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Bad bounces, barrage of shots lift Rockets past Victoria Royals

Royals now head to Kamloops for a pair, losing streak hits nine games
Royals right-winger Matthew Hodson tries to break away from Kelowna’s Andrew Cristall at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Jan. 26. (Photo courtesy of the Victoria Royals)

While being peppered with shots, it was a pair of bad bounces that did the Royals in on Wednesday night.

The end result of Wednesday’s game mirrored the one from the night before – albeit in regulation – as the Royals lost 4-3 to the Kelowna Rockets at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Victoria dropped all four of its games against the Rockets in January.

Kelowna more than doubled Victoria’s shots during the second game of the back-to-back matchup. After a scoreless first, the Rockets put 22 shots at Tyler Palmer in the middle frame alone, helping the visitors take a 3-1 lead after two periods.

A bad break for Victoria resulted in the third goal against them. Kelowna defenceman John Babcock dumped the puck in as he hit the Victoria blueline, but as the puck ringed around the boards it took a weird bounce before hitting the back of Palmer and deflecting into the net.

The unlucky goal wouldn’t deter the home team as tallies from Bailey Peach and Matthew Hodson within the first six minutes of the third period helped Victoria tie the game.

The Royals were the victim of another odd goal with eight minutes to go after a no-look pass from behind their net deflected into the air and bounced to the stick of Kelowna’s Jake Lee, who then scored on a five-hole shot from just above the circle.

Palmer stopped 45 of 49 shots in the loss.

Head coach Dan Price said his team’s effort was great during Victoria’s sixth game in the nine days.

“Especially in the third, being down 3-1 and to come roaring back like that,” he said. “The way that they pushed and went for it and put themselves in a position to win gives me a tremendous amount of pride in the character of the group.”

The Royals head back on the road this week to play back to back games against B.C. Division-leading Kamloops Blazers on Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m. at the Sandman Centre.

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

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