Photo credit is Doug Love
(ISN) – Kennewick, WA- It was a solid way to end the regular season meetings between the Tri-City Americans (24-24-0-3, 51 pts) and Victoria Royals (28-20-3-1, 60 pts), with the Royals earning a 3-2 win in a shootout in front of 3,966 fans at the Toyota Center on Saturday night.
Victoria came out and broke the scoreless tie early, as Bryton Sayers fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and into the net for a 1-0 lead. The Royals outshot the Americans, 9-6, in the first period and held the lead going into the second.
In the second period, the Americans tried to get some momentum going, and found some energy on the power play 13 minutes into the period. A shot from Lucas Nickles produced a rebound, and Richard Nejezchleb was there to slap the puck into the net to even the score at one. Tri-City was outshot 13-4 in the second period, but the score was knotted at one heading into the third period.
Early in the third, Victoria retook the lead. Greg Chase skated into the offensive zone on a breakaway and scored to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. Tri-City fought to get back into the game, recording a number of scoring chances throughout the third. The Americans finally broke through with less than a minute remaining, as Nejezchleb scored his second goal of the game to even the score at two, sending the game into overtime.
Photo credit is Doug Love
Each team had chances in the overtime period, but neither could find a winner, forcing the game to a shootout. In the shootout, Victoria’s first shooter, Jack Walker, beat Eric Comrie top shelf. Tyler Sandhu, Parker Bowles and Nejezchleb all failed to score, allowing the Royals to leave Kennewick with a 3-2 win.
The Americans and Royals end the season series with two wins each. Tri-City has dropped three straight games.
Tri-City and Victoria each recorded four penalty minutes. The Royals were unsuccessful with two power play chances while the Americans converted 1-of-2 power play chances.
Coleman Vollrath stopped 22 shots in the win while Eric Comrie made 29 saves in the loss.
Tri-City has some time off before the team is back in action, as they travel next Friday, Feb. 6, to take on the Everett Silvertips (31-15-3-1, 66 pts) at Xfinity Arena. Game time is at 7:35 p.m. Tri-City won the most recent meeting between the two teams on Dec. 28, 3-2, at the Toyota Center. Listen to the game on NewsTalk 870 starting at 6:45 p.m., or watch the game through WHL Live or at Kimo’s, your Americans home away from home.
Jack in the Box Three Stars
1. Greg Chase, Victoria
2. Joe Hicketts, Victoria
3. Richard Nejezchleb, Tri-City