Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
October 16, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals pushed their win streak to five games Wednesday night as they would score four first period goals en route to a 5-4 win over the Prince George Cougars in WHL action at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The Royals, who shut-out the Cougars 3-0 on Monday, were looking good to do the same again Wednesday, as they would score early and often in perhaps their best period of the season, outshooting the Cougars 16-4 and jumping out to a 4-0 first period lead.
Brandon Fushimi got the crowd on their feet just 49 seconds into the game. Jack Walker broke down the left wing and fired a low shot that was kicked out by Cougars starter Brett Zarowny, but Fushimi jumped on the rebound to put the Royals on the board.
Victoria’s Ben Walker and Prince George’s Alex Forsberg battle for position after a first period face-off (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Luke Harrison added to the lead at the 10:08 mark. Logan Fisher pushed the puck through on an offensive zone face-off and fed Harrison in front of the net for the 2-0 lead.
Austin Carroll continued Victoria’s attack with a powerplay marker at 13:37. Carroll took a pass at the bottom of the left face-off circle and placed a perfect backhanded shot under the crossbar. The goal was originally waived off by the refs, however the Royals would score on the rebound anyway and upon review after that, Carroll’s shot was seen to have gone in under the bar first.
Victoria’s Tyler Crunk would be denied this first period scoring opportunity by Cougar goaltender Brett Zarowny (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That goal would spell the end of the night for Zarowny in the Cougars’ net, as he was replaced by Ty Edmonds after allowing the 3 goals on 14 shots.
While that move stemmed the Royals tide somewhat, with 2:05 left in the first, Tyler Soy scored his first goal of the season while on the powerplay when his one-timer from the right face-off dot snuck through the pads of Edmonds and gave the Royals a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Royals goaltender Patrik Polivka struggle to see around the screen set by Prince George’s Marc McNulty and Royals defenceman Ryan Gagnon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
It would have been nice to have been a fly on the wall in the Cougar’s dressing room during the break, because whatever it was that Head Coach Mark Holick said to his squad sure did the trick, as the Cougar’s pretty much turned the tables on the Royals in the period, outshooting them 10-5 and scoring three goals of their own to creep within one.
Marty-the-Marmot poses with one of his many young fans (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Prince George finally got on the board when Chase Witala’s slap shot off the right wing beat Royals starter Patrick Polivka 3:01 into the second, ending Polivka’s bid for a second straight shut-out against the Cougars.
The Cougars later cut into Victoria’s lead with a pair of goals from Troy Bourke and Marc McNulty at the 14:37 and 15:33 marks respectively. The Royals spent much of the middle frame on the penalty kill, but managed to head into the second intermission with that 4-3 edge.
Prince George’s Marc McNulty skates around his net to aviod the close pursuit of the Royal’s Tyler Crunk (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the third, Logan Nelson scored in his sixth consecutive game for Victoria 5:14 into the third frame. The Royals’ forward outskated a Prince George defender for the puck and made a pretty deke to his backhand to give Victoria the 5-3 lead.
Logan Nelson would score his third game-winning goal in a row, early in the third period Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Cougars answered back just 54 seconds later however, when Jansen Harkins picked up his own rebound and put the puck past a diving Polivka to make it 5-4.
With 1:10 left in the game, Prince George pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but the Royals fought them off to earn their fifth straight win and send the 3,766 fans in attendance home happy.
Despite losing his helmet in the melee, the Royals Keegan Kanzig would get the better of the Cougar’s Klarc Wilson in this third period fight (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The win moves the Royals to 8-5 on the season and vaults them into first place in the BC Division, two points ahead of second place Kelowna. They are also tied for second place in the Western Conference with Seattle, just two points behind first place Spokane.
Game Notes: Nelson’s third period goal was the third game in a row that he has scored the game winning goal. Victoria went 2/7 =28.6% on the powerplay, while Prince George went 1/4=25.0%. The Royals and Cougars each had 28 shots on goal.
While he would not score on this wrap around opportunity, the Royals Ben Walker would add a pair of assists and be named the first star in the Royals 5-4 win over Prince George on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals now hope to keep their momentum rolling as they hit the road for a pair of games this weekend, the first in Tri-City on Friday and then a big Saturday match-up with the first place Chiefs in Spokane.