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Royals under siege, lose for first time this season in OT

© Copyright - 2017  - Victoria Sports News

Ryan Peckford circles deep. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

What a difference a day makes. It was a tale of two very different games Tuesday versus Wednesday between the Victoria Royals and Tri-City Americans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. The Royals rolled over the Americans 8-2 on Tuesday, then the Americans did everything they could to win Wednesday. They succeeded (5-4) after shooting relentlessly at Griffen Outhouse, who was a brickhouse both nights.

Asked if it was a case of trying not to lose, rather than thinking of winning Coach Dan Price said, "No, I give full credit to Tri-City for that. They played fast and physical and put pressure on us and that forced us to really elevate our intensity and pace of play. I think it was just a case of us needing to be quicker and stronger coming out against a desperate team like Tri-City was."

The Americans started the game at a high-octane level; they needed to avenge the 8-2 drubbing. Their intense pace forced the Royals’ defence to cough up the puck repeatedly in their own end on several occasions.

At 6:18 of the first, the Americans got rewarded for their efforts when 6’2” Nanaimo native Dylan Coghlan found himself in the slot with the puck on his stick, he roofed a laser past Outhouse to open the scoring. Nolan Yaremko was credited with the only assist on the play.

The Americans were on a rampage, taking 19 shots during the first period while keeping the Royals to just six.

Most of the second period didn’t look any better for the Royals; however, they were killing off penalties successfully, to keep themselves in the game. The 28th shot of the game for the Americans came at the eight-minute mark of the second period – resulting in a diving, goal-line save by Outhouse. He was the best Royals player to that point.

Surrey native, Captain Michael Rasmussen, who was likely the player-of-the-game for the first half, suddenly made a bad decision, after he took down Tyler Soy at centre, resulting in a boo-inducing non-call.

It was following the play, when he should have known that the refs were going to make up for the non-call – he went head-hunting and got penalised for charging at 10:59 when he went after Eric Florchuk behind the net. With the Royals red-hot powerplay just itching to get going, Matthew Phillips skated to the front of the Americans net and redirected a harmless looking pass that just barely dribbled in.

Queue the momentum shift.

The intensity picked up for both teams. During the final stages of the second period, the Royals got their swagger back and the two teams began to exchange penalties. The period ended with some fisticuffs behind goaltender Beck Warm.

Regan Nagy forced the 4,811 fans out of their seats twice during the third period when he scored a pair of special teams goals, first a shorthanded marker, then a powerplay goal to put the Royals up 3-2 as the teams exchanged goals.

The Americans had scored at 4:53 and 11:23 from Jordan Topping with his fifth and Connor Bouchard with his first.

Igor Martynov followed that up when he scored his fourth of the season. From the slot, he snapped a hard wrister that he buried high over the right shoulder of Warm. Eric Florchuk slipped a pass to the slot while skating behind the net. Jared Legien earned the second assist on the play.

With the Royals up 4-3, Rasmussen scored the game-tying goal. With 12 seconds remaining on the clock and Phillips in the box for delay-of-game (puck went over the glass), Reddekopp took a two-minute minor for high-sticking.

Regulation ended 4-4, but the powerplay would carry over to overtime. It was not Reddekopp’s best game.

With the play 4-on-3 in overtime and all of the open ice, the Americans dominated. Coghlan, who opened the scoring, closed it as well, with another hard wrist shot, top-right corner to give the Royals their first loss of the season, although they salvaged a point by going into overtime.

"They got a good team over there," shared Nagy. "They start every game ready. We (also) have to be ready to start each game with intensity and if we do that it will be a very different outcome for sure."

Shots were 46-27 Americans.  The powerplays were 2/5 for the Royals and 3/7 for the Americans.

The Royals hit the road for the longest road trip of the season – a 12-day, seven-game stretch that won’t see them return to Victoria until October 28 when they host the Vancouver Giants for a pair.

POst-game media scrum:

Dan Price and Regan Nagy speak to the press

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