Victoria Royals halt 10-game losing streak with overtime victory

You just know this one felt good for the Victoria Royals.

The Royals (2-13-1) snapped a 10-game WHL losing streak with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Prince George Cougars on Friday night in Kamloops.

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It was the bookend Brayden Show that won it as rookie Brayden Schuurman scored his fifth goal of the season at 3:00 of extra time on an assist from first-round Anaheim Ducks NHL draft-pick Brayden Tracey.

“It was a gritty response [to the streak] tonight from our group,” said Victoria GM and head coach Dan Price.

“It was hard earned.”

Goaltender Adam Evanoff was the story of the night for Victoria with 40 saves. The 20-year-old, signed to a pro contract in the AHL with Stockton, leads the B.C. Division with 356 saves in 11 games, mainly because the rookie-laden Victoria blueline has been on a steep learning curve.

“Adam led us tonight,” said Price.

“It was one of those games in which he was just not going to let us lose.”

Victoria veteran Brandon Cutler’s sixth goal of the season opened scoring on the power-play at 17:48 of the first period. Cutler banged in a rebound off a shot by Swiss junior international Keanu Derungs, who returned to the Royals line-up after missing 11 games to injury. Tyson Upper tied it for Prince George (6-7-3) at 8:06 of the third period as the puck ricocheted a few times before finding its way into the Victoria net.

Victoria is 2-3 against Prince George this season. The Royals, ­dominant against the Cougars since coming into the league in 2011-12, were 6-1 against Prince George last season. The Cougars’ poor showing in recent seasons has allowed them to stock up on first round U-15 draft picks and they feature seven of them on the roster. With 14 returnees, including seven 19-year-olds, the ­Cougars also have veteran depth to support their 10 rookies.

Taylor Gauthier, the third goaltender for silver-medallist Canada in the 2021 world junior championship, was given the night off by Prince George. With the Cougars’ goaltender of the future Tyler Brennan with Canada at the U-18 world junior championship in Texas, the start went to rookie Ty Young, who made 21 saves.

ICE CHIPS: Noah Lamb is out for the season, the Royals announced, leaving over-ager Matthew Smith as the lone true veteran Victoria defenceman. Converted veteran forward Graeme Bryks has been playing defence out of necessity … The Royals meet the Vancouver Giants (9-7), losers of four consecutive games, tonight in Kelowna.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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