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Schuurman leads Royals to 7-6 shootout victory over Cougars

Forward Brayden Schuurman collected two goals and the shootout winner to lead the Victoria Royals to a 7-6 victory over the Prince George Cougars at the CN Centre on Saturday.

<who>Photo credit: Victoria Royals</who>

The Abbotsford, BC product’s presence was notable from the opening puck drop, scoring his first goal to give the Royals a 3-2 lead late in the second period, then following up with a game-tying goal with six seconds remaining on the game clock to force an extra frame.

He would also be the lone scorer in the eventual shootout to seal the win for Victoria.

Schuurman has totalled 26 points on 15 goals and 11 assists in 37 games this season.

The game also saw defenseman Luke Rybinski collect his first career WHL goal, while fellow blueline Kalem Parker led all Royals skaters with three assists on the night.

Starting goaltender Nicholas Cristiano made 28 saves on 34 shots in the win.

Meanwhile, forward Koehn Ziemmer would finish as the top-scorer for the Cougars in the loss with a pair of goals and one assist, while goaltender Ty Young stopped 34 of 40 shots against.

Prince George (35-24-6-1) forward Caden Brown (17) would open the scoring on Saturday, giving his team a 1-0 lead at the 13:36 mark of the first.

However, Victoria (16-43-6-1) would respond near the end of the frame on a powerplay goal by defenceman Nate Misskey (4) to tie the game at 1-1 entering the second period.

Defenceman Kalem Parker and forward Tanner Scott would pick up assists on the play.

The Royals would then take a 2-1 lead on defenceman Luke Rybinski’s first career WHL goal at the 1:17 mark of the second period, assisted by forwards Deegan Kinniburgh and Reggie Newman.

But the Cougars would even the game only a few minutes later on a goal by forward Koehn Ziemmer (39) at 7:17 of the second.

Forward Brayden Schuurman (14) would give Victoria the lead once again with an unassisted goal at the 16:03 mark of the second.

That would be followed by a goal by Royals forward Riley Gannon (18) at 19:57 of the second to take a 4-2 lead into the final period. Kalem Parker would pick up his second assist of the game on the play.

However, two early third period goals by Prince George defenceman Bauer Dumanski (2) at 0:45 and forward Zac Funk (25) at the 4:27 mark would tie the game once again at 4-4 with under 15 minutes to play.

Forward Riley Heidt (24) would then give the Cougars a 5-4 lead with a goal at the 7:33 mark, which would be followed by an insurance marker by forward Koehn Ziemmer (40) at 9:24 to extend the lead to 6-4.

It appeared as if the two goal advantage would hold until the end, however, a pair of goals in the dying seconds by Royals forwards Teague Patton (26) at 19:15 and Brayden Schuurman (15) at 19:54 would tie the game at 6-6 and force overtime.

Reggie Newman and defenceman Justin Kipkie would pick up assists on the Patton goal, while Kalem Parker would assist on the game-tying goal by Schuurman.

Neither team would be able to score in the extra frame and the game would head to a shootout, where Schuurman would be the lone scorer and hand Victoria the 7-6 victory.

Looking ahead, both teams will wrap up their regular seasons with two game home-and-home series next weekend–the Cougars taking on the Kamloops Blazers and the Royals facing the Everett Silvertips.

Puck drop for Victoria’s next game is set for 7:05 pm on Friday, Mar. 24 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA.

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