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Victoria’s high hopes fizzle against Rockets in first game of midweek series

Royals drop a 4-3 decision in shootout, will try again to snap losing streak Wednesday on home ice
Victoria Royals winger Bailey Peach, left, goes head to head with Kelowna defenceman Jackson DeSouza during Tuesday’s Western Hockey League game at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Peach scored twice but the visitors eked out a 4-3 shootout win. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

The Victoria Royals looked primed to snap their seven-game losing streak as they built a 3-1 lead against visiting Kelowna in Tuesday’s Western Hockey League contest at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

But that was after 40 minutes of play and the Rockets had other ideas. Kelowna came from behind to tie it up in the third and went on to win 4-3 in a shootout.

The Rockets improved to 19-10-1-3 – good for second spot in the B.C. Division – and despite earning a single point, the Royals (12-20-4-1) remain last in the division.

Kelowna returns Wednesday (Jan. 26) for round 2 in the midweek Victoria series, with opening faceoff at 7:05 p.m.

After spotting Kelowna a 1-0 lead after one period Tuesday on a power play goal from Jake Poole, the Royals came roaring back in the second, getting a pair of goals from Bailey Peach and a late power play marker from Reggie Newman that made it 3-1.

But the visitors rallied in the third, getting an early goal from Scott Cousins then tying the game 3-3 with an even-strength marker from Mark Liwiski.

Both teams managed just two shots in three-on-three overtime. Pavel Novak’s marker in the shootout against Victoria netminder Campbell Arnold was the lone goal for either team but proved to be the difference.

Despite taking the loss, Arnold was solid in goal, stopping 33 of 36 Kelowna shots, including several of the difficult variety.

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