Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 23, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – For the second night in a row, the Victoria Royals were pounded by the Kelowna Rockets in WHL action, this time losing 7-2 on Saturday before a large crowd of 6,751 on Military Appreciation Night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria.
After giving up 6 goals on 23 shots in the 8-3 loss to Kelowna on Friday night, the Royals went with Patrick Polivka again in the net tonight, but unfortunately the ailing Polivka, who returned Friday from a lower-body injury, did not fare much better, giving up 3 goals on 6 shots to the high flying Rockets in just the first 5:31 of the game.
Despite getting past the Kelowna defence here, the Royals’ Jamie Crooks would be held pointless in the 7-2 loss Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The team in front of Polivka did not give him much help however, as the first two of the Rockets three goals came on the powerplay, the first by Captain Colton Sissons (his 25th) and the second by Tyson Baillie (his 22nd). Scoring the third for the Rockets was Cody Fowlie.
Kelowna’s Tyson Baillie would score his 22nd of the season and be named the 2nd star Saturday in the Rockets 7-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Polivka was replaced by Coleman Volrath at that point and he was immediately greeted with another Kelowna scoring opportunity, but made two big saves to keep the score 3-0.
That seemed to settle the Royals down somewhat and after that, they were finally able to mount some offensive pressure, responding with a goal from Jack Walker, who would pick up a rebound at the side of the net and bury it past a diving Jordan Cooke, the Rockets starting goalie, to make the score 3-1.
The Royals Ben Walker, here being slowed by Kelowna’s Damon Severson, would find the going tough all night in the 7-2 loss (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The score would remain that way until the 8:12 mark of the second period when the Royals would pull within one on a powerplay marker from Jordan Fransoo, who would one time a nice cross ice pass from Steven Hodges into the back of the net.
Kelowna’s Henrik Nyberg and the Royals Ryan Gagnon battle for position in front of the net on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria’s comeback was short-lived, however, as Jesse Lees regained the Rockets two-goal lead at the 10:35 mark. Fowlie would later score his second of the night at 17:29 and Kelowna carried a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.
Kelowna’s Jesse Lees would score the Rockets 4th goal on Saturday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals were unable to mount a comeback early in the final frame and Tyrell Goulbourne gave the Rockets a commanding 6-2 lead with a shorthanded goal at 13:12 of the third period.
The Royals frustration would come to the surface after that as first, the Royals Tim Traber would take offence to what he felt was a dirty hit on him by taking after a Kelowna player, earning a double minor for roughing and a 10 minute misconduct for his efforts.
On a rare offensive push into the Kelowna end Saturday, the Royals Brandon Magee looks for a way past Kelowna defender MacKenzie Johnston (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Rockets would put the final nail in the coffin on the resulting powerplay, as MacKenzie Johnston would rifle one past Volrath to make it 7-2 at the 16:51 mark.
More bad blood would ensue just over 20 seconds later as the Rockets Henrik Nyberg and Royals Ben Walker would be issued 10-minute misconducts. Just over a minute after that, following a Royals scoring chance and goalmouth scramble, the Royals Logan Nelson and Rockets Riley Stadel would engage in some fisticuffs, each getting a fighting major, while the Royals Taylor Crunk would earn a 10-minute misconduct on the same stoppage in play.
The Rockets Riley Stadel and Royals Logan Nelson would square off in a third period tilt on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Cooler heads would prevail after that and the Rockets killed the clock to earn the 7-2 win, their 44th of the season, keeping them in second place overall in the Western Conference and first in the BC Division.
Victoria went 1/5 on the powerplay, while Kelowna went 3/7. The Rockets outshot the Royals 37-28. Three stars for the game were Jack Walker of the Royals with the 3rd star, Tyson Baillie of the Rockets with the 2nd and teammate Cody Fowlie with 2 goal and an assist, with the first star.
Kelowna’s Zach Franko, who would earn an assist on the night, carries the puck into the Royals end in Saturday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria will now look ahead to hosting the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday, February 27th for Telus Night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.