The Victoria Royals defeated the Vancouver Giants 3-1 in a well-deserved victory tonight at the Langley Events Centre.
This was the first game back after the Christmas break for both teams and the first of three games in four days for the two rivals.
The Royals came into tonight looking to pick up where they left off a week ago and were able to do so thanks in part to the play of forward Brayden Schuurman and goalie Campbell Arnold. Schuurman, who scored two of the three goals for Victoria, was handed the first star of the night for his offensive performance while netminder Arnold, took home the third star after having a fantastic night in net stopping 39 of 40 shots.
It looked like the first period was going to go in favour of the Giants (14-14-1) who were outshooting the Royals 13-2 in the first 12 minutes. With the pressure mounting in Victoria’s zone, Kaden Kohle struck first at 3:23 on a redirect that Royals goaltender Arnold did not see coming.
The Royals (10-13-4) who seem to always remain calm and collected no matter what the score is, gained momentum in the latter half of the period leading to Schuurman scoring twice to give the Royals the 2-1 lead. The 17-year-old’s first goal came at 14:15 with assists from Luke Shipley and Bailey Peach. He scored his second on the power play, with 46 seconds to go in the first period with assists from Reggie Newman and Riley Gannon.
Both teams came out with more aggression to start the second, when Gannon Laroque drew two tripping power plays a minute apart. Despite one power play expiring, Victoria’s power play unit continued to apply pressure and at 11:16, Peach scored his 12th of the season with assists from Gannon and Laroque to make it a 3-1 game.
Not only did the Royals power play unit do well but their penalty kill continued to shine tonight, killing three minor penalties and one major penalty in the second period. Even with 16 shots on goal, the Giants were unable to get anything past Arnold who looked spectacular in net after allowing the lone Giants goal in the first period.
The third period remained a defensive game with neither team able to get many shots on goal. The Giants had a chance to catch up when Reggie Newman took a penalty for goaltender interference with over seven minutes to go. However, despite that and pulling their goalie, Vancouver could not get past Arnold and the Royals defence and Victoria won the game 3-1.
Will Gurski, the goaltender for the Giants this evening, made 27 saves on 30 shots faced and fended off multiple Royals scoring attempts.
The win tonight was truly a result of team effort according to Royals GM and Head Coach Dan Price.
“Every single player made important contributions tonight. Saves, shot blocks, offensive and defensive net fronts; everyone contributed in every phase of the game. Campbell Arnold was so calm and solid and really helped us get our legs. Based on the short bench, several players were playing out of position like Devin Aubin and Luke Shipley, and they did a great job. Nate Misskey and Justin Kipkie logged big minutes as affiliates and were excellent,” said Price.
“The leadership group kept everyone calm and focused, and there is such a bond among the whole team; they stuck together and stood up for each other and trusted each other. We have more work to do and lots of things that we’re looking forward to working on and improving, but this game was a good test. Recovery now will be key and then we’ll turn our focus to Wednesday’s game, which will also be a tough test.”
The two teams head back to Victoria on Wednesday for back-to-back games at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.