The Victoria Royals ran into the hottest team in the Western Hockey League on Friday night and paid the price.
The Portland Winterhawks beat the Royals 6-2 at the Rose Garden. It was the Winterhawks seventh straight victory and improved their record to 11-3-1-0, good for top spot in the U.S. Division.
Theyre a very good team, especially at home, said Royals head coach Dave Lowry, whose club lost its third straight game, all on the road. But I thought we did a good job of weathering the storm early and took the lead with a good power-play goal, but they got a couple back and got the momentum and we never recovered.
We have to be better [tonight].
Things were looking good for the Royals early on as Victorias Brandon Magee opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 3:34 into the first period. It was Magees eighth goal of the season, and Victoria was 4-0 this season when scoring first. But just four minutes later, Nashville Predators draft pick Brendan Leipsic evened things up after a nice feed from Ty Rattie.
The point allowed Rattie, a 2011 first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues, to extend his point streak to nine games. And Rattie would score himself a few minutes later to give the Winterhawks the lead for good. Portland would pummel Patrik Polivka in the Royals goal with 30 shots in the opening frame and go to the break up 3-1.
Polivka would face
42 shots after 40 minutes, before giving way to Coleman Vollrath with the Royals trailing 6-2. Defenceman Jordan Fransoo, with his first of the season, had the other Royals goal, midway through the second period. Brendan Burke, son of former NHLer Sean Burke, made 27 saves to pick up the win for the Winterhawks.
Nicolas Petan, with two, and Taylor Peters had the other Portland goals.
The loss dropped the Royals record to 9-7-0-0.
Theyll square off against the Winterhawks again tonight (7 p.m.) before heading to Alberta for three games, beginning Wednesday in Lethbridge.
LOOSE PUCKS: Royals captain Tyler Stahl sat out his third straight game with an undisclosed injury and remains day-to-day.
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