Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 5, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals used goals from four different players, including Jamie Crook’s 24th of the season, to secure a 4-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League action Tuesday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Coming off of a much needed win over Prince George in their last game, the Victoria Royals were looking to take advantage of a struggling Seattle team who have gone 0-8-1-1 in their last 10 road games and gave Patrik Polivka the start in goal, while the Thunderbirds replied with Sidney, BC native Brandon Glover.
The Royals Brandon Fushimi drives up the ice during first period action against Seattle Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After a relatively evenly played first 10 minutes, the Royals would open the scoring when Jamie Crooks scored his 24th goal of the season. Royals’ centerman Logan Fisher tied up his opponent in a face-off to the left of the Seattle net before Crooks found the loose puck and sniped a beauty high over Glover’s catching hand at 12:19.
Victoria’s Jamie Crooks would fire home his 24th goal of the season to open the scoring for the Royals in the first period on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals added to their lead late when Alex Gogolev scored for the third consecutive game at the 19:15 mark of the opening frame. Brandon Magee carried the puck down the right wing before he threaded a perfectly placed pass to the front of the net where Gogolev redirected the puck into the open goal. Victoria held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Seattle’s Alexander Delnov streaks ahead of the Royal’s Jamie Crooks during second period action Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Seattle cut Victoria’s lead in half on a Shea Theodore powerplay goal just 1:16 into the middle frame. Jerret Smith slid the puck across the blueline before Theodore one timed it high glove side on Polivka.
Victoria’s Alex Gogolev would score his 20th goal of the season in the first period Tuesday, but would leave the game early in the third period with a serious looking cut to his ankle (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals answered with a goal by Steven Hodges at 12:41. Ben Walker hit Hodges with a pass on a two-on-one rush and left the Florida Panthers draft choice with a clear path to the net. Hodges’ initial shot was saved, but a Thunderbirds’ player knocked the loose puck into his own net and Hodges was credited with his 21st goal of the season. Victoria finished the middle frame with a 3-1 lead.
Victoria’s Brett Cote avoids the pressure from the Thunderbird’s Riley Sheen during second period action on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria maintained their two-goal lead on the back of multiple key saves by Polivka in the final period while Glover also stood his ground in the Seattle net.
The Royals were assessed two minor penalties late in the game, but the penalty kill proved effective and Joe Hicketts would capitalize with a shorthanded empty netter – his second goal of the season – at the 19:09 mark. The rookie defenceman corralled a loose puck and launched a shot from his own zone that found the back of the open cage and sealed the victory for the home side.
Victoria’s Steven Hodges would net his 21st goal of the year on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The win might prove costly for the Royals as early in the third period, Gogolev went down awkwardly in the corner and lay prone on the ice, waving to the bench for assistance, as it appeared he suffered a deep cut to his ankle. He was assisted off the ice, leaving a trail of blood along the way. His condition was not known at press time.
Victoria went 0/3=0.0% on the powerplay, while Seattle went 1/4=25.0%. The Royals were outshot by the Thunderbirds 27-25. Patrick Polivka earned first star honours for his 26 saves, while Steven Hodges and Jordan Fransoo were named second and third stars respectively. Only 3,907 were in attendance, the Royal’s smallest crowd of the season thus far.
Seattle’s Seth Swenson drives past the check of the Royal’s Kolton Dixon during second period action on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals will host the Thunderbirds again tomorrow night with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Victoria then heads out on a six-game road trip that begins in Tri-City when they face the Americans on Friday, February 8th.