Coming off a December slump that saw them win just three of 10 games, the Victoria Royals will take their victories where they can get them.
The Western Hockey League club looked sharp against the Carter Hart-less Everett Silvertips in a 5-0 win Friday and downed the Kamloops Blazers 5-4 in overtime the next night, before getting dropped 9-4 by the Silvertips in the U.S. city on Sunday.
The WHL’s top-scoring club with 29 games remaining in the regular season, the Royals (23-16-3-1) look to build some momentum this weekend when they host the Blazers (17-20-1-2) for a pair of games this Friday and Saturday nights (Jan. 12-13, 7 p.m. both nights).
The Royals, who in recent weeks have traded forwards Regan Nagy and Jared Legien and defenceman Jeremy Masella, got offensive production from some newcomers over the weekend.
Braydon Buziak, traded for Legien from Regina, scored his first goal as a Royal in the win over Everett, as did Andrei Grishakov, who came from the Calgary Hitmen. Relative newbie Jeff DeWit, acquired from Kootenay last month, also tallied. The Silvertips were without top goaltender Hart, who backstopped Team Canada to a World Junior Championship win that night.
Saturday’s game saw Chaz Redekopp bag the winner just 23 seconds into OT. The Royals were down 4-1 late in the second, but scored four unanswered goals to overtake Kamloops. Dino Kambeitz, Jared Freadrich, Matthew Phillips and Tyler Soy tallied in the win.
On Sunday, Everett chased starter Dean McNabb from the Victoria net early in the third, after scoring six times on 44 shots. The locals ripped another 15 shots at backup Griffen Outhouse, scoring three times. The game was tied 3-3 midway through the second before the Silvertips reeled off six straight goals to take control.