Forward Carter Dereniwsky collected two points with a goal and an assist to lead the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 comeback victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
The game saw Victoria (2-7-1-0) complete a comeback by scoring five unanswered goals after trailing 3-0 early in the game on the way to capturing their second straight win.
General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price commended his team for the resiliency they demonstrated in the face of an early deficit:
“That was definitely a players’ win,” said Price postgame.” To be honest, after that third [Brandon] goal, we as coaches kind of just stepped back … we really just wanted to let them roll and figure it out, so in every sense – not just the contributions on the ice, not just the distribution of minutes – in every sense, the resiliency, the comeback, the leadership, that had zero to do with the coaches and everything to do with the players.”
Recently acquired forward Jake Poole would count the eventual game-winner with his first goal as a Royal, coming midway through the final period.
It was also a special night for forward 17-year-old Alex Edwards, who scored the first goal to bring Victoria within one goal late in the second period.
It was a moment the Grand Forks, BC product won’t soon forget:
“It feels great,” said Edwards postgame. “The best moment I have experienced so far. Great fans, and to do it on home ice, there’s nothing else I could ask for…Going out there and knowing I can actually score in this league is a great feeling.”
Forward Caleb Willms is also worthy of a mention, tallying two points on a goal and an assist in the win, while starting goaltender Tyler Palmer earned his second victory of the year with a 23 save effort.
Forwards Evan Groening, Rylen Roersma and Trae Johnson would count the three goals for Brandon (4-3-1-0) in the loss, while starting goaltender Nicholas Jones made 21 stops on 26 shots.
Brandon would be the first team to get on the board on Saturday, with forward Trae Johnson scoring his first of the year at the 4:27 mark of the middle frame after a scoreless first period.
The Wheat Kings would double up their lead a few minutes later on a penalty shot goal by forward Evan Groening (2) after he was slashed while on a breakaway at the 6:57 mark of the frame.
Brandon would then take a commanding 3-0 advantage on a marker by Rylen Roersma (3) 7:24. They also nearly made it 4-0 a few minutes later when Groening appeared to tally his second of the game at the 10:11 mark of the second, however the goal would be waved off due to a high-sticking infraction that occurred prior to the play.
The Royals sticks would come alive near the end of the second, with forward Carter Dereniwsky (2) ending Brandon’s shutout bid with a goal at the 17:22 mark. Forward Caleb Willms and defenceman Justin Kipkie would count assists on the goal.
Victoria would then cut the lead to 3-2 as forward Alex Edward cut through the Wheat Kings defence and found the back of the net for his first career WHL goal at 19:28 of the second. The goal would also see Dereniwsky pick up his second point of the night with an assist on the play.
The Royals would carry the momentum into the third as forward Tanner Scott scored his third of the season at the 1:06 mark to tie the game at 3-3. Matthew Hodson would collect an assist on the play, extending his point streak to five games.
Forward Jake Poole (2) would then give Victoria their first lead of the game at the 7:19 mark of the third for what would become the eventual game-winning goal. Forward Reggie Newman and defenceman Luke Shipley would receive assists on the goal.
The Royals would extend their lead late in regulation on an unassisted goal by forward Caleb Willms at 16:08, marking the fifth straight goal by the team, and bringing the score to 5-3 where it would stand at the final buzzer.
The Wheat Kings will continue their Western Conference road trip with a matchup against the Kamloops Blazers this Tuesday night.