Hicketts Lifts Royals Over Blazers In OT

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Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

September 27,2014 Victoria, B.C. (ISN) – It took some late game heroics from a couple of Royal veterans but it was  enough to give the home team Victoria Royals their first win of the regular season with a 4-3 win over the Kamloops Blazers.

Defense was tight most of the game after the Royals game one 8-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals would prevail in OT with a 4-3 win. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsporrtmedia.ca)

On the back of Friday’s demoralizing 8-2 loss, the Royals looked to right the ship, giving the local hockey faithful a taste of winning hockey. The Royals were without their 6’6” winger Axel Blomqvist on Saturday after Friday nights check to the head by Blazer’s Patrik Maier. Despite the loss of Blomqvist, the Royals were bolstered by the return of another 6’6” player in defensman Keegan Kanzig, who was training with the NHL Calgary Flames organization.

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Defenseman 6’6″ Keegan Kanzig returned to Royals action Saturday night after an extended stay with the Calgary Flames to help control the play infront of the net – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

With both teams skating circles around each other in the opening minutes of the game, it was only a matter time before one team would blink. The Kamloops Blazers would be that team, when while Blazer’s Cole Ully was serving a penalty for cross checking, winger Brandon Fushimi would ripple the twine, beating starting goalie Cole Kehler. The Blazers assistant captain Ully would redeem himself for his earlier penalty and subsequent goal by scoring his third of the season on a Kamloops power play at 17:48 of the first period to pull his team even at 1-1.

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Brandon Fushimi celebrates the games first goal Saturday night with teammates – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

In the early minutes of the secondThe Victoria Royals Dante Hannoun, of Delta, would take advantage of a Ryan Rehill high sticking power play, being the recipient of a pass from Fushimi and Hicketts to put the puck in the back the net to take short lived 2-1 lead. The Blazers would find the equalizer only two minutes and thirty seconds later on a goal by Kamloops centerman Nick Chyowski to even the scoring 2-2.

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Blazer’s goalie Cole Kehler tries to smother a Royals shot on net. Blazers would outshoot the Royals 35-31 despite the loss – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Despite tight checking third period the Blazers would successfully kill off two consecutive penalties, denying the Royals the go ahead goal. The Blazers would claim that to themselves late in the third period when Mike Winther would sink the hopes of the True Blue fans with a goal that would beat Royals starting goalie Coleman Vollrath at 17:33 of  regulation time. The Royals, pressing in the Blazers end for a miracle would get an answer when Travis Brown would dig the puck out of a scrum just inside the blue line and send it cross rink to an open Austin Carroll. Carroll would one-time the puck, blasting it past an out of position Blazer net minder Kehler, tying the game up with only 42 seconds remaining, and sending Royals fans into a frenzy.

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Austin Carroll, shown here throwing the puck on net, would later put the puck past Cole Kehler with 42 sec remaining to put the game to OT – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

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Royals Travis Brown pursues Blazers Jermaine Loewen coming out from behind the net – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Kamloops Blazers, perhaps reeling from the home ice advantage would take one final costly penalty with twenty seconds left in regulation time when Ryan Rehill would take his second penalty of the game for a questionable interference call. 

Overtime and a two minute penalty was all the Royals needed as Joe Hicketts would pickup a loose puck after a Logan Fisher shot, pulling the puck away from a sprawling Kehler and putting in over his right pad into the back of the net for the dramatic 4-3 win at the 1:44 mark of overtime.

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Joe Hicketts skated agressively in the Blazers end trying to find the puck and the back for the Kamloops net. Hicketts takes a knee to knee hit while chasing down this puck – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Joe Hicketts and Dante Hannoun were named 1st and 2nd stars respectively in the game, the Kamloops Blazers Cole Ully took the 3rd star honours.

The Royals now head to Vancouver tomorrow to face the Vancouver Giants. Game time scheduled for 5:00 pm

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