© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
Tonight, the Victoria Royals and the Kelowna Rockets met for the sixth time this season and the second time in two days during their back-to-back set at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
The Royals took the Rockets to overtime tied 1-1, after one of the best played games of the season, but the story on the night was about two ineffective power-plays against two goalies who played outstanding hockey.
“We failed to execute on the power-play and that is something that we have to be better at, but I have to give the guys credit, they played well enough to earn three of four points. It is always difficult to win both games of a back-to-back set,” said Coach Dave Lowry.
The Royals entered tonight’s game with a 3-2-0-0 advantage on the season series; however, game two of a back-to-back are often difficult to win especially against a first place team, and even more-so after embarrassing them the night before.
“I expect the players to play a full 60 minutes tonight. They were embarrassed last night and got outworked in every aspect of the game,” said Rockets Assistant Coach Kris Mallette.
The Rockets did start with a strong effort dominating the Royals on the shot clock 18-13 and drawing the only penalty of the first; however, they failed to score on the man advantage. Less than a minute later Tyler Soy buried the puck for his 21st of the season from Jack Walker and Vladimir Bobylev to open the scoring on a foray into the Rockets’ end where the Royals had a handful of close-in shot attempts.
Outhouse made several outstanding saves including a number of cross-crease diving saves, one off a snap shot from Dillon Dube, who was all over the ice during the first. At 13:08, he bulled his way through a Reddekopp hit on the boards, just inside the Royals’ blue line and skated in on Outhouse unmolested, where he backhanded an in-close shot over the glove of the Royals’ goaltender to tie the score 1-1.
The story of the second period centered around the Royals’ inability to benefit from an edge in offensive play and two power-play opportunities. The period ended with the score still tied 1-1, but not after a number of exciting chances for both teams, especially for the Royals on the power-play and a brief but intense foray for the final 30 seconds.
The first half of the third period appeared to be a tail of two teams playing to avoid making a mistake until they traded power-plays mid-way, which seemed to open up the game for the final 10 minutes. The Royals stepped up the intensity, which produced a number of excellent scoring opportunities.
Asked about the power-play Tyler Soy said, “We can’t let that happen, we have to score when we are given that many opportunities.”
In overtime the Royals appeared to have the advantage early on, however, the Royals’ Jack Walker took a tripping penalty at the 59-second mark, which they managed to kill off, but less than a minute later Rockets’ Justin Kirkland skated into the high slot and let rip a wrister that found its way into the back of the net for his 15th of the season, to seal the victory for the Rockets.
The two teams were zero for 12 on the man advantage, the Royals had a total of eight power-plays.
Michael Herringer (37) and Griffen Outhouse (31) faced a total of 68 shots between them. To earn first and second star honours, respectively. Kirkland earned the third star nod for his game-winning goal effort.
The Royals next play Wednesday, January 20th at 7:05 as they host the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.