Royals drop game one of weekend series to Cougars 8-3

Defenceman Jerrett Ross made his WHL debut for Victoria on Friday

The Victoria Royals counted goals from forwards Teydon Trembecky, Riley Gannon and defenceman Nate Misskey in an 8-3 loss to the Prince George Cougars at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday night.

The Royals would grab an early lead on a goal by Trembecky at the beginning of the first, however the Cougars offence would come alive as the game wore on and they would hold on for the eventual victory.

Victoria General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price emphasized the importance of limiting opponent shot opportunities in his postgame press conference:

“The first three goals were really specific situations,” said Price. “The puck came in from the point, we didn’t close those shot lanes, they got through, and then some loose change around the net front that we didn’t do a good enough job of dealing with. That’s really important, wingers closing shot lanes and the low players boxing out around the net…That’s an area that has to improve for sure.”

The game saw 2007-born defenceman Jerrett Ross make his WHL debut for the Royals. The Leduc, AB product enjoyed a successful season with the Leduc Oil Kings U18 AAA squad this year, recording 17 points on three goals and 14 assists in 38 games prior to his call-up on Friday.

Starting goaltender Braden Holt would make 10 saves on 13 shots before being replaced by backup Nicholas Cristiano, who stopped 12 of 16 for the remainder of the contest after coming in midway through the first period.

On the other side, forward Zac Funk led the way with three points on a pair of goals and one assist, while goaltender Tyler Brennan made 25 saves on 28 shots faced in the win.

Victoria (15-40-6-1) would jump out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by forward Teydon Trembecky (11) at 7:15 of the first, with forward Carter Dereniwsky and defenceman Austin Zemlak on the assists.

However, Prince George (32-24-5-0) would soon even the game with a goal by forward Zac Funk (20) at the 8:28 mark.

The Cougars would then grab their first lead of the game on a goal by forward Koehn Ziemmer (34) at 9:14 of the first.

A follow-up goal by Prince George forward Ondrej Becker (15) would then give the visitors a 3-1 lead at the 13:02 mark.

The Royals would pull back within a goal before the end of the first, with forward Riley Gannon (16) scoring at 14:24 to bring the score to 3-2 entering the second period. Kalem Parker and forward Brayden Schuurman would collect assists on the play.

The Cougars would extend their lead in the second, first making it 4-2 on a goal by Cayden Glover (4) at the 3:16 mark, then going up 5-2 on Zac Funk’s (21) second of the game at 9:31.

However, Victoria would get one back on a goal by defenceman Nate Misskey (4) at the 11:19 mark, assisted by forwards Reggie Newman and Ryan Spizawka to cut the lead to 5-3.

But Prince George would soon regain the three goal advantage on a Chase Wheatcroft (43) goal at 17:22 to bring the score to 6-3 entering the third.

The Cougars would add two more to close out the game in the third, with forward Ondrej Becker (16) scoring an empty-netter at 18:48, followed by a goal from Cayden Glover (5) at the 19:23 mark to bring the score to 8-3, where it would stand at the end of regulation.

The Royals and Cougars will wrap-up their weekend set with a matchup at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre tomorrow night, with puck-drop set for 6:05 pm.

The team will host Esports & Tech Night at the arena during Saturday’s game, which will feature esports games on the big screen on the concourse at Gate 1. Tickets start at just $15 for the Saturday night contest.

Saturday will also see the team wear fan designed jerseys from the Real Canadian Superstore Your Team, Your Jersey contest. The uniforms will be auctioned off following the game in benefit of the President’s Choice Children’s Charity. Bidding for the auction is open until March 18.

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About the Victoria Royals

The Victoria Royals are a Canadian major junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League (WHL) owned and operated by GSL Group. The Royals play all their home games at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and have entered their 12th season of their existence.

About Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC) is designed, constructed, developed and operated by GSL Group. SOFMC is Victoria’s premier entertainment facility and the largest arena in British Columbia outside Vancouver. The state-of-the-art 7,000 seat facility is home to the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League and regularly hosts large-scale concerts and other special events such as figure skating, curling, plays, trade shows and conferences. SOFMC also features a fine dining Lion’s Den Restaurant, as well as retail and meeting space.

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