Friday, 30 December 2011

Preview: Victoria at Portland Dec 30/2011

New Video Screens installed at SOFMC
The Victoria Royals are in Portland for their second game against the Winterhawks in three nights.  They dropped a  6-3 decision Wednesday after getting peppered with 54 shots in Keith Hamilton’s return against his former club.  Portland leads the league in shots and goals for, the Royals did direct 32 pucks at Mac Carruth who earned his 21st win of the season.

Defenseman Joe Morrow led the charge with a goal and two assists, while Brad Ross scored a pair. The Winterhawks now 11 games over .500 (22-11-2-1), extended their home win streak to 10 games and remain 4th in the Conference – 2nd in the US division.

Portland led 2-1 after 20 minutes, but exploded for 2 goals 22 seconds apart in the second and carried a 5-2 lead into the 3rd.  Their number 1 ranked power play struck twice on 3 opportunities.  Keith Hamilton shut the door on 3 breakaways and a Ty Rattie penalty shot.  Victoria held the league’s leading goal getter to a single assist.

Brandon Magee scored two goals and Ben Walker added another for the Royals, who are now winless in 5 and have suffered their eighth loss in nine games.  They fall to the 8th and final playoff spot with a record of (13-21-2-2), picking up 2 points in 5 straight on the road.

WHO'S OUT:  Tonight Portland will be with out Sven Bartschi who’s suffered an apparent mild concussion while representing team Switzerland at the World Juniors.  He’s second in scoring on Portland (54), but is averaging over 2 points per game and is signed by the Calgary Flames.  Royals defenseman Keegan Kanzig and Winterhawks Nicolas Petan are representing Team Pacific at the U-17's.  Tyler Stahl, defenseman for Victoria will miss his 35th game tonight.

THREATS: The WHL’s second overal scorer, Ty Rattie leads the team in scoring with 63 points, number 1 in the league in goals (33), and power play goals (16).  Drafted by St. Louis, he was a recent cut from team Canada - as was third in Winterhawks scoring, Brad Ross.  A Leafs draft selection, Ross is currently riding a 6 game goal scoring streak.  Defenseman Derrick Pouliot with 27 points, will be attending the Top Prospects game.

DRAFTED:  Portland boasts 8 draft picks including goaltender Mac Carruth (Chi ’10), d-man Troy Rutkowski (Col ’10), d-man Joseph Morrow (Sign Pitt), forward Tyler Wotherspoon (Cgy ’11), Ty Rattie (Stl ’11), Sven Bartchi (Cgy ’11), Brad Ross (Tor ’10) and d-man William Wren (SJ ’09).

STREAKS: Kevin Sundher is on a 8 game point scoring streak (3+9=12 points).  Jesse Pauls with 5 points in his last 3, 8 in his last 7 outings.

OLD STOMPING GROUNDS:  Netminder Keith Hamilton is back in Portland, to face the team that traded him in the offseason to Victoria for a 3rd, 4th, and 9th round picks in the 2012 bantam draft.  Last season he won 17 of 28 games for the Winterhawks.

After tonight the Royals return to Victoria for a Tuesday night tilt against the Hitmen from Calgary.  Victoria hasn’t played at home since Dec 9th.  The new Video Screens will be ready to go for the fans, enhancing the overall experience at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Center.

Tonight is the final game of the year, in meeting number 2 of 4 against the Winterhawks, as the Royals look to earn a split and wrap up 6 on the road in Portland.