by Bryden Burrell
January 25, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – On a Saturday afternoon at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the South Island Royals welcomed the Kootenay Ice for the first game of a two game weekend series. The Royals gave Chris Smith the start in net, while the Ice countered with Jason Mailhiot.
Kootenay struck first just over a minute into the first period as Spencer McLean fired a shot from the left face-off circle that eluded the glove of Smith for an early 1-0 advantage. The Ice stretched their lead to two just before the halfway mark of the frame as the puck came to Ross Armour in the slot who quickly snapped a shot past the blocker of the South Island netminder. With six minutes left in the stanza, the Royals responded with their first to cut the score to 2-1. From the right wing, South Island forward Kayden Peck made a nice centering feed to Nick Guiney in the slot who tipped the puck past an outstretched Mailhiot. The Royals tied the game before the first period expired as forward Cameron Coutre sniped a shot over the blocker of the Ice netminder from the right face-off dot. The scoreboard read 2-2 after 20 minutes of play.
The opening half of the middle period saw the teams exchange powerplay opportunities as they looked for the advantage, but neither team could capitalize. With eight minutes to play in the frame, South Island grabbed their first lead of the game. Off a two-on-one rush, forward Haydn Hopkins made a nice play to kick the puck to his stick before he centered a pass to Guiney who tapped the puck into the open net for the 3-2 lead. The Royals took the 3-2 edge into the second intermission.
The third period was penalty-filled as both teams started to throw the body around. Despite the number of penalties, neither team was able to convert when up a man. South Island found their insurance marker with 44 seconds left in the game as defenceman Connor Birmingham pounced on a rebound and roofed a shot over the glove of the Kootenay goaltender. Royals 4 Ice 2
South Island and Kootenay will conclude their two game set tomorrow morning at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Puck-drop is set for 9:00 a.m.
For more information regarding the South Island Royals be sure to follow the team on Twitter at SIRoyals, or at www.southislandroyals.ca.