Royals roll past Americans

After a Thanksgiving break the Victoria Royals (7-0-0-0) were back in action at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria Tuesday and they feasted on Tri-City Americans (3-4-0-0), winning 8-2. The Royals started the scoring quickly and did not let up throughout the game to stay perfect this season.

The Tri-City Americans came into this matchup with plenty of firepower of their own, led by Surrey, BC’s own Michael Rasmussen. The offensively gifted Rasmussen recently returned from the Detroit Red Wings NHL training camp and was drafted 9th overall by them this past summer. Also in the lineup for Tri-City Americans were a couple of Island born players in Jordan Topping of nearby Salt Spring Island and Dylan Coghlan of Nanaimo, BC.

For the Royals, it marked the first home game this season for Tyler Soy and Chaz Reddekopp after each returned from their respective NHL training camps last week. It was the first opportunity for fans to see Reddekopp since last season’s playoffs, as the big defender was away the entire training camp, preseason and regular season thus far.

The Royals came out flying to start the game. Only ten seconds in Ryan Peckford poked home a goal on an assist from Jared Legien, before the crowd of 4,103 was even settled in their seats.

The Royals continued to fly as Matthew Phillips continued his hot streak netting a goal at 2:43 on a pass from Tyler Soy. Victoria slammed home a third goal when Legien scored at 6:40. Three quick goals and it was clear the Americans were frustrated and stunned. Topping answered for the Americans and scored on the power play at 14:06 after Peckford took a penalty for holding. Following the goal, Tri-Cities seemed to settle down, working on puck-possession and got the physical game going. The score was 3-1 for the Royals after one period of play.

In the second, Yan Khomenko was hauled down by Roman Kalinichenko as he drove to the net, crashing into Tri-City goaltender Patrick Dea, drawing a penalty. Despite some good puck movement and chances by Victoria, the Americans were able to kill it off. However, shortly after at 7:36 Royals forward Dino Kambeitz buried a one-timer on a nice feed by Eric Florchuk. After Kambeitz went to the box for holding the stick, Phillips broke in on a short-handed breakaway to score his second of the night at 9:34 to make it 5-1. Tri-City tried to rally as Coughlan snuck one past Griffen Outhouse for a powerplay goal at 10:52. Tyler Soy scored his second in as many games at 17:49, coming down the wing on a nice pass from Ralph Jarratt and with the other assist coming from Phillips. Regan Nagy followed it up shortly after with a nifty goal from in tight at 19:00 to make it 7-2.

In the third period the Americans mercifully make a goaltender change and Beck Warm replaced Dea. Midway through the third there was a scary moment as Royals forward Tarun Fizer was hit hard into the boards by Maxwell James.  Fizer stayed down for some time and had to be helped off the ice, while James received five minutes for checking to the head and a game misconduct. With the game well in hand at this point, Outhouse was given some rest and Dean McNabb came in for relief goaltending duties. On the ensuing power play the Royals move it around and Nagy received a nice cross-ice pass from Tyler Soy to rip home another power play goal to make it 8-2.

The Royals went 2-for-7 on the powerplay while both Tri-City markers came with the man-advantage. Matthew Phillips was first star of the game with four points (2G, 2A) and a plus 3.

Phillips 2G-2A

“I think a staple of the Royals is our speed” said Phillips, “I think the way the game has changed in the last few years I think transition is the way you can create offense and create chances.”

As notable as the Royals offense looked tonight, at the other end of the spectrum was how subdued the Americans top players were this evening. Tri-City’s best players did not seem able to get any momentum going, something they will look to change as these two teams meet again Wednesday night. The Royals will look to continue their offensive dominance, bolstered by the league’s best power play in their final game at home before a lengthy road trip.

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Ryan Sinclair

Following the Victoria Royals since their first game in 2011, and witnessed the last season of the Victoria Cougars in 1994 at the old Memorial Arena. A Northern Manitoba transplant now fortunate to call Vancouver Island home. Follow me @theVerbz