Recap | Feb. 4 | Royals @ Thunderbirds
Kent, WA – The stretch run continued for the Victoria Royals (25-17-4-4) on Sunday night as they met up with the Seattle Thunderbirds (18-26-2-0) for their second straight meeting. Victoria sought redemption following their 3-2 shootout loss on Friday night in which they were able to earn a point following a last minute tally from Tyson Laventure. It was also the first game off a four-game road swing for Victoria as they will continue this week with three crucial matchups against B.C. Division opponents. In net, 20-year-old Braden Holt made his third consecutive start for Victoria, while Spencer Michnik got the start for Seattle after coming in to relieve Scott Ratzlaff the night prior.
Seattle capitalized first as the game approached the midway mark of the first period as they gave the fans at the accesso ShoWare Center something to cheer about. It was Sam Popowich (11) giving the Thunderbirds the advantage as he buried a perfectly placed pass from Jeremy Hanzel who wheeled his way in behind the Royals’ net before finding Popowich alone in front. Along with the Hanzel primary assist, Eric Alarie chipped in with the secondary helper.
Just six minutes later, the Thunderbirds would strike again, this time on the man-advantage. Vancouver Canucks draft-pick Saywer Mynio (11) unleashed on a powerful slap shot from the blue-line that evaded the reach of Holt as Seattle doubled their lead. Nico Myatovic and Braedan Cootes drew the assists on the Mynio tally. That was the final marker of the opening frame as Seattle would carry a two goal lead into the second.
Seattle carried that momentum into the middle frame as Nishaan Parmar (1) notched his first WHL goal which extended the Thunderbirds lead to three. His wrist shot from the high slot was setup precisely by Eric Alarie who grabbed his second assist of the evening.
Victoria would grab their first of the game as the middle fame neared the final four minutes. Dawson Pasternak (20) became the second Royal to reach the 20-goal-club as he tallied an unassisted powerplay marker. The 20-year-old showcased precision and patience as he dazzled his way through the sticks of three Thunderbids’ defenders before unleashing on a wrist shot that found its way into the top corner to pull the Royals within two.
The Royals seemed eager to get back into the contest as they went all out towards the net of Michnik. Following a disallowed goal, Victoria would grab their second of the evening as Teydon Trembecky (9) made no mistake with a one-timer from the high slot. He was the recipient of a brilliant tap pass from Tyson Laventure who earned his first point of the game which extended his point streak to 11 games.
They weren’t done there with the comeback efforts as they found an equalizer from Casper Evensen Haugen (9). The Norwegian forward made no mistake in finding the back of the net on the man-advantage as Haugen was the final component of a tic-tac-toe play with Tyson Laventure and Dawson Pasternak.
The game wouldn’t stay tied for long as Seattle found the go ahead goal just over 75 seconds later from 16-year-old Brayden Holberton (1) who became the second Thunderbird to register his first WHL goal on the evening.
They would hang onto that lead into the final moments of the game which prompted the Royals to make a late push towards an equalizer. Braden Holt dashed towards the bench for an extra attacker with just over a minute to go as Victoria continued to find an answer for Michnik. But, with the goalie pulled, Seattle put the final nail into the coffin as Antonio Martorana (14) back-handed the puck into back of the Royals’ net to give Seattle the 5-3 victory.