Victoria Defeats Vancouver 6-4 in WHL Opener


September 21, 2012, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals received a pair of goals from Steven Hodges and one from rookie Joe Hicketts to help propel them to a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants in WHL opening night action Friday evening in Vancouver.

In a Friday night matchup, the Victoria Royals kicked off their 2012-13 WHL regular season with a trip to the Pacific Coliseum to take on the Vancouver Giants. The Royals’ gave Patrik Polivka the nod in net while the Giants’ countered with Liam Liston.


Victoria got on the board early when they capitalized on a 4-on-3 powerplay. Alex Gogolev corralled a Logan Nelson shot to the right of the Vancouver goal and fed a cross-crease pass to Steven Hodges. The Royals’ forward buried the shot for his first goal of the season at the 2:25 mark. The Giants equalized three minutes later when Cain Franson collected the loose puck and skated out from behind the Victoria net before he beat Polivka high to the glove side. The Royals’ regained the lead at 15:16 of the period with a second powerplay tally of the period. As Victoria gained the Vancouver zone Gogolev slipped a pass to Hodges on the left wing and he fired a shot from the circle that beat Liston to the short side. Victoria headed to the intermission in front 2-1.

Brandon Magee increased the Royals’ lead to two goals 4:51 into the second frame. After a wrap-around attempt, the Victoria forward collected his own rebound and snapped home his first of the season past the Vancouver netminder. Ben Walker would make it 4-1 for Victoria at 15:37 after he collected a flip pass from Joe Hicketts at center ice. The Victoria forward sprung into the offensive zone on a breakaway and fired the puck over the glove of Liston. The Giants’ cut the lead in half with under two minutes to go before the intermission. Franson received a pass in the slot from Marek Tvrdon before he slid the puck past the left pad of Polivka. After 40 minutes Victoria led 4-2.

Victoria jumped out to a quick start in the third period as Hicketts tallied his first WHL goal. The 16-year-old rookie wristed a shot from the left point as Royals’ powerplay ended that beat a screened Liston to go up 5-2. Vancouver cut into the Victoria lead just past the halfway point of the period. Forward Brett Kulak banged home the loose puck at the right of the net after Jackson Houck gained the zone, but was tripped up in front of the Victoria goal. The Giants clawed to within one goal at 13:53 after Houck rang a shot off the far post. The rebound found the stick of Nathan Burns who slotted the puck into the open net. Logan Fisher sealed the victory for the Royals’ with an empty net marker for his first career WHL goal. Victoria 6 Vancouver 4.

Victoria went 2/4 = 50.0% on the power play, while Vancouver was 1/5 = 20.0%. The Giants’ outshot the Royals 30-18.

The Royals will kick off their 2012-13 home schedule tomorrow night when they host the Vancouver Giants at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Tickets are still available at the Select Your Tickets Box Office at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. The Royals encourage fans to buy their tickets early to avoid line-ups prior to the game.

Season tickets and mini-packs are now on sale. Guarantee yourself the best seats by visiting, calling 250-220-7889, or emailing before it’s too late!

Christian J. Stewart
Christian is a professional photographer and media professional based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Currently working as the Assistant General Manager for Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Club, a Senior Contributing Editor and photographer at Independent Sports News (ISN) and operating his own freelance photography and media/pr company.