In their furthest venture in over two years, the Victoria Royals struggled through a six-game eastern conference road trip.
The Royals dropped five of their six games against the Alberta and Saskatchewan WHL opponents over the last two weeks, with many of the Royals playing in the prairies for the first time in their major junior careers.
Victoria rode into Alberta to begin the trip against a still-undefeated Red Deer team. It was a rough welcoming to the Central Division as the Royals fell 6-2 to the Rebels in the first game of the eastern swing.
That was followed by a 6-1 loss to Swift Current Broncos in late October before Victoria headed to Medicine Hat the next day. It was there where the Royals got their first and only win of the trip.
Royals forward Jake Poole got the overtime game-winner against the Tigers, capping his second hat trick in the same week. That helped the Royals get the 4-3 win after being down 2-0. Goaltender Tyler Palmer also earned the third star in that contest after stopping 30 of 33 pucks that came his way.
The Royals hadn’t played the eastern conference in either of the last two seasons due to pandemic travel restrictions. That means the road trip allowed some of the players who call the prairies home to see some familiar faces in the stands.
“My uncles, aunties, and cousins never get to see me play. Them getting out to come watch me is really nice,” Palmer said in a release. “Although I’ve never really played in these rinks, I’ve been in them, I’ve watched games in them, so it’s cool to be playing there now.”
The capital city team then received some friendly fire as Victoria product and Lethbridge defenceman Nolan Bentham led his squad with two goals when the Hurricanes hosted the Royals and took a 5-1 win.
In their penultimate road trip match, Victoria dropped a 5-2 contest in Calgary. After being tied 1-1 to close the opening frame, Victoria got into some penalty woes and the Hitmen made them pay with two powerplay goals in the first four minutes of the second. Calgary would get two more in the third to solidify the win.
Closing out the trip in Edmonton on Nov. 4., Victoria worked its way back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third, but the Oil Kings would net the winner in overtime.
After the six-game travel stint, the Royals will be back home for two games against the Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 11 and 12. Puck drop on Friday’s game is 7:05 p.m. at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, with Saturday’s getting underway at 6:05 p.m.
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