Photos by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
March 29, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In a Thursday night contest at Bear Mountain Arena the Victoria Royals took on the Kamloops Blazers in Game 4 of their WHL Western Conference Quarter-Final series.
The Royals looked to Patrik Polivka in net while the Blazers gave Cole Cheveldave the start.
Jamie Crooks opened the scoring for Victoria at the 4:01 mark of the first period. Logan Nelson collected a loose puck deep in the Kamloops zone before he centered a pass to Crooks who one-timed a shot past the glove of Cheveldave for the 1-0 lead. Nelson doubled the Royals lead with a powerplay marker at 10:38.
Royals Logan Fisher looks for the advantage slyly hanging onto the stick of Blazer’s Chase Souto – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
After he received a drop pass at the Blazers blueline, Nelson drove hard to the net before he made a move to his backhand and slid a shot through the legs of the Kamloops netminder. Kamloops got on the board with less than one minute remaining in the first period. Polivka made the initial save on a JC Lipon shot, but the puck rolled loose and Kale Kessy shoveled the puck into an open cage at 19:43. Victoria held a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes of play.
Blazer’s Matt Needham streaks in front of the Royal’s d-man Keenan Kanzig. Blazer’s would throw men at the Royals Patrik Polivka’s crease all night trying to shake the goalie’s concentration – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Kamloops evened the score 1:22 into the second period. Kessy corralled the loose puck behind the Royals’ net and threw a shot to the front of the net. The puck took a bounce off of a Royals’ defender and snuck through the pads of Polivka. Victoria responded quickly with their third goal of the night at 3:17 of the middle frame. Tyler Soy cut to the top of the left face-off circle before he fired a low shot on net that rebounded to the stick of Brandon Fushimi.
Royals Tim Traber would get the worst of his own attempt to hit the Blazer’s Kale Kessy – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The rookie forward made a quick move and snapped the puck past a sprawled Cheveldave to give the home team a 3-2 lead. The Blazers answered when they tied the game at the 7:16 mark. Kessy completed the hat trick after he finished a tic-tac-toe play from Lipon and Colin Smith. The see-saw period continued when Victoria pulled ahead again while on a five-on-three powerplay.
Royal’s Ben Walker would be allowed to walk in and beat Blazer’s Cole Cheveldave stick side high during game 4 action at a sold out Bear Mountain Arena – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Crooks circled behind the Blazers’ net before he spotted Ben Walker alone at the top of the crease. Walker made no mistake as he chipped the puck over Cheveldave at 9:03 to give Victoria a 4-3 lead that stood as the two teams headed into the second intermission.
Royals Logan Nelson knocks Blazers Brendan Ranford off the puck in a tight checking game Thursday night – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The two clubs continued to battle for control of the game early in the final period. Polivka maintained his solid play, but the Blazers picked up the equalizer at 15:42 of the third frame when Marek Hrbas netted his first goal of the post-season.
Royals Taylor Crunk plays goalie, with Patrik Polivka out of position, taking the feet out from under the Blazers Tyler Hansen that was parked in the Royals crease – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Kamloops defenceman released a snapshot from the left wing that beat Polivka under the blocker to even the score at four goals apiece. Hrbas’ game-tying goal would stand up as the only marker of the period and extra time was needed to decide a winner.
Royals goalie Patrik Polivka scrambles to get back into position to stop Blazers Chase Souto coming in on the weak side. Polivka would see a busy night facing 48 shots in a 5-4 overtime loss at Bear Mountain arena – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The back-and-forth battle extended to overtime as a quick pace saw both teams earn opportunities to decide the game. Nearly 18 minutes would elapse before Dylan Willick gave the Blazers the win. Needham connected with Willick in the slot before the forward fired a wrist shot past Polivka to vault Kamloops to victory. Blazers 5 Royals 4 in overtime.
Victoria went 2/4 = 50.0% on the powerplay while Kamloops was 0/4 = 0.0%. The Blazers outshot the Royals 48-24. Kamloops leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Steven Hodges looks to get his Royals team on the board early during game 4 at Bear Mountain arena. Royals would drop an overtime decision 5-4 Thursday night – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Royals will now travel to Kamloops to face the Blazers in Game 5 of their WHL Western Conference Quarter-Final series on Saturday, March 30. Puck drop for Game 5 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Interior Savings Centre. Game 6 (if necessary) will take place on Monday, April 1 at Bear Mountain Arena with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
Here Comes the Blue! Tickets for Game 6 (if necessary) at Bear Mountain Arena are still available, but going fast. Fans are encouraged to order tickets in advance by calling 250-220-7777, going online to www.selectyourtickets.com or visiting the Select Your Tickets box-office.