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The Victoria Royals and Tri-City Americans met for game two of their back-to-back set this weekend in front of 4,251 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. The Americans prevailed by the score of 5-1.
The Royals won the first game 4-2 on the strength of two Matthew Phillips goals.
Saturday, it was all Tri-City. They outplayed the Royals at both ends of the rink and once they got the lead, they bottled up the middle of the ice to hold Victoria down to an uncharacteristically low number of shots of just 25.
Tri-City opened the scoring at 14:40 of the first while on the powerplay. They were passing the puck around the Royals zone for an extended period before Juuso Valimaki shot a cannon off the cross bar. Seconds later Sandhu found space to slip the puck to Morgan Geekie in the slot who wristed a shot to the back of the net for his 10th. Valimaki earned the second assist on the play.
At 19:23 Matthew Phillips made the Americans pay for their rough play, by slipping a cross-ice Tyler Soy pass between a defenceman’s legs and into the net. It was a powerplay goal that came after defenceman Dalton Yorke slashed then punched Matthew Phillips, knocking him to the ice.
The 6’ 3” Yorke outweighs 5’ 7” Phillips by 66 pounds.
The teams skated to the dressing rooms with the score tied 1-1.
The second period was all Americans. They hit the ice hard and were rewarded with goals at 8:43 and 11:46 by Yolan Yaremko with his eighth and Valdislav Lukin with his 11th of the season. Sandhu got his second point on the night on Lukin’s marker.
Michael Rasmussen scored at 4:14 of the third for his second point on the night. Sandhu earned his third assist on the play. The goal was scored on a defensive miscue by the Royals, where Rasmussen was gifted the puck, and shot a rocket just over the left shoulder of goalie Dylan Myskiw.
With 15 seconds remaining in the game the Americans scored on the powerplay. It was Kurtis Rutledge’s second of this season from Parker Wotherspoon and Morgan Geekie, for his second point on the night.
Throughout the second half of the game there was little in the way of sustained attack from the Royals.
Asked about the effort, especially during the third period Dave Lowry said, “We were a slow team; we went off side too many times. We have got to execute better.”
Asked if the effort was a carry-over from the previous night, where the Royals were outshot in the third period 20-6, but hung on to win, Lowry added, “I thought the first period was pretty even, but they got the momentum and the better of us tonight.”
Victoria went 1/6 on the powerplay while the Americans capitalized on two of four powerplay opportunities.
Asked about the powerplay Ryan Gagnon said, “I didn’t think it was too bad, we had a few chances and we did score once. Tri-City played well defensively tonight.”
The Royals next play the Prince Albert Raiders Tuesday, November 15th, puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Royals note: Phillips, who appeared in his 93rd career regular season game, tallied his team-leading 12thmarker of the season late in the first stanza. With the goal, Phillips became the fastest Royal, and second quickest player in franchise history, to reach 50 goals. The tally also marked his 100th career WHL point.