Royals Extend Point Streak at Home to Nine with 5-3 Victory Over Rockets
Victoria, BC – In a highly anticipated rematch at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals (12-8-0-1) clashed with the Kelowna Rockets (7-11-2-0) for the second time in as many days. The Royals aimed to extend their impressive point streak at home to nine games, deploying Jayden Kraus in goal, continuing their effective tandem system. On the other end, Jari Kykkanen got the start for the Rockets after a night off on Monday afternoon.
Kelowna struck first, with Marek Rocak finding the back of the net just before the seven-minute mark of the first period, giving them an early lead. However, Victoria fought back in the latter half of the period, showcasing an offensive surge. Goals from Dawson Pasternak, Matthew Hodson, and Robin Sapouŝek provided the Royals with a two-goal cushion heading into the second period.
The momentum carried into the second period, as the Royals dominated the early stages. Deegan Kinniburgh netted his second goal in as many nights, and Casper Haugen extended the lead further, prompting a goaltending change for Kelowna as Jake Pilon replaced Kykkanen. The change in net temporarily disrupted Victoria’s momentum, allowing Kelowna’s Ethan Neutens to score and bring the game within three.
Kelowna opened the third period with a flurry of activity, capitalizing on pressure to pull within two with a goal from Tij Iginla near the midway mark of the period.
Despite Kelowna’s push, Victoria held strong defensively, securing a 5-3 victory. A notable highlight was the debut of a newly formed line featuring Deegan Kinniburgh, Matthew Hodson, and Logan Pickford, who combined for two goals and three assists with an impressive plus-six rating.
Head Coach James Patrick praised the line’s two-way play, energy, and strong skating, emphasizing their effectiveness in both offensive and defensive zones.
“I liked their two way game, their energy, and how hard they skated.They got rewarded on the scoring sheet,” expressed Patrick. “But I mean, I just thought they spent so little time in our zone compared to our other lines. They got pucks deep, they fought, checked hard, and I think that was the reason they had their success.”
Looking ahead to the next matchup against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Patrick anticipated a physical game against a team known for its energetic and aggressive style of play.
“If they play anything like the way they have played the last five years, they probably protect their net and make it hard to get inside. More than any team we’ve seen. They play that old school, physical, energetic brand. They are very heavy on the fore-check,” stated Patrick. “We’re going to have to back their defenceman off, and stretch the ice out while we use our speed. You have to pay a price to play Lethbridge.”
6:42 – Kelowna Rockets Goal
Marek Rocak (3) unassisted
11:49 – Victoria Royals Goal
Dawson Pasternak (6) assisted by Cole Reschny and Justin Kipkie
17:35 – Victoria Royals Goal
Matthew Hodson (3) assisted by Logan Pickford and Deegan Kinniburgh
18:39 – Victoria Royals Goal (PP)
Robin Sapouŝek (10) assisted by Austin Zemlak and Nate Misskey
1:40 – Victoria Royals Goal
Deegan Kinniburgh (3) assisted by Logan Pickford and Justin Kipkie
2:27 – Victoria Royals Goal
Casper Haugen (4) assisted by Hayden Chaloner and Nate Misskey
12:41 – Kelowna Rockets Goal
Ethan Neutens (2) assisted by Ty Hurley
10:47 – Kelowna Rockets Goal
Tij Iginla (15) assisted Michael Cicek
Shots On Goal
Royals – 31
Rockets – 31
Royals – 1/4
Rockets – 0/3
Jayden Kraus – 28/31
Jari Kykannen – 12/17
Jake Pilon – 14/14
Victoria will wrap up their three game home swing on Friday night as the Lethbridge Hurricanes pay their first visit to the SOFMC since November of 2019. It will be our Pet Appreciation night with puck drop taking place at 7:05PM.