The Kootenay Ice melted in the presence of royalty on Tuesday evening.
The team came out with a flat performance and were shut out 3-0 in Victoria in the first of their five-game swing through the B.C. Division.
It was a lopsided special teams battle, as Victoria scored a pair of powerplay goals and notched a shorthanded effort to earn the win.
The Royals jumped off to a two-goal lead after the opening 20 minutes, as Austin Carroll capitalized with the man advantage, while Brandon Magee scored shorthanded.
“Five shots on net—a tough period. A tough game, period,” said Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson. “I don’t think we had one good player on our side tonight. Five shots on goal in the first period and a shorthanded goal against—that’s sums it up in a nutshell.”
The shorthanded goal came late in the period, as Kootenay tried to get something going on their first powerplay of the game.
“Obviously not a heads-up play, and lack of movement and lack of awareness on the better part, that’s the biggest issue,” continued Henderson. “It’s puck movement and awareness, and tonight we didn’t have that.”
Logan Nelson added another goal in the second period, on another Victoria powerplay as the one-sided special teams battle continued to work against the Ice.
The Royals two power play goals came in three chances with the man-advantage, while the Ice were shut out in all four opportunities.
Two siblings faced each other as Royals forward Mitch Skapski went up against his older brother Mackenzie, though the Kootenay Ice goaltender occupied the bench while teammate Wyatt Hoflin manned the crease.
Hoflin made 16 saves in defeat, while Royals goaltender Coleman Vollrath earned his first career shutout with 25 stops.
Royals defenceman Isaac Schacher also got to play against his hometown team, as the Kimberley native, who used to play for the Dynamiters in the KIJHL last year, is now up in the WHL full-time this season with the Royals. Schacher has a goal and four assists in 22 games.
Kootenay will head to team captain Sam Reinhart’s childhood stomping grounds as they head to Vancouver to face the Giants on Wednesday night. Reinhart, who grew up in West Vancouver, will likely have a healthy contingent of family and friends in the stands at the Pacific Coliseum, as will overage D-man Jagger Dirk, who was born in Penticton and spent time in Vancouver as a child.
The team will have to refocus and come prepared to play if they hope to be successful, said Henderson.
“It’s a frustrating game, but we have a chance to make good on it tomorrow [Wednesday] night,” said Henderson. “It’s frustrating, but we got to learn from it, and as long as we don’t play the way we did, we’ll be fine. Basically correct everything that we did tonight and we should be fine.
“It’s up to us and the guys on the ice if they want to show up or not.”