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The second game of the Victoria Royals and Portland Winterhawks back-to-back set that started the 2015-2016 season off, saw the Winterhawks come out with much more pressure than they exhibited in the season opener Friday at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre. Regardless, the Royals won both games by scores of 4-1 and 6-5, respectively.

The Winterhawks opened the scoring at 5:06 into the first period with a goal by Skyler McKenzie on a rebound off of a backhand pass by Carl Ericson. Shortly after, Forsberg scored his first goal of the season for the Royals after dishing out several nifty passes in the offensive zone. Jack Walker and Joel Hicketts assisted.

The Royals started to push back on the Winterhawk’s pressure in the second half of the first period on the heels of some great play by Forsberg and a steal and a near goal by former Winterhawk Ethan Price as well as some strong physical play by Keith Anderson, who showed good stamina and strength while protecting the puck along the boards in the offensive zone.

Winterhawks scored their second goal of the game to take a 2-1 lead on broken plays at both ends. Paul Bittner tallied from Dominic Turgeon and Keoni Texeira. The second Royals goal went top left corner over the glove hand of Bullion on a power play marker. The power play started at the end of the first period and carried over into the second. Bobylev took advantage of a pass from Price. It was Bobylev’s second goal of the season. After the game Bobylev said, “I have to thank my teammates who are playing well too.”

A minute later the Royals nearly scored again as the puck entered the net, but went for video review and was determined to be knocked in by Jared Dmitriw’s high stick.

Caleb Jones of the Winterhawks scored two minutes later, for his first goal of the season and his first of his WHL career. The goal was assisted by Texeira and Rodrigo Abois. Jones ended up earning a third star nod as voted by members of the media who were in attendance.

Back and forth the game continued as the score was tied 3-3 on a powerful snapshot at the top of the slot by the Royals’ Ralph Jarratt from Bobylev and Forsberg. Bobylev sent a 20 foot pass from behind the net, tape-to-tape to an all-alone Jarratt, who buried the puck without hesitation.

Royal’s goaltender Cole Vollrath flashed the leather twice on a scramble and absolutely stole a goal on the second save. Then Ethan Price nearly scored at the other end on a slapper. Price, during this game appeared to be more involved than he did the night before. After the game Coach Dave Lowry suggested that Price was solid both nights, but was potentially a little tentative against his old team during the first game.

Royals scored again and took their first lead of the night from Bobylev who was having a strong night as was the rest of his line as he was set up by Alex Forsberg and Jack Walker. This was Forsberg’s third point, in back-to-back games.

Forsberg scored his second goal and fourth point of the game at 18:39 of the second to help the Royals re-take the lead on a wrister over the left shoulder of Bullion, Walker assisted.

Thirteen seconds into the third period Royals scored again on a goal that went under review for potentially being deflected in with a high stick, but ended up counting and the score became 6-4, it was Regan Nagy’s first from Chaz Reddekopp and Ryan Gagnon.

With 2:52 left in regulation time the Winterhawks scored to bring themselves to within one and to make the score 6-5 on a goal by Colton Veleso from Skyler McKenzie and Caleb Jones. The Winterhawks pulled Bullion and threw everything at the Royals net before an errant pass slid down the ice to end the game.

Three stars were Caleb Jones as third star, Vladimir Bobylev as second star and Alex Forsberg as first star.

The next two Royals games happen Friday and Saturday October 1st and 2nd against Kamloops at Save on Foods Memorial Centre.