Story and photographs by Glenn Ivens (ISN)
October 13, 2012, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals returned to the Save On Foods Memorial Centre on Friday night for a Western Hockey League tilt with the Kelowna Rockets. The rigors of a WHL schedule that saw the Royals play 6 games – 4 on the road – in a 10 day span, may have played a role in the young team’s uninspired play that lead to a 4-1 loss.
“As a coach one of your biggest fears is how the team will play at home after a being on the road awhile, tonight we weren’t at our best” summerized head coach Dave Lowry, after the loss.
The 1st period saw both teams struggle to get momentum, with few solid scoring chances until late in the period when Kelowna’s leading scorer Myles Bell fed a pass to Zach Franko, who snapped a shot through the legs of Victoria goaltender Patrik Polivka to open the scoring.
The teams headed in to the break even on the shot clock at 7 apiece but the Rockets up 1 on the scoreboard.
The Victoria Royals seemed to be one step behind all night as the Kelowna Rockets skated to a 4-1 win in the opening game of a 2 game set on Friday night. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Kelowna went up 2-0 early in the 2nd period when Henrik Nyberg beat Polivka from the high slot then took a 3-0 lead off a Colton Sissons shot high to the glove side on Polivka.
The Royals would answer back late in the frame when Mitch Deacon pounced on a rebound on the doorstep and lifted it over Kelowna goaltender Jackson Whistle to send the teams in to the 2nd intermission with the Rockets up 3-1.
Royals’ Brandon Magee attempts to cut back on Rockets’ Damon Severson during 1st period of Friday nights WHL game at Save On Foods Memorial Centre. (photo by Glenn ivens – ISN)
The Royals 2nd period woes seemed to continue on Friday night as they only managed 4 shots on Whistle while Kelowna fired 10 at Polivka.
“We have to work on that and get out of the rut” remarked Logan Nelson when asked about the team’s last two 2nd periods, “Tonight was one of those nights when nothing seemed to be working.”
Victoria Royals’ Jamie Crooks breaks in alone (above) and later looks for a rebound (below) during WHL action at Save On Foods Memorial Centre on Friday night. (photos by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
The 3rd period deteriorated into a myriad of penalties, as referee Pat Smith seemed determined to leave his mark on the game, calling 18 of the games 26 penalties in the 3rd.
The Rockets were the only ones able to take advantage of the open ice, scoring a power play goal just over the midway point. Damon Severson was the recipient of some puck luck as his shot caromed of the skate of a Royals defender into the back of the net for the Rockets 4th goal on the night.
The Royals finished the night with 21 shots on net to the Rockets 31. The Rockets were 1/5 on the power play while the Royals, who had connected on the power play 5 times in the last 4 games, went 0/7.
The two teams will close out their 2 game set tomorrow night at 7:05pm at Save On Foods Memorial Centre.