Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 24, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Brandon Fushimi had a pair of goals and an assist and Justin Paulic stopped all 26 shots that he saw to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-0 win over the visiting Kamloops Blazers in Western Hockey League action Saturday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Victoria’s Greg Chase (left) and Kamloop’s Joel Hamilton (right) battle for a loose puck (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win avenged the Royal’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Blazers on Friday night and earned Paulic his fourth win as a Royal, much to the delight of the 5,501 fans in attendance.
The Royals were particularly effective on the powerplay Saturday, scoring four goals with the man advantage, on seven opportunities. This included a first period marker by Greg Chase and second period goals from Jack Walker, Alex Forsberg and Brandon Magee.
Victoria’s Tyler Soy dishes a pass in the first period Saturday. Soy would finish with a pair of assists (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Both of Fushimi’s goals came on even strength chances, including one in the first period that gave the Royals a 1-0 lead just over eight minutes in and his second, late in the second.
The Royals led 2-0 after the first period and added four more in the second to take the 6-0 lead to the second break. There was no scoring in the third.
Victoria’s Greg Chase is greeted warmly Saturday by Kamloops’ Collin Shirley (15) and Logan McVeigh (38)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Blazers, who never really threatened, were outshot 37-26 for the game and only mustered five shots on goal in the third period. Connor Ingram got the start in net for the Blazers, but was pulled at 14:57 of the second after surrendering the Royals fifth goal. Cole Kehler came in for relief and finished with 13 saves and one goal against.
Victoria’s Greg Chase (15) would score one of Victoria’s six goals Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to Fushimi, other Royals enjoying good nights were Jack Walker, with a goal and an assist and flashy 16-year old rookie call-up Matthew Phillips, who, after scoring his first WHL goal Friday night, added two assists on Saturday to impress the crowd with his two-game major junior debut.
Victoria’s Brandon Magee (18) would have a goal and an assist against the Blazers Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Phillips, who was selected by the Royals as the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft, plays for the Calgary Buffaloes of the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League where he is lighting it up with 28 goals and 34 assists in 30 games so far this season.
Victoria’s Logan Fisher moves the puck away from his net in the second period Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Tyler Soy also added a pair of assists, with other helpers going to Joe Hicketts, Travis Brown, Brandon Magee, Austin Carroll and Chaz Reddekopp.
With the win, the Royals improve to 26-19-3-1 and they remain second in the BC Division and fourth overall in the Western Conference, one point back of Portland.
Royals goaltender Justin Paulic (left), with 26 saves and forward Brandon Fushimi (right) with 2 goals and an assist, would lead the Royals to the 6-0 win Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Blazers drop to 18-25-3-3 and they sit tied for third in the BC Division with Vancouver and Prince George and are still vying for one of the three guaranteed playoff spots in the Division.
Next up, the Royals hit the road for games Wednesday in Portland, Friday in Spokane and Saturday in Tri-City. They return home on Saturday Feb. 7 for a 7:05 start against Red Deer.
Victoria’s Taylor Crunk (22) was thwarted on this scoring chance by Kamloops goalie Cole Kehler (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: The win means the Royals improve to 6-3-0-0 this season in second games of back-to-back match ups against BC Division opponents. With the Blazers going 0 for 4 on the powerplay, the Royals have now not allowed any powerplay goals in seven of their last 11 games.
Royals rookie call-up Matthew Phillips has had an impressive debut with the team, with a goal and two assists in his first two games (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)