Victoria Royals’ captain Matthew Phillips finished off a miraculous comeback by his team in Prince George on Sunday afternoon, bagging the winner 1:55 into overtime in a 5-4 victory.
The Royals trailed 4-3 with less than five minutes to go in the third when Dino Kambeitz tied it up on a setup from Jared Legien.
The goal ultimately set the stage for overtime. The Cougars managed two shots on Griffen Outhouse, but the Royals made their lone shot in OT count. Outhouse fed Tyler Soy, who set up Phillips for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season.
The Cougars had led 3-0 after two periods, but the visitors roared back in the third, scoring three times in a span of 5:31 to even it up by the midway point. Jared Freadrich scored twice and Phillips once to make it 3-3, but Prince George regained the lead on Josh Maser’s third of the game, scored on the power play 12:12 into the frame.
Soy and Igor Martynov each had three assists for the Royals, who were outshot 34-29 overall.
The Cougars went three-for-four on the power play, while Victoria scored once on seven opportunities. Outhouse stopped 30 shots for the win.
The teams play a rematch Tuesday night back at the CN Centre in Prince George.
Victoria rolls into Langley for a game against the Vancouver Giants this Friday (Dec. 15) and returns home on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) to play the Giants at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
The Royals were coming off a 10-3 home win against the Kootenay Ice on Friday night. The game was barely five minutes old when Victoria forward Eric Florchuk netted his sixth goal of the season to make it 1-0, which sent an avalanche of stuffed toys cascading to the ice.
The Royals’ annual teddy bear toss night sees hockey fans encouraged to bring a new bear to the game, to toss on the ice upon the first goal. All of the toys will be passed along to a local child in need.
Florchuk, with five points, and Kaid Oliver with his third and fourth goals of the year and two assists, led the Victoria attack in the game while eight other Royals scored singles.