Matt Human / Photos by Erich Eichhorn (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Victoria, BC – In a Wednesday night matchup at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals took on the Kamloops Blazers in the second game of a two-game set.
The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in goal, while the Blazers went with Cole Cheveldave.
Kamloops opened the scoring at 1:37 of the first period after Colin Smith intercepted a pass deep in the Royals’ zone. Smith walked into the slot and fired the puck past the blocker of Hamilton. The Blazers added their second on the night two minutes later when Matt Needham found himself alone in the slot. Needham took a quick step towards the net before he roofed the puck over the right shoulder of the Victoria netminder. The Royals cut the Blazers’ lead in half just prior to the 10 minute mark when Hayden Rintoul scored on the power play. Forward Logan Nelson won the draw in the Kamloops end back to the left point to Rintoul, who unleashed a slap shot from the top of the circle that beat a screened Cheveldave. With 2:24 remaining in the frame, Landon Cross restored the Blazers’ two goal lead after he cut into the slot from the point and deposited the puck past Hamilton. After 20 minutes of play Kamloops led 3-1.
Victoria notched their second goal of the game 94 seconds into the middle period when Kevin Sundher scored his team leading 17th of the year. From the right corner Nelson looked to skate behind the net, but right before he looped behind the cage he fired a quick pass to Sundher in the slot who quickly tapped the puck in past the Blazers’ goaltender. The Royals continued their relentless start to the second period as they outshot Kamloops 7-1 in the first five minutes. Their pressure paid off when Sundher notched his second of the frame at 6:16. The Victoria forward burst into the offensive zone and made a nice cut back move before he rifled a shot over the glove of Cheveldave. Victoria took the lead at 14:30 when Nelson fed a cross ice pass to Steven Hodges on the left faceoff dot who then sniped a wrist shot past Cheveldave. Kamloops replied 32 seconds later after Chase Souto buried a marker past Hamilton off of a breakaway. The teams went to the second intermission tied 4-4.
Tim Bozon put Kamloops back in the lead 32 seconds into the third after he jumped on a loose puck in the Royals’ crease and put it past Hamilton. Zane Jones tied the game back up three minutes later when he put the Royals’ fifth past Cheveldave shorthanded. Jones cut off a pass in the Blazers’ end and put a shot on net before he crashed the net and batted his own rebound in. Both teams exchanged scoring chances throughout the third period as they looked for the go ahead marker, but neither could find it as they headed to overtime deadlocked 5-5.
Just over a minute into overtime Kamloops received a man-advantage and on the power play converted the winner when Chase Schaber one-timed the puck past Hamilton from the right circle. Blazers 6 Royals 5 in OT.
Victoria went 1/5 = 20.0% on the power play, while Kamloops was 1/3 = 33.3%. The Royals and Blazers tied shots 30-30.
The Royals now hit the road for a two game road trip which will see them stop for matchups against the Kelowna Rockets and Blazers. The first game goes on Friday, December 2nd in Kelowna at 7:05 p.m. The second game follows the next night in Kamloops at 7:00 p.m. Victoria will then return home for a two-game set against the Tri-City Americans beginning Tuesday, December 6th 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.