KELOWNA, BC – In a Friday night matchup at Prospera Place, the Victoria Royals took on the Kelowna Rockets in their fifth meeting of the season. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in goal, while the Rockets went with Jordon Cooke.
The game started off with a bang with two fights in the opening five minutes. The first saw the Royals’ Tim Traber and Mitchell Chapman of the Rockets square off, and the second had Victoria’s Jesse Zgraggen face-off against Tyrell Goulbourne. The Royals’ best chance of the period came when Kevin Sundher intercepted a cross-ice pass on the penalty kill and broke in alone on Cooke. Sundher tried to tame a rolling puck, but was unable to get it to lie flat in time. This allowed Cooke to make a right pad save. At the end of the first frame the game was scoreless
The physicality from the game’s opening moments carried over to the second period when the Royals’ Austin Carroll and Rockets’ Colton Heffley engaged in an entertaining scrap that saw both players throw and land several heavy punches. Victoria opened the scoring at the 8:02 mark when Robin Soudek received the puck in the high slot and fired a slap shot over the blocker of Cooke. Victoria defenseman Keegan Kanzig registered an assist on the play for his first career WHL point. With less than five minutes to go in the middle frame, Kelowna got on the scoreboard on the man-advantage when Colton Scissons received a pass in the front of the net and buried a low shot underneath the arm of a sprawling Hamilton. In the dying seconds of the period, Hamilton made a key save on a point blank shot by Rockets’ Shane McColgon from the slot to keep the score knotted at 1-1 through 40 minutes.
Victoria realized a two-man advantage in the third period, and were able to regain the lead at the 8:12 mark. Brandon Magee’s shot from the left side of the net deflected off the post and into the crease. Soudek crashed towards the crease and was able to poke the puck into the net for his 16th goal of the year and the 2-1 lead. The Royals clamped down defensively from that point forward. Royals 2 Rockets 1.
Victoria went 1/5 = 20.0% on the power play, while Kelowna was 1/4 = 25.0%. The Rockets outshot the Royals 27-26.
Victoria concludes their two-game road swing tomorrow night against the Kamloops Blazers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The Royals 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.