Joe Hicketts scored 36 seconds into overtime to lift the Victoria Royals to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Giants at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Saturday night. Cain Franson and Ty Ronning had the Vancouver goals while Jared Rathjen made 33 saves in his return from injury.
Neither team was able to find the net in the opening frame, despite chances for both sides. Ben Walker had the best chance of the period for Victoria when he found the rebound of a Travis Brown shot that bounced off the end boards, but Rathjen made a huge save on the Victoria forward from in close. On the ensuing counter-attack, Thomas Foster nearly opened the scoring for Vancouver but was stopped by Royals net minder Coleman Vollrath.
Logan Nelson put Victoria on the board with a power play marker in the middle frame, sneaking the puck through Rathjen from the bottom of the left circle. Ben Walker made it 2-0 for the home side when he found a loose puck in the Vancouver crease after a scramble in front of the goal and poked the puck across the line. Franson answered back for the G-Men with a power play marker of his own, scoring on a rebound after a ricochet off the back wall to pull Vancouver to within one.
Ronning tied the game for the Giants in the early stages of the third period when he drove to the net and re-directed Foster's centring pass into the net. Vancouver got into penalty trouble later in the frame and had to kill off a five-on-three Victoria power play. Rathjen was a key factor on that penalty kill as he robbed Austin Carroll on the doorstep and kept the rebound out as well to help Vancouver force overtime for a second straight night.
Hicketts ended the game when he drove down the right wing and was forced behind the net by Franson, but the Royals defenseman found a loose puck behind the net and walked out in front before scoring on the backhand to send the fans in Victoria home happy.
The Giants picked up three of a possible four points on their two-game trip to the island. Vancouver returns to action on Tuesday when the Red Deer Rebels visit the Coliseum. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.
1. Logan Nelson - Victoria
2. Jared Rathjen - Vancouver
3. Joe Hicketts - Victoria