Matt Human / Photos by Erich Eichhorn www.allsportmedia.ca
Victoria, BC – The Victoria Royals and Red Deer Rebels closed out a two game series Sunday evening at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the nod in goal, while the Rebels countered with Bolton Pouliot.
The game’s opening minutes saw both teams create offensive chances off of strong forechecking sequences. Red Deer would open the scoring at 6:35 when Josh Cowen took a pass in the slot from Colton Mayor and found the back of the net. The goal was Cowen’s second of the season. Victoria would even things up on the very next shift thanks to a strong offensive zone sequence. Logan Nelson and Robin Soudek managed to work the puck along the boards before it popped out to Brandon Magee, whose shot found its way past Pouliot for his fifth goal of the year and third in two games. Victoria would take their first lead of the game at 12:42 when Mike Forsyth found Austin Carroll in the slot. The right winger beat Pouliot high to the blocker side for his second goal of the season. The score would remain 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Red Deer would even things up shortly after a power play expired at 8:34 of the middle frame when Cory Millette finished off a centering feed from Brooks Maxwell for his sixth goal of the season. Victoria would kill off three Rebels’ power plays in the latter half of the period, highlighted by several key stops by Hamilton on the Rebels’ Alex Petrovic and Mathew Dumba. The Royals’ best chance came when Jamie Crooks broke through Red Deer’s backline for a breakaway, only to be hooked before he could get a shot off. The game remained tied 2-2 heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Rebels would take their second lead of the night at 3:08 of the third period when John Persson found the puck in a scramble in front of the Royals’ net and slid it past the outstretched leg of Hamilton. Victoria looked to tie the game halfway through the period when Carroll found himself alone in front of the net with the puck on his stick, but his shot grazed the shoulder of Pouliot and deflected wide. Victoria would pull Hamilton with just over a minute remaining in the game. An ensuing battle off an offensive zone face-off allowed Magee to poke the puck to Steven Hodges, who let go a hard wrist shot fly that beat Pouliot under the arm to even the score. The goal was Hodges’ ninth goal of the year and would send the game to overtime.
The overtime period would solve nothing, forcing a shootout. Robin Soudek would shoot first for Victoria and beat Poliot with a quick snapshot high to the glove hand side. Hamilton would stop Dalton Siwak before Logan Nelson converted his opportunity with a deke to the forehand side. Down to their last chance, the Rebels’ Persson bore down on Hamilton but was thwarted by the Royals’ goaltender to seal the victory. Royals 4 Rebels 3.
Victoria went 0/6 = 0.00% on the power play, while Red Deer was 0/5 = 0.00%. The Rebels outshot the Royals 36-31.
The Victoria Royals visit the Vancouver Giants this Friday, November 18th at the Pacific Coliseum. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. The Royals’ next home game is set for Saturday, November 19 when they host the defending WHL champion Kootenay Ice at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. The action begins at 7:05 p.m. For further details or to purchase your tickets today, visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.victoriaroyals.com, or call 250-220-7889.