First, the Royals made countless mistakes in Game one: being sloppy with the puck in their own zone, then committing penalty after penalty in their parade to the penalty box.
In particular, after Taylor Crunk notched a goal early in the second period, cutting the Portland lead to 3-1, Victoria took 2 straight penalties: a Jack Palmer cross check and a Brandon Magee interference penalty that he took exception to. Portland then scored on the power play via a Oliver Bjorkstrand one man show. Portland was then off to the races, jumping out to a 6-1 lead and going on to blowing out Victoria 8-2.
Towards the end of the game, Keegan Kanzing, the Royal's big shut down D-man, flipped out for some unknown reason on Paul Bittner, leading to a massive melee in front of Brendan Burke. Victoria would end the night with three 10 minute misconducts and one game misconduct and Kanzig's actions leading to the melee long with his salute to the crowd afterwards would earn him a 2 game suspension.
Missing Kanzig would prove fatal in game 2, once they started taking another slew of dumb penalties. Brett Cote and Jordan Fransoo were given a much larger segment of penalty kill time that they were not up for. Specifically, Ben Walker and Logan Nelson hooking penalties that lead to Derrick Pouliot and Bjorkstrand power play goals swinging the game from being a one goal Royal's lead to a one goal lead for Portland, easily the most pivotal part in the game. The Hawks would go on to win 6-3, taking a 2-0 series lead up to Vancouver Island for games 3 and 4 tonight and Wednesday.
In order for Victoria to win even one game in this series, they need to stop taking dumb penalties, especially those after the whistle or behind the play. They have given Portland 15 power plays so far, 5 of which they have converted on. This is made all the more important by Kanzig's absence for game 3 tonight Cote and Fransoo's struggle with shutting down the powerful arsenal that is the Hawk's top power play.
If the Royals can stop beating themselves and push the Winterhawks, they can still make this the tough series that we all thought it would be. If they continue to make the stupid mistakes that they have been making, they will soon be living out another hit Lit song: