Photographs by Glenn Ivens
March 9, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In a Friday night contest at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals squared off against the Vancouver Giants in the first game of a home-and-home set. The Royals started Coleman Vollrath in net while the Giants countered with Jared Rathjen.
Brandon Magee opened the scoring when he netted his 30th goal of the season with a short-handed goal at 7:36 of the first period. Steven Hodges raced down the left wing before he fed a pass through the legs of a Vancouver defender onto the stick of Magee who wristed it into the back of the net. The Giants responded quickly on a goal by Cain Franson at 8:15 on the powerplay. The puck redirected in the slot after a point shot and found its way on to the stick of Franson who squeaked the puck under the left arm of the Victoria netminder. The remainder of the period saw both sides earn chances to break the tie, but after 20 minutes of play the teams were deadlocked in a 1-1 tie.
Royals defenseman Kolton Dixon dumps the puck into the Giants zone during 1st period of Fridays WHL game at Save On Foods Memorial Centre. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Ben Walker took the lead for the Royals at 4:23 of the middle frame. Logan Nelson started a pretty tic-tac-toe play when he fed a pass to Austin Carroll in the high slot. Carroll then found Ben Walker who had snuck behind the Vancouver defencemen before he backhanded the puck into the open net. Hodges extended Victoria’s lead to 3-1 at 12:41 while the teams played four-on-four hockey. Jamie Crooks made a nifty play behind the Giants’ net before he found Hodges in front of the net where the Florida Panthers’ draft pick snapped the puck past Rathjen stick side. Tyler Morrison quickly brought the Giants back within one at 13:30 when Franson broke away from a Royals’ defenceman and tried to beat Vollrath five-hole. Vollrath made the initial save, but the puck flipped up into the air before Morrison tucked it in. Alec Baer later evened the game for Vancouver on a two-on-one play at the 17:00 minute mark. Franson streaked down the right wing and made a cross-ice pass to Baer who slapped home the first goal of his WHL career. Headed into the second intermission the teams were tied once again at 3-3.
Victoria Royals Jack Walker, seen unleashing a shot in the 1st period, scored his 8th goal of the season to put the Royals on top for good. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Coleman Vollrath gets his blocker on a shot from the Vancouver Giants and would back stop the Royals to a 5-3 victory. (photo by Glenn ivens)
Jack Walker scored his eighth of the season at 4:26 of the final frame to give Victoria the lead. Ben Walker won a face-off draw to the right of Rathjen where Jack Walker picked up the puck and sniped it through the five-hole of the Vancouver netminder. Vancouver pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, but Hodges scored his second of the night into an empty net with 41 seconds remaining to seal the victory and tie the franchise record for regular season wins with 33. Royals 5 Giants 3.
Steven Hodges of the Victoria Royals gets a peice of Vancouver Giants Taylor Vickerman during Friday nights WHL tilt at Save On Foods Memorial Centre. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Victoria went 0/4=0.0% on the powerplay, while Vancouver went 1/4=25.0%. The Giants outshot the Royals 31-29.
Victoria now travels to Vancouver to face-off against the Giants for the second half of a home-and-home series. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The Royals will then host the Portland Winterhawks on Sunday, March 10th for a two-game home stand. Puck drop is set for 5:05 p.m. on Sunday.
We are Royal Blue! Are you? Guarantee yourself the best seats for upcoming Royals games by visiting www.selectyourtickets.com, calling 250-220-7777 or visiting the Select Your Tickets box-office at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Mini-Packs, Vouchers and special rates for groups of 10+ are available by visiting www.victoriaroyals.com or calling 250-220-7889.