By Jeff Morris
The Richmond Royals have sent a loud and clear message to its Central Canada Hockey League 2 opponents.
Objects in rearview mirror are closer than they appear.
The Royals continued their hot streak this week, earning three of a possible four points against the top two teams in the CCHL2 Martin Division. The Royals lost in overtime to the first place Ottawa West Golden Knights Thursday at the Barbara Ann Scott Arena. Sunday in Richmond, they had little trouble handing second place Embrun a 5-2 defeat.
After ending a four-game losing streak exactly one month ago, the Royals have gone on a tear, getting points in seven of their last eight games. During that stretch, the Royals have five wins, one overtime loss, one shootout loss, and one regulation loss.
On Thursday night, Josh Lacelle had one of his best outings in goal for the Royals as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the first place Ottawa West Golden Knights. Lacelle, who was named the game’s third star, stopped 49 of the 53 shots he faced. The Royals were outshot 22-3 in the first period alone, but Lacelle helped his team into the first intermission trailing only 1-0.
The Royals trailed 2-0 in the second but fought back to tie the score. Willem Brandt scored from Noah Dioszeghy and Owen Nevins, and then Connor Gilchrist scored unassisted.
The Golden Knights to a 3-2 lead later in the second, but the Royals tied things up again when Ryan Mann scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play from Brandt and Patrick Yates.
In overtime, Stef Mellios scored with 14 seconds remaining to give the first place Golden Knights the win.
Sunday, it was Derian Johnson’s turn to shine in goal for the Royals, as he made 41 saves in a 5-2 win over the second place Embrun Panthers at the Richmond Memorial Community Centre.
The win was a costly one for the Royals, in the final minute of the game, Ethan Vaslet went down with an injury. Mathieu Brennan of the Panthers was given a checking to the head major. It culminated a rough period, as a cross check by Embrun’s Nathan Brown sparked a dust-up with Richmond’s Asa MacFarlane which cost both players five minutes and a game misconduct. Just a few minutes later, Owen Nevins of the Royals received a check to the head penalty and a misconduct.
After a scoreless first period, Yates scored his 12th of the year from Grant Cooper to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Midway through the period, Cooper and Yates both drew assists on Brandt’s fourth goal of the season.
In the third, the Panthers went on the power play as Curran Gilmour of the Royals was sent off for hooking. Embrun’s James Taylor scored to goal the Richmond lead to a goal.
But that’s as close as it got. Ryan Mann scored his 12th of the year from Yates and Adam Goodfellow; Ethan Gauthier scored his first of the year from Dioszeghy, and Mann added a power play goal from Yates and Goodfellow to make the score 5-1. Tristan Taillefer took advantage of a turnover at his own blue line to beat Johnson on a breakaway with 1:17 remaining to play to complete the scoring.
After the game, there were some harsh words from the Embrun bench directed at the game’s officials. We won’t quote the exact words of the coaches, but they clearly begged to differ with some of the calls made and not made during the match.
The Royals’ game against Renfrew Wednesday has been postponed. They are in action again Sunday afternoon when they host the first place Ottawa West Golden Knights.