|Brad Ross faces Keith Hamilton in a 4-3 Royals win.|
Austin Carroll opened the scoring on the power play, but a pair of Winterhawk goals :19 seconds apart by Ty Rattie (55th) and Taylor Leier put Portalnd up 2-1 after 20.
Victoria added a pair in the middle frame by Jamie Crooks (36th) and Zane Jones (1g 1a) on a breakaway to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third. After Portland’s Oliver Gabriel tied it just 2:26 into the final frame, Steven Hodges (1g 1a) converted on a 2 on 1 with Logan Nelson for the eventual winner.
The Winterhawks hit 2 posts in the third, both on one shift and pulled the goal tender late while on the power play, but were unable to draw even.
Keith Hamilton made 32 saves to earn his 19th win and a first against his former club. Mac Carruth who leads the league in wins with 42, stopped 15 pucks for his 16th loss.
The Royals power play struck once on three opportunities against the 3rd best penalty kill, while Victoria was a perfect 2 for 2 – now 37 for 39 over their last 11.
|Steven Hodges had a goal and assist including the winner.|
It was Victoria’s 6th sell out of the season, and the Royals first win against the Winterhawks (1-2). They’ll play each other Friday night in Victoria to close out the Royals regular season.
The win moves the Royals into 7th spot in the West with 53 points and one game remaining. Everett is in 8th with 52 points and 2 games left.
Victoria has yet to clinch as Seattle is within stricking distance just 3 points back in 9th and 3 games left.
Any combination of points gained by Victoria or points dropped by Seattle totaling 4 will guarantee the Royals a playoff spot. (Example, Victoria wins 1, Seattle loses 1).
With the win, Prince George can no longer catch Victoria.
Victoria entertains Portland for the final regular season game on Friday night.
Defenseman Jesse Zgraggen comments on the win:
Portland Winterhawks 3 at Victoria Royals 4 - Status: Final
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena - Victoria, BC
Portland 2 0 1 - 3
Victoria 1 2 1 - 4
1, Victoria, Carroll 8 (Jones, Walker), 4:45 (PP).
2, Portland, Rattie 55 (Noebels), 9:26.
3, Portland, Leier 13 (De Leo), 9:45.
Penalties-served by Petan Por (too many men), 3:03; Leipsic Por (roughing), 19:31; Ross Por (inter. on goaltender), 19:31; Stahl Vic (roughing), 19:31.
4, Victoria, Crooks 36 (Hodges, Stahl), 7:23.
5, Victoria, Jones 14 13:23.
Penalties-Rutkowski Por (hooking), 0:51; Cote Vic (high sticking), 8:52.
6, Portland, Gabriel 17 (Rutkowski, Pouliot), 2:36.
7, Victoria, Hodges 21 (Nelson), 13:14.
Penalties-Leipsic Por (roughing), 6:06; Noebels Por (10-minute misconduct), 6:06; Magee Vic (roughing), 6:06; Rintoul Vic (10-minute misconduct), 6:06; Jones Vic (tripping), 18:30.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Portland 0 / 2;
Victoria 1 / 3.
Portland, Carruth 42-16-2-0 (19 shots-15 saves).
Victoria, Hamilton 19-31-1-4 (35 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Ryan Benbow (62), Trevor Hanson (19).
Linesmen-Bevan Mills (98), Kirk Van Helvoirt (107).