Goaltender Griffen Outhouse and the Victoria Royals are no doubt glad to be home, after losing four games on their recent Prairie road swing. The team hosts the Kootenay Ice this Friday at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Troy Landreville/Black Press

Royals, Cougars face key games this week

Victoria and Esquimalt junior hockey wrapup

A rough Prairie road trip for the Victoria Royals has seen their lead in the B.C. Division of the Western Hockey League trimmed to a mere two points.

The Royals (18-10-3-0), who are gearing up for their return to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre this Friday for a game against Kootenay Ice (7:05 p.m.), lost all four games in Saskatchewan and Alberta, two of which came in overtime.

The latest was a 4-1 decision Saturday in Lethbridge, where the visitors fell behind early and never got untracked. Victoria goalie Griffen Outhouse posted an admirable performance in the loss, stopping 40 of 43 shots – the final Hurricanes goal was scored into empty net.

Dante Hannoun had the lone tally for the Royals, bagging his 13th of the season early in the third period.

Other losses on the road trip saw the Royals lose 4-3 in overtime in Medicine Hat on Friday, 3-2 in OT to Swift Current on Nov. 29 and 7-4 in Medicine Hat the night before.

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Rockets (17-8-2-1) have been on a tear of late, winning five straight and going 8-2 in their last 10 games to pull within two points of the Royals.

Cougars look to gain ground on Wolves

Coming off a split of their games against the high-flying Nanaimo Buccaneers last week, the second-place Victoria Cougars are looking to pull closer to South Division-leading Westshore in Island Junior Hockey League action.

The Cougars (14-10-0-1) and Wolves (15-10-1-1) go head to head at The Q Centre in Colwood tonight (Dec. 6, 7 p.m.), a game that is a four-pointer for both clubs. Victoria then hosts Saanich at 7 p.m. Thursday in another key divisional matchup.

The Cougars lost a tight battle last Thursday, giving up the winner 1:21 into OT in a 3-2 loss to the Buccaneers. Undeterred, Victoria went into Nanaimo on Saturday and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period en route to a 6-4 victory.

editor@vicnews.com

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