Victoria, B.C. – The Tri-City Americans (2-5-0-1, 5 pts) took the lead into the second intermission, but a two-goal third period rally gave the Victoria Royals (4-5-0-0, 8 pts) a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
The loss was the second in as many games that the Americans have come up short despite outshooting its opponent, edging the Royals 34-25 in the game.
Momentum swung back and forth in the first period, with the Americans spending four of the first eight minutes on the power play, before the Royals took it back in the mid stages of the period. Victoria outshot Tri-City 12-10 in the first, but solid goaltending kept the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Beau McCue opened the scoring in the second period on the Americans’ fourth consecutive power play, deflecting a Parker Wotherspoon shot from the point past Patrik Polivka, to give the Americans the 1-0 lead. Just over two minutes later, Philip Tot was taken down on a break away and awarded a penalty shot. The Calgary native tried to sneak the puck past Polivka’s left pad, but Polivka was able to stretch out to keep it a one goal game.
Tri-City dominated the second period, playing the majority of the game in the Royals defensive zone, outshooting Victoria 17-4, but led by only one after 40 minutes.
The Royals took advantage of its only power play of the game, scoring on the man advantage at 4:31 of the third period, to tie the game at one. After Austin Carroll’s wrist shot was blocked, Logan Nelson scooped up the loose puck and fired it past Evan Sarthou before he had the opportunity to reset.
The winning goal was scored at 11:35 of the third period, when a Brandon Fushimi shot found the back of the net to give Victoria the 2-1 lead. A late Brandon Magee delay of game penalty gave Tri-City an opportunity to tie the game late, but were unable to put anymore pucks past Polivka.
It was the first WHL start for Sarthou, who looked very strong in his debut with 23 saves on the day. Polivka was the difference maker for Victoria, allowing the Americans to score just the one goal in a 33 save effort.
The Americans will play its next two games against the Kamloops Blazers, wrapping up its three game road trip Tuesday in Kamloops before returning to Kennewick to face the Blazers in Kennewick on Friday at the Toyota Center.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Patrik Polivka, Victoria
2) Logan Nelson, Victoria
3) Evan Sarthou, Tri-City