by Corey St. Laurent

December 14, 2013, Medicine Hat, AB (ISN) – In a Saturday night contest at the Medicine Hat Arena, the Victoria Royals faced-off against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Royals gave Patrik Polivka the start in net, while the Tigers answered with Daniel Wapple.

Polivka and Wapple exchanged key saves to keep the game scoreless early. Steven Hodges had the best opportunity to put the Royals on the board when he tested the Tigers’ netminder on an odd man rush, but had his shot turned aside by Wapple. Trevor Cox opened the scoring for Medicine Hat at the 17:14 mark before Curtis Valk increased Medicine Hat’s lead to two at 18:50 and Victoria headed to the first intermission trailing by a 2-0 score.

The Royals struck back early in the second period when Chaz Reddekopp recorded his first career WHL goal. The West Kelowna, BC native rushed the puck up ice from behind his own goal line before he wired a wrist shot past Wapple at the 3:20 mark for an unassisted tally. Medicine Hat responded on a powerplay at the 8:00 mark as Tyler Lewington’s point shot found its way through traffic and over the shoulder of Polivka. The Royals’ goaltender made several big stops late in the frame to keep Victoria down 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Recently-acquired Royal Braden Oleksyn dropped the gloves with Blake Penner early in the third period and earned the decision in his first career WHL fight. Victoria grabbed the momentum from there and Austin Carroll brought the Royals within a goal at 8:02. Axel Blomqvist recovered the puck in the right corner and found Carroll with a pass alone in the slot which the Scottsdale, AZ native snapped past the right pad of Wapple. Just 1:33 later, Carroll struck again to tie the game. Mitch Skapski popped the puck into the high slot from behind the net before Carroll hammered a slap shot to the back of the net high blocker side. Neither team could break the deadlock in regulation and extra time was needed to determine a winner.

Overtime failed to produce a winner as well and the two clubs headed to a shootout. Round one saw Medicine Hat’s Valk shoot first and beat Polivka with a backanded deke, while the Royals’ Ben Walker was stymied by Wapple. Polivka and Wapple then exchanged saves in the second round, but Miles Koules beat the Victoria netminder in the third round to secure the victory for the home team. Tigers 4 Royals 3, in a shootout.

Victoria went 0/3= 0.0% on the powerplay, while Medicine Hat went 1/4= 25.0%. The Tigers outshot the Royals 40-37.

The Royals continue a five-game road trip tomorrow afternoon when they visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The puck is scheduled to drop at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Victoria’s next home game goes at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on December 27th when the Prince George Cougars visit Vancouver Island for a two-game set.

Give the gift of hockey this holiday season by purchasing a Royals Holiday Combo or an Island Savings Kids Club membership! The Holiday Combo, available for $60, includes four anytime ticket vouchers and a gift. Kids Club memberships, for fans 12 years and younger, are available for only $20 and include four child tickets, a t-shirt, newsletters from Marty the Marmot and much more!