by Corey St. Laurent, Photos: Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
February 12, 2014, Victoria (ISN)- Wednesday night saw the Victoria Royals host the Tri-City Americans at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in the two clubs’ final meeting of the regular season. The Royals gave Coleman Vollrath the start in goal, while the Americans countered with Eric Comrie.
Logan Nelson got the home team on the board with his 19th goal of the season at the 11:16 mark after Steven Hodges made a nice move around a Tri-City defender and found Nelson at the side of the net.
Brandon Magee, the Royals valuable utility player, skates the puck up ice through the neutral zone. Magee would be uncharacteristically pointless throughout the game – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Nelson’s initial shot was denied by Comrie’s right pad, but the Rogers, MN native stayed with the puck and tucked the rebound through the pads of the Americans’ goaltender. The Royals looked to add to their lead late, but Comrie played well to keep the visitors within one goal after 20 minutes of play.
Victoria Royals Austin Carroll take a saucer pass from teammate Hodges and almost beats Americas goalie Comrie stick side – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Tri-City pressed throughout the middle frame to even the score, but Vollrath made key saves to keep Victoria in front. The Royals were tasked with killing off a five-on-three penalty late in the period. Victoria was able to kill the first penalty, but Mitch Topping’s point shot found the back of net with 1:15 left in the second period and sent the two teams into the second intermission tied at one goal apiece.
Royals Netminder Coleman Volrath stares down Tri-City Americas Parker Bowles as the puck drops in front of both players. Bowles would beat Volrath later in the game – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Parker Bowles gave the Americans a 2-1 lead just 1:19 into third period. Hodges quickly replied for the Royals with a powerplay marker just 1:23 later. The Yellowknife, NWT native dashed up the ice and deked his way into the Americans’ zone before he fired a perfectly-placed wrist shot over the glove of Comrie to tie the game. Tri-City outshot the Royals 14-11 in the third period, but Vollrath kept the visitors from finding another go-ahead goal.
Third star of the game, defensemen Jordan Fransoo would score the games winner in OT with a blast from the blue line that would beat goalie Eric Comrie – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Time expired in regulation and overtime was needed to find a winner, but the single point combined with an earlier Prince George loss clinched a berth for the Royals in the 2014 WHL Playoffs. Clinching the berth with 13 games remaining, the feat also marks a new franchise record.
Victoria Royals Steven Hodges would dance between two Americas defensemen and score on goalie Comrie as Hodges is taken off his feet by Carlo– Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Jordan Fransoo picked up his fourth goal of the season when his point shot squeaked past Comrie 2:26 into overtime to give Victoria their 39th victory of the season. Royals 3 Americans 2.
Austin Carroll looks for the tipped puck as a Tri-Cities D-man grimaces looking on hoping for the best after being beaten – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Victoria went 1/2 = 50.0% on the powerplay, while Tri-City went 2/5 = 20.0%. The Americans outshot the Royals 39-28.
You can never say that Royals Steven Hodges doesn’t go into the dirty places as he skates in to the corner after the puck with a Tri-City player in tow – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Royals are now undefeated in regulation in their past 11 games, breaking a franchise record set in 2010-11, and will head out an Eastern Conference road trip. Victoria will play seven games away from home before returning to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday, March 7th.
Royals #19 Logan Nelson would open up the scoring for his team against the Tri City Americas, with a +1 rating in the game. The Royals would win 3-2 in OT. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
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