Royals drop shootout to Giants

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by Corey St. Laurent, Photos: Kasey Eriksen

January 31, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – Friday night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals faced hosted the Vancouver Giants in the first of a two-game set. Victoria gave Patrik Polivka the start in net while Vancouver countered with Payton Lee.

Steven Hodges got the home team on the board just 2:17 into the opening frame. Axel Blomqvist, Brandon Magee, and Hodges connected on a tic-tac-toe passing play that saw the Yellowknife, NWT native tap the puck into an open net. The two teams traded chances as the game’s pace picked up, but both Lee and Polivka stood tall to keep it a 1-0 game after 20 minutes of play.

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A loose puck bounces into the air. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Dalton Sward tied the game for the Giants at the 8:00 mark of the second period. Sward put away an odd-angle rebound after Polivka made an enormous cross-crease glove save to deny the initial attempt. Magee regained the lead for the Royals with a powerplay tally at the 11:57 mark. The Edmonton, AB product walked down to the left face-off dot and wired a snap shot over the shoulder of the Lee for the 2-1 lead.

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The puck stays out. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Cain Franson responded for Vancouver just shortly thereafter, but Logan Nelson put Victoria back in front with 1:50 remaining in the frame. Hicketts sprung Nelson with a nice feed up the middle, before the Buffalo Sabres draft selection snapped a shot over the glove of Lee to give the Royals a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.

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Thomas Foster wasn’t the only one ducking to avoid being hit. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The back-and-forth play continued early in the third as Thomas Foster tied the game 3-3 for the Giants just 1:35 into the frame. Tim Traber later gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead at the 8:21 mark when the former Royal banged in a loose puck.

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Logan Nelson scores his teams third and go-ahead goal. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Nelson struck right back for Victoria with his 15th goal of the season just 1:30 after Traber’s go-ahead goal. Hicketts fired a pass around the end boards that found a streaking Nelson on the right wing. The Royals’ forward wristed a shot through the pads of Lee to even the score once again.

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Giants’ netminder Payton Lee lost his lid during a scramble for the puck. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Neither team was able to grab an edge in the final minutes of the third and the B.C. Division rivals headed to overtime in a 4-4 tie.

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Logan Nelson’s second of the night has the crowd joining in in the celly. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

After a scoreless overtime, the two teams headed to a shootout to determine a winner. The first round saw Nelson narrowly miss after he made a nice deke to his forehand before Franson got the Giants the lead with a shot over the blocker of Polivka.

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Tim Traber scores on Polivka. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The second round saw both Jack Walker and Brett Kulak turned aside by their opposing netminder. Ben Walker had a chance to extend the shootout for the Royals, but he was stymied by Lee and the Giants came away with the road victory. Giants 5 Royals 4, in a shootout.

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The Giants celebrate Tim Traber’s goal. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Victoria went 1/2 = 50.0% on the powerplay, while Vancouver went 0/1 = 0.0%. The Royals outshot the Giants 32-31.

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A battle for the puck. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Victoria will host Vancouver again tomorrow night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre! Saturday’s game marks the club’s third annual Pink in the Rink game in support of the BC Cancer Foundation! Tickets for Pink in the Rink are already limited, fans are encouraged to visit www.victoriaroyals.com to purchase at their earliest convenience.

Group together and save! Whether it’s a sports team, co-workers, or family and friends there are plenty of incentives to bring a group to a game. Discounted rates start at 10 or more tickets, and the bigger your group the bigger the savings! Call for details 250-220-7889 or visit www.victoriaroyals.com/groupnights. Don’t miss a second of the action, playoff packages are on-sale February 3rd!

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