Victoria Royals forward Regan Nagy, left, chases after Kelowna Rockets winger Tomas Soustal during WHL first period action at Prospera Place on Wednesday evening. Photograph By Gary Nylander
Jackson Whistle, a 19-year-old native of West Kelowna who came into the game with a 2.14 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, made 27 saves in net for the Rockets. Dressed as backup for the Rockets was Michael Herringer of Comox.
Coleman Vollrath blocked 17 shots and allowed all five goals in two periods of work for Victoria. Recently-signed Jayden Sittler mopped up with a six-stop third-period. Sittler’s only previous WHL game was last season — a start for the Kootenay Ice that was a shutout — so he has yet to allow a goal in four periods of WHL action.
The game turned unruly in the last five minutes of the third period, with Kelowna’s Colton Heffley and Victoria’s Travis Brown and Austin Carroll all receiving 10-minute misconducts, while the Rockets’ Riley Stadel and Royals’ forward Regan Nagy squared off in a fight.
Rockets’ assistant coach Kris Mallette, who thought the Royals were taking a few too many liberties with certain Kelowna players, was happy with the way his club responded.
“As we continued to score I thought the liberties continued to escalate,” Mallette said on AM 1150 following the game. “I love the pushback we had at the end. That’s team building, that’s great. It’s first time this year, for sure, and I think the guys are going to bond around it.”
Tyson Baillie and Justin Kirkland also scored for the Rockets who lost all four games to the Royals at home last season.
The Rockets, now a WHL-best 15-1-1, will host the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night, 7 p.m. at Prospera Place.
Forward Tyler Soy rejoined the Royals roster after missing three games due to injury.
The Royals now head north for a set Friday and Saturday against the Prince George Cougars (10-8).