The Victoria Royals (11-6) defeated the Regina Pats (7-15-0) Saturday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre by the score of 2-1. It was the first of two games on the weekend as Sunday they play in Langley against the Vancouver Giants who occupy second place in the Western Conference. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 pm.
The Royals, 4-6 in the previous 10 games are looking to get back to their winning ways. Currently they are positioned in sixth place in the Western Conference; however, entering tonight, they have played just 16 games, the fewest in the entire Western Hockey League.
They had no trouble getting up for the non-conference opponent with the losing record, thanks to Tanner Sidaway, a former Pat player who’s enthusiasm pumped his Royals teammates.
“This was a special game to me. We are only going to play this team once, so I had to get the boys kind of riled up here, get the tempo up, get the boys in the right mind-set,” said Sidaway.
Despite several early scoring opportunities for the Royals, it was the Pats who scored first. Jake Leschyshyn potted his 15th of the season at 12:57 of the first period. Leschyshyn was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the 2017 draft. He went 62nd overall. The Saskatoon native leads the Pats in goals and is second to Nick Henry in points. The two are 8th and 11th in the WHL points race respectively.
I thought we really went for it,” said Coach Dan Price. “The effort was there, 100%. Think about that first period, how many chances we had, how many shots we had, we were drawing penalties. They only had a few shots at the end of the first. They played very hard. I am not taking anything away from them, but I thought we really went for it.”
During the Royals second powerplay opportunity, defenceman Scott Walford fed Kaid Oliver on the doorstep of the Pats’ goal, it was a tape-to-tape pass from the left corner. Oliver spun and fired the puck to the top of the net to tie the game 1-1, at 17:19 of the first. It was Oliver’s team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Pats’ Kyle Walker was off for two minutes for Checking to the Head.
The Royals lost out on an opportunity to take the lead when Nick Henry took a four-minute double-minor for high-sticking at 12:01 of the second period. Although the Royals produced some good scoring opportunities on the extended man-advantage, the Pats kept Victoria to the outside and most shot attempts were from the perimeter.
The third period was a spirited 20 minutes of hockey, with both goaltenders playing very well. Outhouse seemed to have returned to form. Both teams managed just seven shots during the final frame. Max Paddock stoned the Royals on a few point-blank chances.
In the dying minutes of the game, former Regina Pat, Tanner Sidaway, positioned himself in front of Paddock and shot the puck on net, but Paddock read the play and made the stop. Sidaway, not known as a goal scorer thought that was his only opportunity. With 2:45 remaining on the clock Tarun Fizer fed Sidaway the puck from behind the net, this time Sidaway made no mistake and scored the winning goal on his former teammate, from the slot.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be able to put the puck in the net on my former team, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” said Sidaway. “The structure we had tonight, we just kept pounding them, and we wouldn’t stop working, so I owe it all to my teammates. I was just fortunate enough to be the one to put the puck in the net.”
The Royals outshot the Pats 27-18.
The Royals went 1/7 on the man-advantage, while the Pats were 0/3.
Outhouse earned the 17-save win, while Max Paddock took the loss, stopping 25 of 27 shots that he faced.
The Royals play Sunday in Vancouver and return to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 23.