In a Saturday night matchup at the Westman Communications Group Place, the Victoria Royals took on the Brandon Wheat Kings in the second of a six game road trip. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in net, while the Wheat Kings countered with Curtis Honey.
Both teams exchanged quality scoring chances early as Brandon’s Michael Ferland got behind the Royals’ defense for a partial breakaway but was denied by the glove of Hamilton. Victoria would counter with a breakaway of their own as Robin Soudek was sprung in alone but was unable to beat the blocker of Honey. The Wheat Kings would get on the board at 13:28 when Dominick Favreau converted Bruno Mraz’s centering pass over top of Hamilton. Brandon would add to their lead in the final minute of the frame on the man-advantage. Forward Kevin Sundher circled at the right face-off circle and fed Mark Stone in the slot for a one-timer that beat Hamilton over the right shoulder. The first period concluded with the Wheat Kings leading 2-0.
Victoria would cut into Brandon’s lead on the power play at 7:32 of the middle frame. Royals’ forward Ben Walker burst down the right side and fed Dakota Conroy in the middle who beat Honey on the glove side for his first goal in a Victoria uniform. The Wheat Kings re-established a two-goal cushion at 12:45 when Ferland scored his second of the night off a tic-tac-toe play from Brendan Walker and Sundher. Hamilton was able to keep the Royals within two when he stopped Sundher on a breakaway attempt with a quick right pad save. Victoria responded at 16:56 when Logan Nelson fed Jamie Crooks in front who slapped home his 23rd of the season. After 40 minutes Brandon led 3-2.
Hamilton would continue his solid play to open the third period as he thwarted an odd-man rush from Brandon’s Stone and Brenden Walker. Victoria continued to push for the equalizer and found it at 13:43 when Steven Hodges fired a shot from the slot that rebounded onto the stick of Brandon Magee who made no mistake for his 13th goal of the season. At the end of regulation the game would remain tied 3-3.
A fast paced overtime would solve nothing as the game required a shootout. Stone would miss Brandon’s first attempt before Soudek beat Honey through the legs with a quick snap-shot to give Victoria the advantage. The Wheat Kings’ Alessio Bertaggia and the Royals’ Nelson both missed their respective shots before Sundher slid his forehand attempt under an outstretched Hamilton to even the shootout 1-1. Walker would shoot third for Victoria, firing a low, hard wrist-shot past Honey to secure the win. Royals 4 Wheat Kings 3 in a shootout.
Victoria went 1/4 = 25.0% on the power play, while Brandon was 2/2 = 100.0%. The Royals outshot the Wheat Kings 50-42.
The Royals now travel to Swift Current for a January 17th matchup against the Broncos at the Credit Union IPlex. Game time is 5:00pm P.S.T. Victoria returns home on Friday, January 27th when they welcome the Kamloops Blazers to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for a two game set. Puck drop is set for 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.