Royals Burnt In OT By Blazers, Win Streak Ends At 5

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Erich Eichhorn (ISN) – The Victoria Royals had their 5 game win streak snapped on an 4-3 OT winner by the Kamloops Blazers in front of a near sell out crowd of 7006 cheering fans Friday night at Save On Foods Arena in the first of a back to back series.

The stands and the goal creases were full Friday night at Save On Foods Arena as the Royals dropped a 4-3 OT decision to the Kamloops Blazers during a nationally televised game on SportsNet. – Erich Eichhorn image(www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Victoria Royals returned to home ice Friday night after sweeping a three game swing of the Prairies with OT wins Edmonton and Red Deer, and a “gimme” against Calgary. The Royals hoped to take advantage of the cellar dwelling Kamloops Blazers with a game win in front of a national audience on a live broadcast of Friday Night Hockey On SportsNet.

While the Blazers are trying to climb out of the WHL Western Conference cellar, the Royals recent success put them into a two-way tie with the Portland Winterhawks for third place in the conference.

However, standings don’t always tell “the tale of the tape”. In four previous meetings this season, the Royals and Blazers have shared the win column with two wins each, making the weekends series all-important on many levels. 

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Royals Austin Carroll tries to lift the puck over starter Connor Ingram. Ingram would see 28-31 shots on net Friday – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Royals would appear to strike first when Royals Logan Fisher would beat Blazers netminder Connor Ingramfrom the point, but would be called off on a crease violation by winger Taylor Crunk.  The Don Hay coached Blazers would strike first when Cole Ully, scoring his twenty second marker of the season, would put his point shot past starting Royals goal keeper Coleman Vollrath at 16:13 of the first period. The Blazers would outshoot the Royals 18-10 in the period, and carry a 1-0 lead into the second period.

The Royals would even things up early in the second, when centre Greg Chase, on a pass from Tyler Soy, would beat Ingram from the left slot at 2:45 of the second frame. Not to be denied an answer, the Blazers would beat Vollrath only 36 second later on a tipped puck by Benjafield Quinn, who was camped in front of the Royals crease for the redirect and the 2-1 lead. Both teams, and the fans would enjoy a brief, two-minute bout of 4 on 4 action in an otherwise quiet, well disciplined game late in the period. Royals centre Alex Forsberg would make the most of the Blazer’s Marc McNulty penalty, beating Blazers goalie Ingram to pull his team even again 2-2. The Blazer’s would continue to pepper Vollrath, taking a 33-19 shots on goal margin in the locker room at the end of the middle period.

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Royals Brandon Magee, altough quiet on the night, would celebrate a Royals milestone as the alltime Royals franchise points leader – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Royals would take their first lead of the game late in the third period when the newly acquired Albertan rookie prospect Mathew Phillips, playing in his first WHL game, demonstrated his speed and his nose for the puck that made him a 33rd overall draft pick, would find the back of the Blazer’s goal to score his first WHL goal of his career.  The 5’7”Phillips would be named the third star of the game.  With less than five minutes remaining in the game, the Blazer’s Quinn would score his second goal of the night, knotting the score at 3-3 and send the game into extra time.

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Rookie Royal Matthew Phillips of Calgary, slips past the defense and got a great back hand shot on net – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

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The new face in the Royals crowd scored his first WHL goal in his first game Friday night. Congrats to Matthew Phillips – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Kamloops Blazers Ryan Rehill would score the OT winner to give his team the 4-3 win, and two desperately needed points. The win now extends the Blazers win streak to 4 games, while the Royals suffer their first loss in 6 games, falling to fourth place in the standings. Shots on goal favored the Blazers 45-31.

Game two takes place Saturday, at Save On Foods Arena. Game time 7:05 pm

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