Split with Winter Hawks keeps Victoria Royals ahead of Portland in West

Narrow loss Saturday follows overtime win on Friday in Victoria

The Victoria Royals met their match in Portland goalie Brendan Burke on Saturday, as he stopped 23 shots and helped the visiting Winter Hawks grab a split of the teams’ back-to-back Western Hockey League games here with a 2-1 win.

With the teams tied 1-1 late in the third period, Oliver Bjorkstrand beat Royals goalie Coleman Vollrath with the eventual winner on the power play with five minutes left.

Jordan Fransoo notched the tying goal for the Royals with the man advantage at the 12:49 mark of the final frame.

Vollrath stopped 33 shots on the night, including a penalty shot by Brendan Leipsic in the first period.

The Royals loss followed a thrilling 3-2 shootout win the night before in front of an announced crowd of nearly 5,000 fans at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Ben Walker, in the first period, and Steven Hodges in the third scored for the Royals, who trailed 2-1 after two periods.

Vollrath chalked up 38 saves in the win and stopped two of three shots in the shootout – the other went wide – while Jack Walker scored the lone shootout goal for the Royals to win it.

Victoria sits 29-15-0-2, good for second spot in the B.C. Division. The Royals’ 60 points is one better than U.S. Division-leading Portland (27-12-2-3).

The Royals next see action this Friday-Saturday, when they host B.C. leader Kelowna for a pair of games at the Save-On Memorial Centre. Games times are 7:05 p.m.