Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
November 16, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals hosted a big mascot birthday party Saturday evening in honour of Marty-the-Marmot’s 8th birthday, but the Seattle Thunderbirds spoiled all the fun by skating to a 3-1 win in front of 5,073 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
The win for the Thunderbirds avenged their 2-1 overtime loss to the Royals on Friday evening and also ended both the Royals brief three-game win streak and that of goaltender Coleman Vollrath who has been between the pipes in the last four games for the Royals.
Hometown boy Jack Palmer puts a screen up in front of Seattle goaltender Danny Mumaugh during an early Royals powerplay Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would have an early opportunity to score as they began the game with an early powerplay on which Ben Walker would fire a quick shot past Seattle starting goaltender Danny Mumaugh, but ring it off the post.
Victoria’s Luke Harrison carries the puck into the Seattle zone during first period action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Seattle would then get their own powerplay opportunity when Isaac Schacher was called for hooking and they would capitalize when Justin Hickman put a powerplay marker past Vollrath at the 4:34 mark.
The Royal’s Walker would have a glorious opportunity later in the period to even things up, when he broke in alone on Mumaugh, but could not finish, losing control of the puck as he tried to beat the Seattle goalie on the glove side.
The Royal’s Ben Walker would miss a glorious opportunity to score on this first period breakaway opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The physical play ramped up as the frame progressed, but Victoria was unable to find an equalizer and headed into the first intermission down by one goal.
The Royals would tie the game at the 5:35 mark of the second period. Isaac Schacher dumped the puck into the Thunderbirds’ zone and as Mumaugh moved behind the net to play the puck, it took an odd bounce off the glass right on to the stick of Austin Carroll who pounced on the empty net opportunity.
Seattle’s Jared Hauf (right) gets away with a little bit of obstruction on the Royals Brandon Magee (left) during the first period Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Seattle regained their lead at 10:22 on a goal by Jaimen Yakubowski, as he batted home a rebound after Vollrath had difficulty corralling the initial shot from Branden Troock.
The Thunderbirds would have an excellent opportunity to add to that lead following a double minor to Jordan Fransoo – who took Roberts Lipsbergs dangerously into the boards from behind – that gave Seattle an extended two-man advantage. The Royals’ penalty killers responded strongly however and kept the T-Birds off the score sheet the remainder of the period.
Victoria’s Austin Carroll would be denied on this chance but would later score Victoria’s only goal against Seattle Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Seattle began the third period on the attack, but Vollrath continued his strong play of late and made several key saves to keep it a one-goal game.
Ben Walker nearly knotted the game at 13:39, but Mumaugh got just enough of his shot and turned aside the chance.
Marty-the-Marmot (reclining) celebrated his 8th birthday Saturday along with his minor hockey and mascot friends (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With Vollrath on the bench for an extra attacker, Seattle capped the game off with an empty net goal at 18:59 to give the Thunderbirds the win.
Victoria went 0/4=0.0% on the powerplay, while Seattle went 1/7=14.3%. The Thunderbirds outshot the Royals 27- 25.
Victoria’s Ben Walker tries to navigate through the checks of Seattle’s Branden Troock (11) and Shea Theadore (17)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With his 24 saves, Seattle’s Mumaugh was awarded third star honours, while teammate Troock, with a pair of assists was second star. The Royals speedy Ben Walker, the most dangerous Royal on the night, was named first star.
Seattle’s Roberts Lipsbergs (29), here battling for the puck with the Royal’s Brandon Magee, would later score Seattle’s winning goal Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals will look to rebound on Tuesday night when they travel to Kamloops to take on the Blazers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Interior Savings Centre.
Seattle’s Branden Troock would have 2 assists to earn second star honours Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The next home game for Victoria will be against the same Blazers on Friday, November 22nd at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Puck drop next Friday is set for 7:05 p.m.