Thursday, May 23, 2024

Four-goal second period sends Victoria past Wild Wednesday

Bukarts nets pair as teams prepare for rematch on Royals’ rink Friday

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VICTORIA, British Columbia – With the two teams chasing the Wenatchee Wild in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference standings set to wrap up the regular season with a home-and-home weekend, the Wild went into Victoria knowing they’d need to do some work of their own to wrap up home-ice advantage in next week’s first-round playoff series.

Work still remains to be finished following Wednesday’s game at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre – the host Royals netted four goals in the second period in a 7-3 victory over the Wild, as Wenatchee’s magic number for home ice remains at three points with two games left.

Victoria took the lead 1:44 in, when Escalus Burlock collected the puck behind the Wenatchee net and swept it out front for a Teydon Trembecky one-timer. The Wild answered back to tie the game at 9:19 on a power play marker, when Karter Prosofsky left fly a shot from the right point – it caromed off of Rodzers Bukarts’s stick and into the top of the net, giving Wenatchee a power play goal for the third straight game and a 1-1 tie.

The Royals snagged the lead back going to the break, with Casper Haugen Evenson feeding the puck across the slot for a power play one-timer from Dawson Pasternak with 2:25 left on the first-period clock. Pasternak scored again at the 2:11 mark of the second, on a mid-slot wrister. Bukarts buried his second goal of the game at 6:23 of the period, taking a short-distance pass from Luka Shcherbyna at the inside hash marks before zipping his chance through to make it a 3-2 game.

The Royals gained their grip on the game in the final minutes of the second period, starting with Tyson Laventure’s one-timer from above the circles with 6:02 remaining. A second-chance poke from Nate Misskey with 1:22 on the clock and a goal for Burlock off the pads of Brendan Gee 53 seconds later sent Victoria to the dressing room with a 6-2 advantage.

Wenatchee wasn’t about to give in – Miles Cooper popped a rebound chance into the top of the net at the 2:19 mark of the period to trim the lead back to 6-3, but Laventure sneaked the game’s final goal just inside the top corner of the cage with 5:59 left on the clock.

The Royals spread the scoring around, with six multi-point games, led by Pasternak with two goals and an assist. The Wild weren’t to be denied their measure of success, either, with two goals from Bukarts and two assists from Jonas Woo. Each team struck once on the power play, with the Wild going 1-for-6 on the night and Victoria finishing 2-for-6. Braden Holt made 20 saves to earn his 21st win of the year and send the Royals to 29-29-5-4 for the season, while Gee stopped 19 in the loss, as the Wild moved to 33-28-4-0 on the year.

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