Tyler Soy and Ryan Gagnon each struck twice as the visiting Victoria Royals (41-16-3-3, 88pts) defeated the Calgary Hitmen 6-2 Friday night.
“I liked the way that we played, start to finish.” Said Head Coach Dave Lowry squaring off against his former squad.
The Royals led 3-0 after 20 minutes and 5-1 after 40, before exchanging goals in the third for the clubs 41st win of the season, clinching a playoff berth.
“We were prepared to play, we knew that we were going to face a very good Calgary team.” continued Lowry,
“We were able to score first, were able to dictate the pace of play and able to play our style.”
Victoria won their 4th in a row, and now have points in 5 straight (4-0-1-0), remaining 2nd in the WHL standings 1 point back of Kelowna who won in Vancouver.
Soy scored just :33 seconds into the first, and ended with his 35th and 36th of the year to lead the club.
“We’re a very good team when we have an opportunity to play with the lead,” said Lowry,
17 year old freshman, Matthew Phillips struck on the power play set the franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 33rd, passing Chilliwack Bruin Oscar Moller.
“It feels good, especially to get it in my first hometown game…” said Phillips, who converted on a cross ice feed from Alex Forsberg who had 2 assists.
“It’s pretty cool, and I can’t thank the rest of the team and my line mates enough.”
Gagnon took a hard hit behind the Royals net, before striking top corner before the period was out.
“Yeah, it might of got me going a little bit,” said Gagnon on the hit inspiring his first two goal game,
“I thought I just got lucky on the one, and it was a nice pass by Forsberg on the other.” according to Gagnon who was the games first star.
“Not only does he play physically, but he also has the ability to chip in offensively. You can’t say enough about the things that he does for your hockey team.” said Lowry.
Gagnon was a +3, giving him a +41 on the season, 3rd overall and 2nd among defenseman.
The Hitmen started Nik Amundrud, but was replaced by Cody Porter to begin the second period after Amundrud allowed 3 goals on 9 Royals shots.
Victoria put the pedal to the metal in the middle frame, out shooting Calgary 13-5 and outscoring the home team 2-1 in the 2nd period with goals by Logan Fisher and Gagnon’s 2nd of the night.
Porter went 13 for 16 over 40 minutes, while Calgary native Coleman Vollrath earned the win with 22 saves in his hometown.
“Unbelievable,” said Vollrath who earned his 27th win of the year,
“…and so special to play my last regular season game in the Saddledome, and get a big win in front of friends and family.”
Logan Fisher had a goal and an assist, while Regan Nagy had a pair of helpers.
“Contributions from everybody, that is the key for us to be successful.” said Lowry,
“Fisher’s line (Nagy, Jared Dmytriw) had some key shifts for us, and were able to have an answer whenever we got put on our heels, they would got out and change momentum for us.”
The Royals were 1 for 5 on the power play, while shutting down all 4 Hitmen man advantages.
Calgary’s goals were registered by Bryce Platt and Jordy Stallard.
Victoria wins the season series 2-0.
Victoria left Wednesday to kick off a 10 day, 4 game road trip, and now play face the 2016 Memorial Cup host team the Red Deer Rebels Saturday at 6pm PST.
– Marlon Martens
Victoria Royals 6 at Calgary Hitmen 2 – Status: Final
Friday, February 26, 2016 – Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, AB
Victoria 3 2 1 – 6
Calgary 0 1 1 – 2
1, Victoria, Soy 35 0:33.
2, Victoria, Phillips 33 (Forsberg, Walker), 15:24 (PP).
3, Victoria, Gagnon 4 (Forsberg), 17:26.
Penalties-Platt Cal (interference), 6:29; Hicketts Vic (roughing), 7:33; Ta. Sanheim Cal (roughing), 14:52.
4, Calgary, Platt 3 (Kastelic), 5:37.
5, Victoria, Fisher 11 (Nagy), 7:02.
6, Victoria, Gagnon 5 (Fisher, Nagy), 11:40.
Penalties-Stallard Cal (high sticking), 8:58; Ta. Sanheim Cal (slashing), 14:45.
7, Calgary, Stallard 18 (Houck, Twarynski), 17:02.
8, Victoria, Soy 36 17:56.
Penalties-Phillips Vic (interference), 1:56; Ibragimov Vic (roughing), 6:39; Stukel Cal (tripping), 11:34; Walker Vic (interference), 11:49.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Victoria 1 / 5;
Calgary 0 / 4.
Victoria, Vollrath 27-13-0-2 (23 shots-21 saves).
Calgary, Amundrud 11-11-1-0 (9 shots-6 saves); Porter 20-9-1-1 (16 shots-13 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (53), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Kris Hartley (81), Aidan Henderson (78).