Spokane, WA – The Victoria Royals kicked off a two game road trip Friday evening when they travelled to Spokane to take on the Chiefs at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Royals started Jared Rathjen in net while the Chiefs countered with Eric Williams.
Victoria’s Steven Hodges would open the game’s scoring at the four minute mark of the first period. Logan Nelson skated into the Chiefs’ zone and fired a shot on net that rebounded to an off-balance Hodges who beat Williams high to the blocker side. Spokane responded with a shorthanded marker at 11:23. Chiefs’ forward Dominik Uher intercepted a pass and beat a Victoria defender before he snapped a shot that beat Rathjen over the left shoulder to tie the game 1-1. Jamie Crooks restored the Royals’ lead a mere 38 seconds later while on the powerplay. Crooks jumped on a Spokane turnover and beat Williams on the stick side from the bottom of the right circle for his team-leading 28th goal of the year. The Chiefs evened the score once again at 14:42 after Uher gained the Victoria zone and fed Mitch Holmberg at the left circle who one timed his shot past the Royals’ netminder. The score remained 2-2 after 20 minutes of play.
Spokane went up 3-2 at 4:21 of the middle frame. Off of an offensive zone faceoff, Chiefs’ forward Mike Aviani won the puck back to Cole Wedman who let go a slap shot from the right point that beat a screened Rathjen. Spokane increased their lead to 4-2 less than three minutes later when Liam Stewart picked up the puck off of a turnover and wristed a shot from the left circle that beat Rathjen to the glove side. Marek Kalus added a fifth goal at 9:01 before Victoria replaced Rathjen with Keith Hamilton. The Royals added a second powerplay tally at 16:09 as a Hayden Rintoul point shot rebounded right to Hodges at the left circle. The Victoria forward made no mistake depositing his second goal of the night. After two periods of play Spokane would lead 5-3.
Spokane was awarded a penalty shot just before the half-way point of the third period after Royals’ forward Robin Soudek was called for hooking on Steven Kuhn. Kuhn deked to his forehand but was stopped by the left pad of Hamilton to keep the score 5-3. Brandon Magee got Victoria to within a goal at the 16:46 mark when he accepted a pass from Ben Walker and snapped a shot from the slot that beat Williams over the right pad. The Royals pulled Hamilton with less than two minutes left for the six on four man advantage. Victoria tied the game with 35 seconds left in the game. From a face off to the right of Williams, Walker pushed the puck forward for Soudek who collected it in the front of the net and spun around to beat the left pad of the Spokane netminder to force overtime.
Overtime would solve nothing as a shootout would be needed to decide the extra point. Kuhn would shoot first for Spokane and deke to his forehand to beat Hamilton high to the glove side. Soudek shot first for Victoria but was denied by Williams. Dylan Walchuk would miss the Chiefs’ next shot before Walker beat Williams between the legs to tie the shootout at 1-1. Holmberg scored on the Chiefs’ final attempt. Nelson would shoot third for Victoria but was unable to beat the left pad of Williams. Chiefs 6 Royals 5 in a shootout.
Victoria went 2/7 = 28.6% on the power play, while Spokane was 0/2 = 0.00%. The Chiefs outshot the Royals 26-23.
The Victoria Royals continue their Washington State road trip tomorrow night when they face off against the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, WA. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. PST. The Royals’ next home game is Tuesday, February 7th when they host the Everett Silvertips. Game time is 7:05 p.m. PST at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. For further details or to purchase your tickets today, visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.selectyourtickets.com/victoriaroyals, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-220-7889.