Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
October 11, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – A shorthanded goal and two powerplay markers, plus stellar goaltending from Patrik Polivka, helped spark the Victoria Royals to a 4-0 shut-out of the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night in Western Hockey League action at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The Hurricanes came into the game struggling, managing just one win in the seven games they had played so far this season, but for the first period on Friday, they held their own against the Royals in what was an evenly played period, with both teams exchanging some big hits early on.
Victoria’s Tyler Soy carries the puck into the Lethbridge end during first period action Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Hurricanes in fact had some excellent scoring chances denied by the fine play of Royals goaltender Patrik Polivka, who seemed to be picking up right where he left off after his 2-1 win last week against Tri-City.
Victoria’s Ben Walker carries the puck into the Hurricane end while being pursued by an unidentified defender (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Hurricanes would make one critical mistake in the period however, turning the puck over in the neutral zone while on the powerplay, allowing the Royals Brandon Fushimi to streak in on a two-on-one, make a nice move and notch his 4th goal of the season at the 16:14 mark, putting the puck past Lethbridge starter Christopher Tai and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead, one they would take into the first intermission.
Lethbridge Captain Josh Derko gets set to fire a shot off the wing past Royal’s defender Jordan Fransoo (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would add to their lead early in the second period on a nice one-time goal from defenceman Joe Hicketts, who took a beautiful cross-ice pass from Logan Nelson and slapped the puck past Tai at the 3:52 mark to put the Royals up 2-0.
Lethbridge’s Macoy Erkamps winds up for a slapshot during a Hurrican powerplay on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Play after that would feature chances by both sides, with Polivka again coming up strong, notably on a fine glove save midway through the frame off Lethbridge forward Axel Blomqvist to keep the shut-out intact. The Hurricanes would have three chances on the powerplay late in the period, but were held off the scoresheet by Victoria’s penalty kill and the Royals headed into the second intermission leading 2-0.
Patrik Polivka would stop 27 shots, including this glove save in the second, to record the shut-out for the Royals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would put the game away early in the third period, as the frustrated Hurricanes found themselves in penalty trouble and gave up a pair of powerplay goals to the Royals. Logan Nelson would strike first at the 2:45 mark, as he skated into the slot and fired a laser past Tai for his 4th of the season, to put the Royals up 3-0.
Victoria’s Logan Nelson sets his sights on the net just prior to sniping home his 4th goal of the season on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Just under three minutes later, Austin Carroll would take a nice feed out of the corner from Hicketts, and make a quick deke to put Tai out of position and score easily into the open net, his 5th of the season, giving the Royals the 4-0 lead and closing out the scoring for the game.
Polivka for his part, remained strong, facing and stopping 27 shots in total, including another highlight reel glove save, to get the shut-out.
The Royal’s Jack Walker tries to stickhandle his way through two Hurrican defenders during Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With a goal and two assists each, the Royals Hicketts and Nelson earned the 1st and 2nd stars of the game respectively. Polivka with his 27 save shut-out was the third star.
The Royals and Hurricanes will conclude their two-game set tomorrow evening at 7:05 p.m. Victoria will then welcome the Prince George Cougars to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for two weekday games. The first is scheduled for an afternoon start of 1:05 p.m. on Thanksgiving Monday.
With a goal and two assists, Victoria’s Joe Hicketts would earn the first star of the game on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)