Young Royals succumb to veteran Cougars in two-game, opening weekend set


Dante Hannoun. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright - 2016 - Victoria Sports News

The Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars met tonight for the second game in their two-game stand at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre this weekend. The Cougars won both times.

The two games seemed eerily similar.

Last night the Cougars prevailed 3-1, despite being outshot 31-19. Tonight it was 5-1 with the Royals out-shooting the visitors 37-28. In two games the Royals went 0/14 on the power-play.

When asked about what needs to be worked on Coach Dave Lowry said, “What do you think? It is common sense, we’ve got to work on the power-play, it’s not rocket science. We’ve got a young team here with a lot of players who have not seen this level of play before.”

Friday night the Royals got behind early due to a combination of nerves and failing to convert on nine power-play opportunities. Post-game, Coach Dave Lowry said, “I don’t think we were prepared for the pace,” and “we have guys who won’t always be playing on the power-play.”

After a slower start last night the Royals woke up late in the first period, but were up against a goaltender in Ty Edmonds who stood on his head stopping 13 of 14 shots during the second period then he shutout the Royals during the third having faced 13 more.

Both teams are missing several key veteran players who continue to participate in their respective National Hockey League camps; The Royals are missing four regulars as Jack Walker is with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Soy at Anaheim Ducks, Chaz Reddekopp with the Los Angeles Kings and Matthew Phillips in the Calgary Flames otganization.


Ethan Price scored going five-hole. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The Royals started the game with more pace, getting the first three shots and drawing a penalty at 4:08; however, they failed to capitalize. As the penalty expired the Cougars scored two goals 10 seconds apart. The first one on a Ralph Jarratt giveaway in his own end, straight up the middle, the second goal saw Griffen Outhouse handcuffed by a teammate getting in his way. Justin Almeida and Kody McDonald scored the goals at 6:10 and 6:20 respectively.

Opening night saw two players score their first ever WHL goals in Royals Ty Westgard and Cougars Max Martin. Tonight, the Cougars third goal came at 9:09, which caused a goaltending change. It was a harmless looking wrist shot from the point by Ryan Schoettler that deflected in; assists went to Brad Morrison and Jared Bethune. It was Shoettler’s first WHL goal.

Dylan Myskiw replaced Griffen Outhouse at 9:09. Outhouse let in three goals on six shots.

When asked about pulling Outhouse on three goals that may not necessarily been his fault, Lowry replied, “you give up three in a short period of time, you would be a fool not to [pull him].”

The Royals came on during the final few minutes of the period, hitting hard and often and getting several scoring opportunities. Shots were 8-9 after one for the Cougars.

During the second period the Royals continued to step up the effort and outhit the Cougars. They outshot the visitors 17-9 on the period and after two took a total of 25 shots on Nick McBride, while the Cougars managed just 18.

At 12:35 The Royals were rewarded for their efforts when Ethan Price blew down the right side, went around the Cougars defender and slipped the buck between the pads of McBride, to get the home team on the board. After two periods the score was 3-1 Cougars.

When asked about expectations Lowry said, “we have to manage them. Last year I believe we overachieved. We had a very young team and this year they are only a year older.”

In regards to the Cougars team, Lowry added that their team is built for this year. “They have been building this team; this didn’t just happen, so this is where we have to continue to grow as a group.”

The third period was a back and forth affair, evenly played, however, the Cougars again put in a couple of quick goals to essentially put the game out of reach.

Of the five goals that the Cougars scored Brad Morrison assisted on three, while Kody McDonald scored two, including the game winner at 6:20 of the first period.

Both teams went 0/5 on the power-play.

Asked about the pressure of following the 2015-2016 season where the Royals were only expected to just make the playoffs, but yet dominated, Lowry replied, “you guys put whatever pressure on us. We don’t have any pressure. If you look at this conference it’s tough, this is the toughest division. Kelowna and Kamloops and Prince George will be hard to play against.”

The Royals will return to action on Friday, September 30th when they take on the Kamloops Blazers at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.


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