Portland, OR – In a Friday night matchup at the Rose Garden, the Victoria Royals took on the Portland Winterhawks in the second half of a two game set. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in net, while the Winterhawks went with Mac Carruth.
The game started with Victoria’s Taylor Crunk and Portland’s Oliver Gabriel engaging in a fight. Crunk landed several quality blows to the Winterhawks’ forward before the pair fell to the ice with Crunk earning the decision. With seven minutes gone in the frame, the Royals got on the scoreboard after Brandon Magee found Jamie Crooks in the left circle. Crooks took a quick shot that beat Carruth over the left shoulder for his 18th marker of the season. Less than a minute later Portland leveled the score after Ty Rattie sniped a low shot from the right face-off circle past Hamilton. Just after the 10 minute mark, Crooks notched his second of the period with the Royals on a 4-on-3 man advantage. After Carruth made the initial save, Crooks swiped at the loose puck and put it in the net to give Victoria the 2-1 lead. With two minutes left, the Winterhawks enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play. With the first penalty expired, Rattie collected his second when he shot the puck off the left post past Hamilton from the bottom of the right circle. After 20 minutes of the play the teams were tied 2-2.
Victoria regained the lead 31 seconds into the period off of the stick of Zane Jones. From the right boards Tim Traber fed Jones on the partial break, who slapped a hard shot past the Winterhawks’ netminder. Kevin Sundher doubled the Royals’ lead before the five minute mark with his team-leading 22nd goal of the year. From the neutral zone, Sundher burst past a Portland defender and cut to the net before making a nice deke around Carruth to give Victoria the 4-2 lead. Portland came back with two quick markers 11 seconds apart before the halfway mark. The first goal came when Brendan Leipsic converted from the slot, with the second scored by Tyler Wotherspoon on a shot from the top of the left circle. Portland took their first lead of the game nine minutes into the middle frame when Rattie completed the hat trick after he fired a shot over the blocker of Hamilton. The lead lasted for 1:05 as Jones tipped a Robin Soudek pass into the Portland net for his second of the game. The game was tied 5-5 after 10 minutes of play in the period. Dillon Wagner looked to give the Winterhawks the edge when he broke in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. The forward deked towards his backhand, but Hamilton stretched his right leg out for the save. With just over a minute left in the period Crooks put his third of the night past Carruth after he poked in a loose rebound from the crease. With three seconds left in the period Brad Ross received a penalty shot, but could not beat Hamilton. The Royals led 6-5 after 40 minutes.
Leipsic put Portland’s sixth marker past Hamilton off a power play just before the five minute mark of the third period after he slotted home a loose puck in the crease. The Winterhawks regained the lead before the half way point when Derrick Pouliot wristed a shot past Hamilton from the high slot. Victoria would battle to even the score but were stifled by Portland’s defense the rest of the way. Winterhawks 7 Royals 6.
Victoria went 1/4 = 25.0% on the power play, while Portland was 2/11 = 18.2%. The Winterhawks outshot the Royals 54-39.
The Royals now return home to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday, January 3rd when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen. Game time is 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.