Prince George (ISN) – Victoria’s Jared Rathjen made 26 saves to earn his first WHL win and propel the Victoria Royals to a big 4-2 victory over Prince George.
In a Friday night match up at the CN Centre, the Victoria Royals squared off against the Prince George Cougars in the first of a two-game set. The Royals started Jared Rathjen in net, while the Cougars went with Drew Owsley.
Victoria got on the board first with a powerplay goal from Hayden Rintoul at 6:22. The Royals’ captain rushed end-to-end and fired a low shot off the right wing, then collected his rebound behind the net and wrapped the puck in off the left post. The Cougars responded at 14:23 when Greg Fraser completed a give-and-go play with Campbell Elynuik to beat Rathjen to the short side. The game would remain tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Royals took the lead at 11:30 of the second frame on a goal from Dakota Conroy. Mike Forsyth gained the zone before he passed it back to Conroy, who buried a shot past a screened Owsley. Victoria would add one more before the end of the period from Austin Carroll at 17:55. The Royals’ forward spun around in the slot and fired the puck past Owsley after he corralled a pass from Zane Jones out of the right corner. The marker gave Victoria a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Prince George made it a one goal game 2:43 into the final frame when Chase Witala seized a loose puck after it squirted out of a face-off scrum and beat Rathjen stick-side. Temperatures heated up two minutes later as Austin Carroll dropped the gloves with Linden Springer. Both players exchanged blows, with the decision going to the Royals’ forward. The Cougars would push for the equalizer on a powerplay opportunity with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, but were thwarted by the stellar play of the Royals’ penalty killers.Victoria would add an empty net goal in the final seconds from Robin Soudek to secure the victory. Royals 4 Cougars 2.
Victoria went 1/2 = 50.00% on the power play, while Prince George was 0/3 = 0.00%. The Cougars outshot the Royals 28-26.
The Victoria Royals are in action again Saturday, February 25th in the second game of the doubleheader against Prince George. Game time is set for 7:00 pm. The Royals’ next home game is set for Tuesday, February 28th when the Spokane Chiefs travel to Victoria. Puck drop is at 7:05 pm. For further details or to purchase your tickets today, visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.victoriaroyals.com, or call 250-220-7889.