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Friday night the Victoria Royals faced the feisty, 0-2 Kamloops Blazers at Save-on-Food Memorial Centre, after coming off of a two-game home-stand to open the 2015-2016 campaign where they swept the Portland Winterhawks 4-1 and 6-4, respectively.
The Royals defeated the Blazers 4-2 on a pair of goals each from centre Tyler Soy and defencemen Chaz Reddekopp while defender Joe Hicketts earned a pair of assists.
The Royals opened the scoring on the power play shortly after killing off a penalty of their own on a pretty passing play that was completed by Reddekopp with his first goal of the season, assisted by CHL Player of the Week Alex Forsberg and Keith Anderson.
Forsberg appeared to have a target painted on him after earning CHL and WHL Player of the Week honours having earned seven points in two games the previous weekend. “You have to be prepared for that kind of play anytime with your best players,” said Coach Dave Lowry when asked if he thought Forsberg was targeted, as the Blazers were assessed two penalties on infractions taken out on Forsberg.
The Blazers scored next at the 15:11 mark of the first frame on a goal by Jake Kryski from Ryan Rehill and Jesse Zaharichuck on the power play. That goal seemed to spur the Blazers on who hemmed the Royals in their own zone for an entire shift, which was ended mercifully by an icing with two minutes remaining in the period. The Royals then broke out of their own end and nearly scored twice, the first time on a hard slap shot that appeared to have entered the net, but the replay showed the puck deflected off of the left post.
The Blazers were assessed a four–minute double minor for high-sticking. During the first half of the double minor, Joe Hicketts fed a rolling puck to Tyler Soy who scored his first goal of the season, roofing the puck with a one-timer over the left shoulder of Kamloops goalie Connor Ingram.
The Royals third goal came at the 17:50 mark of the second period on a second Hicketts set up to Soy, who shot and scored off a rebound that Ingram let out. Soy’s second goal of the game was scored after the Blazers managed to kill off a one-minute and 30-second two-man Royals advantage. The second period ended with players taking partners, but no fights ensued; however, two penalties were assessed, which carried over to the third frame.
“As I said before, we need to score by committee, we have to have scoring from other lines and tonight a couple of other players stepped it up for us,” shared Lowry.
Reddekopp scored his second goal of the game in the third to put the game out of reach at 4-1, however, the Blazers put in a strong effort in the Royals’ zone to create several chances and finally scored on a goal by Nolan Kneen, with his first of the season from Kryski and Zaharichuck, but it was too little, too late at that point.
Dave Lowry said, “I am not happy with the final few minutes of the game. We better be ready for tomorrow night, I don’t want to see us start Saturday the way we started last Saturday against the Portland Winterhawks.”
Coleman Vollrath turned away 26 of 28 shots, while Kamloops’ goaltender Connor Ingram stopped 25 of 29 shots directed at him.
The three stars were Hicketts, third, Reddekopp second and Tyler Soy was selected as first star. The Royals play their second back-to-back stint against the Blazers Saturday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 PM.