Royals Fall to Rockets in Shoot-Out

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Victoria-Royals-(1)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

October 26, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Rebounding from a tough 4-1 loss on Friday, the Victoria Royals played a much better game Saturday, but the result ended the same, as they dropped a 2-1 shoot-out decision to the Kelowna Rockets in WHL action at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.

The Royals finished the game outshooting the Rockets 34-28 through three periods, but the stellar play of Kelowna netminder Jordon Cooke kept the Royals from breaking the deadlock. Of particular note was a point blank glove save on the Royals Brandon Magee midway through period three that left the crowd of 4,541 gasping in disbelief.

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Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts (2) tries to sweep the puck  away from Kelowna’s Rourke Chartier during Saturday’s 2-1 Rocket’s win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Rockets would open the scoring at the 17:09 mark of the first period, when Nick Merkly would take a feed high in the slot from Kris Schmidli and rip one to the top corner over the shoulder of Royals starter Coleman Vollrath.

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The Royal’s Joe Hicketts is slowed down by back pressure from Kelowna’s Myles Bell in Saturday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Royals would answer on the powerplay at the 12:05 mark of the second, although for a moment, it looked like a referee’s call would deny the Royals their first goal of the evening for the second night in a row.

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Victoria’s Keegan Kanzig skates behind his own net to avoid the forecheck from Kelowna’s Cole Linaker (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Brett Cote batted the puck toward the net from a scramble in front and it appeared that Cooke had made the save, but just as the whistle was sounding, the puck squeezed through the back of his pads and just across the goal line before being swept out by a Kelowna defender.

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Victoria’s Brett Cote would be stymied on this rush by Kelowna’s Damon Severson, but earlier he scored the Royals’s lone goal (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The goal was waived off on the ice, but after video review it was allowed and the Royals had knotted the score 1-1.

Both teams would have ample chances to score in the remainder of the period – the shots were 19 to 11 for the Royals – but both goalies made the saves when needed to keep the score tied.

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It was a goaltender duel Saturday as Victoria’s Coleman Vollrath (left) and Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke (right) surrendered just a single goal each through OT, with Cooke prevailing in the shoot-out  (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Tempers flared midway through the final frame as the Royals’ Jake Kohlhauser and Rockets’ Tyrell Goulbourne dropped the gloves for a quick bout that brought both benches to their feet.

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Victoria’s Ben Walker (10) drives hard to the net to look for a chance under the close checking of Kelowna’s Joe Gatenby (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Victoria continued to press and had the better of the chances between the clubs, including a few from a snake-bitten Magee, who in addition to being robbed by Cooke on the glove save mentioned earlier, had a few other in-close chances but simply could not find the net.

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The Royal’s Austin Carroll sweeps in off the wing for a scoring chance in front of Kelowna’s Madison Bowey (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After overtime solved nothing, a shootout was needed to determine a winner. Round one saw Kelowna’s Justin Kirkland ring a shot off the post, while the Royals’ Logan Nelson was stymied by the glove of Cooke. Myles Bell found the back of the net for Kelowna in the second round on a backhand deke before Victoria’s Jack Walker narrowly missed his chance, pushing the puck just wide of the post.

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Victoria’s Luke Harrison carries the puck over the Kelowna blue line during third period action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Vollrath stopped Zach Franko in the third round, but Ben Walker was unable to extend the shootout and the Rockets skated away with the two points.

For his 33 save performance, Kelowna’s Cooke was named the first star, with the Royal’s Magee taking second star honours and the Rocket’s goal scorer Merkley getting the nod for third.

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Kelowna defenceman Madison Bowey cuts hard around his net with Victoria’s Brandon Fushimi in hot pursuit during third period action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Royals continue their five-game home stand when they welcome the Red Deer Rebels for back-to-back contests beginning on Friday, November 1st and concluding the following night. Both games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. starts.

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Jack Walker’s shoot-out attempt would slide just wide of the post, as Kelowna goaltender Jordon Cooke would stop all three shooters to get the 2-1 win Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

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