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Royals wrap-up weekend set with 6-3 loss to Cougars

Victoria Royals forward Alex Thacker recorded a team-high three points on a goal and two assists in a 6-3 loss to the Prince George Cougars at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Saturday.

<who>Photo credit: Jay Wallace</who>

The Fort Saskatchewan, AB product currently ranks third on the team in scoring with 36 total points on eight goals and 28 assists over 51 games this season.

The game also saw 15-year-old defenceman Jerrett Ross record his first career WHL point in just his second game, assisting on a goal by Thacker midway through the third period.

After seeing his young defenceman enjoy such quick success on the ice, and with many of the younger players on the roster making important contributions throughout the season, Royals General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price believes the future is bright in Victoria:

“We’re really on an upcycle here as far as the long-term planning of the team,” said Price following the game. “Not only our affiliates but our younger age groups, they’re just tremendous people, very well rounded players. We’re deep at every position.”

Meanwhile, forward Chase Wheatcroft would finish as the top-producer for the Cougars, recording three points on a goal and an assist, while starting goaltender Ty Young stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced in the win.

Prince George () would take an early 1-0 advantage with a goal by forward Koehn Ziemmer (35) at the 5:45 mark of the first.

That would be followed by a goal from forward Chase Wheatcroft (44) at 11:47 to put the Cougars up 20 midway through the first.

A powerplay marker by forward Riley Gannon (16) would see Victoria () cut the lead to 2-1 at the 13:06 mark. Forward Alex Thacker and defenceman Nate Misskey would collect assists on the play.

However, the Cougars would re-extend their lead before the end of the frame, with forward Carlin Dezainde (6) scoring at 16:16 to bring the score to 3-1 entering the second.

Prince George would add on in the second, extending their lead to 4-1 with a goal off the stick of Koehn Ziemmer (36) at the 6:30 mark.

They would add two more in the back-half of the frame, with forward Zac Funk (22) striking at 12:26 and forward Carlin Dezainde (7) scoring at 19:19 to extend their lead to 6-1.

But the Royals would get one back before the end of the period, with forward Brayden Schuurman (13) scoring at the 19:58 mark to bring the score to 6-2 entering the third. Forward Alex Thacker would pick up his second point of the game with an assist on the play.

Victoria would follow-up with another goal in the third by Thacker (8) at 12:53, marking his third point in the contest. Defencemen Jerrett Ross and Kalem Parker would record assists on the goal.

That would be the final goal in the game from either side and time would expire with Prince George taking home the 6-3 victory.

Victoria goaltender Nicholas Cristiano would make 32 saves on 38 shots in the loss.

Looking ahead, the Cougars will return to the mainland for a contest against the Vancouver Giants in Langley on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Royals will take the next three days off to prepare for a road contest with the Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday, Mar. 15 at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.

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