Victoria, BC - In a Friday night matchup at Save-On-Foods Memorial Center the Victoria Royals returned home after an 11-game road trip to host the Kelowna Rockets in the first of a two-game set. Victoria gave Patrik Polivka the nod in net whileKelowna countered with Jordan Cooke.
Victoria started strong and generated the better scoring chances early, but the Rockets opened the scoring at 12:20 of the first period. Tyson Baillie collected a loose puck along the right boards before he fed a pass to Rourke Chartier below the right face-off circle. Chartier returned the pass as Baillie drove hard to the net and snapped the puck inside the far post to give Kelowna a 1-0 lead. The Royals answered with a goal of their own just 11 seconds later. Brandon Magee entered the Rockets' zone and drove wide along the left wing. The 18-year-old threw a backhand attempt on net that was deflected over the glove of Cooke by Ben Walker. The first period came to a close knotted in a 1-1 tie.
Kelowna grabbed the lead once again 3:42 into the second period courtesy of a Madison Bowey wrist shot. The Royals battled to regain momentum, but the Rockets turned the tables at 13:39 of the middle frame when Dylen McKinlay scored and started an offensive outburst for the road team. Kelowna would go on to strike three more times in the middle frame with goals by JT Barnett, Zach Franko and Myles Bell to take a 6-1 lead into the second intermission.
Victoria made a goaltending change to start the third period as Coleman Vollrath relieved Polivka between the pipes. Jamie Crooks scored his 30th of the season at 2:59 of the final frame before Austin Carroll banged in a rebound at 7:43 and brought the Royals within three goals. Carroll's goal rounded out the scoring for the home team and in a game that saw Victoria rack up 100 penalty minutes, the Rockets added two powerplay markers to seal the victory. Kelowna 8 Victoria 3.
Victoria went 1/4 = 25.0% on the powerplay while Kelowna was 3/7 = 37.5%. The Rockets outshot the Royals 34-25.
Victoria's next home game is tomorrow as the Royals host the Rockets once again. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. Saturday's game also marks the Royals' annual Canadian Forces Appreciation Night! Tickets are available to all military personnel with valid I.D. for just $12 while supplies last.