Goaltender Griffen Outhouse proved his value once again and made the big saves with the game on the line.
Victoria went into the third period with a one goal lead and we able to hold off the surging Giants, primarily due to Outhouse and the defense in front of him. The Royals were out-shot 13 to 4 as they protected a lead in the third period, during which there were many close calls for a potential tie game. Outhouse stood tall in the third period, combined with a couple of huge blocked shots by Chaz Reddekopp, allowing Victoria to prevail 5-4 and even the series.
Game two saw Victoria looking earn a split after losing a close decision the night before to the Giants. For Vancouver, should they be able to steal two games from Victoria on their home ice, it would put them squarely in the driver’s seat for the rest of the series.
The game saw a flat start, as both teams took measure of each other. As a result, the crowd was yet to be energized for much of the first period as the home team was hemmed in their own end.
Hard-working Royals forward Braydon Buziak served as the wake-up call for the Royals and its fans as he opened the scoring at 8:44. Buziak ripped a one-timer past the glove of Vancouver goalie Trent Miner after taking a nifty feed from Kaid Oliver to put Victoria up 1-0.
Victoria added to their lead as Tanner Kaspick powered to the net and at the last second flipped a pass to Noah Gregor. Gregor was able to get two swipes at puck, the second going in at 15:04 for the 2-0 Royals lead.
The Giants got on the scoreboard via a tip by Dawson Holt, who redirected a Matt Barberis shot past the glove of Outhouse at 16:34. The Royals and their fans wanted an incidental contact call on Holt and the goal waived off but the referees deemed it good goal.
Victoria took back their two goal lead as rookie Tarun Fizer ripped a bullet to beat Miner high on the glove side at 17:22. The young forward and his team erupted with the big celebration after scoring his first WHL playoff goal.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) March 25, 2018
The G-Men opened the scoring in the second period as Brennan Riddle fired a shot from the point that found it’s way past Outhouse at 3:11 and made the game 3-2. Riddle has had a strong start to the series for the Giants on the blueline, getting more ice time in the absence of suspended rearguard Darian Skeoch.
With Tyler Benson and Reddekopp off for roughing, Giants import dynamo Milos Roman tied the game at 4:26. while the teasm were 4-on-4. The native of Slovakia carried it in from the corner and neatly tucked it home on the short-side to even the game at three.
Victoria pulled ahead yet again as Jared Freadrich wristed home a shot from the point, off the post and in on the powerplay for a 4-3 lead. An immediate response followed from the Giants, as they scored 17 seconds later. Holt scored his second of the night to again tie it up at 4-4, again showing excellent hand-eye coordination with the tip in front. The second period was quickly turning into am offensive slug-fest.
De Wit scored the eventual game-winner on a 2-on-1 break, taking a nice pass from Matthew Phillips who drew in the Giants defenseman. The goal at 18:02 was the the third lead of the second period for the Royals, as a result were up 5-4.
The third period saw some high energy play, as Vancouver looked for the tying goal. Early in the third, Tanner Kaspick was leveled with a big hit causing his side to hit the boards hard. He did not return for the game as Oliver filled his spot with Gregor and Lane Zablocki. If Kaspick were to be out for an extended length of time, that would be a huge loss for the Royals as he has been one of their top players.
Bolstered by some clutch saves from Outhouse, Victoria held on for the 5-4 victory to even the series at one game a piece. The game featured a lot of physical play as these two teams begin to really compete. Although physical, the Royals stuck to their game-plan of being disciplined, only giving up one powerplay.
The series will now travel to Vancouver, where the teams with faceoff for game three at the Langley Events Centre on Tuesday the 27th.
Game 2 Impact Players
- Lane Zablocki- returning from a two game suspension, the Detroit Red Wing draft pick made an impact in his first playoff game for the Royals. His five hits in the game helped set the tempo for the Royals (*unofficial game stat by Lisa Lynam)
- Milos Roman- the Giants forward got his second goal in as many games and was a presence throughout the night.
- Dante Hannoun- being hit by Tyler Benson sparked the Royals top line player, as he blended an edgy game with speed and offense.
- Ralph Jarratt- Voted the Royals 2017-18 Top Defenceman, Jarratt’s return had an immediate impact as he solidified the back-end, while leading a couple of nice offensive rushes.