Raiders Use Last Minute Heroics to End Royals Streak

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victoria-royals

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

January 29, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In what can only be described as a strange night at the rink, Mark McNeill scored the tying goal with just 0.1 of a second on the clock and then Leon Draisaitl would score in the shoot-out, as the Prince Albert Raiders put a halt to the Victoria Royals’ seven-game win streak with a 6-5 win in WHL action Tuesday night in Victoria.

The beautiful thing about a clean sheet of ice at the start of a hockey game at any level is that one never quite knows how the game is going to evolve and what amazing plays, or strange events you will witness over the course of the evening that ultimately lead to the final score.

The Royals would start Coleman Volrath in net Tuesday in place of Patrick Polivka, who was riding a seven-game winning streak (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would start Coleman Volrath in net Tuesday in place of Patrick Polivka, who was riding a seven-game winning streak (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Sure there will be some predictability – players will skate up and down the ice, passes will be made, shots will be taken – but it is the little things, the intangibles and strange oddities that go against that predictability, that really make the game an interesting one to watch.

Tuesday’s Royals and Prince Albert Raiders game was one such example.

Victoria's Mitch Deacon, who scored Victoria's first goal, would be called for hooking Prince Allbert's Reid Gardiner on this play.  The Royals would end up scoring a short-handed goal with Deacon in the box (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria’s Mitch Deacon (left), who scored Victoria’s first goal, would be called for hooking Prince Allbert’s Reid Gardiner on this play.  The Royals would end up scoring a short-handed goal with Deacon in the box (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The oddities began very early in this one as on the opening rush, the Royals crashed the net and somehow a slow moving puck off the stick of Mitch Deacon found its way along the ice and through the legs of Prince Albert’s workhorse starting goalie Luke Siemens to give the Royals a 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game.

Following up on what anyone except Deacon would describe as an ugly goal, the Royals added to their lead at the 9:37 mark with a beauty, as Alex Gogolev would slip a pretty two-on-one pass over to the red-hot Brandon Magee who would rifle it past Siemens for the 2-0 lead.

Prince Albert's Davis Vandane would have a strong game for the Raiders, notching a goal and two assists against Victoria on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Prince Albert’s Davis Vandane would have a strong game for the Raiders, notching a goal and two assists against Victoria on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Just when the 4,445 in attendance thought they might be settling in to witness the Royals blow-out a road-weary Raiders team – playing their fifth game of a seven game BC road trip – the tide turned and the Raiders responded with three goals to take a 3-2 lead into the break.

Carson Perreaux would strike first for the Raiders at 13:27. Leon Draisaitl would tie things up just over a minute later at 14:47 and then with just under a minute remaining and with the Royals on the power-play, Davis Vandane’s point shot would elude Royals goaltender Coleman Volrath – making the start in place of the red-hot Patrick Polivka who had won seven in a row – and the Raiders, with that short-handed goal, suddenly had the lead.

Prince Albert's Carson Perreaux (25), who would finish with a goal and an assist, would be denied on this play by Royals goaltender Coleman Volrath (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Prince Albert’s Carson Perreaux (25), who would finish with a goal and an assist, would be denied on this play by Royals goaltender Coleman Volrath (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Royals would battle back however and at the 9:36 mark of the second, Alex Gogolev would take a beautiful stretch pass from Brett Cote and break into the clear, deking Siemens and slipping the puck under his pads to tie the game 3-3.

Exactly three minutes later, the Royals would get a short-handed marker of their own, when Steven Hodges would break down the wing and beat Siemens with a shot through the five hole to put the Royals up 4-3.

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That goal prompted the Raiders to make a goaltending change and pull Siemens – who has played in all but 5 of the Raiders 50 games – replacing him for the remainder of the period with backup Andy Desautels. Siemens used that time to get his head back into the game and he was back between the pipes for the Raiders to start the third.

The early part of the third featured chances for both sides, but it would be yet another shorthanded marker from the Raiders that would put them back into a tie with the Royals at the 13:55 mark. Perreaux would jump on a loose puck and go in on a breakaway only to be denied by a big save from Volrath, but Shane Danyluk would follow up on the play and get two whacks at the puck, putting the second under Volrath.

The Royals Ben Walker, making his return to the lineup after an extended injury, breaks through the defence of the Raider's Davis Vandane for a scoring opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals Ben Walker (10), making his return to the lineup after an extended injury, breaks through the defence of the Raider’s Davis Vandane for a scoring opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Royals would get that back just over a minute later, amazingly enough on the same power-play they had just given up the short-handed marker on, as Jack Walker would jump on a loose puck and fire one over the shoulder of Siemens, putting the Royals back into the 5-4 lead.

The Royals would cling to that lead and with just over a minute remaining, the Raiders would pull their goalie, but despite sustained pressure could not get the equalizer and the Royals appeared on their way to their 8th straight win, having only to win a faceoff in their own end with just 3.7 seconds left to secure the deal.

Alex Gogolev would have a goal and an assist for the Royals in a losing effort on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Alex Gogolev would have a goal and an assist for the Royals in a losing effort on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

However it was not to be, as the Raiders would push the puck to the net off the faceoff and somehow Raider’s leading scorer McNeill would get his stick on the puck and chip it up and over Volrath and into the net at the buzzer.

The play was reviewed and it was determined to be a good goal, having crossed the goal line with just 0.1 second remaining on the clock.

After overtime solved nothing, the teams went to the shoot-out. After a miss by the Royals Hodges, the Raiders’ Draisaitl would score. The teams would trade misses by the Royals Ben Walker and the Raiders Mark McNeill, which meant the Royals Magee needed to score, but did not, giving the 6-5 win to the Raiders.

Prince Albert's Leon Draisaitl would play Royal killer on Tuesday, scoring a goal, assisting on the tying goal with 0.1 second left and scoring the shoot-out winner in the Raiders 6-5 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Prince Albert’s Leon Draisaitl would play Royal killer on Tuesday, scoring a goal, assisting on the tying goal with 0.1 second left and scoring the shoot-out winner in the Raiders 6-5 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Game Notes: Victoria went 1/4 on the powerplay, and giving up two-shorthanded goals, while Prince Albert was 0/3, also giving up a short-handed goal to the Royals. The Raiders outshot the Royals 36-33.

The Royals now hit the road for a three-game road trip that begins on Thursday, January 31st in Kelowna. The Royals’ next home game is Tuesday, February 5th when they welcome the Seattle Thunderbirds to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

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