Story and Photographs by Glenn Ivens (www.javalon.smugmug.com)
The Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants meet up for the second time in two nights. The Royals winning 2-1 last night were looking for a sweep of their biggest rivals but a determined Giants team made sure that didn’t happen, applying the pressure in the 3rd period to win the game 5-3.
Kevin Sundher of the Royals and Brendan Gallagher of the Giants put on a performance for the sell out crowd and showed why they are both in the top 10 in league scoring.
Sundher got things started when he applied a strong fore check on the power play had a clearing attempt by Giants defender Brett Kulak deflect off his skate and into the net at 17:03. Gallagher answered back just 16 seconds later with a shot to the top corner that beat Royals goaltender Keith Hamilton and knotted the game a 1-1.
Gallagher went back to work early in the 2nd period when, on the power play, he collected his 15 goal of season to put Vancouver up 2-1. This time it was Victoria’s turn to answer back in a hurry when Sundher beat Vancouver’s Adam Morrison less than a minute later to tie it back up at 2-2.
The Royals power play put them back in front at 13:31 when Robin Soudek took a pass from Brendan Magee and tallied his 13th of the season. The Royals went into the 2nd intermission with the 3-2 lead and 20-19 edge in shots.
The 3rd period saw Vancouver come out determined to erase the deficit. Marek Tvrdon tied it at 3-3 at 9:01 mark, and then Austin Vetterl put them in the lead at 13:10. An insurance marker by Cain Franson at 15:29 sealed the comeback for the Giants.
“It’s disappointing” said Sundher after the game, “We have a 3-2 lead going into the 3rd and a chance to sweep our division rival and we didn’t show up. It’s unacceptable.”
Head Coach and General Manager Marc Habscheid was a little easier on his team, “I thought our focus was good and our work ethic was there but we made a couple of mistakes and it cost us. We’re not going to win every game, Vancouver’s a good team and they work hard, last night the bounces went our way tonight they went their way.”Both Hamilton and Morrison had strong games between the pipes with Hamilton kicking aside 27 of 32 shots faced and Morrison 21 of 24.
This was the Royals 2nd sold out game of the season and the team is appreciative of the support they are getting. “It’s like a 6th man for us, it is a huge advantage.” remarked Robin Soudek while Habscheid added “The guys really feed of the energy and enthusiasm.”
Next up for the 10-8-1 Royals during their extended home stand, are the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday night at 7:05pm.