Vancouver Giants strike early to oust Victoria Royals from playoffs

Goaltender Griffen Outhouse will go into the books as one of the three-greatest Victoria Royals — along with Flames prospect Matthew Phillips and Red Wings prospect Joe Hicketts — over the first eight years of team history on the Island.

The Royals received a standing ovation from the 4,718 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre following Thursday night’s season-ending 6-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants. The fans then chanted: “We love Outhouse, we love Outhouse . . .” as his theme song Brick House by the Commodores played on the PA for the last time after four years.

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But you can only rely on your goaltending for so long. It wasn’t a vintage Outhouse performance Thursday. But he did all he could earlier — the Royals were outshot 157-63 over four games — as the Giants swept their second-round Western Hockey League playoff series 4-0 to advance to the Western Conference final against the Spokane Chief or Everett Silvertips.

Outhouse was left out to dry more times than 1950s laundry in a first-period shooting gallery as Vancouver got off to a 3-0 start.

It was the last game of junior hockey for 20-year-old Royals players Outhouse, defenceman Ralph Jarratt and forward Kody McDonald, the latter who missed the final six games of his junior career on suspension. Jarratt gutted it out to return from injury Thursday.

D-Jay Jerome scored Victoria’s last goal of 2018-19. By then it was 4-0 in the second period.

Among the Giants’ scorers were Bowen Byram, projected to be the first defenceman selected in the 2019 NHL draft, and forward Owen Hardy from Nanaimo. Scoring a goal and drawing two assists in his final Memorial Centre appearance was former Royals forward and 20-year-old Vancouver captain Jared Dmytriw.

Outhouse made 27 saves. The Giants have been alternating Trent Miner, projected for the 2019 NHL draft, and Arizona Coyotes draft pick David Tendeck, who made 17 saves Thursday as the suffocating Giants defence held Victoria to under 20 shots in each of the four games.

The Royals, who were also swept last year by the Tri-City Americans, are 0-9 in the second round dating back to Game 7 against Kelowna in 2016.

ICE CHIPS: The Kamloops Blazers announced Thursday they have “mutually parted ways” with head coach Serge Lajoie.

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