Christopher Kelsall/Special to Victoria News
The season has swung in the Victoria Royals’ favour now that they have a full complement of regulars in the lineup.
Winners of five straight games, they look like a different team. The red-hot Royals hosted the Vancouver Giants Saturday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. It was game two of their back-to-back, home-and-home set. The Royals defeated the Giants 4-3 in Langley on Friday. It is difficult to win the second of a back-to-back, but they did it dropping the Giants 5-2 to win the inaugural Lighthouse Island Bowl.
The Lighthouse Island Bowl is awarded to the winner of the game that takes place on the eve of the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup. In the spirit of the CFL, the Royals got off to a heavy-hitting start on Saturday. Three good open-ice hits were thrown before a charging penalty was assessed to Royals Anthony Wilson at 2:25 of the opening frame.
At 2:52, they gave up the game’s first goal to Giants forward Justin Lies, who redirected a fluttering Tanner Brown shot. Goaltender Tyler Palmer had no chance on the play. Connor Horning earned the second assist.
With just 18 seconds remaining in the first period, Ethan Semeniuk poked his fourth goal of the season past Palmer during a goalmouth scramble. Just prior to the goal, Lies was busy bumping into Royals players between whistles, trying to draw Royals into taking a penalty. The distraction worked. They were caught watching the play after the subsequent offensive zone faceoff. Left alone at the right side of the net, Semeniuk ended the period 2-0 for the Giants.
“We regrouped. We just said during the intermission, play like its 0-0, just like if we were up 2-0, just re-set and start over,” said head coach Dan Price. The Royals have scored more goals this season (152) during the second period than the first or third. True to form, they erased the two-goal deficit during the second frame with goals by Evan Patrician, and Tanner Scott as well as a go-ahead goal by Bailey Peach at 19:55 to send the Royals back to the dressing room up by the score of 3-2.
The Giants who were also guilty of their own giveaways were outshot in the middle frame 14-5.
The Royals continued to press during the third period, however, Gurski was holding down the fort with several good point-blank saves. With 3:09 remaining in the game Riley Gannon scored his eighth of the season. Positioned to the right of the net, the puck bounced to him off a Scott attempt. Spizawka picked up the second assist on the play. The goal brought the 3,209 fans to their feet. They were on their feet again when Brayden Schuurman scored his 12th on the season unassisted and into the empty net with 43.7 seconds remaining on the clock for the Lighthouse Island Bowl and the sweep.
The Royals outshot the Giants 41-32. Vancouver went 1-for-3 on the man advantage, while the Royals scored twice on their four powerplays. The Royals hit the road for a pair of games at the CN Centre in Prince George against the Cougars on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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