Kelowna (ISN) – Victoria’s Brett Cote scored his first WHL goal to help the Victoria Royals overcome a 1-0 third period deficit and defeat the Kelowna Rockets 3-1 Friday evening in Kelowna.
In a Friday night matchup, the Victoria Royals travelled to Prospera Place to take on the Kelowna Rockets in the second stop of a four game road trip. The Royals gave Keith Hamilton the start in net while Kelowna gave the nod to Adam Brown.
The game began conservatively as both teams refused to give up the first goal. Just after the halfway point of the first period, Victoria forward Austin Carroll dropped the gloves with Kelowna’s Colton Heffley. Carroll landed a few early shots before Heffley earned the takedown. Both goalies were solid as Hamilton turned aside 11 shots, while Brown stopped all seven attempts against. The scored remained 0-0 after 20 minutes.
The rough play continued in the second period as the Royals’ Jesse Zgraggen and Kelowna’s Joey Astles engaged in a spirited tilt just after the five minute mark. Zgraggen landed several blows to earn the decision.
The Rockets opened the scoring at 9:51 when Myles Bell accepted a pass at the blue line from Mackenzie Johnston. The Kelowna defender drove wide past the Victoria defense before snapping a near-post shot over the glove of Hamilton. The Royals continued to apply pressure but Brown stood tall, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the frame. After two periods of play, Kelowna held a 1-0 lead.
Logan Nelson would draw the Royals even 1:42 into the third frame. Nelson picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and gained the Rockets’ zone before wristing a shot that beat Brown to the far post.
Victoria got the go-ahead marker from Jamie Crooks at the 6:22 mark. After creating a turnover at center ice, Crooks streaked along the left boards before snapping a shot that beat Kelowna’s netminder to the stick side for his team-leading 35th goal of the year.
A mere 53 seconds later, Victoria increased their lead to 3-1. Defenseman Brett Cote pinched along the boards and let a shot fly from the blue line that found the top left corner. The goal was Cote’s first of his WHL career and would round out the game’s scoring. Royals 3 Rockets 1.
The win was another critical one for the Royals as it vaulted Victoria back into 7th place over the 8th place Everett Silvertips who lost 4-3 to Portland.
Victoria went 0/6= 0.00% on the power play, while Kelowna was 0/3 = 0.00%. The Royals outshot the Rockets 37-27.
Victoria continues their road trip on Saturday, March 10th when they travel to Comcast Arena to faceoff against the Everett Silvertips. Puck drop is scheduled from 7:05 p.m.
Victoria returns to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre to open a two game set against the Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday, March 14th. Game time is 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.