Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
November 2, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) - The Victoria Royals rebounded with a 3-1 win over the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night WHL action, but it was a tackle on beloved Royals mascot Marty-the-Marmot during a second period intermission contest that shocked the crowd and has had social media sites buzzing well into the morning.
The incident happened during a game of musical chairs, when Marty playfully ran interference on one of the male contestants, who subsequently missed out on getting a chair and was eliminated from the contest. Once that happened, the contestant ran toward Marty and executed what can only be described as the perfect body slam tackle, lifting Marty up off the ice and slamming him back down on his back.
As the crowd and staff on the ice looked on stunned, wondering if this was part of Marty's usual antics, it soon became clear that it was not, as Marty lay on the ice for a few seconds before a staff member finally came to see if he was OK and helped him to his feet. While Marty appeared OK, from this reporters viewpoint, he was clearly in discomfort for the remainder of the promotion and as he went off the ice after the promotion was over.
As to the mean-spirited contestant, he left the ice to a chorus of boos and was apparently dealt with by arena security.
Fans of Marty on his Facebook page are clamouring for the person involved to, at a minimum, be banned from the arena and many are hoping that assault charges are filed. While rumour has it that the arena is considering this, ISN could not confirm anything at press time.
The incident overshadowed what was a pretty good hockey game, as the Royals and Rebels once again, played another close, physical and entertaining game, one in which the dueling Czech goalies - Patrik Polivka for the Royals and Patrik Bartosak for the Rebels - made key saves to keep their teams in the game.
Victoria's Logan Nelson continued his hot hand with a goal and an assist on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Austin Carroll would open the scoring for the Royals on the powerplay at the 8:38 mark of the first period. Steven Hodges found Carroll in the high slot where the Royals' forward snapped a shot past the blocker of Bartosak to give Victoria a 1-0 lead.
Austin Carroll celebrates his first period goal Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Logan Nelson made it a two-goal game with another powerplay goal at the 12:51 mark. The Royals' forward one-timed a Brett Cote pass from the left point to beat a screened Bartosak and Victoria kept the 2-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play.
Screens like this kept Rebels goalie Patrik Bartosak from getting clean looks at the puck on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Early in the second period, tempers began to flare as the physical play and scrums after whistles began to pick up.
Tyler Soy increased Victoria's lead after the club killed off a pair of penalties. With 5:35 left, Chaz Reddekopp's shot from the point was stopped, but Soy found the loose puck in front and buried it past a sprawling Bartosak.
Logan Nelson celebrates his first period goal with Tyler Soy (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With one minute remaining in the second, Cole Chorney notched a powerplay marker to pull Red Deer to within two goals. Carroll then squared off with Devan Fafard to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick and the Royals led 3-1 as the teams headed into the second intermission.
Patrik Bartosak again played well for the Rebels, but not well enough as the Royals got to him for three goals on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Rebels pressed to cut into the lead early in the third frame, but Polivka came up with multiple key saves to keep the Royals up 3-1.
Linesman Riley Friesen (right) and Kirk Van Helvoirt (left) try to break up a third period scrum Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Red Deer's Conner Bleackley and Victoria\s Luke Harrison square off in a third period tilt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The game reached a boiling point with 5:34 remaining as Reddekopp laid a big hit then dropped the gloves with Wyatt Johnson as he won his first career WHL fight. Just 28 seconds later, the Royals Luke Harrison and the Rebels Conner Bleakley would also scrap, with Bleakley coming out with a slight advantage.
Victoria's Brett Cote skates the puck away from Red Deer's Vokie Mpofu (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With 1:22 remaining, Red Deer pulled Bartosak for an extra attacker and called a timeout, but Polivka stood tall to preserve the 3-1 Royals win.
Red Deer's Cole Chorney drives hard to the net for a Rebels scoring chance Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Victoria went 2/7=28.6% on the powerplay, while Red Deer went 1/7=14.3%. The Royals outshot the Rebels 35-28. Steven Hodges, with 2 assists, was named the games first star, while Austin Carroll, with a goal and an assist, was named second star. Bartosak, with another solid performance in net, was awarded the third star for the Rebels.
Victoria\s Steven Hodges, with a two assists, was named the first star of the game Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals will now look ahead to hosting the Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday night. As announced during Saturday's game, all fans who present their ticket stub from the November 2nd game against Red Deer at the Select Your Tickets box office will receive a $5.00 ticket to the game on Wednesday! This ticket offer is valid in the same section as the previous ticket. Some restrictions apply to luxury suite and rail seats in the Lion's Den Restaurant. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.