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Palmer, Schuurman lead Royals past Rockets

VICTORIA 6 KELOWNA 3 With apologizes to Led Zepplin, the Victoria Royals did not want the song to remain the same against the Kelowna Rockets.

VICTORIA 6 KELOWNA 3

With apologizes to Led Zepplin, the Victoria Royals did not want the song to remain the same against the Kelowna Rockets.

The Royals recorded a 6-3 Western Hockey League victory on Friday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre to halt its skid against the Okanagan side.

Kelowna had won all four games against Victoria in the bubble season last spring and both games against the Island club in the pre-season.

Royals goaltender Tyler Palmer, the lone bright light in the season opening 5-0 onslaught loss to the Vancouver Giants, turned in another standout performance in making 33 saves.

“It’s his work ethic in making second and third saves,” saves said Royals general manager and head coach Dan Price.

The Royals only got 18 shots on net, but made them count.

Pavel Novak gave Kelowna the lead nine minutes into the game before Carter Dereniwsky finally scored Victoria’s first goal of the season at 17:41.

Perhaps inspired by that breakthrough, the Royals pounded home four more goals to open a 5-1 lead by 14:41 of the second period as Brayden Schuurman counted twice and Anthony Wilson and Riley Gannon once each to chase Kelowna starting goaltender Cole Schwebius from the crease in favour of back-up Cole Tisdale.

The Rockets found their way back into the game with goals by Nolan Flamand and Pavel Novak before the second period concluded.

But Palmer shut the door the rest of the way. Schuurman scored into the empty net for the hat-trick.

“We reset very well tonight after Kelowna’s first goal and then when they scored the two goals to end the second period,” said Price.

NHL second-round draft pick Colton Dach, acquired by Kelowna last month in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades, is being sent to the Rockets from the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL, but was not in the line-up Friday.

While veteran blueliner Tyson Feist was named Rockets captain this week, Victoria was missing its captain as undrafted Tarun Fizer is with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League, farm team of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

To satisfy provincial health regulations for indoor sporting events, fans needed to show proof of vaccination and seating was limited to half capacity. That is 3,503 for the Memorial Centre.

Attendance was announced at 2,026 Friday.

Victoria hosts the Rockets again tonight at 7.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com