Forward Teague Patton played the hero for the Victoria Royals in a 7-6 victory over the Tri-City Americans on Friday, recording three points on two goals and an assist in regulation and netting the game-winner in a shootout to cap an impressive performance.
The 19-year-old has been one of the top producers for the Royals this season, ranking second on the team with 20 points on eight goals and 12 assists across 32 games.
Patton believes the confidence displayed by himself and his teammates was they key to victory on Friday:
“Going into the third we knew we we’re going to win,” said Patton postgame. “We just beared down and did everything we could…The crowd was electric, that helps us a lot. We played are hearts out there for a good 60 minutes.”
Royals General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price outlined the value that Patton has brought to the club this year:
“He’s been a huge addition as far as the ability to provide depth in our scoring,” said Price postgame. “He’s a competitive guy, gritty, gets around the net. You can see his vision and ability with the puck…He got his opportunity there in the shootout and he cashed.”
Victoria forward Brayden Schuurman also came up big for the home side, netting one goal and adding a pair of assists to finish the night with three points.
The Royals also benefited from a solid performance from defenceman Justin Kipkie, who recorded two points of his own on a goal and an assist, while starting goaltender Nicholas Cristiano made 23 saves on 29 shots on the way to recording his third win of the season.
In an emotional game filled with lead changes and dramatic moments, Coach Price was impressed with the way his team handled the pressure:
“I’m extremely proud of the players,” said Price. “Just sticking with it, never wavering. I have tremendous pride in them, they really deserved that win tonight. It’s just one word: perseverance…It just shows you if you stick with it you can prevail under the toughest of circumstances.”
Forward Parker Bell was the top producer for the Americans in the loss, recording four points on a goal and three assists, while goaltender Jared Picklyk made 41 saves on 47 shots.
Victoria (6-23-3-0) appeared to have taken a one goal lead at the beginning of the game on a breakaway opportunity by forward Riley Gannon, however the goal would be waved off because the puck never crossed the line.
However, it nevertheless fooled the crowd at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre who soon littered the ice with thousands of stuffed animals, believing it to be the much-anticipated Teddy Bear Toss goal.
After a short intermission to clear the ice of the teddy bears, it would be the Americans who would count the first goal of the game, coming off the stick of defenceman Mark Lajoie (1) at the 5:55 mark.
The Royals would eventually get on the board with a goal by forward Brayden Schuurman (6) at 7:07 of the first, marking the actual teddy bear goal and tying the game at 1-1. Forwards Jake Poole and Alex Thacker would count assists on the play.
Riley Gannon would then redeem himself and put the home team ahead 2-1 heading into the second with his seventh goal of the season at the 14:40 mark, assisted by forwards Tanner Scott and Teague Patton.
Tri-City (14-14-0-1) would respond with a game-tying goal of their own by Deagan McMillan (7) at the 2:54 mark of the second.
The visitors would then take a 3-2 lead on a marker by Campbell River, BC product Parker Bell (12) at the 6:11 mark, which would soon be followed by a third goal in frame by Americans’ forward Reese Belton (6) at 8:36, putting his team up by two.
Tri-City would further their lead in the back-half of the frame, with forward Andrew Fan (4) striking at the 13:32 mark.
Victoria would get one back before the end of the period, coming off the stick of Teague Patton (7) at the 16:05 mark to cut the Tri-City lead to 5-3 entering the third.
The Royals would carry the momentum into the third, cutting the Americans’ lead to one with a goal by Jake Poole (17) on the powerplay at the 0:22 mark, with Kalem Parker and Brayden Schuurman on the assists.
Victoria would keep up the pressure as defenceman Justin Kipkie (3) tied the game at 5-5 with his third of the year at the 6:00 mark, assisted by Alex Thacker and Brayden Schuurman.
Teague Patton (8) would then bring the crowd to its feet with a go-ahead goal at 16:57 of the period, bringing the score to 6-5 with minutes left. Forward Alex Edwards and Justin Kipkie would collect assists on the play.
However, the Americans would battle back and tie the game at 6-6 with a goal by forward Ethan Ernst (17 at the 19:10 mark to force overtime).
Overtime would prove fruitless for both sides and the game would head to a shootout with the score still knotted at 6-6.
Teague Patton would net the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout to seal the 7-6 victory for the Royals, marking the team’s third win in their last five games.