Vancouver (ISN) – A goal by Victoria’s Hayden Rintoul with 22 seconds remaining in regulation earned the Royals a critical point, but they failed to secure a second when Vancouver’s Jordan Martinook scored at 2:50 of overtime to give the Giants an exciting 5-4 win over the Royals at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
In a Sunday afternoon match-up at the Pacific Coliseum, the Victoria Royals faced off against the Vancouver Giants in the final stop of a four-game road trip. Victoria started Jared Rathjen in net while Vancouver gave the nod to Adam Morrison.
The game marked the 10th and final meeting of the season between these two BC Division rivals and given the familiarity with one another, it was not surprising that the game began with a physical tone, featuring two fights in the first eight minutes of the opening frame. The Royals’ Logan Nelson gained the decision over Scott Cooke before Victoria’s Austin Carroll came to a draw with the Giants’ Taylor Makin.
Vancouver opened the scoring just past the halfway mark of the period on a goal from Marek Tvrdon. The Giants’ forward picked up the puck below the right circle and fired a sharp angle shot that beat Rathjen glove side. After 20 minutes of play, Vancouver held a 1-0 lead.
The Giants started the second period with a 10 minute lull and the Royals made them pay, scoring 3 goals to go up 3-1. Victoria first got on the score sheet at 1:37 of the period when Brandon Magee buried the equalizer. The Royals’ forward accepted a pass from Zane Jones out of the right corner before making a quick move to beat Morrison over his glove. Logan Nelson followed up with Victoria’s second of the night four minutes later when he fired one past the Vancouver netminder from the top of the left circle. The Royals extended their lead to two at 8:46 when Magee picked up the puck from Jones behind the net before he beat Morrison on a wrap-around to the right side for his second goal of the game.
Vancouver finally responded with a goal from Riley Kieser before the end of the frame to cut Victoria’s lead to 3-2 after two periods of play.
It took just 56 seconds for the Giants to score the equalizer in the third period as Tvrdon scored his 2nd goal of the night taking advantage of a Royals turnover. Less then five minutes later the Giants took the lead courtesy of Jordan Martinook, who banged in a loose puck for his 35th goal of the season.
With the net empty, the Giants looked to ice the game, but Hayden Rintoul’s point shot deflected past Adam Morrison with 22.2 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 4-4, sending the game to overtime.
Martinook would get the game winner and his second of the game at 2:50 of the extra frame. The Vancouver forward broke in on a two-on-one with Tvrdon and found the back of the net after beating Rathjen under the glove.
Vancouver finished the season series 7-3-0-0 vs. the Royals and with the win, moved into 4th place in the Western Conference, two points up on the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs though have two games in hand. They will play 4 games in 5 nights in the final week of the season, while the Giants have just two games left vs. Kelowna.
Victoria meanwhile maintains a slim grasp on the eight and final playoff position in the west, sitting one point back of 7th place Everett (who lost 3-2 to Seattle in OT) and now just three points ahead of 9th place Seattle who picked up a crucial two points in their win over Everett.
Victoria went 0/5 = 0.00% on the power play, while Vancouver was 0/3 = 0.00%. The Giants outshot the Royals 39-29.
Victoria now returns home to close out the regular season as they play host to the Portland Winterhawks for a two game set. Games are scheduled for Wednesday, March 14th and Fan Appreciation Night on Friday, March 16th. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm on both nights. For further details or to purchase your tickets today, visit the Victoria Royals Ticket Office, www.victoriaroyals.com, or call 250-220-7889.