by Corey St. Laurent
January 18, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Saturday night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals concluded a two-game weekend set with the Kelowna Rockets on Defence Team Appreciation Night. The Royals gave Patrik Polivka the start in goal, while the Rockets countered with Jordan Cooke.
Ben Walker got the home team on the board early with his 19th goal of the season 1:50 into the opening frame. The Edina, MN native circled out from behind the Kelowna net and tucked the puck under Cooke for the early 1-0 lead. Tensions between the two teams boiled over near the midway point of the period as Jack Walker and Riley Stadel dropped the gloves for a brief scrap. It was Myles Bell that responded for the Rockets to tie the game with 8:38 left in the first. Less than three minutes later, Bell added his second of the period before Mitchell Wheaton struck just 26 seconds after that to give Kelowna a 3-1 advantage at the first intermission.
Rourke Chartier made it a three-goal advantage for the Rockets 1:38 into the middle frame. After the goal, Coleman Vollrath replaced Polivka in the crease for the Royals. Axel Blomqvist got Victoria back on track when he made it 4-2 with 7:30 left in the second period. The Swedish forward found a loose puck in front of the Kelowna net and snuck it under the pads of Cooke. The Royals generated quality chances to draw closer in the final minutes, but skated into the break down two after 40 minutes of play.
Ryan Gagnon grabbed some momentum for the home team when he squared off with Carter Rigby in the opening stages of the final frame before Brandon Magee brought Victoria to within one goal at the 6:36 mark. After he was denied on his first shorthanded chance, Magee intercepted the puck at center ice and made a quick deke that beat Cooke and brought the crowd at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre to their feet. Marek Tvrdon quickly regained the Rockets’ two-goal lead with 10:47 remaining in the third period. The Royals were forced to kill late penalties and were unable to find a comeback. Rockets 5 Royals 3.
Victoria went 0/4 = 0.0% on the powerplay, while Kelowna went 0/5 = 0.0%. The Rockets outshot the Royals 33-30.
Following the game, a live auction was held that saw four game-worn jerseys given away in support of the Military Family Resource Centre. Over $3000 was raised in the live auction alone. More game-worn Defence Team Appreciation jerseys are still available for purchase at www.victoriaroyals.com/jerseyauctions.
Victoria now looks ahead to hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m.
We are Royal Blue, are you? 2013-14 season ticket, mini-plan and group packages are now available! To guarantee yourself the best seats at the best prices call 250-220-7889, visit www.victoriaroyals.com, or head down to the Victoria Royals Ticketing Office located at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Kids Club memberships, for fans 12 years and younger, are also available for only $20 and include four child tickets, a t-shirt, newsletters from Marty the Marmot and much more!