The Victoria Royals returned home to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Tuesday for a four-game home-stand after visiting Kamloops and Prince George last week.
The Royals had hit the road on a three-game losing skid and subsequently lost to second-to-last place Kamloops and last-place Prince George, before handing Prince George a thrashing on the second game of their two-game set at the CN Centre by the score of 7-3.
It was a game that saw four different Royals defencemen score and it was a record-setting 10th time this season that the Royals scored seven goals in a game.
Spokane is a tough opponent with a record of 38-21-3-2 and sit third in the US Division.
“They are a very good team, tonight’s score was not indicative of the game or the Spokane Chiefs,” said Coach Dan Price.
At 1:05 Braydon Buziak was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping. The Chiefs immediately went to work on the powerplay. They spent most of the two minutes in the Royals’ end. Chiefs forwards managed to hit the post twice, first the left, then the right, however, just as the penalty ended, Phillips retrieved the puck in his own end, handed it to Tyler Soy. Soy and Buziak, emerging from the penalty box, combined to score the game’s first goal at 3:14. Soy fed Buziak on the two-on-one break and Buziak made no mistake, sliding the puck five-hole.
At 6:54, while on the powerplay, the Royals capitalized with Dante Hannoun scoring his 23rd of the season from the slot. He shot to the top right corner over goaltender Dawson Weatherill’s glove-hand. It was a pretty passing play with four Royals, one-touching the puck with crisp passes. Soy and Noah Gregor assisted on the play.
The second period saw the Chiefs outscore the Royals 2-1 with Hudson Elynuik scoring his 28th of the season at 11:48 and Jaret Anderson-Dolan getting his 36th. Sandwiched between, was Noah Gregor’s 28th from Chaz Reddekopp and Tanner Kaspick. The goal came on a 3-2 rush during a four-on-four stretch where Matthew Phillips was off for embellishment and Milos Fafrak was off for tripping.
It was Gregor’s sixth goal in the past six games.
Kyler Yamamoto scored his 20th of the season to tie the game in the third at 3-3 with 4:22 showing on the clock. Twenty-four seconds later defenceman Scott Walford scored his second goal of the season and second in two games. Jeff de Wit who was back in the line-up after several games off recovering from injury earned an assist.
“It was great to have de Wit back in the line-up tonight,” said Scott Walford. “I think he was our best player with two blocked shots and getting on the scoresheet.”
At 10:05, Matthew Phillips scored his 45th of the season from Kaspick and Dante Hannoun. Phillips received the puck at the stick side of the goal; he turned and leaned into the shot roofing it behind Weatherill.
Kaspick, arguably the hardest-working forward, scored an empty-net goal, shooting from just over centre, to put the game out of reach at 6-3. It was his 23rd goal of the season and came at 17:29.
With 1:12 remaining in the game, De Wit, skating in on goal, lost the handle on the stick in the deep slot, tried to shoot and the fluttering puck hit the goalie, then deflected back to de Wit, who put it in for his 11th of the season – it was the Royals 11th game this season with seven goals or more for the Royals.
A fight with two minutes remaining set the tone for Wednesday night as the two teams go at it again. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm. The combatants were Riley McKay of Spokane and D-J Jerome; a slight edge goes to McKay for the take-down, but both threw several good right hands, much to the delight of the 3.651 fans in attendance.
Griffen Outhouse earned his franchise-record-setting 85th win of the season on the night. He surpassed Coleman Vollrath (2012-2016). Outhouse has played 147 games and has a career record of 85-42-10-3, while Vollrath went 84-48-4-6 in 165 games.
Outhouse faced 31 shots, while the Royals managed 23 on Weatherill, who was briefly pulled at 17:29.
The powerplays went 2/5 for Victoria and 0/4 for Spokane.