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It was a physical series. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The Victoria Royals hosted the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday for game two of their two-game set at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre this weekend. It was a sellout on the seventh-annual Pink in the Rink night.  Unfortunately the 7,006 fans went home with a 3-2 loss.

The Royals lost game one by the score of 2-1 on Friday. Shane Farkas’s shutout bid was broken with 1:50 remaining in the game, as Noah Gregor converted on a Dante Hannoun pass, going top-right corner. Farkas was back in the net Saturday.

“I really feel for the guys,” said Coach Dan Price. “Everyone played hard, it was so physical, there was so much energy investment. Guys were blocking shots and guys were banged up, so I feel for them as they really put it all on the line.”

Asked about being outshot nearly two to one both nights he said, “Two reasons for that. One was the strength of penalties. When you are penalty killing that much it is going to be a lot of shot volume on your goalie. They have two very good powerplay units. And the second thing, they put a lot of those shots from the outside on Griff and then they crashed the crease.”

Matthew Smith. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Kieffer Bellows who scored on Friday, opened the scoring Saturday, while on the powerplay. The goal, scored at 3:50 of the first, was assisted by Dennis Cholowski and Cody Glass. Tyler Soy was off for slashing.

At 17:08, Noah Gregor scored a powerplay marker of his own and like Friday, it was set up by Dante Hannoun. Tyler Soy picked up the second assist on the play. Victoria, BC athlete Brendan De Jong took a minor for roughing, when he slammed a Royals player a little too vigorously into the glass at 15:43.

The teams skated to their respective dressing rooms tied at 1-1.

Bellows was turning into an Achilles heel for the Royals as he scored his second goal of the game and third in two games at 54 seconds into the second period, it was a howitzer of a wrist shot that went high over Griffen Outhouse’s right shoulder. He had rung a hard shot off the post moments later.

Gregor was his own thorn in the side of the Winterhawks as he also scored his second of the game during the second period. It was also his third during the two games, scored at 6:28. Both of Gregor’s goals were powerplay markers.

“Overall, we didn’t play too bad, but they did have more zone time and capitalized on the powerplay,” said Gregor.

Asked about getting more shots on net, Gregor said, “it’s about zone time, creating pressure in their end and a cycle. I think with that will come opportunities and more shots.”

Late in the game, with the score tied 2-2, Tanner Kaspick, who plays a relentless power forward style, got called for a hit to the head, but there was no contact. On the ensuing powerplay, the Winterhawks scored the game winner to take four of four points in the two-game set. Cody Glass got his 29th with a wrist shot from Outhouse’s right. It was his third point of the game.

The goal was assisted by Henri Jokiharju and Chowolski.

If looks could…..Matthew Phillips debating reviewed goal. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Matthew Phillips was held pointless for the first time in 23 games. He set a franchise record of 22 consecutive games with at least one point. Asked if the pressure is now off he said, “I now don’t have that in the back of my head, so I take that as a positive for sure. It was fun while it lasted, but it is time to start another one.”

Record watch: All-time franchise (Chilliwack-Victoria) record holder for single season points is Michael Santorelli with 101. Phillips entered the game with 100.