It was Black Friday for the Victoria Royals and it had nothing to do with shopping.
The Prince George Cougars franchise, which skated in the old Memorial Arena as the Victoria Cougars from 1971-72 to 1993-94, returned to Blanshard Street and recorded a 5-4 WHL win over the Royals (12-12).
The Cougars (9-11-4) rode some strange goals to a 4-1 lead before 4,273 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
That wasnt the start we were hoping for, said Royals forward Logan Nelson.
Its not normal to drop off like we did tonight after a game like we had Tuesday against Saskatoon [5-2 victory]. We have to get them [tonight, when the Royals and Cougars meet again at 7 in the Memorial Centre]. We need to play a simple, fast, physical game against them [tonight] and stay out of the penalty box [Prince George scored two power-play goals Friday].
Steve Hodges of the Royals and Brett Roulston of the Cougars traded first-period goals, both on soft shots to make it 1-1. Then another peculiar shot, from near the right face-off dot by Ryan Hanes, beat Victoria goaltender Patrik Polivka as the Cougars went ahead 2-1. The opening period concluded with Cougars captain Colin Jacobs wiring a shot from the left face-off circle past Polivka with just three seconds remaining as Victoria was serving a penalty for too many men.
A Roulston shot from the right face-off circle made it 4-1 at 3:31 of the second period and that was it for Polivka, replaced by Coleman Vollrath after allowing four goals on 15 shots.
A power-play goal by Jamie Crooks, set up with a nice assist by Nelson, pulled Victoria to within two at 7:30 of the second. Ben Walker at 15:26 of the second period left Prince George nursing a 4-3 lead. But penalties again proved costly for Victoria as Hanes made it 5-3 on the power play at 15:59 with his second goal.
It was a rough night for us, said Walker.
Brandon Magee made it 5-4 at 11:01 of the third. Moments later, an apparent Victoria tying goal was disallowed much to the chagrin of the fans, but the goalie interference call was proper.
We need to be better [tonight] and play the body and get pucks on net, said Walker.
These are big points, especially when you get down near the end of the season in a playoff race.
ICE CHIPS: Royals captain Tyler Stahl sat out the first game of a two-game suspension Friday for a check from behind in Tuesdays victory over Saskatoon. He will also sit out tonight . . . Injured Victoria forward Tim Traber missed his fifth consecutive game.
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