For the second game in a row, a strong opening period from the Victoria Royals was not enough as they fell 4-1 to the Tri-City Americans in the second round of WHL playoff action.
Three goals from Michael Rasmussen, including an empty-netter to ice the game, was enough for the Americans to head south of the border with a 2-0 series lead and a chance to complete the sweep on home ice.
A second period goal from centreman Dante Hannoun from Delta, B.C. was the lone bright spot for the Royals, allowing Victoria to save face and avoid back-to-back shutouts. Picking up an assist on the goal was forward Matthew Phillips, who set a new franchise record for most points in a single playoff run with 17 this year.
This was the Americans sixth playoff win in a row, but Saturday night’s defeat felt much different than Friday’s 7-0 blowout. Both teams remained scoreless after the first period thanks to strong defence and goaltending.
The Royals fall 4-1 in Game 2 against the Americans. pic.twitter.com/G0Sjicb4F1
— Victoria Royals (@victoriaroyals) April 8, 2018
That quickly changed just 49 seconds into the second period when the Americans tipped in their first goal of the game. The Royals struck back a few minutes later when Hannoun buried a wrist shot top shelf on the power play, his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Rasmussen scored his second goal of the game towards the end of the second period, a bank shot off Royals goaltender Griffen Outhouse — also on the power play — to make it 2-1 for the Americans.
Tri-City kept it coming with another goal early in the third. This was Morgan Geekie’s 11th goal of the playoffs, solidifying why he was named the WHL’s player of the month last week.
Rasmussen scored an empty netter with just two minutes remaining in the game to complete the hat trick and secure first star honours, while cementing the 4-1 victory for Tri-City.
While the Americans remain undefeated in the WHL playoffs, this was the teams lowest scoring game of the postseason.
The Royals will now take the fight to the Americans in Kennewick, Washington on Tuesday. If there is a game 5, it will be played on Friday, April 13th in Victoria.
Spencer Pickles/Black Press Media