‘Huge bounce-back’ for Victoria Royals in U.S.

VICTORIA 7
TRI-CITY 4

Blowout turnabout proved fair play for the Victoria Royals.

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The Island club rallied from an 8-3 Western Hockey League loss Friday in Spokane against the Chiefs to defeat the Tri-City Americans 7-4 on Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington.

The result snapped a three-game Tri-City winning streak.

“It was a huge bounce-back game,” said Royals coach Dan Price.

“Our leadership group took ownership of what happened the night before in Spokane, and met Saturday morning, and took charge.”

Four unanswered goals in the second period, propelled by D-Jay Jerome’s 20th and 21st goals of the season, gave Victoria (27-22-3) the momentum it needed at that right time and built on the Royals’ 2-1 first-period lead.

Belarusian junior international Igor Martynov got Victoria on the board 3:21 into the game before Connor Bouchard tied it for Tri-City (28-20-3) on the power play at 9:23. But that’s as good as it got for the Americans. Blueliner Scott Walford, third-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens stepped into a shot for his ninth goal to make it 2-1 for Victoria on an assist from Jerome just two minutes later.

Victoria’s previously hapless power play, last in the league entering Saturday night, continued showing flickers of life of late by going three-for-six. Jerome, Kody McDonald and Kaid Oliver, with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season, had the Victoria power-play tallies.

Phillip Schultz, who represented Denmark at the last two IIHF world junior championships had a goal and assist for the Royals.

Griffen Outhouse made 18 saves in goal for Victoria, but one of them was an outstanding and timely block in the first period that prevented the Americans from tying the game 2-2 and possibly altering the trajectory of the contest. Tri-City’s last goal was scored against Brock Gould.

Tri-City starter Beck Warm was chased from crease after the Royals made it 4-1 on just 16 shots by 6:19 of the second period. Warm’s replacement, Talyn Boyko, didn’t fare much better in mopping up.

The game was the second in a five-game, 1,700-kilometre road trip which continues on Wednesday in Kamloops and with back-to-back contests Friday and next Saturday in Prince George.

The Royals concluded six consecutive games in a row against U.S. Division opponents at 3-2-1, including going 2-0-1 against Tri-City in that stretch.

The Royals were again missing veteran defenceman Ralph Jarratt in Tri-City. He is week to week with a lower-body injury.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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