by Bryden Burrell
March 1, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – On Saturday afternoon at Panorama Recreation Centre, the South Island Royals took on the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in the first game of a weekend doubleheader. The Royals started Chris Smith in net, while the Thunderbirds responded with Josh Matzek.
South Island opened the games’ scoring on a Jordan Martin powerplay marker seven minutes into the contest. After a diving effort from Royals’ defender Kurtis Gamble to keep the play in the zone, the puck found the stick of Martin to the right of the Thunderbirds’ crease who walked out in front and slid the puck past Matzek.
Cameron Coutre looked to add to the South Island lead only minutes later as he received a cross-crease pass from Duncan Cochrane, but the Fraser Valley goaltender came across for the big pad stop. The save proved crucial, as the Thunderbirds evened the score at 6:13 after Andrew Strelezki deflected Tyler Wickman’s point shot past Smith. The teams traded powerplay opportunities late in the frame, but neither team could find the go-ahead marker as they headed into the first intermission tied 1-1.
Fraser Valley took their first lead of the game just past the five minute mark of the middle frame as Austin Wellsby converted on his partial breakaway chance. The Royals looked knot the game back up at the halfway mark of the stanza as Kayden Peck sent Haydn Hopkins in all alone, but Hopkins found his shot turned aside by the left pad of Matzek. South Island continued to press and was awarded at the 7:29 mark. Royals’ defender Josh Anderson threw a shot on goal from the left half-wall that was deflected by Andrew Jack over the shoulder of the Thunderbirds’ goaltender. South Island then reclaimed the lead only 12 seconds later as Brandon Tutte banged in a loose rebound in the crease. The Royals held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
Fraser Valley started the final stanza with a five-on-three man advantage and converted only 16 seconds in off a tally from Nicholas Ponak. Hayden Guilderson gave the Thunderbirds a 4-3 advantage before the five minute mark of the frame as his shot banked off the glove of Smith and over the goal line. With seven minutes left in the game, South Island grabbed their fourth tally off of a deflection from Nick Guiney in front of the Fraser Valley net.
Just over a minute later, Hopkins put the home team in front after he roofed a backhand shot over the glove of Matzek from the left face-off circle. Jacob Malloch added another goal for the Royals as they held a 6-4 lead with two minutes left to play. The Thunderbirds pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker, where South Island’s Ethan Waitzner and Fraser Valley’s Wellsby traded goals to round out the game’s scoring. Royals 7 Thunderbirds 5
South Island will conclude their portion of the 2013-14 BCMML Regular Season schedule tomorrow morning as they finish off their two-game series with Fraser Valley. Puck-drop is set for 9:00 a.m. at Oak Bay Recreation Centre.
For more information regarding the South Island Royals be sure to follow the team on Twitter at SIRoyals, or at www.southislandroyals.ca.