Matthew Smith fires the pick in. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

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The Victoria Royals hosted the Spokane Chiefs for game two of their two-game set at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Wednesday and lost by the score of 5-2. It was a near mirror image of Tuesday night.

“Yeah it was,” said Coach Dan Price. “It was a very close game, tightly checked, playoff feel. You know, both teams tried to do things right offensively and defensively, but a couple of bounces either way in both games sort of decided it.”

The Royals won the first game by the score of 7-3 after defeating the Prince George Cougars by the same 7-3 score in Prince George on Saturday.

Tuesday, it was a record-setting game for goaltender Griffen Outhouse as he set the franchise record for most career wins in a Royals and or Chilliwack Bruins uniform with 85. The Royals organization recognized the feat during the first period. He took Royals alumnus Coleman Vollrath’s record of 84 in 18 fewer games (147-165).
Outhouse was back in the net for Victoria Wednesday as was Dawson Weatherill for Spokane.

It was also a team record outcome for number of goals scored in a game (seven or more) in a season at 11.
The first three-minutes and three seconds of the game on Wednesday went without a whistle, which gave the coaches an opportunity to get most of the players into the game early.

Matthew Phillips attacking Ty Smith. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

At 7:58 of the first, Luke Toporowski slid his 10th goal of the season past Outhouse, it was a smooth, one-handed back-hand goal that went far-side. Hudson Elynuik fed Toporowski a cross-slot pass on the rush. Ty Smith earned the second assist. The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference but stood.

At 14:47 of the second period, Noah Gregor, who was skating miles, spotted Tyler Soy skating through centre and fed him a tape-to-tape pass, and Soy was gone on a break-a-way. He skated in on Weatherill slipping the puck short side on the backhand to tie the game at 1-1. It was his 34th of the season, scored on the powerplay.

Jake McGrew was off for two minutes for too-many man, a call that was perhaps a make-up penalty for missing an ugly elbow moments before to Tarun Fizer, who barely skated off the ice, leaving a dotted trail of blood to the bench. He would return to the game.

The score was tied 1-1 after two.

The Chiefs scored a couple of goals during the third to go up 3-1. At 7:58, Kailer Yamamoto scored his 21st. Eli Zummack scored his first of two at 10:05.

Spokane Chiefs’ goaltender Dawson Weatherill focusses on the puck in the slot. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Matthew Phillips and Tyler Soy broke out of their own end shorthanded and combined to get within one at 16:05. It was Soy’s second of the game and 35th of the season. Weatherill was on his back and Soy took two swipes at the puck for the goal.

The comeback was short-lived as the Chiefs scored a couple of empty netters Zummack at 18:51 and Elynuik at 19:23.
“It’s a tough game. It’s alright that we split. Obviously, we want both games, but I think overall we played alright,” shared Tyler Soy.

“I think we played a pretty good game overall,” said Chaz Reddekopp. “We just need to clean up a few areas, a couple of neutral zone plays and make harder plays in general and that will give us more success.

Asked if he is back up to speed, coming back from injury Reddekopp said, “Yeah anytime you miss a good chunk of time like that it’s a little bit tough at the start, but I got a few games under my belt now and I feel good.”
The Chiefs outshot the Royals 31-29.

Both teams scored once on their respective four man advantages.

Asked what the team needs to do to ensure that they have a chance of winning both games against Prince George on the weekend, Price said, “It’s about what we do in between the games during our one day off, it is not a true back-to-back with the one day in between. We have to make sure we recover and are ready to go Sunday.”

The Royals return to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre for a pair of Games on Friday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.