Successful home sweep sets Royals up for crucial late season road trip

Jamie Crooks’s two-goal performance lifted the Victoria Royals to a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night at Save On Foods Memorial Stadium. It was the second game of a two-game home set against the Seattle Thunderbirds. With the win, the Royals completed the season sweep of their Southern rivals.

The Royals started out hot; tallying three goals in the first period. The two wins couldn’t have come at a better time before heading out on a six-game road trip.

The Victoria power play was hot in the first period capitalizing twice. Jamie Crooks potted his first of the night on the power play with under a minute left in the first.

“The power play was key for us tonight,” Royals head coach, Dave Lowry said.

Vancouver Island native, Brandon Glover started in goal for the Thunderbirds. Glover, who has started between the pipes for Seattle 47 times this season, couldn’t stop the Royals offense. At the start of the second frame, he was replaced with 16-year-old Danny Mumaugh.

Seattle came to life in the second period when BC-boy Connor Sanvido netted his 13th of the season. Just as the Thunderbirds looked to be making a charge, Victoria’s Jamie Crooks’ took a Ben Walker feed, drove the net and went upstairs on Mumaugh. Crooks’ second goal of the night seemed to deflate any chance of a T-Bird comeback.

Coach Lowry says, “the goal came at a critical time for us.”

Nineteen year-old right-winger, Ben Walker commented on Crooks’ second goal of the night.

“I was able to get it up to Jamie and he did the rest. No one can do it like him.”

Walker and his younger brother Jack Walker combined for one goal, four assists and five points on the night. The Royals boast an impressive 19-5-3 record on home ice this season.

“Playing at home, it’s fun to have the fans…you can stay at your own house and go on your own time,” Ben Walker said.

“It’s a great building to play in,” says Lowry. “We always seem to play with lots of energy, have been able to score early and play with the lead.”

After a home sweep of the Thunderbirds, the team now heads out for an 11-day, six-game road trip. Lowry is already thinking ahead.

“We’re looking at Friday first,” coach Lowry said. “We are going into six tough buildings to play six tough teams.”

With a successful road trip, the Royals could hope to return to the Island in fourth place in the Western Conference. Right now, Victoria sits in sixth spot in the West, tied with Spokane in points and trailing the Tri-City Americans by one point. The Royals have big games against both those squads at the beginning of the road trip.

The trip starts Friday in Spokane and the Royals look to put up a successful result locking their spot amidst the top in the West heading towards playoff time.

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