Friday, 9 December 2011

Preview: Lethbridge at Victoria

Photo: Times Colonist
LAST GAME:  The 3rd ranked team in the CHL, the Tri City Americans swept the 2 game set Tuesday and Wednesday in Victoria, defeating the Royals 6-2, and 5-3.  Victoria has now dropped 3 straight, winless in 5 at home and slip to 4th in the division.

Conner Rankin scored 2 goals including the winner as the Tri City Americans got past the Royals for a second night in a row, marking the first time Victoria has been held pointless in 9 back to back game sets. 

The Royals struck first and held 2-1, and 3-2 leads until the 3rd when Conner Rankin scored his second of the night, the eventual game winner.

Outshot 30-17 on the night, Jared Rathjen was valiant between the pipes making 25 saves his biggest on Adam Hughesman - who had a goal and an assist, giving him 286 career points moving him past one of the team owners, Stu Barnes.   Royals Logan Nelson and Zane Jones collected a goal and assist each.  Jones has goals in 3 straight games and 4 in his last 5.

TONIGHT:  In come the Lethbridge Hurricanes ranked 5th in the Central, 11th in the Conference have turned things around as of late.  They saw their four game winning streak come to an end with a 5-2 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna Wednesday night.

SIN BIN:  The Canes have the 3rd most penalty minutes in the league, and their penalty killing has taken a hit – 20th in the league.  The power play went without on four chances versus Kelowna and ranks a dismal 21st in the league.

RED LIGHT:  Victoria and Lethbridge have given up the most goals in the league on average, but the Hurricanes haven’t been able to score, with the 3rd fewest goals for in the ‘dub.  The Royals are middle of the pack.

Lethbridge has won 7 of their last 10, including wins versus Saskatoon, Medicine Hat and Spokane.  They’re still 11 under .500 on the season and 7 under on the road.  The Bruins won both games in the season series last year.

HOME COMING:  Captain of the Hurricanes Cam Braes from Shawnigan Lake returns home as as the leading point getter for his club, amassing 29 points in 32 games this season as an overager.

WHO'S HOT:  Zanes Jones has goals in 3 straight games, 4 in 5.  Kevin Sundher is 6th in League scoring (46) and has points in back to back games.  Coming off a 2 point effort Logan Nelson is 2nd among rookies with 32 points.  'Canes Nick Buonassisi had a goal and an assist last game. He has 12 points over his last 11 games.  Cam Braes has 11 points in his current 7 game point streak.

WHO'S OUT:  Victoria will be without the services of 32 point man, Robin Soudek who was handed a 4 game suspension by the league for a hit thrown Tuesday versus Tri City, and already sat one game. 

The injury bug has crept back too, with upper body injuries to defenseman Zach Habscheid and Jesse Zgraggen, both listed as ‘Day to Day’.  Turner Popoff and his hip check is back from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs to help out on the back end.

It’s Teddy Bear Toss night as the Royals look to snap a 3 game slide in the final home game before the Christmas break, versus the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Victoria.  A sell out is expected,

and all they need is 5,553 in attendance to break the 100,000 mark so far this season.

Catch all the action on The Zone at 91.3 with a 6:45 pregame show with myself Marlon Martens, and CHEK TV's Mike Walker.