It was a change of logos Saturday for the Victoria Royals. But not of recent fortunes as the Kelowna Rockets skated to an emphatic 7-2 Western Hockey League victory before 6,751 subdued fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Victoria (32-24-5) lost its fourth consecutive game in extending its winless skid to six at 0-5-1. And the ramparts of Fortress Blanshard took a beating as Kelowna, 8-3 victors on Friday, swept the two-game set by a combined margin of 15-5. The Royals were 19-5-3 at the Memorial Centre before Kelowna (44-15-4) swept in to make a weekend mockery of that Victoria home-ice advantage.
“I’m embarrassed,” said defenceman Jordan Fransoo, who scored for Victoria.
“It was a very frustrating weekend for us. They [Rockets] played six consistent periods and we didn’t. We weren’t as good as we need to be.”
Eschewing the camouflage jerseys popular for Armed Forces appreciation nights, Victoria went with a simpler look — using their regular colours but with the Tri-Force logo replacing their usual stick-wielding Royal Lion.
It didn’t stop the Rockets onslaught.
“We have to right this ship and find a solution and a way to win a hockey game,” said Victoria head coach Dave Lowry.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed. They [Rockets] are one of the top teams in the country and we’re a work in progress.”
Keeping things in perspective, the Royals still have 14 more wins under Lowry than they had at this point last season under Marc Habscheid. But their bid to tie the franchise record for most wins — 33 in 2010-11 when the team played in Chilliwack as the Bruins — was stymied once again.
One problem is that the Royals have allowed 30 goals in their six-game winless skid. Also, Victoria is the most penalized team in the WHL and that catches up with you. It did Saturday as Kelowna’s third-ranked power play scored three times.
“Discipline is an issue,” Lowry admitted.
Victoria forward Steven Hodges, concurred.
“We’re taking unnecessary penalties and it’s clearly not helping us,” said the 2012 third-round NHL draft pick of the Florida Panthers.
Cody Fowlie led Kelowna with two goals.
Jack Walker, a swing player starting on defence Saturday, scored Victoria’s first goal. The Royals power play connected as Fransoo one-timed a terrific cross-rink pass from Hodges to make it 3-2 in the second period.
That’s as good as it got for Victoria.
“We’re in a bit of a tailspin and have to get out of it,” said Hodges,
“We’ve got to find a way to handle strong teams like this if we want to be considered [a good team, too]. It’s back to the drawing board. Sometimes all it takes is turning in a full 60 minutes of hockey.”
The Royals next get that chance Wednesday when they host Lethbridge.
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