The Victoria Royals lost an exciting game in overtime by a score of 5-4 against the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night.

Full Box Score

Both teams were coming off tough losses on Friday night and were looking to get back in the win column. The Royals had two power plays to start off the first period. During the second power play, Gannon Laroque took a slapshot on the net and Riley Gannon was open to tap in the rebound to make it a 1-0 game. Minutes later the Royals took two penalties to give the Rockets the two-man advantage. With five seconds left and after several incredible saves by Tyler Palmer, the Rockets tied the game on a goal from Pavel Novack. Kelowna kept applying pressure to the Royals net and with just over two minutes left Novack got his second of the night to make it a 2-1 game to end the first.

Victoria came into the second period looking to tie up the game and within 35 seconds Gannon netted his second of the night off a rebound from Colby Knight. About 17 seconds later, Tanner Scott got a third for the Royals on a turnover to make it a 3-2 game. Both teams continued to apply pressure to the offensive zone to try and create scoring opportunities. Kelowna’s Mark Liwiski would net one past Palmer halfway into the period to make it a 3-3 game. As play went on, the Royals continued to deny the Rockets any scoring opportunities to keep the game tied at the end of 40 minutes.

The Royals came out fighting in third and were quick to see the results of their efforts. Five minutes in and Bailey Peach made a clean pass to Jason Spizawka who put one in the net through traffic giving him his first WHL goal and to give Victoria the 4-3 lead. Three minutes later, Novak got his hat trick and tied the game for the Rockets to make it 4-4. The intensity of the game continued for the remainder of the third with no one able to take the lead and sending the game into overtime.

It looked as though the teams would head to a shootout with both goalies making spectacular plays in overtime. However, with 17.9 seconds left, Jake Poole put one high behind Palmer ending the game 5-4.

The three stars of the night were Pavel Novak (KEL), Riley Gannon (VIC) and Mark Liwiski (KEL).

It was a tremendous effort from the Royals tonight and that was felt all around the locker room.

“My message to the team was that I admire their courage and their grit, and how those things absolutely translate to winning,” GM and Head Coach Dan Price. “This is the end of a three games in four nights road trip with travel through Prince George and Kamloops, and the end of a nine games in eighteen days stretch.

“We had between eight and eleven regular players out on any given night due to injury, so to respond like that and and be an inch away from winning in overtime in a tough building gives me tremendous confidence in this group and what it can accomplish this season once we’re back to full roster strength. This is one of those momentum moments that, despite the sting of the loss, helps create a surge for the next segment of the season.”

The next game is Friday, November 5th against Kamloops at home for the Royals Country Bash. On Saturday, November 6th, the club celebrates our Canadian Armed Forces and their families on Canadian Armed Forces Military Appreciation Night. For this game, the team will be honouring our military members and families with a special jersey to be auctioned off with proceeds going towards the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre.