Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
October 3, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals began the Western Hockey League (WHL) season 4-0 for the first time in team history with a 5-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night in front of 4,101 fans at the Save-on-Food Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Victoria’s Jared Dmytriw (27, right) celebrates the Royals second goal Saturday along with Logan Fisher (20) and goal scorer Regan Nagy (obscured) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to the 4-0 milestone, the Royals set a couple of other milestones with the win Friday, with defenceman Joe Hicketts, who had three assists, becoming the franchise leader for most assists by a defenceman. Hicketts, who now has 94 assists over 170 games, surpasses Chilliwack rearguard Brandon Manning who held the previous record of 91.
Kamloops defenceman Ryan Rehill, skates away from back pressure from the Royal’s Jared Dmytriw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Goaltender Coleman Vollrath, who stopped 25 of 26 shots Saturday for the win, also set a milestone by tying former Royals goaltender Patrik Polivka for the most victories in Royals history with 56. Vollrath also moves to within four game of the franchise record for wins, which is 60 held by Lucas Gore.
Victoria’s Regan Nagy (24, left) prepares to shoot the puck into the net for the Royal’s second goal of the game, past a sprawling Connor Ingram, the Kamloops goalie (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals never trailed in this one, getting a goal at 13:31 of the first by Matthew Phillips, who snapped a laser over the shoulder of Kamloops starter Connor Ingram for his first of the season, and a second by Regan Nagy at the 19:33 mark, to take a 2-0 lead into the room at the break.
Royals goaltender Coleman Vollrath (35) stopped 25 of 26 shots to earn his 56th win as a Royal, tying him for the all-time team lead in that category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Second period goals from the Blazers Nick Chyzowski and the Royals Tyler Soy, on the powerplay, made it 3-1 Royals into the second intermission and another pair of Royals goals in the third by Alex Forsberg and Jack Walker put the game on ice for the home squad.
With three assists Saturday, the Royals Joe Hicketts (2) took over the franchise lead for most assists by a defenceman with 94 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to the game’s first star Hicketts with his three assists, the Royals Walker (a goal and two assists) also had a three-point evening, whie Soy chipped in a goal and an assist. Vladimir Bobylev, Ethan Price, Jared Dmytriw and Logan Fisher also tallied assists for the Royals.
Kamloops forward Jake Kryski (12) prepares to fire a backhand on net during this second period scoring chance on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals outshot the Blazers 35-26 for the game and were 2 for 4 on their powerplay opportunities, while the Blazers were blanked in their two powerplay chances.
Kamloops’s Colin Shirley (15) tries to make life and the view tough for Victoria goaltender Coleman Vollrath during second period action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Royal’s Assistant Coach Ennio Sacilotto was pleased with his teams performance and in particulalr how his team has battled to win a pair of back-to-back series. “If you would have told me we were going to be 4-0 back in training camp, I would have said that would be great,” said Sacilotto following the game. “And it is. We are really pleased with the way things are going and the way that our boys are playing right now.”
Kamloops centre Matt Needham (14 centre), battles for a loose puck with the Royal’s Jared Dmytriw (right) and Logan Fisher (left) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“Winning back-to-back games at home was a pretty big feather in the cap for our boys as well. That is a pretty tough challenge and a hard thing to do in this league and we have done it two weekends in a row now.”
The Royal’s Jack Walker (9) had a goal and two assists in the Royals 5-1 win Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals will look to win back-to-back games for a third time this season starting on Tuesday night Oct. 6 when the Spokane Chiefs come to town for a 7:05 pm start and then repeat things again on Wednesday night Oct. 7 again at 7:05 pm start.
Tyler Soy (17) had a goal and an assist for the Royals on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Former Royal Brandon Magee has signed an AHL contract with the Texas Stars. Magee attended the training camp of the Dallas Stars this summer. With two goals in Friday night’s 4-2 win Royals defenceman Chaz Reddekopp notched the first multi-goal game of his WHL career.