Alex Forsberg had 2 goals and an assist, while Matthew Phillips had 3 points including the winner as the Victoria Royals (26-15-1-3, 56pts) defeated the visiting Kelowna Rockets 4-3 Friday night, the first of back to back games.
“I thought we had a really good team game, contributions from everybody,” said Head Coach Dave Lowry,
“Guys stepped up when we needed them too, we had some good shifts after some goals – and were able to play the game the way that we wanted to play.”
The Royals led 3-0 after 40 minutes, but the Rockets (29-11-3-0, 61pts) gave a big push in the third outscoring Victoria by a 3-1 margin to make it close.
“We knew we’d see a push…they play a complete game, and play right to the end, they’re a very highly skilled group…” said Lowry,
“We held on, but have to keep it in perspective we’re playing a veteran squad, that’s been a top team over the last few years, and we’re a young team, learning as we go – and I thought our guys did a really good of job of staying with it.”
The Royals out shot the Rockets 36-33, but were out shot 13-6 in the final frame.
“We got a lesson in the third, that when we’re not skating, where we’re going to end up playing – and we know that our strength is our speed.” Continued Lowry.
Victoria won the special teams game, going 1 for 6 with the man advantage, while shutting down all 3 Kelowna power plays.
“I thought our power play gave us momentum in the first period, and generated a goal.” said Lowry.
Phillips goal in the third came just :43 seconds after the Rockets scored their first goal, re-establishing the three goal lead. It also turned out to be the game winner.
“Kelowna is a really opportunistic team, we can’t let them back into games like that.” Said Phillips who tied the Royals record for most goals by a rookie held by Logan Nelson with 23,
“Coming out (Saturday) night we want to shut them down, I think we did a good job of that in the first two periods.”
Victora got a pair of assists from Jack Walker, while Tyler Soy scored his 20th of the season. Forsberg added his 18th and 19th of the season on a three point night surpassing 200 career points.
“At the end of the day it’s not a matter of points – it just matters if we’re winning, and it’s been a really good year so far.” Said Forsberg.
Royals Griffen Outhouse stopped 30 of 33 shots for his 8th win in his 5th consecutive start. Rockets netminder Herringer allowed 4 goals 36 shots.
Kelowna got goals from Tanner Wishnowski, Calvin Thurkauf, and Nick Merkley.
Victoria takes a 3-2 season series lead, and moves into sole possession of 2nd in the West, now just 5 points back of the Rockets. The Royals won their 2nd in a row, while snapping the Rockets streak of points in 3 straight. Kelowna is the defending WHL Champions, and are ranked 6th in the CHL Top 10.
The rematch goes Saturday at 7pm
– Marlon Martens.
Kelowna Rockets 3 at Victoria Royals 4 – Status: Final
Friday, January 15, 2016 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Kelowna 0 0 3 – 3
Victoria 1 2 1 – 4
1, Victoria, Forsberg 18 (Phillips, Walker), 15:55 (PP).
Penalties-Merkley Kel (slashing), 8:48; Lind Kel (high sticking), 15:29; Walker Vic (hooking), 19:01.
2, Victoria, Forsberg 19 (Phillips, Hannoun), 11:45.
3, Victoria, Soy 20 (Bobylev, Walker), 16:03.
Penalties-served by Peckford Vic (too many men), 3:05; Ballhorn Kel (slashing, major-fighting), 7:20; Price Vic (major-fighting), 7:20; Lind Kel (roughing), 16:40; Price Vic (inter. on goaltender), 17:20.
4, Kelowna, Wishnowski 5 (Foote, Borstmayer), 4:35.
5, Victoria, Phillips 23 (Forsberg, Outhouse), 5:24.
6, Kelowna, Thurkauf 9 (Gatenby, Linaker), 11:07.
7, Kelowna, Merkley 14 (Chartier, Thurkauf), 16:17.
Penalties-Smart Kel (hooking), 8:42; Stephens Kel (tripping), 19:34.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Kelowna 0 / 3;
Victoria 1 / 6.
Kelowna, Herringer 10-5-1-0 (36 shots-32 saves).
Victoria, Outhouse 8-3-1-1 (33 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Brett Iverson (24), Kevin Bennett (29).
Linesmen-Kirk Van Helvoirt (107), Riley Friesen (76).