After his team suffered its most lopsided defeat of the season Tuesday at home, Victoria Royals head coach Dan Price practically threw himself on the sword for his players.
The Royals (16-8-1-0, first, B.C. Division) gave up six power play goals in 11 shorthanded situations against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, losers of eight straight previous Western Hockey League games, and lost 10-4 at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
“I take 100 per cent responsibility for that result,” Price said when asked how the Royals brush off a game like this and get ready to host the Seattle Thunderbirds this Friday and Saturday (7:05 p.m. starts).
“For whatever reason, although we felt the team was prepared to play, we felt there was good energy and focus and preparation, there wasn’t obviously in the early going of the game. It’s an aberration on the schedule, it’s hopefully a plot point that we can say that happened when, and we learned from it.”
Ryan Vandervlis led the Hurricanes’ attack with three goals and an assist, and Calen Addison and Giorgio Estephan also had four-point games. After Matthew Smith opened the scoring with his second of the season for Victoria, Vandervlis scored twice in just over five minutes to give Lethbridge (8-12-1-0, fourth Central Division) a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Tyler Soy made it 2-2 with his ninth of the season, scored shorthanded 4:20 into the second period. Then the Hurricanes went to work, reeling off five straight goals – including three with the man advantage – to make it 7-2 after two. Victoria managed just four shots on goal in the period and seemed to have less jump than the visitors, who Price called a team “hungry for a win.”
Royals’ starter Griffen Outhouse was pulled after giving up a fourth goal midway through the middle frame, but Lethbridge greeted replacement goalie Dean McNabb with two goals in the next 2:27.
Victoria’s Matthew Phillips, with his 19th, and Chaz Redekopp, with his third, sandwiched goals around a Zane Franklin marker for Lethbridge in the third.
Not only was the deficit too much to overcome, the Royals found themselves killing penalties for much of the latter half of the period.