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Story and Photos By Christian J. Stewart – 

The Victoria Royals were thumped for second straight night in an 8-3 loss to the Kootenay Ice on Saturday.

November 19, 2011, Victoria, BC – After a stinging 11-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants on Friday evening, the Victoria Royals were looking to rebound Saturday evening at home against the Kootenay Ice, however the Ice had other things in mind, scoring just 53 seconds into the game and using a five goal second period to skate to an easy 8-3 rout of the Royals.

The Royals started Keith Hamilton in net, who was looking to better his performance of the night before where he was pulled after surrendering four goals against the Giants. Unfortunately things would not be easy for Hamilton, as in addition to the goal 53 seconds in, the Ice would score two more in the period to lead 3-0 after one.

Royals goaltender Keith Hamilton makes a blocker save off the Ice’s Drew Czerwonka during the second period Saturday evening.

In the second, you could quite simply say that the wheels fell off for the Royals, as the Ice scored five goals in a nine minute span to stun the 6,400 plus fans in attendance and send some of them home a bit earlier than they had planned.

IMG 0876The Royals Steven Hodges tries to score from a prone position during the second period Friday, but is denied by Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski.

Goaltender Hamilton was pulled after the Ice’s sixth goal in favor of backup Jared Rathjen, who fared no better allowing two goals on the first two shots he saw. In defence of Rathjen however, the first was on a no-chance two-on-one for the Ice and the second he never saw, as he was totally screened on a shot from the point.

IMG 0905The Royals Brendan Persley (left) and the Ice’s Jonathon Martin (right) square off in a second period fight Saturday evening.

Leading the way for the Ice on their eight goal barrage was centre Elgin Pearce who had a hat-trick and an assist, and winger Jesse Ismond, who had a pair of goals, three assists and finished plus four on the evening.

IMG 0961Royals goaltender Keith Hamilton dejectedly leaves the net after being pulled following the Ice’s sixth goal on Saturday evening.

The Ice started goaltender Mackenzie Skapski who was seeing action in just his fifth game of the year. Skapski was solid through the first two periods, denying what few chances the Royals had until Logan Nelson finally put one past him at the 17:09 mark of the second period, finally giving the home fans something to cheer about.

IMG 0996Kootenay Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski makes a blocker save off a shot by the Royals Brendan Persley in the second period Saturday.

In the third period, Keith Hamilton returned to the net for the Royals and played well, stopping all 16 shots the Ice had in the period. Meanwhile the Royals offence finally began to click, with Brandon Magee and Kevin Sundher scoring to make the final score a little more respectable.

IMG 1009The Royals Steven Hodges moves the puck out of his zone during the third period Saturday.

IMG 1088Royals defenceman Kade Pilton moves the puck out from behind his net in advance of pressure from the Ice’s Levi Cable.

Other scorers for the Ice included Luke Paulsen, Jaedon Descheneau and Drew Czerwonka. Czerwonka, Dylan McKinlay and Sam Reinhart also had two assists each.

In net for the ice, Skapski finished with 25 saves on 28 shots total, while the Royal’s Hamilton made 32 saves on 38 shots total.

IMG 1023Victoria’s Steven Hodges looks to move the puck out of his zone during the third period on Saturday.

A clearly dejected Royals Head Coach Marc Habscheid was relatively somber about the loss, but did not mince words, “It was pretty ugly out there and probably the worst we’ve been all year. We looked real tired today and seemed to be two steps behind them those first two periods.”

“Our boys had great energy in the room, but that early goal took the wind out of their sails and when they got the second goal shortly after that, they became really deflated and the game just disintegrated from there.”

IMG 1049Kootenay’s Jonathan Martin tries to move around Victoria’s Hayden Rintoul during the third period Saturday.

When asked about how the team would move forward from these two tough losses Habscheid noted, “We’ll try and put this behind us and forget about it, but we do have to learn from it. We can’t just discount this and we need to understand why we lost. Our structure is fractured right now and we have to get back to fixing it. There is safety in structure, but we are playing lousy hockey and we need to get that structure back in order to start playing better.”

IMG 19Victoria defenceman Jesse Zgraggen moves the puck away from danger late in the third period on Saturday.

For more photos from this game please visit Christian J. Stewart’s ISN Galleries HERE.