The Victoria Royals downed the Kelowna Rockets 6-1 Friday night at Save on Foods Memorial Arena in the first of three games in four days between the B.C. Division rivals.
Tyler Soy had a goal and four points and Matthew Phillips scored twice for the Royals (33-19-3-1) who pulled into a tie for top spot with the Rockets (33-17-3-1), who have lost three of their last four games.
Dillon Dube, with his 24th of the season, scored the lone goal for Kelowna in the second period.
Brodan Salmond stopped 21 of 25 shots in the Rockets net before being replaced by James Porter to start the third period, who made 13 saves on 15 shots.
It was Porter’s first action since Jan. 13 after being sidelined with an upper body injury. Each team finished with 40 shots on goal.
Forward Erik Gardiner played for the Rockets for the first time since October, a span of 39 games.
Gardiner, 19, was struck on the helmet by a puck while blocking a shot late in the third period of a 4-3 overtime victory over Tri-City.
The Rockets and Royals will battle again Saturday night in Victoria, before finishing up the three-game set Monday afternoon at Prospera Place. Face is 2:05 p.m.