Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
March 15, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals were looking for their third win in a row over the Victoria Giants, but instead came up flat, dropping a 4-1 decision in their three-game Western Hockey League finale Sunday afternoon at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Victoria defenceman Travis Brown (6) races to a loose puck in his own end under pressure from the Giants Jesse Roach (19) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
To be honest, over the first two periods of this game, the Royals, who are locked into second place in their division and who shut-out the Giants by scores of 2-0 and 3-0 on Friday and Saturday night respectively, played like a team that really didn’t care about this game and wanted to take a day off.
Victoria’s Tyler Soy (17) and Vancouver’s Carter Popoff (42) battle for the puck off a first period face-off (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While they jumped out to an early lead thanks to a goal just 2:44 into the game from Brandon Fushimi, that was to be the only highlight, as the Giants would take over from there, scoring two in the first and two more in the second, to hold a 4-1 lead after two periods of play.
Vancouver Goaltender Cody Porter (35) makes one of his 30 saves on the night, here off the Royal’s Brandon Fushimi (25), who would later score the Royals only goal of the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
So quiet were the Royals, that they mustered a measly two shots on goal in the second period of play, a statistic that will not get the job done against any team in the league, let alone the last place Giants, who heading into Sunday’s contest had lost nine straight. And it certainly was not the kind of killer instinct and intensity that a team like the Royals needs to have, day in and day out, to have any success in the upcoming playoffs.
Victoria forward Bryton Sayers (8) looks to avoid the back-checking of Vancouver’s Dawson Holt (39) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Perhaps that same message was communicated to the team by Head Coach Dave Lowry in the second intermission, because the real Victoria Royals finally showed up for the third period and peppered 18 shots at the Giants net. Unfortunately for them, Giant’s goaltender Cody Porter decided to pick today to have one of his best games of the season and he stopped all 18 to keep the Royals off the scoresheet in the period and earn his 13th win of the year, finishing with 30 saves in total.
The Luck of the Irish was not meant to be with Marty the Marmot or the Royals on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Offensively for Vancouver, Thomas Foster led the way with a goal and a pair of assists to earn the game’s first star, while Jacob Stukel and Dmitry Osipov had a goal and an assist each. Mason Geertsen had the other Giants goal.
Vancouver’s Thomas Foster (16), who would have a goal and two assists, is denied on this opportunity by Royals goaltender Justin Paulic (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the Royals, Fushimi’s goal, his 14th of the season, was assisted by Alex Forsberg and Joe Hicketts.
After back-to-back shutouts, the Royals Coleman Vollrath got the night off in favour of Justin Paulic, who stopped 25 of 29 in the loss, his 15th of the season.
Victoria’s Tyler Soy (17) looks to pwer past Vancouver’s Brennan Menell (21) in third period action Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals will now wrap up the 2014-2015 regular season with their last home game of the season on Friday March 20th and then head to Everett on Saturday night to battle the Silvertips again in a home-and-home affair. Start time for both games is 7:05 pm. The Royals first two playoff games have also been announced (opponent still TBA) and will be Friday and Saturday March 27th and 28th.
Vancouver goaltender Cody Porter stood tall in the third period Sunday, stopping all 18 shots thrown his way by the Royals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: In Friday night’s game the Royals Brandon Magee set a milestone by becoming the first player on Royals history to score 100 goals with the team. He also just needs three assists to surpass the team record for total assists of 151 which is held by Kevin Sundher. Goaltender Coleman Vollrath, with his two shut-outs Friday and Saturday has now set the franchise record for shut-outs in a season with six and is the first goalie in Royals history to record back-to-back shut-outs. Forward Austin Carroll needs just one more goal to set the record for most goals scored in a season. He is currently tied with Jamie Crooks (2011-2012) with 37.