The Victoria Royals were on the losing end of two games as they welcomed the team opposite to them in the standings on the weekend.
The Western Conference-leading Portland Winterhawks soared into the capital city with only one regulation loss through fourteen games. The weekend began with a 5-1 loss for the Royals at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
Victoria’s lone scorer on Friday night (Nov. 11) was Jake Poole, who has been one of the team’s most consistent sources of offence as he’s registered 18 points on the year.
But it was penalty trouble that proved too much for the home team on Friday. The Winterhawks have the best powerplay in the WHL as they’re scoring almost 40 per cent of the time with the man advantage. The Royals on the other hand have the fourth-worst penalty kill in the league.
Portland would capitalize on the mismatch, with three of their five goals coming on the powerplay.
Saturday (Nov. 12) saw more offence on both sides but had the same result for Victoria. The high-scoring affair saw Poole extend his team’s lead in points while Royals forward Riley Gannon also stood out with two goals on the night.
The game saw back-and-forth scoring until Victoria gave themselves a chance at a comeback off a goal by Teague Patton to make it a 6-4 game with about nine minutes remaining. However, another goal by the Winterhawks in the final five minutes would cement their 7-4 victory.
Head coach Dan Price said despite the loss, good things can come from his team’s effort during the fast and physical game.
“That was a really good game against a really good team,” he said postgame. “I think we got to their house quite effectively, the chances were about even in that way … O zone-wise, I thought we did a good job of getting the puck below the goal line.
Price said they’ll have to be better defensively going forward after the team allowed Portland to move the puck from down low into the slot and other prime scoring areas.
Before the Portland matchups, Victoria was coming off a 1-5 road trip where they travelled further east than they have since the pandemic hit.
The 3-14-3 Royals begin a two-game home set versus the Prince George Cougars on Friday, Nov. 18, when it’s ’80s night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Saturday’s game will be Canadian Armed Services appreciation night featuring a veteran’s discount, on-site CFB Esquimalt military vehicles and special commemorative jerseys worn by the players.
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