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The red-hot Victoria Royals hosted the Tri-City Americans for game one of their two-game, back-to-back set at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Tuesday night. For the second time in three games, the Royals soundly defeated a team that was considered a contender for the conference title.
First, they beat the Kelowna Rocket 8-3 in Kelowna, to hand the Rockets their only loss so far this season, then Tuesday, they handed the Americans an 8-2 thrashing.
Ten seconds into the game, Ryan Peckford skated behind the net and dropped a backhand pass to Jared Legien in the slot. The puck fluttered off of a stick and in. Originally the goal was credited to Legien, but was later credited to Peckford for his seventh of the season, from Legien.
Phillips scored at 2:43 on a breakaway going low, blocker-side for his seventh of the season. He was sprung by Tyler Soy from in front of his own net.
“It was nice to get the lead early, it gave us a cushion to play with,” shared Coach Dan Price. “The Americans are a better team than the score indicated tonight. We did get a few lucky bounces.”
By 6:40 of the first, the Royals were up by the score of 3-0, when on the powerplay Legien scored his third of the season from Phillips and Jared Freadrich.
Asked what the dynamics were like with Tyler Soy and Chaz Reddekopp back in the lineup, Legien said, “different, they are two very talented players. It is great to have them in the lineup, with their experience and skill.”
With Peckford off for holding, the Americans got on the scoreboard at 14:06 with Jordan Topping taking advantage of a sprawling Griffen Outhouse, from the left side of the net, burying his fourth of the season. They went to the dressing rooms with the score 3-1.
The Americans came out with a better effort for the second period, however, were kept mostly to the outside. Yan Khomenko got dragged down on a partial breakaway – the puck entered the net, but the goal came off of its moorings and the Royals went on the powerplay, to no avail. During the next shift, Spencer Gerth skated to the front of the net to screen goaltender Patrick Dea while Dino Kambietz converted a Florchuk cross-ice pass. He released a quick wrister that somehow found the back of the net for a 4-1 Royals lead.
Phillips was again sprung when at 9:34 he broke in solo on Dea and slid the puck five-hole for his second goal of the game and eighth of the season. It was a shorthanded marker.
“Fortunately, I had some extra time out there on the two breakaways,” said Phillips. I received great passes.”
The celebration was short-lived when Dylan Coghlan scored at 10:52 with an intimidating wrist shot that went top right, hard. Outhouse had little chance. The goal was scored on the powerplay with Isaac Johnson assisting.
At 17:49, Soy slipped a goal that Dea likely wished he had back; it was a backbreaker and a soft, five-hole marker, for his second of the season (in two games) with Ralph Jarratt and Phillips assisting. It was Phillips fourth point of the game.
At 19:00, Regan Nagy came in from the glove side, as Soy had, but roofed the puck for his fourth of the season, unassisted.
The teams skated to the dressing room with the score at the end of two, 7-2 Royals.
The Americans brought some physicality to the game during the third period. At 10:51, Maxwell James took a penalty when he hit Tarun Fizer into the boards in the Royals end. He was assessed for Hitting to the Head major for five minutes.
During the powerplay the Royals scored their eighth goal of the game. Regan Nagy has scored his fourth and fifth of the season.
The Royals are the hottest team in the Canadian Hockey League, with a franchise record-setting start of 7-0-0-0. The Americans now have with 3 wins and 4 losses on the season.
The Royals went 2/7 and the Americans went 2/3 on the man advantage, while the Royals had a short-handed goal. Shots were 31-26 for Tri-City.
The Royals and Americans hit the ice Wednesday night for a rematch. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
EXTRAS: Asked about Tarun Fizer’s condition after the game, Dan Price said, “at this time we have no word on his condition.”
Dante Hannoun and Matthew Phillips have been setting the pace for the Royals with 15 and 14 points respectively entering the game. Phillips now with 5 goals and 13 assists for 18 points sits third in league scoring.
Griffen Outhouse has been nearly perfect going 6-0-0-0, accumulating a .946 save percentage and 1.95 goals against average.
Back in the lineup Friday from their respective NHL/AHL training camps Tyler Soy (Anaheim Ducks) and Chaz Reddekopp ( Los Angeles Kings) each scored a goal during the season debut in Kamloops, which the Royals won by the score of 4-1.