Rockets edge out tight 2-0 victory over Royals

It was a close battle throughout, but the Rockets won in their last home game before holiday break

The Rockets secured an important two points against the Victoria Royals on Friday night with a 2-0 win. They move four points ahead of the Royals to stay in second in the B.C division.

In their last home game before a four game road trip, coach Adam Foote acknowledges the challenges ahead.

“We had to figure out how to stay patient (in tonight’s game), and the guys are starting to get it that we don’t need to go over force (before road trips),” said Foote. “It’s not going to be an easy road trip, our guys will figure it out quicker when they’re tired, and hopefully we learn the hard way how to manage ourselves. And if we can play smarter when we’re tired, that’ll be a big test for us.”

In a quiet first period, the Rockets controlled most of the play in the Royals’ zone and a few good looks and chances but weren’t able to beat Royals’ goalie Griffen Outhouse, who continues to have a great season for the Royals with 11 wins.

The Royals would beat Rockets’ goalie Roman Basran half way through the period, but due to a high stick, the goal would be over-turned and the period would end scoreless.

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The Rockets built some momentum in the second period after killing off two Royals power-plays to start. By controlling the neutral zone and gaining the zone almost uncontested at times, the Rockets generated 15 shots but none were challenging enough to beat Outhouse. On the other end of the ice, Basran had to be on his toes and make some quality saves of his own even though the Royals had only 6 shots. The period would end 0-0.

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Both teams turned up the pressure in the the third period trying to break the tie. Players on both ends were putting their bodies on the line as both the Rockets’ and the Royals’ skaters were blocking pucks. The deadlock would end at the halfway mark of the third when a defensive lapse by the Royals led to a Rockets 2-on-1. Lane Zablocki drew the defender over and got the pass to Kyle Topping, Topping’s shot was stopped by an aggressive Outhouse, but Zablocki stayed with the puck and was able to bounce one off a defender and give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. Zablocki scored the game winner on his former team.

The Royals would push back but Basran stood tall. Nolan Foote would add an insurance goal on the empty Royals net to give the Rockets a 2-0 win.

The Rockets have a four game road trip through Alberta before a two week break. They’ll be back on home ice Dec. 29.

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