In two nail-biting showdowns, this weekend the Victoria Royals rode a new wave of success, winning back-to-back games against the Tri-City Americans.
Kicking off the action-packed weekend with a brief bout of turbulence, the Royal’s highly anticipated Teddy Bear Toss shot out of the gate prematurely in what was believed to be the first Royals goal by Riley Gannon, on a shorthand breakaway in the first period.
Shock and surprise covered the faces of 3,761 fans in attendance as the goal was quickly called off by the referee after bouncing off the crossbar, landing near the goal line but not over.
What felt like a festive Christmas movie, nearly 2,300 stuffies rained down upon the Royals who spent a good part of ten minutes clearing the ice.
This year’s teddy bears were collected and donated to local charities throughout Greater Victoria.
While many in the crowd expected this to be the highlight of the night, those in attendance were in for a pleasant surprise – a back-and-forth game with a strong American team.
Dubbed as Teddy Bear Toss part two, Brayden Schuurman scored the first real goal of the night for the Royals, tying the game 1-1 in the first period.
Following shortly behind Schuurman, Gannon made it 2-1 on the power play at 14:40 of the first period.
After pushing the pace of the game in the first period, Tri-City bounced back and rallied a massive three-goal lead, marking a 5-2 deficit against the Royals.
This is the point where you’d usually turn off your phone and walk away—but the Royals had a different idea.
In recovery mode, Teague Patton and Jake Poole ended the second and started the third period on a strong note with a goal for both forwards, bringing the game back to a competitive 5-4 rally against the Americans.
Tying the game five-all, Justin Kipkie scored his fourth goal of the season, placing the Royals in overtime contention.
In a back-and-forth match, with the fans on their feet. Patton scored his second of the game bringing the Royals to a 6-5 lead over the Americans.
Coming back with a vengeance the Americans tied the game 6-6 pushing one of the Royal’s most competitive games in recent memory to overtime.
Overtime would prove lackluster for both teams forcing the game to a shootout.
Patton would end the night with a game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout, concluding an action-packed game with a 7-6 victory for the Royals.
On Saturday, success would follow the team once more over their frustrated rivals, as the Royals capped a weekend sweep in a 6-5 win.
The Christmas Classic saw 3,184 fans decked out in ugly Christmas sweaters cheer on, Riley Gannon, Nate Misskey, Austin Zemlak, Carter Dereniwsky, and Justin Kipkie putting goals on the board.
That night was extra special for 17-year-old Teydon Trembecky who scored his first WHL goal to solidify the win.
As the team takes a holiday break to celebrate their recent success with family and friends. The Royals will be back on the ice on Tuesday, December 27th as they face off against their Vancouver rivals.
Local fans should mark Friday, December 30th in their calendars, as the Royals will face off against the Vancouver Giants once more on home ice at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.