Kennewick, WA- Victoria faced off against Tri-City with playoff seeding on the line.
The Victoria Royals (31-19-1-3, 66 pts) came out on top by scoring four unanswered goals, taking down the Tri-City Americans (31-20-1-2, 65 pts) 5-3 in front of 4,711 at the Toyota Center.
The win moves the Royals past the Americans into fourth place in the Western Conference. Spokane’s loss tonight means the Americans are in fifth place in the conference. The loss snaps Tri-City’s three game win streak. Victoria took three of the four meetings against Tri-City this season. Tri-City continues to struggle at home, falling to 13-11-0-2 at the Toyota Center.
Tri-City dominated the first half of the first period, outshooting the Royals 7-2 to go along with three power plays, including a minute of 5-on-3 hockey. It was Victoria that scored first, as Steven Hodges scored 1:22 into the game on the power play to help Victoria jump out to an early lead. The Americans got even midway through the period, as a loose puck right in front of the crease was slapped into the net by Jesse Mychan to tie the game. Tri-City outshot Victoria 10-3 in the period and had the better scoring chances but the game was tied after one.
The Americans dominated the beginning of the second period, as the Royals didn’t get a shot on net for over eight minutes in the period. Justin Feser gave the Americans the lead as he scored seven minutes into the period to make it 2-1. Victoria would come back to tie the game midway through the period as Brandon Magee scored on the power play. The Royals took the lead late in the period as Magee scored his second goal of the game during 4-on-4 play as he put home a rebound to give the Royals a 3-2 lead after two periods.
The Americans looked to tie the game in the third and had some good chances. They were unable to capitalize, allowing the Royals to take a two goal lead as Jordan Fransoo fired a shot from the point past Luke Lee-Knight on the power play. Victoria put the game away with 4:37 left in the game as Ben Walker skated through the Americans defense and fired a wrist shot past Lee-Knight to increase the lead to 5-2. Feser would add his second goal of the game in the final minute, but it wouldn’t change the outcome as Victoria left with the W.
Tri-City continues to play poor on the penalty kill at home, allowing the Royals to convert four of six chances. Tri-City is now second to last in the league on the PK at home at 73 percent.
With his first goal tonight, Feser moved into third alone all-time on the Americans all-time goals list. Zachary Yuen recorded an assist on the goal, giving him 100 points for his WHL career.
Lee-Knight made 21 saves in the loss while Patrik Polivka made 32 saves in the win.
Tri-City will play another pivotal game in the playoff picture tomorrow as they travel north to take on U.S. Division rival Spokane Chiefs (31-21-2-0, 64 pts) in Veterans Memorial Arena. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The series is tied at four wins apiece, although the Americans have won the last three, including a 4-3 overtime win in Spokane on Jan. 19. NewsTalk870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. MeTV 42.2 or Charter 280 will broadcast the game on television beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Brandon Magee, Victoria
2. Patrik Polivka, Victoria
3. Malte Strömwall, Tri-City