Phillips from his office, first of two on the night. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

You win the games when your top lines are your best players, case in point the Victoria Royals took out the powerful Kelowna Rockets 6-1 on Friday.

The Victoria Royals (33-19-3-1) hosted the Kelowna Rockets (33-17-3-1) for game one of a back-to-back set at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday. It was the first of three games against their BC rival in four days. The teams square off Saturday, then again Monday in Kelowna.

The Royals started the set off on the right foot.

“We converted on some chances. It was a great effort by both teams. I have a ton of respect for them. They are a difficult team to play against,” shared Coach Dan Price. “There was some great effort by everybody on the team. So I felt it was a great team game. Buziak was leaning on guys, Kambeitz with good shot blocks, lots of great efforts out there.”

“I think we played a pretty complete game,” said Matthew Phillips. “We had four lines playing. We played our style for sure.”

It was a goaltender’s first period. Both Griffen Outhouse and Brodan Salmond were stopping everything until 16:36. On the powerplay, Dante Hannoun drove to the net, while Tanner Kaspick, from the left point, fired a tape-to-tape pass. Hannoun made no mistake, directing the puck to the back of the net.

Earlier in the period, Matthew Phillips was foiled twice on the very same back-door play.

Matthew Phillips. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The period ended with the Royals having a 1-0 lead.

The second period was a different story. The Royals spent the better part of the first few minutes hemmed in their own zone, and then Braydon Buziak took a four-minute, double-minor penalty for slew-footing. The Royals killed the penalty off and then came back with a vengeance.

Phillips went to work in his office, scoring twice; his team-leading 40 and 41st goals of the season during his 200th career game with the Royals. He is now one point shy of the all-time team single-season record. It is a record that old line-mate Alex Forsberg set in 2015-2016 at 91.

The score after two was 4-1.

Soy scored his 28th of the season during the third period. Both Soy and Kaspick ended up with three assists. Dante Hannoun was part of and Phillips finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play for his 41st of the season.

“Tonight was a great effort, I thought we came out strong and took control of the game. We have to turn the page and start again tomorrow night,” said Tanner Kaspick. “It was nice to get some bounces tonight [after the setback in Portland].”

Andrei Grishakov scored his 17th of the season on a two-man advantage with just 1:47 remaining in the game. He skated to the front of the net and wrapped the puck around James Porter who took over for Brodan Salmond to start the third period. Kade Jensen and Braydon Buziak assisted.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Gregor took on the big Cal Foote in a fight, they went toe-to-toe, it was even but Foote had the edge. Both served five for fighting.

Outhouse was outstanding, keeping the Rockets off the scoresheet as both teams fired 40 shots at the opposing nets.

The Royals have posted a record of 13-6-0-1 in 2018, which is the third-best record in the league, while Kelowna has been just as good going 13-6-1-0.

The Royals went 3/8 on the man advantage, while the Rockets were held to 0/4.

Saturday’s puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm.


Noah Gregor and Cal Foote fight: