Alex Gogolev had two goals and an assist in his 100th Western Hockey League outing to lead the Victoria Royals to a spirited and important 6-2 win in Seattle on Tuesday night.
Tied for sixth place in the Western Conference with the Thunderbirds coming into the game, the Royals are now two points up on the American opponent with a game in hand.
Gogolev and Austin Carroll tallied just 1: 20 apart in the opening eight minutes of the game as the visitors opened up a quick lead in a game that finished with 120 minutes in penalties.
"Our start was critical for us tonight, and the guys did a lot of things right," said Royals head coach Dave Lowry.
"That's the way we need to play. We were emotionally invested, and we found a way to score some goals."
It was the first of a three-game road trip for the Royals, who move on to Red Deer on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday.
Goaltender Brandon Glover of Victoria started his 14th straight game for Seattle, while Victoria countered with Patrik Polivka as the teams met for the first time this season.
Roberts Lipsbergs cut the Royals' lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal late in the first period as Seattle cashed in with their third-best power-play unit in the league.
But the Royals peppered Glover early in the second, out-shooting the hosts 8-1 nine minutes into the frame.
The intense pressure paid off as Brett Cote's point shot eluded Glover midway through the second for a 3-1 lead. Jamie Crooks then made it 4-1 Royals late in the period.
Connor Sanvido stuffed one by Polivka to cut it to 4-2 midway through the third before Gogolev and Logan Fisher added late power-play goals.
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