After three periods, overtime and five rounds of shootout hockey, Hunter Heightland's shootout goal finally lifted the MQT Royales to a 7-6 victory on Sunday November 17 over the Tri-City Icehawks. The goal completed the three-game series sweep on the road, extending the Royales win streak to 23 games.
“We played three hard games on the road this weekend,” Royales Head Coach Mike Stanaway said. “For not seeing the road for a long time and not have the comforts of Lakeview Arena, we handled it pretty well.”
The first two games played felt like the typical Royales hockey, as MQT won 7-3 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday. The Minnesota Junior Hockey League's top scorer Dallas McLaughlin had four goals in both games, while the MnJHL's points leader Lane King had a goal in each game and eight assists for the weekend. The two combined for 22 of the team's 36 points for Friday's and Saturday's games.
Sunday was a different story for the Royales with the road team crippled by penalties. MQT had 14 penalties for 57 minutes, including two game ejections for Tanner Doty and Jesper Tiselius and a game misconduct for King. The Icehawks capitalized on MQT's transgressions, as they scored three goals with the man advantage on Sunday. Tri-City converted just one of 11 power plays in the first two games.
Friday, Nov. 15
ROYALES 7 2-2-3 36 SOG, Penalties 10-39 mins
Tri-City 3 1-1-1 25 SOG, Penalties 9-49 mins
MQT - McLaughlin 4 G, 3 A; King 1 G, 5 A; Gervino 1 G; Marcin 2 A; Givens 1 A, DeSimone 1 A; Jorenby 1 A
TC - Bourcier 1 G; Sewell 1 G; Gillard 1 G; Schneider 1 A; Borowski 1 A; Hawkins 1 A; Patterson 1 A
Saturday, Nov. 16
ROYALES 6 3-2-1 27 SOG, Penalties 8-24 mins
Tri-City 3 1-1-1 22 SOG, Penalties 6-12 mins
MQT - McLaughlin 4 G, 1 A; King 1 G, 3 A; Salzbrunn 1 G; Gervino 2 A; Hewitt 1 A; Jorenby 1 A; Leaf 1 A; Givens 1 A
TC - Blum 2 G; Hawkins 1 G, 1 A; Pines 1 A; Patterson 1 A
Sunday, Nov. 17
ROYALES 7 3-3-0-0-2 46 SOG, Penalties 14-57 mins
Tri-City 6 4-1-1-0-1 31 SOG, Penalties 4-11 mins
MQT - Heightland 1 G, 3 A; Salzbrunn 1 G, 2A; Givens 1 G, 2 A; Gervino 1 G, 1 A; Jarvis 1 G, 1 A; Jorenby 1 G; King 2 A; Link 1 A
TC - Blum 3 G, 2 A; Bourcier 1 G, 1 A; Patterson 1 G, 1 A; Murray 1 G, Chapie 2 A; Pfeiffer 1 A; Hawkins 1 A
Stanaway still focused on the positives on Sunday, namely the more balanced offensive attack.
All six goals were scored by different Royales, none of which were the two offensive studs from the first two games. Those six scorers were also disciplined as they shared only four penalty minutes on two holding infractions by Drew Jarvis and Jeff Salzbrunn. Heightland, who recorded three assists during the first three periods, was the seventh Royale to find the back of the net on Sunday to win the shootout and the game.
“We had lots of guys who played excellent and really stepped up for us,” Stanaway said. “The first two games were just (McLaughlin, McLaughlin, McLaughlin) and King, King, King. Sunday was much more balanced.”
The Royales are on break until after the holiday and did not practice this week. Their next series is December 6-8, as they host the Wisconsin Rampage. According to Stanaway, the time off will recharge the team mentally and physically.
“November is the toughest month for hockey because its close to the end of the first half of the season, but not quite Christmas break. Now the guys can get healthy and get excited for the rest of the first half,” Stanaway said.
MQT will play the Rampage and then travel to Dyer, Ind. to face the Illiana Blackbirds before the midseason Christmas break.
First line facts
- Andrew Gedert suited up for the Royales in just his second game of the year on Friday. He allowed three goals on 25 shots to go 2-0 for the season. Gedert played for Tri-City last season.
- The 12 goals scored by the Icehawks over the weekend was the most goals allowed in a three-game series by MQT. The previous best was 10 by Wooster on Nov. 1-3.
- The Royales will wear special green jerseys for the Rampage series supporting the “Skate for Life” cause. Fans can buy a game-worn jersey through a silent auction leading up and through the series.