Alex Forsberg was the overtime hero, lifting the visiting Victoria Royals to a 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday, taking a 3-1 playoff series lead.
“It felt fantastic,” said Forsberg, “I didn’t really do a whole bunch the first three games, I was pretty frustrated. To get it going is big for me.”
The Royals can win the series Friday night in Victoria.
“I really liked our game tonight, I liked our compete and our guys got what they deserved tonight just by how hard they worked.” Said Head Coach Dave Lowry,
It was Forsberg’s second of the game, Jack Walker had two assists and Matthew Phillips (2nd) tallied the other for Victoria.
“The bounce back effort,” said Lowry on what he liked about his clubs performance, after falling 5-2 one night earlier.
“…and how we were able to raise our level of compete and get back to playing our brand.”
Royals Rookie netminder Griffen Outhouse made his WHL playoff debut stopping 30 of 32 shots.
“It was really exciting…I actually got my regular season start here too – it’s kind of a cool building to play in.” said Outhouse who led the league in goals against average and save percentage.
Outhouse also had a shutout in Spokane back on October 24th.
“We needed a different look,” said Lowry on the decision to bring in the rookie netminder after Coleman Vollrath played the first 3.
“We had to find a way to spark our team after last night…He’s played in a lot of big games. The one thing that he does is that he settles in a plays.”
Chiefs ‘tender Lasse Petersen allowed 3 on 26 attempts.
Joe Hicketts missed his third straight game (undisclosed), while veteran defenseman Ryan Gagnon drew back into the line up after serving the final of a 2 game suspension.
“It really settled our team down,” said Lowry on bringing Gagnon back in,“…It’s a big win.”
Spokane opened the scoring for a third straight game, but Victoria twice came back to tie. Forsberg forced overtime scoring just 1:08 after the Chiefs took a 2-1 lead in the middle frame.
It was a scoreless third, and Victoria came out flying in the single overtime period.
“I think it was the urgency that we knew how critical it was to get the win here tonight.” Said Lowry on the jump in the extra frame,
“We needed to find the energy, the step, to make sure we didn’t lose 2 games in a row…and I give Fisher a lot of credit, he got these guys ready to play tonight.”
The Royals were 1 for 6, while the Chiefs went 1 for 2.
Victoria has won 15 straight on home ice.
“We know the fourth one is always the hardest one to win, and (the Chiefs) are going to come in with a purpose to try to bring it back to (Spokane)…and we want to do everything within our control to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Added Lowry.
Puck drop Friday at 7:05.
– Marlon Martens
Victoria Royals 3 (OT) at Spokane Chiefs 2 – Status: In Progress (11:19 remaining in OT)
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Victoria 1 1 0 1 – 3
Spokane 1 1 0 0 – 2
1, Spokane, Zwerger 1 (Kopeck, Ka. Yamamoto), 4:09.
2, Victoria, Phillips 2 (Walker, Soy), 9:51 (PP).
Penalties-served by Andersen Spo (too many men), 8:50.
3, Spokane, Kopeck 2 (Fram, Ke. Yamamoto), 8:00 (PP).
4, Victoria, Forsberg 1 9:08.
Penalties-Kopeck Spo (tripping), 3:38; Walford Vic (tripping), 7:11; Reddekopp Vic (high sticking), 10:00; Anderson-Dolan Spo (hooking), 16:17; Walker Vic (slashing), 17:37; Zwerger Spo (embellishment), 17:37.
Penalties-Zwerger Spo (interference), 0:42; Sozanski Spo (high sticking), 8:10; Bechtold Spo (face off violation), 13:24.
5, Victoria, Forsberg 2 (Walker, Jarratt), 8:41.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Victoria 1 / 6;
Spokane 1 / 2.
Victoria, Outhouse 0-0-0-0 (32 shots-30 saves).
Spokane, Petersen 1-2-0-0 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Adam Griffiths (36), Curtis Marouelli (86).
Linesmen-Jason Michelbook (112), Trevor Shively (11).