Coleman Vollrath made 40 saves to help the Victoria Royals defeat the visiting Kelowna Rockets Thursday night, and take a 1-0 best of seven playoff series lead.
“I thought it was a gutsy effort by our team, we’re missing a couple key guys, and with Fisher leaving the game in the second period guys needed to step up – and I think they did that in the third,” said Vollrath.
Dante Hannoun’s 2nd period goal stood as the winner, while Jack Walker opened the scoring in the first. Tyson Baillie got the lone goal for Kelowna.
“I think it was exactly what we expected it to be, a hard fought, tight checking game – that’s what playoff hockey is all about…” said Head Coach Dave Lowry, who’s club was without Joe Hicketts and Vladimir Bobylev to start the game.
“I was impressed with a lot of guys in the way they played, and sacrificed…we had a lot of guys step up.”
The Rockets outshot the Royals 41-31, with Michael Herringer taking the loss for Kelowna.
Vollrath (3-1 post season) was back between the pipes after rookie netminder Griffen Outhouse (2-1) started the last 3 games against Spokane in round 1.
“Coleman got challenged to be better…he wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be last series…” said Lowry,
“Last series is gone, for him, it’s all about learning and getting better. He came in tonight and gave us a real good opportunity to win a hockey game.”
Vollrath ties the franchise record for wins in the post season at 7, with Patrik Polivka.
Neither team could score on their 4 power plays each, however Victoria killed of a 5 min major after Logan Fisher was assessed 5 and a game for boarding on Tanner Wishnowski in the middle frame.
“Killing that 5 minute penalty gave us a huge a momentum burst, and you look at the guys that killed it and the sacrifices that they made…” said Lowry.
Wishnowski returned and finished the game.
Game 2 goes in Victoria Saturday night as ZZ Top invades the SOFMC Friday night.
“We’re going to expect much of the same, every game is going to be a long, hard, drawn out battle…”,” said Lowry on the next meeting,
Especially with (Kelowna) defending champs, they know how to win, they know what you have to do after you don’t win a game – for us being a young team, it’s going to be a real good challenge.”
Puck drop at 7:05 Saturday
– Marlon Martens
Thursday, April 7th – Kelowna 2 @ Victoria 2
Saturday, April 9th – Kelowna @ Victoria – 7:05 p.m.
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 1 at Victoria Royals 2 – Status: Final
Thursday, April 7, 2016 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Kelowna 1 0 0 – 1
Victoria 1 1 0 – 2
1, Victoria, Walker 6 (Soy, Ibragimov), 4:01.
2, Kelowna, Baillie 1 (Thurkauf, Gatenby), 5:04.
Penalties-Dmytriw Vic (high sticking, high sticking), 5:22; Stephens Kel (hooking), 10:15; Stadel Kel (inter. on goaltender), 13:42; Price Vic (inter. on goaltender), 15:05.
3, Victoria, Hannoun 2 (Phillips, Forsberg), 1:25.
Penalties-Fisher Vic (major-boarding, game misconduct), 5:37; Thurkauf Kel (tripping), 16:52; Gagnon Vic (slashing), 16:52.
Penalties-Gatenby Kel (high sticking), 4:11; Gatenby Kel (charging), 8:06.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Kelowna 0 / 4;
Victoria 0 / 4.
Kelowna, Herringer 4-4-0-0 (31 shots-29 saves).
Victoria, Vollrath 3-1-0-0 (41 shots-40 saves).
Referees-Kyle Kowalski (15), Fraser Lawrence (10).
Linesmen-Nick Bilko (66), Kirk Van Helvoirt (107).