November 20, 2012, Victoria, BC – Jamie Crooks would score a pair of goals to lead the Victoria Royals to a 5-2 win over the visiting Saskatoon Blades in WHL action Tuesday night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
In a Tuesday night match-up, the Victoria Royals went up against the Saskatoon Blades in the two teams’ only meeting this season. The Royals started Patrik Polivka in net, while the Blades sent Andrey Makarov in between the pipes.
Brandon Magee opened the scoring for Victoria at 3:10 of the first period. Ryan Gagnon drew a crowd in front of the Saskatoon net before a loose puck slipped free to Magee in the slot who wired a slap shot by the goaltender to the glove side. The remainder of the period saw each side exchange powerplay opportunities, but the score remained 1-0 in favour of the Royals heading into the first intermission.
Victoria added to their lead at the1:46 mark of the second frame when Jamie Crooks netted his 10th of the season on the powerplay. Logan Nelson picked up a pass behind Makarov’s net and fed it out front to Crooks who sniped high glove side.
The Blades responded at 10:25 on a goal from Brenden Walker. Darren Dietz picked up an errant puck in the Royals’ zone and fed Walker at the half boards where he placed a wrist shot to the short side of Polivka to draw the Blades to within a goal.
Crooks then added his second of the night with a shorthanded tally at 12:29. Steven Hodges chipped a puck into the neutral zone for Crooks who broke into the Blades’ zone all alone. The 20-year-old made a quick forehand to backhand move before he slipped the puck under the pads of Makarov.
Alex Gogolev increased the Royals’ lead to 4-1 at 18:58 on the back of his 10th of the season. From behind the Saskatoon net, Austin Carroll made a wrap-around attempt that squirted through the crease. Gogolev found the loose puck at the near post and snapped the puck under the left pad of an outstretched Makarov. Victoria took the three goal edge into the third period.
Saskatoon replaced the weary Makarov – playing his fifth game game in seven nights, starting with his stint in net for Team Russia in the Super Series last Wednesday and Thursday – with Alex Moodie to begin the third, but Tyler Stahl increased the Royals’ lead at the 3:43 mark with his third of the season. Gogolev added his second assist of the game on the goal as Tyler Stahl let a wrist shot go from the right point that eluded Moodie.
Matej Stransky pulled the Blades within three at 9:05 while on the powerplay. Stranksy took the puck from the right wing boards and walked out into the slot where he fired one past a screened Polivka. The remainder of the period saw Victoria shorthanded three times, but the penalty kill prevailed to preserve the win. Victoria 5 Saskatoon 2.
Victoria went 1/2=50.0% on the powerplay, while Saskatoon went 1/6=16.7%. The Royals outshot the Blades 35-31.
The Royals will now welcome the Prince George Cougars to town for a two-game home stand starting this Friday, November 23rd. Game two of the series between the Cougars and Royals goes Saturday night. Puck drop for both games is set for 7:05 p.m. The Royals Holiday Combo is on sale now! Single game tickets and mini-packs are now on sale. Guarantee yourself the best seats by visiting www.victoriaroyals.com, calling 250-220-7889, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before it’s too late!