The Victoria Royals started the season with six wins in the first eight games but haven’t looked as good since. Until the past week.
Last night (Jan. 19) the Royals (25-27-1-2) took earned a massive 5-4 road win from the Kamloops Blazers, making it three straight wins over the B.C. division rivals in five days. It’s also the Royals’ fifth straight win, including Friday night’s 6-2 drubbing of the Vancouver Giants in Vancouver.
Sixteen-year-old rookie Brandon Fushimi spurred the Royals on in Kamloops on Saturday with two momentum-changing shifts. After Matt Needham opened the scoring for the Blazers in the first period, Fushimi answered nine seconds later. Then in the second period Fushimi, from Thornton, Col., engaged in his first career fight, taking on Aaron Macklin.
Steven Hodges (his eighth goal during the five game streak) and Alex Gogolev scored in the second period and Brandon Magee scored twice in the third as the Royals stole the game out from under the Blazers, as the latter held a 4-3 lead to start the third.
With 53 points in 45 games, the Royals are climbing the Western Conference standings. Currently sixth-place, they’ve edged closer to the fifth place Tri City Americans (57 points) and fourth place Spokane Chiefs (58 points).
Royals’ first round 2012 bantam pick Tyler Soy, still 15, scored his first WHL goal in Vancouver on Friday. Hodges led the way with two goals, with singles from Trent Lofhouse, Gogolev and Austin Carroll.
The Royals are home to the Giants this week, Friday (Jan. 25) and Saturday nights, followed by a rare visit from the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday, Jan. 29.