Prince George won the low-scoring battle 2-1 in overtime, but the single point was enough to allow the Victoria Royals to clinch a playoff berth in Western Hockey League play on Friday night.
Ryan Schoettler scored 4:04 into overtime to give the hometown Cougars the win.
The teams were locked in a scoreless tie until Joel Lakusta beat Griffen Outhouse on a Prince George power play for the game’s first goal five minutes into the third period. Noah Gregor responded with a man advantage marker for the Royals three minutes later and both teams had decent scoring chances later in the period.
The teams meet again tonight at the CN Centre in Prince George.
Victoria was coming off a 5-1 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops two nights earlier, a defeat that prevented them from clinching a spot in the post-season.
The Royals have seven games left, three of which are against Prince George, the last-place team in the B.C. Division. Victoria hosts Spokane for a pair of games next Tuesday and Wednesday and winds up its regular season with a home and home series against Everett.