Victoria Royals teammates gather around Dante Hannoun (centre of group), after he scored his third goal of the game Sunday against the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals downed the Blazers for a second straight game in Victoria, 6-3, after beating them with a late goal 4-3 on Saturday night. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria make it four straight to start WHL season

Royals sweep weekend home games against Kamloops, head to Kelowna on Wednesday

Sitting atop the B.C. Division of the Western Hockey League is not a bad place to be, even just four games into the season.

The Victoria Royals reeled off a pair of wins at home against Kamloops last weekend to push their record to 4-0. The team’s 6-3 win over the Blazers on Sunday tied a Victoria record for the fastest start, but head coach Dan Price was already thinking about the Royals’ next game Wednesday night (Oct. 4) against the always-tough Kelowna Rockets.

“I’m very happy with the contribution from all of our players, not just the guys who typically play higher minutes, but some of the younger guys as well who made significant contributions both today and over the course of the weekend,” Price said.

He gave credit to unsung players like third-year WHL winger Spencer Gerth, whose first goal as a Royal proved the game winner; rookie defenceman Matthew Smith, who scored his first WHL goal; and rookie goalie Dean McNabb, who recorded his first win in the league.

But it was hard to ignore the contribution Sunday of fourth-year Royals centre Dante Hannoun, who scored three times and set up Smith’s second-period goal. The four points gave him 11 for the season, tied for tops in the league with Swift Current’s Tyler Steenbergen.

Hannoun also tallied a goal and a helper in Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 win. Linemate Ryan Peckford scored the winner in that one on the power play with 41 seconds to play.

The leadership of Hannoun was a key to Sunday’s win, Price said.

“One of the best parts … was he really decided that we as a team were going to try to take the game over and he was going to be a big part of that,” Price said of the 5-6, 160-pounder. “You could hear him on the bench, on the ice, [he was] extremely positive and supportive of his teammates. He just went out and said we were going to win tonight.”

Asked about leading the charge, Hannoun deflected the credit.

“Obviously my linemates and teammates are out there with me, they made some great plays there like Pecks on the last one right behind the net,” he said.

He also gave kudos to winger Jared Legien, who picked up three assists and now has nine points. “He’s a big part of our line, he works hard and he knows where to be when each of us have the puck. He’s doing well and I think we have great chemistry there,” Hannoun said.

Matching Saturday’s back and forth scoring pattern, the Royals and Blazers traded goals through the first two periods, with Victoria grabbing a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

The Blazers goals, from Ondrej Vala in the first and Brodi Stuart in the second, came on the power play, but the Royals replied quickly both times. Smith’s goal came just 33 seconds after Vala’s marker to make it 2-1, while Hannoun found the net for his first goal 18 seconds after Stuart made it 2-2.

After Gerth scored 20 seconds into the third to make it 4-2, Garret Pilon gave the Blazers a spark with a goal 8:41 in.

Then it was Hannoun’s turn to take the torch. Cruising through the slot he deflected a perfect pass from Legien past goalie Max Palaga at the 12:50 mark, then completed the hat trick on a similar play just over two minutes later.

Eric Florchuk bagged his first for Victoria to open the scoring. McNabb finished with 28 saves on 31 shots while Palaga stopped 26 Victoria shots.

The Royals are in Kamloops for an Oct. 6 game then return home to play Tri-Cities on Oct. 10.

editor@vicnews.com

 

Victoria Royals’ Igor Martynov (15) heads for the puck after putting a move on Kamloops Blazers winger Ryley Appelt, during the teams’ Western Hockey League game at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Sunday. The Royals downed the Blazers for a second straight game in Victoria, 6-3, after beating them with a late goal, 4-3 Saturday night. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read