The Victoria Royals lost two of three to the Vancouver Giants in the final week of 2022.
Still, December marked the best month of the season for the Royals following a tough stretch where the local team went winless in November.
Victoria went 5-7 in December with three of those wins coming in a four-game stretch in the final two weeks of 2022. The Royals edged out the Tri-City Americans in two straight high-scoring games, beating them 7-6 and 6-5 respectively on Dec. 16 and 17.
Head coach Dan Price applauded his team’s perseverance and composure following the pair of wins, which he believed would serve as momentum for the remainder of the season.
“The guys have really believed all along,” said Price. “It’s a very calm group, a resilient group, a group that has a lot of belief.”
After routing the Washington State opponent, the Royals turned their attention to three games against the Vancouver Giants to close the year.
Victoria lost the opener 3-2 over on the mainland on Dec. 27. Down 3-0 going into the third period, the Royals failed to complete a late-game comeback.
However, Victoria got revenge the next night with a 3-0 win over the Giants, highlighted by a Braden Holt shutout less than a day after the 19-year-old goaltender was acquired in a trade with the Everett Silvertips.
Vancouver would win the three-game set two days later in Victoria in a rough affair that saw multiple kneeing penalties and fights. Victoria sent the game past regulation with a late goal to tie it up, but Vancouver scored twice in a shutout to grab the 4-3 victory.
The Royals begin 2023 on Tuesday (Jan. 3) as they take on the Rockets in Kelowna at 7:05 p.m. Victoria sits one spot back of Kelowna for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
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