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The Victoria Royals annual Intra-squad game took place on Wednesday, September 2nd in front of a modest crowd of approximately 300 fans. At the gate spectators were asked to pay by donation to support the Victoria Royals Education and Scholarship Fund.
The game, like any pre-season intra-squad game, was about assessing players before the team is pared down to the group that Head Coach Dave Lowry will want to see on the ice to open the 2015-2016 regular season. Ironically the player who appeared to take advantage of the opportunity the most was an 18-year-old recent signee named Ethan Price, who was dropped from the Portland Winterhawks. The Royals open the 2015-2016 campaign with two straight at home against Portland. Price scored two goals during the game. As the evening progressed, so did his confidence.
“He understands very well the speed that this game is played at. Everything he does on the ice is about getting that puck to the net,” shared Lowry when asked about Price’s performance.
The first goal of the game was scored by Chaz Reddekopp who took a cross-ice pass from Jack Walker and proceeded roof it. The second assist went to Eric Florchuk, who the Royals just inked to a Western Hockey League Standard Player Agreement on August 30th. He was drafted during the 2015 WHL Bantam draft that took place in Calgary back on May 7th. Florchuk played for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League during the 2014-2015 campaign. Jack Walker earned the second assist on Team Blue’s first goal on the evening. The period ended 1-0.
During the second period the play opened up a little and the referees made a few calls, which gave the coaching staff a chance to see the young line-up in special team scenarios. One-minute and thirty seconds into the second period Price scored from Matthew Phillips and Ryan Gagnon, it was his first goal of the evening and at that point the score was tied 1-1.
At 9:12 of the second period Kevin Pierce gave Team Blue a 2-1 lead. Assists went to Marcel Ibragimov and Ty Pochipinski. Seven minutes later two Team White players were left alone for a two-man break. From 6 feet in front of the net Ben Berard capitalized on a backhand cross-ice pass from centre Ryan Peckford.
The nicest goal on the evening, at least from a player’s perspective, came from Price. While skating in on the right side he unleashed a bullet of a wrist shot from just outside the face-off circle to bury the puck into the net and bring Team White within one goal. That goal was a punctuation mark on a solid game for Price, getting two of Team White’s three goals for a near come-from-behind 4-3 loss.
Goaltenders Dylan Myskiw and Griffen Outhouse split the duties for Team Blue and combined to stop 31 of 34 shots directed their way for the win. Team White countered with Evan Smith who turned aside 33 of 37 shots.
This game signaled the completion of the 2015 Royals Training Camp. The home opener is scheduled for Friday, September 25th against the Portland Winterhawks over two-nights in back-to-back games to begin a six game home stand to start the season.