Victoria went 3 for 3 on the power play, and came from behind scoring the final 3 goals in a roughly contested, physical affair.
“It’s exactly what we thought it would be…a hard fought game, and that they’d have a high level of desperation.” Said Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry.
“This is what happens we you play a team in the playoffs the year before, there’s going to be some emotion in the game.”
Spokane is fighting for their playoff lives, 5th in the US Division, 11 points out of the final playoff spot with 9 games to go.
“It was a really good test for us. It was a playoff environment, playoff atmosphere for us, it was a hard, physical game. I really liked the way our guys responded.” Added Lowry
Down 3-1 in the second period, Royals forward Dante Hannoun struck twice on the power play late in the frame to draw the club at 3-3 even going into the third.
Victoria was out shot in the final frame 12-4, but Phillips notched the only goal of the frame, his 44th of the season. The Royals had to kill off 2 Chiefs power plays to preserve the win.
“Our power play was good (3 for 3), but we knew going into the third period our penalty killing was going to have to be better – and we got great efforts from a lot of guys.”
Victoria won the special teams game, going 3 for 3 with the man advantage, while stopping both chances by Spokane.
“Executing, and your top players are creating offense – and there’s urgency…” said Lowry on the power play.
“…games are really tight, we’re not scoring a lot of goals 5 on 5, so special teams really factor in.”
The Royals win their 5th in a row, and now have points in 6 straight holding down the first Wild Card spot in the West. Only 10 points separates 1st from 4th in the BC Division, the Royals are now 5 back of the Blazers, and 6 back of the Rockets – teams they’ll face twice each on the road next week.
Jack Walker had a goal and assist, while Vladimir Bobylev added a pair of helpers.
The Chiefs got goals from Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Ondrej Najman, and Ethan McIndoe.
Victoria netminder Griffen Outhouse stopped 26 of 29 shots setting the franchise record for most wins in a season at 33.
Jayden Sittler allowed 4 goals on 32 attempts.
Phillips extended his point streak to 7 games with 15 points (5g-10a), Bobylev has collected 9 points (3g-6a) in his last 5 games, and Hannoun has 8 points (4g-4a) in his previous 4 games.
Victoria has won 3 of the 4 games in the season series, which concludes at home on Saturday night. A sweep of the two game set can clinch a playoff berth for the Royals.
“We just have to be ready for a real desperate team.” Quipped Lowry.
– Marlon Martens
Spokane Chiefs 3 at Victoria Royals 4 – Status: Final
Friday, March 3, 2017 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Spokane 1 2 0 – 3
Victoria 1 2 1 – 4
1, Spokane, Anderson-Dolan 35 (Yamamoto, Elynuik), 4:54.
2, Victoria, Walker 28 (Phillips, Walford), 18:27 (PP).
Penalties-McIndoe Spo (holding), 17:51.
3, Spokane, Najman 5 (McKay), 1:51.
4, Spokane, McIndoe 17 (Helgesen, Smith), 14:46.
5, Victoria, Hannoun 22 (Walker, Bobylev), 16:43 (PP).
6, Victoria, Hannoun 23 (Phillips, Bobylev), 19:59 (PP).
Penalties-Ostir Spo (tripping), 15:27; Yamamoto Spo (high sticking), 19:37.
7, Victoria, Phillips 44 (Folk), 13:54.
Penalties-Masella Vic (tripping), 1:56; Smith Spo (kneeing), 7:19; Walker Vic (slashing), 7:19; Nagy Vic (high sticking), 10:34.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Spokane 0 / 2;
Victoria 3 / 3.
Spokane, Sittler 15-13-2-1 (32 shots-28 saves).
Victoria, Outhouse 33-20-3-1 (29 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Mike Langin (67), Fraser Lawrence (10).
Linesmen-Jeff MacAdams, Liam Reid (112).