Regan Nagy scored the game winner and added an assist while Griffen Outhouse made 25 saves to lead the visiting Victoria Royals to a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars (27-11-2-0, 56pts).
“That was a huge win, we had everyone going, everyone competing, all lines were rolling,” said Nagy,
Victoria (22-15-4-0, 48pts) outshot Prince George 19-8 in the first and 38-26 overall, while holding period leads of 1-0 and 2-0.
“I thought our start, our first period was one of the best we’ve played in a long time,” said Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry,
“Give credit to the leadership group, making sure we were ready to play…”
Royals forward Vladimir Bobylev struck on the power play in the first, and Nagy in middle frame, before Cougars Kody McDonald scored just a minute into the third to bring the game to within one.
Outhouse shut the door from there on in, stopping 12 of 13 third period shots earning his 22nd win while taking the first of the two game set.
“Our expectation is we’ll see a different team tomorrow, and probably be more emotion in the game.” Said Lowry, who’s last meeting combined for a total of 158 pims on Dec. 28th.
The 4th place Royals extended their win streak to 5 games and points in 6, and are now to within 1 of the Rockets, and 4 back of the Blazers, including closing the gap on the BC Division leading Cougars to just 8.
“Those are big points and we’ve got to get another one here.” Added Nagy.
Prince George has lost 3 of their last 4, all to Victoria after the Royals swept them on the Island on Dec 27th and 28th.
The Royals were 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Cougars went 0 for 2.
“Discipline was something that we talked about how it was going to be critical for us tonight…” said Lowry,
“The power play hasn’t been rewarded for the work it’s done, and the energy and momentum it has created…tonight we get a greasy one.”
Victoria was without veteran defenseman Chaz Reddekopp, serving the first of two game suspension for supplemental discipline incurred in the New Years eve game in Kamloops.
17 year old forward Ryan Peckford was back in the line up after missing 5 games due to injury and helped compliment the forward units.
“I liked the addition of Peckford tonight, I played him at center and he gave us the opportunity to play 4 lines, really balanced out our line up. He brought energy, created opportunities, his speed was really apparent tonight.”
Prince George’s newly acquired Russian forward Nikita Popugaev collected an assist in his debut after being acquired from Moose Jaw one day earlier.
The Royals have now won 4 straight against the Cougars and hold a 4-3 season series lead.
The two clubs will meet for a final time this season Saturday night at 7 pm.
“We always know the second game is the hardest one to win, they’ll make adjustments.” said Lowry.
“We’re going to have to make sure that the adjustments we make are going to give us a chance to generate the momentum early.”
– Marlon Martens
Victoria Royals 2 at Prince George Cougars 1 – Status: Final
Friday, January 6, 2017 – CN Centre – Prince George, BC
Victoria 1 1 0 – 2
Prince George 0 0 1 – 1
1, Victoria, Bobylev 2 (Jarratt, Nagy), 7:32 (PP).
Penalties-Gabrielle Pg (slashing), 6:18; Price Vic (inter. on goaltender), 7:59; Price Vic (major-fighting), 14:28; Anderson Pg (holding, major-fighting), 14:28; Prowse Vic (interference), 15:49.
2, Victoria, Nagy 12 (Walker, Ibragimov), 12:48.
Penalties-Collins Pg (delay of game), 18:28.
3rd Period-3, Prince George, McDonald 9 (Popugaev, Harkins), 0:58.
Shots on Goal-
Prince George 8-5-13-26.
Power Play Opportunities-
Victoria 1 / 3;
Prince George 0 / 2.
Victoria, Outhouse 22-12-3-0 (26 shots-25 saves).
Prince George, Edmonds 21-7-1-0 (38 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Clayton Hall (42), Brett Iverson (24).
Linesmen-Ron Dietterle (121), Alex Teichroeb (133).