I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy – what can I say, I’m a sports writer – so there were lots of upsetting items to take out of the Victoria Royals’ 6-5 shootout loss on Tuesday night to the Prince Albert Raiders.
The defeat snapped a seven-game win streak as Victoria gassed a 2-0 lead nine minutes into the game, before it managed to battle back from a 3-2 deficit to grab 4-3 and 5-4 advantages.
Lost in there were two short-handed goals allowed and the eventual tying goal with – get this - just .1 left on the clock.
That back-breaker came with a faceoff in the Royals’ territory with just 3.4 seconds remaining.
Surely you have to be able to kill that off, but somehow they allowed the most dangerous player on the ice, Mark McNeill, to slip away and deflect a puck up and over goaltender Coleman Vollrath.
I still have a hard time believing the puck crossed the line before the buzzer went off (the red light did not come on), but the goal held up after a review and off they went to overtime.
Nothing was decided there before Steven Hodges, Ben Walker and Brandon Magee all failed to beat Raiders’ netminder Luke Siemens in the shootout.
What I struggled with most was the fact that defenceman Jordan Fransoo, who was -2 at the time, saw the ice after the Raiders called a timeout with 3.4 seconds left.
Of course, the Royals managed to let McNeill get away and Fransoo ended up -3 on the evening, which should be unacceptable as a veteran. Not to single out one player, but the negative stat sticks out like a sore thumb.
Victoria’s big line of Brandon Magee, Steven Hodges and Alex Gogolev – which recorded another five points as the trio enjoys an unbelievable run – was also on the ice and needed to do a much better job of killing off the final few ticks of the clock.
Sure, the team still managed a point, but a glass-half-empty guy can only look at it one way – it was a point thrown away as the team got away from what it should be doing best, clamping down defensively, getting pucks out and not turning over the biscuit.
Really, five goals should be more than enough to stash away two points in the Western Hockey League and veteran coach Dave Lowry will surely get that point across.
The team should have also dug a bit deeper for Vollrath, who was making his first start in 12 games.
Sure, the Royals still remain without big-name players in the lineup, but it’s been no different through the seven-game win streak.
The fact is, they let a big point get away as they attempt to catch up on both the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. They have two games in hand on both and are now one point back of the Americans and four back of Spokane.
But with a big date in Kelowna (the Rockets have won 21 straight at home, the fourth longest such streak in league history) on Thursday, the Royals threw a big wrench into their own plans.
This one should have been in the books, wrapped up with a nice, big bow, or plugged like a half empty wine bottle.