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The Victoria Royals played game three of their massive eight game homestand Friday against the Tri-City Americans. It was Armed Forces Appreciation Night and the Royals played in a commemorative red jersey treated with the military coat of arms on the chest.
The Royals defeated the Americans 4-2 in front of an announced crowd of 6,027.
After 19 games, the Americans and Royals sport similar records. Entering Friday’s game, the Royals have 10 wins and 22 points, while the Americans have accumulated 25 points off of 12 wins and are on a four-game winning streak.
The Royals won the first two games of this homestand which includes a 6-4 result over the Red Deer Rebels on November 1st, followed by a 3-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on November 4th.
Friday, at the tail end of the Royals’ first penalty kill, Americans player Tyler Sandhu missed on a wide open net with his one-timer that went way wide. The puck came around the boards to the blue line, where Jack Walker stole the puck off an Americans defencemen and set off on a breakaway, drawing the Royals’ first powerplay, as he was taken down near the Americans goal.
At 14:12 of the first, during the Royals second powerplay, Ryan Peckford scored his sixth goal of the season from Jared Dmytriw and Ralph Jarratt. Peckford was parked beside the net and slid the puck in from a Dmytriw pass that he feathered through the slot.
At 16:51 Marsel Ibragimov took a slap shot to the leg and was shaken up. He was helped off the ice, but made it back into the game.
At 19:23 Jack Walker again stole the puck from an Americans player at his own blue line, skated down the right side, slipped the puck between the feet of a defencemen, picked it up on the other side and wristed the puck past goaltender Rylan Parenteau. He shot the puck far side, to put the Royals up 2-0.
“I saw the lane and I went for it,” Said Walker.
Shots after the first period were 14-5 Royals.
The Royals came out for the second period ready to dominate play as they did during the first. Matthew Phillips scored at 1:13 from Ryan Peckford, and then fourteen seconds later he scored again from Dante Hannoun. Peckford picked up his second point of the night on the play.
“You’ve seen the way he plays. He plays like he is 6’5”,” said Coach Dave Lowry regarding Phillips scoring from close-in.
The Americans tried to take Phillips out of the game shortly after, with a knee to the face. He was down for several minutes, bleeding from the mouth. No penalty was called on the play. He stayed in the game.
“I hope some of the guys that are on the bench are having a good look at the way he plays and where he gets the goals from,” said Lowry.
The officials called five penalties in an 11-minute span during the second, which tempered the flow of the game.
After two, the Royals were up 4-0 and outshot the Americans 24-14.
Both teams turned up the heat during the third period offensively and physically.
Nanaimo’s Dylan Coghlan scored at 2:47 for the Americans to break Griffen Outhouse’s shutout bid. The goal was assisted by Brett Leason and Parker Wotherspoon.
Vladislav Lukin brought the Americans within two at 5:45. The goal was assisted by Tyler Sandhu and Michael Rasmussen.
“We have to get better at playing a full 60 minute game,” said Jack Walker, when asked about the final few minutes of the game.
With the game winding down, the Americans were winding it up. With 3:21 remaining, they pulled Parenteau for the extra attacker. For the rest of the game the Royals were mostly hemmed into their own end. At one point the Americans took 10 consecutive shots, but Outhouse shut the door the rest of the way. The Americans took 20 shots during the third period alone.
“We are not satisfied with our third period. We were up four goals and we shouldn’t be letting them back into the game,” said Phillips.
Peckford had a three-point night with one goal and two assists, while Philips scored his 10th and 11th of the season.
The final shot total was 34-30 for the Americans, but the Royals hung on for the 4-2 victory.
Tri-City went 1/5 on the powerplay, while Victoria was 1/4.
The teams go at it again Saturday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre to finish up the back-to-back set.