouver's J.D. Watt received a double-minor for high-sticking Victor Bartley, who also lay prone on the ice for several minutes before skating off on his own.
Vancouver's missing players included Milan Lucic, the club's top points producer. He sat out a one-game suspension after taking a gross misconduct for berating a referee during Friday's loss to Everett. Linemate Michal Repik, who has been on a scoring tear since playing for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Hockey Championships, was sidelined with a head injury sustained Friday. Kamloops entered the game without six regulars, including top scorer Reid Jorgensen, who is recuperating from elbow surgery.
Kraus gave Vancouver a 2-1 advantage at 1:57 of the second period as he used linemate Michael Regner as a decoy and shot during a 2-on-1. Regner is usually a defenceman, but he was playing wing because Vancouver had some many players missing.
The goal came while the Giants were shorthanded for nine consecutive minutes because of the penalties to Kane and Watt. Rabbit's breakaway goal increased Vancouver lead to 4-1 at 16:25 of the middle frame.
McArdle rounded out the scoring with two more goals in the third period.
Top Vancouver defenceman Cody Franson suffered a leg injury and did not return after he was checked heavily into the boards by
Terrance Delaronde early in the second period.