Christopher Kelsall/Special to Victoria News
Environment Canada warned Islanders that a series of atmospheric rivers were on the way this weekend. They failed to mention the 16-0-0-1 Everett Silvertips would be in town too. But it was the 2-11-2-0 Victoria Royals who rained on the Silvertips parade with a 4-3 overtime win.
After three postponed games due to COVID concerns, two with the Spokane Chiefs, the Royals were back at it Friday hosting the first-place Silvertips at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
This was just the third game in three weeks for the Royals. With the downtime, the Royals would come out either rusty or fresh. They last played on Nov. 20 in Langley where they eked out a narrow 3-2 overtime win over the Vancouver Giants. Two weeks prior to that, the Royals hosted the Kamloops Blazers and lost 3-2 in overtime.
“The couple of weeks of practice have been very beneficial for sure,” said head coach Dan Price, after the game. “We have been able to get some rest and recovery, get some injured guys back healthy again. We are still only at about 75 per cent of our available players, so a lot of guys play a lot of minutes and are working through injuries, so it was tremendous to see that effort tonight. But certainly the practice time to get our systems in place and new players acclimated helped.”
Friday, they got to work early, pressing the Silvertips in their own end. At 4:45 20 -year-old Calgary native and former Giants player, Evan Patrician, scored his second of the season. Reggie Newman sent a blind behind-the-back pass from the end boards to the front of the net to Patrician, who made no mistake. Kalem Parker earned the second assist on the play.
The Royals continued to play well, breaking out of their own end with authority, but it was the Silvertips who would score next. Jacob Wright with his third of the season tallied at 13:24. The goal was reviewed for a possible high stick, but it stood. Ronan Seeley and Dylan Anderson earned assists on the goal scored during a goal-mouth scramble.
The teams traded goals during the second period. There were two overturned Silvertips goals, one on a coach’s challenge lodged by Price and another after a video review. The middle frame ended 2-2.
At 5:25 of the third, Brayden Schuurman scored his eighth goal of the season. He broke in on the right side and sent a wrister glove side. Goaltender Brayden Holt would want that one back. At 9:22 Silvertips Matthew Ng — a Cupertino, CA native — would get his fourth of the season from Ryan Hofer.
Everett turned up the heat during the first part of the third period, at one point taking the shot tally to 33-13. It was inevitable that they were to find pay dirt. Eventually they found the back of the net when 18-year-old Tampa Bay Lighting seventh-round draft pick Niko Huuhtanen scored his fifth of the season. Ryan Hofer and Jonny Lambos earned assists on the play.
Huuhtanen is a Helsinki, Finland native and at 6’ 2” and 209 pounds is difficult to move off the puck.
Despite the push from the Silvertips and the tie-breaking goal, the Royals pressed on.
With the shot clock showing 40-14 at 15:44 of the third, Patrician scored his second goal of the game from the top of the slot on a high, floating wrister to send the fans to their feet and the game into overtime. Newman and Gannon Laroque picked up assists on the play.
During the 3-on-3, five-minute extra frame, Falmouth, N.S. native and QMJHL veteran, Bailey Peach, scored the winner on a 2-on-1 rush at 27 seconds to send the fans back to their feet for a prolonged ovation. It was Peach’s 200th career game.
“I told the guys in the locker room that I will remember this game forever,” said Peach. “I also can’t forget that without Patrician scoring the game-tying goal to send us into overtime, I could not have scored. He played great tonight.”
Price, Patrician and Peach all complemented the great goaltending by Palmer. “He has kept us in many games this season,” said Peach.
They also lauded the speed and toughness of Rodovre, DEN native Marcus Almquist, who threw a hard check behind the Silvertips goal, after an exciting rush up the ice. It was just his second game for the Royals.
The Silvertips went 0/2 on the man advantage, while the Royals were 0/3.
The Royals were outshot 43-18, however, the play was more balanced than the shot totals indicate.
The Royals are setting off on a five-game road trip before they return to Victoria to host the Giants on Dec. 11.
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