January 19, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In a Friday night match-up at the Pacific Coliseum, the Victoria Royals squared off against the Vancouver Giants. The Royals started Patrik Polivka in net while the Giants gave the nod to Payton Lee.

Vancouver opened the scoring at 12:11 of the first period on a shorthanded marker from Brendan Rouse. Polivka stopped Jackson Houck’s breakaway attempt, but could not chase down the rebound as he left his crease. Rouse then picked up the turnover near the left face-off dot and feathered it into the open cage to take a 1-0 lead. Trent Lofthouse pulled the Royals even when he converted with 12.8 seconds left in the frame. Alex Gogolev fed a pass from behind the net to Lofthouse who was wide open in the slot. Lofthouse accepted the pass on his backhand and quickly moved it to his forehand before he snapped a shot under Lee’s glove. After one period of play the two clubs were tied 1-1.

Austin Carroll gave the Royals their first lead of the game when he found the back of the net at the 9:30 mark of the middle frame. Brandon Fushimi fed Carroll a pass in the neutral zone to spring the big forward down the right side. Carroll out-muscled the Giants’ defenceman as he skated down the right wing then cut to the middle and slipped the puck between Lee’s pads. The Royals struck with two powerplay markers in the last three minutes of the frame. Gogolev extended Victoria’s lead to 3-1 when he picked up Jordan Fransoo’s blocked point shot to the right of the Vancouver goal and hammered it home at 17:35. Steven Hodges then gave the Royals a three-goal lead when he buried a powerplay marker of his own at the 18:25 mark. Brandon Magee fed a pass to Hodges on the left faceoff dot. The Yellowknife, NT native lost the puck in his skates, but spun around and fired it under the pads of the Giants’ netminder. Hodges’ goal sent the Royals to the locker room with a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Vancouver cut the lead in half when they were able to capitalize on a powerplay opportunity. Cain Franson accepted Houck’s cross-crease pass to the left of the Royals’ net and shot the puck past a sprawling Polivka. Hodges would restore Victoria’s three-goal lead at 16:26 of the final frame with his second of the night. The Florida Panthers’ draft pick collected the puck at the Vancouver blue line before he snapped a shot off the right wing that found its way under Lee’s blocker to extend the Royals’ lead to 5-2. Tyler Soy then rounded out the scoring as he netted his first WHL goal for Victoria with 36 seconds remaining in the game. The 15-year-old beat the Giants’ netminder from the neutral zone as he flipped a shot from centre that took a bounce and found the back of the net. Royals 6 Giants 2.

Victoria went 2/4 = 50.0% on the power play, while Vancouver was 1/6 = 16.7%. The Giants outshot the Royals 32-26.

The Royals will now travel to Kamloops to face-off against the Blazers tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Victoria then returns to the island to host the Vancouver Giants on Friday, January 25th and Saturday, January 26th. Saturday’s game also marks the Royals annual Pink in the Rink game in support of the BC Cancer Foundation!

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