Matthew Phillips (11) and the Victoria Royals can avoid a sweep against the Tri City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. with a win in game 4 on Wednesday night. The Americans took a 3-0 series lead Tuesday with a 6-5 home-ice victory. Spencer Pickles/Black Press

WHL Royals face elimination after game 3 loss to Americans

Victoria closing gap on Tri City, but running out of time with game 4 Wednesday night

The Victoria Royals keep getting closer, but still find themselves facing elimination heading into game 4 of their Western Hockey League conference semifinal series against the powerful Tri City Americans.

After falling behind 5-0 in the third period on Tuesday in Kennewick, Wash., the Royals scored four straight goals to make a game of it. With goaltender Griffen Outhouse pulled for an extra attacker, however, the visitors gave up the ultimate winning goal to Michael Rasmussen with 45 seconds to go.

The Royals didn’t give up though, and Andrei Grishakov found the net with two seconds remaining.

The Americans can wrap things up with a win tomorrow night at home. Should the Royals extend the series, it would come back to Victoria this Friday night.

Tri City got three goals from Morgan Geekie, who was set up on two of them by Rasmussen. Both players wound up with four point nights, while defenceman Jake Bean racked up five assists in all.

The Americans are showing no love to the B.C. Division teams this playoffs, having swept Kelowna four straight and being on the verge of doing the same to Victoria. Tri City has outscored the Royals 17-7 overall in the series.

Nolan Yaremko and Dylan Coghlan also scored Tuesday, while Igor Martynov, Tarun Fizer, Lane Zablocki and Dante Hannoun tallied in the third for Victoria.

For the first time in the series, the Royals outshot the Americans, 32-31, including 18-8 in the final frame. Patrick Dea, named WHL goaltender of the week earlier in the day, stopped 27 shots for the win.

editor@vicnews.com

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