If you're the road team, you call it a greasy win. If you're the home team, you call it an ugly loss.
The Victoria Royals won't care what you call it after earning a 3-2 win Saturday night over the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place.
The Royals scored twice in the second period to grab and 3-2 lead and then held on for the one goal win.
The Rockets had ample opportunities to score the equalizing goal, including three-third period power plays and a penalty shot that went for not. Rockets forward Zach Franko was awarded the penalty shot when he was hooked from behind by Royals 20 year-old Hayden Rintoul. Despite the questionable call, Franko not only didn't score, but he lost control of the puck and didn't even get a shot on goal. Then, moments later, Royals d-man Jesse Zgraggen falls down on the puck during a battle against the boards and is penalized for delay of game. Royals coach Marc Habscheid is about to come unglued over the call but Rockets coach Ryan Huska feels even worse as he witnesses his team generate few quality chances on the ensuing power play.
Both of the Rockets goals came from defenceman. That is good and bad. It was tough to pick one Rockets forward who really came to play Saturday night. It was simply a rough night where passes were off the mark and turnovers were plentiful on both sides. I would argue that Saturday night's game featured the most whistles of the eleven the Rockets have played this season.
Not only were the Rockets playing one under the league limit with just 17 skaters, European forward Filip Vasko will be suspended for his checking from behind hit on Royals forward Tim Traber. The hit will show up as a five minute major for a hit to the head on the score sheet even though Traber was hit from behind and his face made contact with the glass/boards. Traber was cut on the play but stayed in the game. The Royals were unable to convert on that extended power play, which was just over three minutes in length after Rintoul fought Vasko and received a instigator penalty for his actions.
With Rintoul also given a 10 minute misconduct, 15 year-old rookie d-man Joe Hicketts logged a lot of minutes as he made his Royals debut. Hicketts turned out to be one of the better defenceman out there on either side and didn't shy away from the body contact despite his 5 foot 8 frame. Hicketts, who plays at Okanagan Hockey Academy, is a first round pick of the Royals from this summers draft.