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The Victoria Royals (10-5-0-0) hosted the Spokane Chiefs (8-7-1-2) Friday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre for Game 1 of their back-to-back weekend set.
The Royals were coming off of a pair of losses in Portland against the Winterhawks by scores of 7-3 and 2-1 last weekend. They have had six days off since. The Chiefs, losers of two, were looking to take advantage of a team during the first home game back – typically a difficult game to win for the home side.
The Royals got the 4,626 fans out of their seats seven times by winning 7-5, but the offence seemed to be countered nearly every time by the Chiefs. The only major blemish was the apparent post-goal letdown.
“I don’t think it was a letdown after being off for six days, obviously we had a fast start with those two early goals,” said Coach Dan Price. “But I do agree, and it happens in hockey, that if you score early, sometimes you can take a breath and we needed to continue the pressure at times like that.”
The offensive side did not appear to have rust from the six days off as Tarun Fizer wasted no time opening the scoring with his second of the season at nine seconds. After Sean Gulka won the opening faceoff, Fizer went into the right corner and threw a wrister towards the net that hit the back of goaltender Bailey Brkin and went in. Fizer’s goal ties a record for the fastest game-opening goal in franchise history. Previously Taylor Crunk scored at nine seconds against the Kamloops Blazers on March 8, 2014, and Ryan Howse did the same against the Seattle Thunderbirds on January 9, 2011, as a Chilliwack Bruins player.
At 1:55, D-Jay Jerome scored from the top of the slot, by turning on a pass fed to him from the left side boards by Mitchell Prowse. Brkin was subsequently pulled in favour of Dawson Weatherill.
The Chiefs came back with one of their own at 2:53 from Riley Woods with his 13th already this season. He would score again at 18:15 of the first. The goal came 1:13 after Phillips Schultz scored for the Royals. The teams went to the dressing rooms with the score 3-2 for the Royals after the first period.
At 8:05 of the second, Hannoun would score his seventh on the backhand with a seeing-eye pass from Brandon Cutler, that went through the slot. The two combined again for Cutler’s fifth of the season at 19:03 of the second.
The Chiefs were not going away, down 5-3 going into the third period, Ethan McIndoe scored on the breakaway at 3:48. Woods earned an assist on the play. McIndoe used a forehand-to-backhand deke, up high on Griffen Outhouse, who was deep in his crease.
Jerome scored his 10th of the season and second of the game at 10:20 of the third period with a beautiful 200-foot passing play with Brandon Cutler. Cutler threw the puck to the front of the net, where a streaking Jerome reach out and deflected the puck to the top-right corner to make it 6-4.
Scott Walford scored his first goal of the season into a gaping net, as Weatherwill was playing the left side facing Matthew Smith, he tossed the puck to Walford who leaned on his stick and roofed the puck.
With 3:24 remaining in the game, Weatherill was pulled in favour of the extra attacker. The Chiefs had several good scoring opportunities, however, Outhouse had sealed the door tight.
For his sixth goal of the season, Carter Chorney was handed the puck on a silver platter in the Royals end, it was a defensive giveaway and he made no mistake. They just kept coming back.
Outhouse would stop 30 of 35 shots from Spokane, while Brkin and Weatherill stopped a combined total of 28 of 35.
The powerplays went 1/2 and 0/3 for the Chiefs and Royals respectively.
The teams meet again Saturday at 7:05 PM for Armed Forces night in respect to Remembrance Day on Sunday.
The Victoria Royals defeated the Spokane Chiefs by the score of 7-5 on Friday, November 9. The Chiefs after losing two in a row were looking to break that streak and did attack hard, but were up against a superior goaltender in Griffen Outhouse.
The Chiefs pulled Brkin after 1:55 of play and two goals on two shots.
This media scrum includes Coach Dan Price, two-goal scored D-Jay Jerome and Sean Gulkin, who is a former Chief.