Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 1, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Victoria netminder Patrik Polivka recorded his fifth shut-out of the season while the Royals Jack Walker provided the loan goal in a shootout to give the Royals a 1-0 win over the Everett Silvertips in WHL action New Year’s Day at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The win was the second one-goal win in two nights for the Royals over the ‘Tips, as they defeated Everett 3-2 on New Year’s Eve in Everett. The teams then boarded their busses for the return trip north for the New Year’s Day match.
Blame it perhaps on a New Year’s hangover and a long travel day to Victoria, but these Everett fans had some trouble spelling out “Go Tips Go” for their team during warm-up (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Chalk it up to travel, or perhaps a figurative New Year’s Eve hangover, but neither team was able to generate any offensive spark, especially the Royals, who were outplayed territorially in the first period and were outshot by the ‘Tips 16-9 after two.
Victoria’s Jake Kohlhauser (right) clears the puck while under pressure from Everett’s Ivan Nikolishin (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals best chance to score in the first period came off the stick of defencemen Brett Cote. After receiving a cross-ice pass from Steven Hodges, Cote was sent in alone down the wing only to have his effort denied by the blocker of Everett starter Austin Lotz and the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Everett’s Brayden Low looks for an opportunity as he carries the puck into the Victoria end during the ‘Tips 1-0 loss to Victoria Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The second period began with a spirited fight between Royals’ forward Logan Fisher and the Silvertips’ Brayden Low after Fisher threw a big hit just 27 seconds into the frame.
Shortly thereafter, the Silvertips believed to have the game’s first goal off of a deflection by Tyler Sandhu, but the goal was immediately waved off by referee Ryan Benbow and after a review, confirmed that that the puck was knocked in with a high stick.
Victoria’s Logan Fisher carries the puck into the Everett end during Wednesday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria had a great opportunity to put a goal on the board late in the second period when Hodges fed Austin Carroll at point blank range, but Carroll was denied by a big glove save from Lotz.
The teams traded powerplay chances to end the period, but the score remained 0-0 at the second intermission.
Everett forward Dawson Leedahl skates into the Victoria zone under the eye of Victoria’s Ben Walker during second period action Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals would turn things around in the third, beginning with a great opportunity to open the scoring after Axel Blomqvist corralled the puck behind the net and fed an open Ben Walker in the slot, but Lotz came up with another big save.
Everett defenceman Matt Pufahl (centre) winces in pain as he is helped off the ice with a leg injury after blocking a Victoria Royals shot during the third period on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria pressed to break the deadlock, throwing 17 shots at the Everett net in the frame, but regulation time failed to solve anything and overtime was needed.
After a scoreless overtime period, the two teams headed to a shootout to determine a winner as each goaltender was credited with a shutout for the first time in franchise history. The shutout gave Polivka his league-leading fifth of the year.
Both Everett’s Austin Lotz (left) and Victoria’s Patrik Polivka (right) were outstanding Wednesday, earning shut-outs for their teams, although the Royals would prevail in the shoot-out (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The first round saw Victoria’s Ben Walker and Everett’s Ivan Nikolishin fail to score. In the second round, Jack Walker made a quick move to his backhand and placed a shot top corner past Lotz to give the Royals the edge.
Everett’s Kohl Bauml (15) tries to prevent Victoria’s Austin Carroll (21) from getting to the front of the net during third period action Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Polivka followed up the Jack Walker goal with a big left pad save on Jujhar Khaira. Hodges was unable to end the game for Victoria, but another save from Polivka on Carson Standnyk sealed the victory for the home team.
Jack Walker’s backhand shot in the shoot-out was the only puck to find its way past Everett goalie Austin Lotz, but it proved to be the game winner in the Royals 1-0 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals will now head to Spokane and Portland for a two-game road trip that begins this Friday. The Royals return home on Friday, January 10th to host Team Canada World Junior star Nic Petan and the Portland Winterhawks for a two-game set.