Matthew Phillips scored twice and added an assist as the visiting Victoria Royals (31-15-2-3) defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 Saturday night.
“I think we stayed patient, we worked and waited for our opportunities.” Said Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry on the win.
After giving up a short handed goal to the Rockets to start the game, the Royals responded with 4 unanswered, including 3 on the power play.
Victoria wins their 5th in a row and have points in 8 straight games (7-0-1-0), to pull within 4 of Kelowna, who lead the Western Conference and are ranked 7th in the CHL Top 10. The Rockets had their 5 game win streak snapped.
“Our best players had to step up and be our best players, and the last two games our guys have played their hearts out.” according to Lowry.
The Royals knocked off the league leading Hurricanes, the #6 ranked team one night earlier 3-1.
“We just want to be recognized after this weekend as a team that’s hard to play against, and a team that comes and competes regardless of our opponent.” said Lowry,
“Credit to our leadership group to make sure that they were ready to play, and guys stayed committed to playing how we have to play.”
Phillips second goal came on a breakaway with :18 seconds left in the 2nd period to give Victoria a 2-1 lead heading to the third.
“You look at the game winning goal tonight, you go from playing in our end, to blocking a shot to changing the tide.” Said Lowry on Phillips eventual game winner, shown on a national stage, via Sportsnet.
Phillips went unranked in the NHL Central Scouting mid-term rankings, while leading all rookies in goals, now with 28.
“Great for Matthew (Phillips), he does it every night, he comes and plays – he’s a small guy that plays a big man’s game…there’s a lot of guys that are 6’3, 6’4 that if they had half the heart and passion that he has, they’d be really good players.”
The Royals then added a pair on the power play to put the game out of reach.
Coleman Vollrath earned the win stopping 22 of 23, while Michael Herringer allowed 4 goals on 34 Victoria shots.
Victoria was 3 for 6 on the power play, while shutting down all 4 Kelowna man advantages.
Alex Forsberg had a goal and assist, while Jack Walker chipped in with a pair of helpers. Walker now has 9 points in his last 4 games (2g 7a).
Forsberg fought Justin Kirkland and Vladimir Bobylev scrapped Rodney Southam both in the 2nd period.
Victoria returns home for a single game against the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday.
– Marlon Martens
Victoria Royals 4 at Kelowna Rockets 1 – Status: Final
Saturday, January 30, 2016 – Prospera Place – Kelowna, BC
Victoria 1 1 2 – 4
Kelowna 1 0 0 – 1
1, Kelowna, Kirkland 20 (Dube, Johansen), 8:39 (SH).
2, Victoria, Phillips 27 (Forsberg, Walker), 11:50 (PP).
Penalties-Anderson Vic (holding), 3:27; Southam Kel (cross checking), 6:43; served by Borstmayer Kel (too many men), 10:36; Bobylev Vic (slashing), 15:13.
3, Victoria, Phillips 28 19:42.
Penalties-Walker Vic (roughing), 0:54; Soustal Kel (roughing), 0:54; Walker Vic (roughing), 9:17; Bobylev Vic (cross checking), 15:00; Dube Kel (roughing), 15:00; Forsberg Vic (major-fighting), 17:30; Kirkland Kel (major-fighting), 17:30; Bobylev Vic (major-fighting), 18:40; Southam Kel (major-fighting), 18:40.
4, Victoria, Forsberg 21 (Walker, Hicketts), 11:06 (PP).
5, Victoria, Soy 26 (Phillips, Reddekopp), 13:08 (PP).
Penalties-Hicketts Vic (boarding), 1:49; Southam Kel (hooking), 10:12; Stephens Kel (holding), 11:30; Johansen Kel (tripping), 16:16; Kirkland Kel (holding), 16:41.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Victoria 3 / 6;
Kelowna 0 / 4.
Victoria, Vollrath 22-12-0-2 (23 shots-22 saves).
Kelowna, Herringer 15-6-1-0 (34 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Kevin Crowell (141), Dave McMahon (134).