Victoria Royals captain Matthew Phillips (in white) and his teammates dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Prince George last night and meet the Cougars in the Interior city again tonight. The single point in Western Hockey League action clinched a playoff berth for the Royals. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria Royals captain Matthew Phillips (in white) and his teammates dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Prince George last night and meet the Cougars in the Interior city again tonight. The single point in Western Hockey League action clinched a playoff berth for the Royals. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Royals clinch WHL playoff spot with overtime loss in Prince George

Goaltenders duel at the CN Centre, Victoria plays P.G. Cougars again tonight

With a playoff spot in the bag, the Victoria Royals are getting a good glimpse of their possible first-round Western Hockey League opponent this week at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

The Royals, sitting fifth overall in the Western Conference, are in the middle of hosting the No. 4 Spokane Chiefs on back-to-back nights. The clubs play round 2 of their mini-series Wednesday (March 7, 7:05 p.m.) following Tuesday’s game in Victoria.

Heading into this week’s play, the Chiefs and Royals had split their only two meetings: the Chiefs, who missed the playoffs last season, won 8-6 in an October game, while the Royals squeaked out a 1-0 win in November. Both games were played in Spokane.

The Royals are coming off a rough road trip that saw them lose 5-1 in Kamloops last week and drop a 2-1 decision in overtime to the Cougars in Prince George last Friday – the single point clinched their playoff berth.

Victoria rebounded to beat the Cougars 7-3 on Saturday.

Tyler Soy led the Royals’ attack with a goal and two helpers in the win, which saw the visitors score four straight unanswered goals in the third period.

Other Victoria goals came from Scott Walford, Jared Freadrich, Noah Gregor, Kade Jensen, Chaz Redekopp and Tarun Fizer, who notched his first WHL goal in the game’s final minute.

On Friday, Prince George’s Ryan Schoettler scored 4:04 into overtime to give the hometown Cougars the win.

The teams were locked in a scoreless tie until Joel Lakusta beat Griffen Outhouse on a Prince George power play for the game’s first goal five minutes into the third period. Noah Gregor responded with a man advantage marker for the Royals three minutes later and both teams had decent scoring chances later in the period.

editor@vicnews.com

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