Royals outdueled by Hitmen


by Corey St. Laurent, Photos: Erich Eichhorn

February 5, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – In a Wednesday night contest at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals concluded a two-game set against the Calgary Hitmen. The Royals gave Coleman Vollrath the nod in goal, while the Hitmen responded with Mack Shields.

Ben Walker opened the scoring for the home team with a powerplay goal at the 7:28 mark of the first. Walker’s initial shot from the left post was stopped, but he quickly chipped the loose puck over the sprawled goaltender.

Royals’ Braden Oleksyn challenges Calgary’s goalie Shields on the doorstep, but can’t raise the puck over the pads in a 7-6 loss Wednesday night– Erich Eichhorn image ( )

The Royals added to their lead with another powerplay goal from Austin Carroll at the 16:40 mark and didn’t stop there. The Victoria powerplay continued to roll as Axel Blomqvist notched the club’s third goal with the extra man with just 14 seconds left in the frame. Jordan Fransoo’s point shot deflected off the end boards and out to the bottom of the left face-off circle where Blomqvist fired it past Shield’s outstretched pad. The Royals took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

Ben Walker was in the right spot for his Royals team most of the night, putting two goals past the Hitmen’s goalie Wednesday night – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Calgary got on the board just 1:36 into the second period as Pavel Padakin’s centering pass deflected off a skate and found the back of the net. The home team quickly responded as Logan Fisher fired one home at the 3:20 mark. Mitch Skapski fed a pretty backhanded pass from behind the net into the slot where Fisher quickly slotted the puck glove side.

Royal’s Austin Carroll tries to take the saucer pass at the Hitmen blue line. Carroll would score a goal in game two and tally a total of four goals in the series – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Walker notched his second goal of the night on wrist shot from the left face-off circle at the 10:52 mark of the middle frame. Jaynen Rissling potted a goal for Calgary at the 14:06 mark before Chase Lang made it a two-goal game with 1:41 left in the second period. The Royals led 5-3 after 40 minutes of play.

After a shakey start for the Calgary Hitmen, allowing 5 goals in the first to periods, Hitmen goalie Shields would help backstop a Calgary win in game two – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Steven Hodges scored his 14th goal of the season at the 4:19 mark of the third period, but the Hitmen responded just 44 seconds later on a goal by Brady Brassart. Adam Tambellini notched a powerplay goal just 1:33 later and Mike Winther tied the game for Calgary at the 12:23 mark of the third stanza. After 60 minutes of play, overtime was needed to determine a winner.

Brandon Magee, a plus 1 in game two, takes the puck into the Calgary zone – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Padakin scored his second goal of the game on an individual effort at the 1:26 mark of the overtime period to give the Hitmen the victory. Calgary 7 Victoria 6, in overtime.

Royals centreman Steven Hodges sows some fancy footwork and puck control weaving through the Calgary defense – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Victoria went 3/5 = 60.0% on the powerplay, while Calgary was 2/5 = 40.0%. The Royals outshot the Hitmen 44-35.

Coleman Vollrath would look solid through almost two periods before letting in six goals in the last period and a half and left the Hitmen split the two game series – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

The Royals will now begin a stretch that will see the club play 10 of 11 games on the road. First up is a date with the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Interior Savings Centre.

Calgary’s Brady Brassart hopes for a deflected puck to get past Vollrath. – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

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