Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 15, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – A five-goal third period including the game winner from rookie Jack Walker, helped the Victoria Royals overcome a 3-1 deficit and skate to a thrilling 6-4 come from behind victory over the Kamloops Blazers in WHL action Tuesday night in Victoria.
It was looking like anything but a Royals victory early in the game, as the Blazers dominated play throughout the first period, with possession seemingly in the Royals end for lengths at a time. However, Victoria starter Patrick Polivka stayed strong, keeping all seven of the Blazers shots out of the cage.
Kamloops defenceman and Victoria native Sam Grist (left) and the Royal’s Trent Lofthouse battle for a puck behind the net during Tuesday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
At the other end, the Blazers Cole Cheveldave was not challenged until late in the period, and easily turned away all five Royals chances.
In period two, the Blazers showed why they started the season 17-2, taking over the play and outshooting the Royals 15-7, and scoring three goals to open up a 3-1 lead on the Royals by the end of the period.
Victoria’s Brandon Magee puts on the brakes as he looks for a pass around Kamloops defender Landon Cross (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Opening the scoring for Kamloops was Matt Needham, who tapped in a rebound of a sharp angle shot by Cole Ully into a wide open net behind Polivka at 1:58 of the second.
The Blazer’s Matt Needham would open the scoring for Kamloops and later add an assist in the game against the Royals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would respond at the 15:40 mark on a great single-handed effort from Steven Hodges who would wind his way past the Kamloops defenders and put one past Cheveldave while falling to the ice.
A penalty to would prove costly for the Royals just three minutes later, as Kamloops would take a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal from Ully, as he walked in off the wall and snapped one past a screened Polivka.
Steven Hodges would have a pair of goals for the Royal’s including a beauty to tie the game 1-1 in the second period (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Just 32 seconds later, the Blazers looked to take control as the deadly Colin Smith would strike for his 28th goal of the season, as he picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired a laser past Polivka, giving the Blazers the 3-1 lead at the break.
After scoring his 28th goal of the season (left), the Blazer’s Colin Smith celebrated in front of the Victoria crowd (right) (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royal’s third period comeback was launched early as Austin Carroll would tip in a Joe Hicketts point shot on the power-play at 1:58 to pull Victoria to within one.
It was Austin Carroll’s turn to celebrate early in the third period, as he tipped in Victoria’s second goal and sparked the big comeback (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
It would then be Alex Gogolev’s turn for a highlight reel goal to match the earlier one by Hodges, and at the 9:21 mark with the Royals on the power-play, Gogolev split the Kamloops defence and slipped one through Chevaldave to tie the game 3-3 and bring the 4,473 in attendance to their feet.
Alex Gogolev’s highlight reel goal on this breakaway tied the game 3-3 in the third period Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Blazers were not finished though and at the 13:04 mark, Brendan Ranford swooped behind the net and then slipped a nice backdoor pass to Tim Bozon who buried his 27th goal of the season past Polivka, putting Kamloops back in front 4-3.
Another Royals power-play goal, this time from Brett Cote at 14:59, once again tied the score, but then just 31 seconds later, rookie Jack Walker, a defenceman, somehow found himself in all alone on Chevaldave and he made a veteran move to his backhand, roofing the puck over Chevaldave and putting the Royals into the lead for the first time in the game.
Jack Walker’s backhand roof shot over Blazer goalie Cole Chevaldave was the game winner in the Royal’s comeback win on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
A major penalty and game misconduct to the Blazer’s Joel Edmondson would take any hopes of a comeback away from the Blazers, especially after the Royals Steven Hodges buried his second of the game at 16:48 to put the Royals up 6-4.
After that, the Royals were able to control the puck the rest of the way and come away with the dramatic come-from-behind win.