Royals rally in Washington for shootout victory



It's a hoary sports cliché, but simply can't be avoided when describing the Victoria Royals in the early going of the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season.

Just call them the Comeback Kids, Island version. The Royals are 5-2 with three of those victories the result of come-from-behind rallies.

The latest occurred Saturday night in Kennewick, Washington, with a 4-3 shootout decision over the Tri City Americans.

"Our guys find a way to stay with it and find a way to win . . . and good for us," said Victoria head coach Dave Lowry.

"It's the leadership we have combined with a competitive edge and will."

Victoria had two goals in regulation time by Logan Nelson, and his winner in shootout, to thank for Saturday's rally.

The Royals used the United Nations to tie the game 3-3 with 35 seconds remaining in regulation time as Russian Alex Gogolev, from behind the net, found the American Nelson on the glove side.

After a scoreless first period, the second provided a cornucopia of scoring delights.

Victoria forward Brandon Magee opened the goals barrage in the middle period with an odd-man counter at 1: 11. Brian Williams tied matters at 6: 17 for Tri City on an own goal as Victoria had the goaltender pulled on a delayed power-play call. Tri City captain Justin Feser gave the Americans the 2-1 lead on the power play at 16:35.

Nelson, a 2012 NHL draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, brought the Royals level at 18: 44 on the power play. But turnabout proved fair play as Tri City used the power play to regain the lead 3-2 with a goal by Connor Rankin with 20 seconds remaining in the second frame.

The Royals got two assists from touted rookie defenceman Joe Hicketts. Veteran blueliner Mitch Topping - who began his WHL career with the Royals franchise when it was known as the Chilliwack Bruins - had two assists for Tri City.

Jared Rathjen made 28 saves in goal for Victoria while Eric Comrie blocked 34 shots for Tri City.

The Royals are in Vancouver today to meet the Giants (2-4) at 4 p.m. inside the PNE Pacific Coliseum.