Alex Forsberg and Matthew Phillips had two points each to help lead the Victoria Royals (39-16-3-3, 84pts) past the visiting Kamloops Blazers 4-1 Friday night, in the first of back to back games.
“I think when we play our game, we’re pretty hard to deal with…” said Forsberg.
The Royals held period leads of 1-0 and 3-0, and up 4-0 before Matt Needham broke the shutout bid late in the third.
“We were generating chances, had really good zone time…” said Head Coach Dave Lowry,
“We knew there was going to be a push in the 2nd, and I liked the way we got our game going, we got skating again and continued to push the pace and we played our way.”
Coleman Vollrath made 25 saves for the clubs 39th win of the season, tying last season’s output with 11 games remaining.
Connor Ingram, the WHL nominee for CHL goaltender of the week, stopped 35 of 39 as he saw the Blazers 4 game win streak come to an end. Kamloops (27-23-5-3, 62pts) is now tied for the first Wild Card spot in the West with Spokane.
Victoria remains 2nd in the overall standings, 1 back of Kelowna who beat Vancouver Friday. The Royals won their 2nd in a row and now have points in their last 3, ranked 9th in the CHL Top 10.
Victoria’s Joe Hicketts was the games first star with a goal, while also laying a big hit in the third on Blazer captain Matt Needham.
“We had a lot of back pressure, we created 3 of 4 goals off of our tracking and back checking. We turned those turnovers into offense and we created well off the rush, even when we didn’t score.” Said Hicketts.
Alex Forsberg had a goal and assist for the Royals, while Jack Walker and Dante Hannoun scored the others.
Matthew Phillips had a pair of assists, and continues to lead all rookies in goals (31) and points (65).
Victoria was 0 for 3 on the power play, while Kamloops was 1 for 2. The Royals have not allowed more than 2 opposition man advantages over their last 4 games.
The Royals won their franchise best 8th straight on home ice.
The club just came off playing 4 in 5, and were playing their 5th game in 7 days.
“I’m a firm believer that these guys need rest…rest is a weapon come this time of year.” Said Lowry.
Victoria takes a 5-2 season series lead, and face Kamloops for a final time in the regular season Saturday, on the sold-out Pink in Rink night.
– Marlon Martens
Kamloops Blazers 1 at Victoria Royals 4 – Status: Final
Friday, February 19, 2016 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Kamloops 0 0 1 – 1
Victoria 1 2 1 – 4
1, Victoria, Hicketts 5 5:49.
Penalties-Quinney Kam (holding), 14:14; Chyzowski Kam (high sticking), 16:28.
2, Victoria, Walker 25 (Soy, Bobylev), 7:34.
3, Victoria, Forsberg 24 (Phillips, Ibragimov), 13:01.
4, Victoria, Hannoun 22 (Forsberg, Phillips), 9:05.
5, Kamloops, Needham 16 (Davidson, Smejkal), 16:22 (PP).
Penalties-Rehill Kam (cross checking), 10:25; Fisher Vic (roughing), 10:25; Ibragimov Vic (roughing), 10:25; Needham Kam (roughing), 11:39; Walford Vic (holding), 15:28.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Kamloops 1 / 2;
Victoria 0 / 3.
Kamloops, Ingram 24-14-5-3 (39 shots-35 saves).
Victoria, Vollrath 25-13-0-2 (26 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Kevin Bennett (29), Brett Iverson (24).
Linesmen-Jeff MacAdams, Kirk Van Helvoirt (107).