Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn
January 6,2016 Victoria, BC (ISN) – Goalie Griffen Outhouse stopped 38-40 shots and Alex Forsberg scored three times as the Victoria Royals split the two game, back to back series with a 6-2 win over the Tri-City Americans at Save On Foods Arena Wednesday night in front of 3451 true blue fans.
Royal’s Alex Forsberg would score a hattrick to help lift his team to a 6-2 win over the Tri-City Americans Wednesday night at SOF arena – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Winless in their last three games, the Royals, after squandering a 3 goal lead in game one to fall in overtime to Tri-City, looked to perhaps sharpen up their play ahead of team leader Joe Hicketts’ return to the Royals line up after his absence from WHL action due to Junior Team Canada commitments over the holiday break.
Riding on the play of Tuesday’s win, the 9th place Americans would control the play from the opening faceoff, playing the first two minutes almost exclusively in the Royals end, keeping the offensive-minded home team on their heals. The Royals would open the scoring at the 8:05 mark of the first period when Jack Walker would beat Americans starting goaltender Evan Sarthou for his sixteenth goal of the season on a feed from teammates Bobylev and Soy.
Tyler Soy tries to get the puck to the net past Dyan Coghlan of the Americans. Soy would factor in 3 of the Royals 6 goals on the evening – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Soy would come close to lifting his team to an early two goal lead when soon after Walker’s goal, Soy would split the Americans defense at their blue line to beat Sarthou but not the post on a quick wrister that was sure to lift the fans out of their seats if the attempt was successful. Logan Fisher would score the Royals second goal of the opening period, unassisted, with nine minutes remaining to give the Royals a 2-0 lead, chasing the Americans goalie Sarthou out of the net for replacement Nicholas Sanders.
Royal’s Griffen Outhouse was nearly unbeatable, only giving up two goals to the Tri-City Americans in game two action – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
After Tyler Soy would give the Royals a comfortable 3-0 lead at the start of the second frame with a short-handed goal, Alex Forsberg would heat things up. Forsberg, with a highlight reel goal, would undress Americans Morgan Geekie, passing the puck to himself through the skates of Geekie and snap it past Sanders high glove side to take a commanding four goal lead. The Americans would finally find a reply in Nolan Yaremko, beating and out of position Outhouse with a tap in on the assist from Parker AuCoin. Forsberg to record his second goal of the game on the powerplay from his team mates Walker and Soy to make it a 5-1 game going into the third period.
Forsberg was dangerous around the net as well as on the rush, adding three points to his team leading season total of 51 pts – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Teams would trade power play opportunities in the third period, each team given the advantage twice. Tri-City would pepper Outhouse in the period, testing him with 19 shots on net. Morgan Geekie of the Tri-City Americans would score an even strength goal to pull to within 2 goals with 10 minutes remaining, however, an opportunistic Forsberg would score the game’s final goal on the power play with all but three minutes remaining to give himself the hatrick, with three goals on four shots on net to give his Royals the win.
The Royal’s record improves to 24-14-1-3, good enough for 52 points and second place in the conference, two points ahead of the Prince George Cougars. The Royals will play away to the Cougars this weekend in a two game set in Prince George in a pivotal match up.