Victoria, BC- The Victoria Royals’ Matthew Phillips scored the overtime winner to complete the comeback and help the club erase a 3-1 deficit to down the Spokane Chiefs 4-3 on Saturday night.
This marks the Royals’ sixth post-season appearance, and their ninth in franchise history. Since the team relocated to the island for the 2011-12 season, the club has never missed the playoffs.
Phillips, the Calgary Flames prospect, capped off his three point-night (2g-1a) with a crowd-electrifying one timer from the hash marks to give the homeside the victory in extra-time.Loch Morrison, who tallied his first goal as a Royal, and Regan Nagy scored on the powerplay in the second period to even the score. Phillips’ first marker was tallied in opening stanza.
With his two goals, Phillips tied the Royals’ record for most markers in a single season with 46. The previous mark was set by Tyler Soy last season. The 5-6, 141 lb forward is now only six goals away from breaking the single season franchise record for most markers at 51, set by former Chilliwack Bruin Ryan Howse during the 2010-11 campaign.
Royals’ goaltender Griffen Outhouse put forth a solid effort and turned aside 37 of the 40 shots in a first-star performance. The Chiefs started netminder Jayden Sittler, who stopped 24 of the 28 pucks he faced.
Victoria held a mark of 2/3=66.7% on the man-advantage, while Spokane went 2/7=28.6%.
Three Royals extended their point streaks in tonight’s game. Phillips, who has recorded six multi-point games in his point streak, has now earned 18 points (7g-11a) in his previous eight contests. Dante Hannoun has nine points (4g-5a) in his previous five games, meanwhile Jack Walker has collected four points (1g-3a) in his last three matches.
Victoria will now head out on a five game BC Division road trip that kicks off Tuesday, March 7 against the Kelowna Rockets. During those five contests, the Royals will play both the Rockets and Kamloops Blazers twice, which will help determine playoff positioning. Victoria will then wrap-up their trip versus the Vancouver Giants.
The Royals return to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for the last home game of the 2016-17 WHL regular season on Friday, March 17 against the Everett Silvertips. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m.