The Victoria Royals edged the visiting Kelowna Rockets 3-2 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven playoff series.
“We’re excited that we’re able to win both our home games, and now we’ve got a real tough test ahead of us against a very good team.” Said Head Coach Dave Lowry.
Royals Jack Walker and Alex Forsberg had a goal and an assist each, both on the power play, while Scott Walford chipped in with a pair of assists.
Victoria was 2 for 4 with the man advantage, while Kelowna went 1 for 4. Both clubs went 0 for 4 Thursday in the 2-1 win.
“It’s huge…” said Walker on going up 2-0 in the series,
“I thought our penalty kill was spot on today, and also our power play so that’s going to be huge…”
The Royals held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Forsberg gave the club their first two goal lead in the third, tipping a Walker point shot.
Justin Kirkland brought the visitors to within one, and the Rockets Tyson Baillie thought he had the equalizer, however the goal was reviewed and waived off due to his kicking motion.
“I was more concerned about Matthew Phillips and the way that he came off after the hit that he took…good for video replay, and tonight it was in our favour.” Said Lowry.
Coleman Vollrath earned the win with 26 saves, stopping Baillie in the dying seconds to preserve victory. Michael Herringer allowed 3 goals on 26 shots in the loss.
Vollrath set the franchise record for most career playoff wins with 8, passing Patrik Polivka.
Victoria also set the franchise record for most win in a playoff season with 6.
Regan Nagy scored the other goal for the Royals, ripping a shot glove side, while Baillie (1-1) did the same for the Rockets.
Victoria was again without the services of defenseman Joe Hicketts, for a 6th straight game, and Vladimir Bobylev, missing his 3rd in a row.
“You don’t replace Joe (Hicketts), said Lowry,
“So what you have to do is find ways to get other guys involved, and to get other guys to really increase their intensity level, because quite frankly we’ve got some young that haven’t played a lot of minutes at this level of intensity…for us it’s trial by fire.”
Games 3 and 4 go Tuesday and Thursday night in Kelowna, where the Royals won 3 of 4 in the regular season.
“It’s going to be a heavy game, a loud building, a lot of emotion. What we have to do if focus in on what we have do is make sure we’re focussed in on how our team has to play…if we worry about getting ourselves ready – we give ourselves a chance.” quipped Lowry.
– Marlon Martens
Thursday, April 7th – Kelowna 1 @ Victoria 2
Saturday, April 9th – Kelowna 2 @ Victoria 3
Tuesday, April 12th – Victoria @ Kelowna – 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, April 14th – Victoria @ Kelowna – 7:05 p.m.
Friday, April 15th – Kelowna @ Victoria – 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Sunday, April 17th – Victoria @ Kelowna – 5:00 p.m. (if necessary)
Tuesday, April 19th – Kelowna @ Victoria – 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Kelowna Rockets 2 at Victoria Royals 3 – Status: Final
Saturday, April 9, 2016 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Kelowna 0 1 1 – 2
Victoria 1 1 1 – 3
1, Victoria, Walker 7 (Forsberg, Walford), 8:19 (PP).
Penalties-Ballhorn Kel (kneeing), 8:02; Gagnon Vic (hooking), 16:05; Thurkauf Kel (slashing), 19:40; Gagnon Vic (slashing), 19:40.
2, Kelowna, Baillie 2 (Foote), 6:02 (PP).
3, Victoria, Nagy 1 (Fisher), 16:56.
Penalties-Phillips Vic (tripping), 4:55; Lind Kel (cross checking), 8:10; Hannoun Vic (delay of game), 12:23; Walker Vic (tripping), 18:59.
4, Victoria, Forsberg 3 (Walford, Walker), 6:33 (PP).
5, Kelowna, Kirkland 3 (Baillie), 10:49.
Penalties-Foote Kel (high sticking, high sticking), 6:19.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Kelowna 1 / 4;
Victoria 2 / 4.
Kelowna, Herringer 4-5-0-0 (26 shots-23 saves).
Victoria, Vollrath 4-1-0-0 (28 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Ron Dietterle (121), Nathan Van Oosten (115).