Forward Tim Traber, defenceman Keegan Kanzig and head coach Dave Lowry were suspended for the game because of deportment the night before in a 6-0 loss at Kamloops. Kanzig was cited by the league for a “one-man fight” and Traber for “actions.” Lowry was booked for “conduct of the club” and watched the game on Internet from his hotel room.
“It cost me $7.95 to watch it,” quipped Lowry.
The Royals (0-8-3) tied the franchise record for 11 games without a win, from 2006-07, when the team was located in Chilliwack. But they still managed to salvage a point against a Rockets team ranked fifth in the country.
“I thought our guys were great and I’m really proud of them and how they competed,” said Lowry.
Further disciplinary action, including additional game suspensions, could be leveled against the Royals trio by the league and is to be determined.
“I’m optimistic,” said Royals GM Cam Hope.
“Dave [Lowry] has no previous history of suspensions.”
If the Victoria bench wasn’t thin enough, forward and Buffalo Sabres-prospect Logan Nelson also missed the game due to illness.
The Royals were forced to dress two 15-year-olds to fill the roster holes — 2012 first-round bantam draft pick defenceman Chaz Reddekopp making his WHL debut and forward and third-round 2012 bantam pick Matthew Campese playing his second WHL game.
Rourke Chartier’s goal in the sixth round of the shootout gave Kelowna the victory before 4,875 fans at Prospera Place.
Austin Carroll looked to have given Victoria the victory with his late goal at 18:45 of the third period on a power move from the boards to make it 3-2. But Ryan Olsen’s 33rd of the season tied it for the Rockets with 48 seconds remaining in regulation time.
A first-period goal by defenceman Madison Bowey gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead before Jamie Crooks’ 32nd goal of the season tied it for Victoria at 2:21 of the second period. Defenceman Jesse Lees of Kelowna and Jack Walker of Victoria later traded goals as the middle period ended 2-2.
Game second-star Coleman Vollrath, normally the back-up, got the starting nod in goal for Victoria and made 27 saves in regulation and overtime and five-of-six in the shootout. Kelowna regular Jordon Cooke made 20 saves and all six in the shootout.
The Rockets, second seed in the Western Conference, moved to 47-16-4. The sixth-seed Royals are 32-27-7.
The season series closed with Victoria winning only once in eight tries against Kelowna in what could be a first-round playoff matchup.
The Royals host the Vancouver Giants on Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, before travelling the strait to play the Giants on Saturday at the PNE Pacific Coliseum.
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