Forward Marcus Almquist scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to lead the Victoria Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on Tuesday.
The game also saw the debut of Royals team captain Gannon Laroque who had been out for the first half of the season while recovering from injury. The Edmonton, AB product picked up right where he left off at the end of a successful 2021-2022 season, recording two assists in Tuesday’s victory.
Forward Jake Poole also came up big for Victoria once again, collecting a pair of goals to extend his point streak to six games. The 20-year-old leads the team with 37 total points on 21 goals and 16 assists this season.
A multi-point performance would also be had by forward Brayden Schuurman, who tallied a goal and an assist, while goaltender Braden Holt made 31 saves on 33 shots for his second win as a member of the club.
Meanwhile, forward Andrew Cristall and defenceman Elias Carmichael would count the two goals for Kelowna, while starting netminder Talyn Boyko stopped 26 of 30 shots faced in the defeat.
Victoria (9-24-3-1) forward Brayden Schuurman (9) would open the scoring at the 2:29 mark of the second period after the opening frame passed without a goal from either side.
Defenceman Gannon Laroque would log his first point of the season with the primary assist on the goal, while fellow defenceman Jason Spizawka also got on the board with the secondary assist.
However, Kelowna (12-19-3-0) forward Andrew Cristall (24) would soon even the game with an unassisted marker at 8:13 of the period, capitalizing on a costly turnover by the Royals deep in their own zone.
The tie would not last long as Victoria would retake the lead exactly a minute later on a goal by forward Jake Poole (20) at the 9:13 mark, with Schuurman and forward Tanner Scott collecting the assists.
The Royals lead would hold until the 16:11 mark of the second, when Rockets defenceman Elias Carmichael (3) beat goaltender Braden Holt with a point shot to even the game at 2-2, where it would stand heading into the third.
Forward Marcus Almquist (4) would give Victoria the lead for the third and final time with the eventual game-winner on the power play at 1:56 of the final frame, assisted by forwards Matthew Hodson and Teague Patton.
Victoria would then seal the victory with another power play marker by Jake Poole (21), who tipped-in a point shot by Gannon Laroque at the 17:00 mark to make it 4-2, where it would stand at the final buzzer. Forward Riley Gannon would count a secondary assist on the goal.
Looking ahead, the Rockets will remain at home to host the Kamloops Blazers for the first leg of a home-and-home series this Friday night in Kelowna.
Meanwhile, the Royals will remain on the road as they travel across the border for a pair of US Division matchups against the Spokane Chiefs on Friday, Jan. 6 and the Tri-City Americans on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Puck drop for Friday’s game is set for 7:05 pm at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, WA.