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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

Justin Feser and Brendan Shinnimin had a pair of goals each to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-2 win over the Victoria Royals Tuesday evening.

Victoria, BC, December 6, 2011 – The woes continued for the Victoria Royals Tuesday evening as they lost their eighth game in the last ten when they went down to defeat to the Tri-City Americans 6-2 at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The Americans are flying high this season and are heading in an opposite direction from the Royals with eight wins in their last ten and a 22-7 record which leads the way in the Western Conference.
IMG 0888Victoria’s Ben Walker carries the puck ahead of Tri-City Captain Mason Wilgosh during action Tuesday. 
The Americans came into Victoria riding on the shoulders of their leading scorer Adam Hughesman, who had amassed 20 goals and 29 assists in 28 games to sit in fifth place overall in WHL scoring.
Surprisingly the high scoring Hughesman was kept in check by the Royals, but the same could not be said for the Americans second and third leading scorers, Justin Feser and Brendan Shinnimin, who would each score a pair of goals to lead the Americans to their win.
IMG 0743Tri-City’s Brendan Shinnimin (24, front) would score twice and have an assist to lead the Americans to their 6-2 win over the Royals.
The Americans would hit the score sheet first in this one as Mason Wilgosh would put one by Royals starter Keith Hamilton at the 6:52 mark of the first period. The Americans would add to that lead just under three minutes later as Feser notched his first on the power play, but the Royals would respond late in the period on a goal by Zane Jones to head into the break down 2-1.
IMG 0826TriCity’s Connor Rankin and Victoria’s Keegan Kanzig battle for a lose puck during action Tuesday.
In the second period, the Americans would take over the game with three unanswered goals, the first of which was by Shinnimin on the power play at the 4:02 mark.  That goal (the third on just 10 shots) was enough to chase Royals goalie Hamilton in favour of Jared Rathjen.
IMG 0850Victoria’s Mike Forsyth carries the puck out of his end ahead of the American’s Adam Hughesman during the second period Tuesday
Despite Rathjen playing well, the Americans would add goals by Tyson Dallman and Feser, with his second, to take a 5-1 lead into the third period.
In the third period, the Royals would give the 4,600 fans in attendance a glimmer of hope for a comeback as Robin Soudek scored just 2:07 in to make the score 5-2.  The Royals would continue to pressure the Americans out-shooting them 13-6, but Americans goaltender Ty Rimmer was up to the task and kept the Royals off the board the rest of the way.
IMG 0941Tri-City goaltender Ty Rimmer would stop the Royal’s Kevin Sundher on this third period breakaway and stop another 29 shots for the win Tuesday.
The Americans would get their final goal, the second by Shinnimin, at the 13:51 mark of the period, effectively sealing the win.
A large part of the crowd in attendance went home happy, as they were there to see Victoria native Sam Grist play his first WHL game in Victoria since he joined the Americans last year.
Tri-City’s Mitch Topping (25) leads a rush up the ice along with teammate Justin Feser (22).
A product of Peninsula and Racquet Club Minor Hockey, Grist went on to play at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna, before a stint in Junior A with the Victoria Grizzlies and then to the Americans where he is in his second year.
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Victoria native Sam Grist, a defenceman with the Americans, pokes fun at his friends in the stands during pre-game warm ups Tuesday. Grist was playing his first WHL game in his hometown.
Grist enjoyed the experience of playing in front of his home crowd saying, “I was a little nervous coming in, but once  we started playing that went away.  It’s been nice to come here and see lots of my friends and family in the stands…I’ll go say hi to them in a bit and on Thursday I’ll get to go home to visit them for a while.”
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Tri-City goaltender Ty Rimmer peers around defenceman Derek Ryckman and Victoria’s Ben Walker during the third period Tuesday.
The Royals out-shot the Americans for the game 32-27, but Rimmer’s solid play – earning him third star honors – made a big difference.  Rathjen who came on in relief for the Royals, was better than he has been in his other appearances, making some solid saves and stopping 14 of 17 shots in total.
IMG 0785Tri-City’s Connor Rankin carries the puck through centre ice ahead of Victoria’s Jamie Crooks during second period action Tuesday.
The Royals and Americans will go at it again on Wednesday night, 7:00 pm at Save-on-Food Memorial Centre.