Lethbridge, AB – In a Friday night matchup at the Enmax Centre, the Victoria Royals squared off with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in their second meeting of the year. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in net, while the Hurricanes went with Damien Ketlo.
Lethbridge got on the scoreboard early in the game off a marker from Brody Sutter. From behind the net, Philip Tot sent a pass to Sutter in the slot, who quickly snapped the puck past the blocker of Hamilton. The Hurricanes had an opportunity to extend their lead half-way through the period after Sutter sent Cameron Braes in on a partial breakaway. Braes cut towards the net and deked around Hamilton, but the puck rolled past the outside of the right post. With less than a minute left in the frame, the Hurricanes doubled their lead after Tot snuck a shot between the left post and right leg of Hamilton from the left of the Royals’ net. Lethbridge led 2-0 after 20 minutes.
Jared Rathjen would replace Hamilton in the Victoria net to start the second period. The opening half of the frame saw both teams exchange scoring chances, but it was the Hurricanes who capitalized for their third off a power play. With a rebound left in the crease after an initial shot, Graham Hood crashed the net to put the puck past Rathjen. The Royals got on the scoresheet less than two minutes later on their fourth man-advantage of the game. Defenseman Jesse Pauls received the puck on the blue line and released a shot that sailed over the right shoulder of a screened Ketlo for his first goal of the year. Victoria looked to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to one when Logan Nelson found a loose puck in the slot but a quick stick check from Tot negated the opportunity. The Royals trailed 3-1 after two periods of play.
Victoria made it a one goal game 55 seconds into the third period when Pauls let go a wrist shot from the point that rebounded onto the stick of Ben Walker, who slid the puck by Ketlo for his second goal of the year. The Royals pulled even before the period was five minutes old when Pauls potted his second of the night. Royals’ winger Robin Soudek muscled his way out of the left corner before he threw a cross-crease pass to Pauls who deposited the puck past an outstretched Hurricanes’ netminder. Jamie Crooks gave Victoria their first lead of the game before the seven minute mark after he roofed a shot over the blocker of Ketlo from the right face-off dot for his 17th goal of the year. Lethbridge replied just 14 seconds later when Daniel Johnston fired a shot over the shoulder of Rathjen from the right circle. Victoria continued to control the third period, but could not break the tie after outshooting the Hurricanes 18-4 in the frame. The teams went into overtime tied 4-4.
During the extra frame, the Hurricanes notched the winning goal after Brady Ramsay jumped on a loose puck in the crease and put it under the left arm of Rathjen. Hurricanes 5 Royals 4 in OT.
The Royals now travel to Medicine Hat tomorrow night to face the Tigers at 6:30 p.m. Victoria will return home after the Christmas break on January 3rd when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. For further details or to purchase your tickets today, visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.victoriaroyals.com, or call 250-220-7889.