Royals Defeat WHL Leading Hurricanes 3-1 Friday
Jack Walker scored twice, and Alex Forsberg scored the eventual winner as the Victoria Royals (30-15-2-3, 65pts) knocked off the league leading Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-1 on the Island Friday night.
“We were committed to playing our style, we played a really good game…” said Head Coach Dave Lowry.
Forsberg broke a 1-1 third period draw with a power play goal, to give the Royals their 4th consecutive victory and points in 7 straight games (6-0-1-0).
“It was a tight game, I really liked the way that after (Lethbridge) tied it up, our guys went back to work and stayed with it.” Said Lowry.
The Hurricanes ranked 6th in the CHL Top 10, (36-12-0-0, 72pts) had their 10 game winning streak snapped, losing their first game in 2016.
Lethbridge came in as the most offensive team in the league, squaring off against Victoria’s 2nd most stingiest squad.
“What we needed was to play a good team game…the best part about tonight, was we didn’t have any passengers.” commented Lowry
Victoria out shot Lethbridge 42 – 17, as ‘Canes netminder Stuart Skinner earned first star hounours making 39 saves. Skinner entered the game earning back to back shut outs, and held the Royals off the scoreboard until 5 minutes in the middle frame, when Walker deflected a puck through his legs.
Victoria took a 1-0 lead to the third, but Ryley Lindgren one timed a pass on the power play past Coleman Vollrath (17/18) to draw even at 1-1.
Royals leading scorer Alex Forsberg (20th) restored the lead with a sharp back hand top corner for the eventual game winner as Walker (18th) added an empty net goal for insurance.
“I liked our games start to finish.” quipped Lowry.
Victoria was 1 for 5 on the power play while stopping 3 of 4 Lethbridge man advantages, ranked first in the league.
The 2nd place Royals pull 4 points up on the 3rd place Cougars, and 5 on the Silvertips.
Victoria travels and then plays Kelowna on Saturday night at 7:30, the top team in the Western Conference, 6 up on the Royals who took 3 of 4 points recently in a back to back set on the Island.
The Rockets have won 5 in a row, and are ranked 7th in the CHL Top 10.
“For us, this is like a playoff weekend, throw travel in, it’s a quick turnaround. We have every excuse in the book, but our guys will ride the momentum. We’re going into a tough building, playing the 2nd best team in the league – it’s going to be another good challenge for us.” Added Lowry.
Puck drop Saturday from Kelowna is at 7:30 p.m on the Zone @ 91.3 fm, with the pregame show at 7:15.
Lethbridge Hurricanes 1 at Victoria Royals 3 – Status: Final
Friday, January 29, 2016 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Lethbridge 0 0 1 – 1
Victoria 0 1 2 – 3
Penalties-Burke Let (high sticking), 9:35; Nielsen Let (cross checking), 10:15; Atwal Let (roughing), 19:54; Hicketts Vic (roughing), 19:54; Folk Let (roughing), 20:00; Gagnon Vic (roughing), 20:00.
1, Victoria, Walker 17 (Jarratt, Bobylev), 5:25.
Penalties-Reddekopp Vic (holding), 2:05; served by Anderson Vic (too many men), 6:17.
2, Lethbridge, Lindgren 20 (Burke, Nielsen), 5:40 (PP).
3, Victoria, Forsberg 20 (Bobylev, Hicketts), 9:45 (PP).
4, Victoria, Walker 18 18:43 (EN).
Penalties-Nielsen Let (high sticking), 1:00; Reddekopp Vic (tripping), 2:47; Walker Vic (checking to the head), 4:59; Pankewicz Let (tripping), 9:03; Lindgren Let (tripping), 12:52.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Lethbridge 1 / 4;
Victoria 1 / 5.
Lethbridge, Skinner 19-7-0-0 (41 shots-39 saves).
Victoria, Vollrath 21-12-0-2 (17 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Kevin Bennett (29), Adam Griffiths (36).
Linesmen-Ron Dietterle (121), Riley Friesen (76).