The Victoria Royals (13-22-2-2) return to the SOFMC for their first home game since December 9th, an 8-5 win over Lethbridge. They wrap up 6 on the road picking up 2 points. More recently 7-6 and 6-3 losses in Portland last Friday and Wednesday and are now winless in 6.
Tonight is the first of two meetings this season verus the Calgary Hitmen (19-16-2-1). Last year these teams split the 2 game season series. With only 4 wins in their last 10, Calgary is 11-9-2-0 on the road this season, while Victoria is 8-8-1-1 at home. They’ll meet next in Victoria February 15th.
The Hitmen were winless in 4 before picking up 2-0, and 6-3 wins in Kelowna and Kamloops. They’ll wrap up their BC Road swing tomorrow in Vancouver with a 2-1 record thus far.
STANDINGS: Both clubs sit 8th in their respective conferences, the Royals with 30 points, the Hitmen 41. Victoria is 3 back of Kelowna and Seattle, 2 up on Prince George.
DID YOU KNOW? Calgary is stingy when comes to shots against, giving up the 2nd fewest shots overall, and while their penalty killing is 7th best, they take the 5th most penalty minutes on average.
Victoria has given up 4 or more goals in their last 10, however 7 of those games were against teams who boast records greater than .500. (Kamloops, Tri City x 2, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Portland x 2).
WHO'S OUT: The Hitmen are without Victor Rask’s 29 points (Sign CAR ’11), he’s representing Team Sweden at the World Juniors. Rookie Greg Chase is at the U-17’s along with Royals rearguard Keegan Kanzig who’s playing for Team Pacific.
HITMEN THREATS: Cody Sylvester leads Calgary in scoring with 38 points, 9 points in his last 9 outings. Russsian Alex Gogolev is 3rd with 27 and is 9th in rookie scoring with goals in back to back games. Jimmy Bubnick (ATL ’09) has 3 points in his last 3.
On defense, watch for 6’4 Alex Roach (Sign LA ’11), and Collin Bowman who leads his team in defeseman scoring with 22 points. In goal, Brandon Glover who’s from Victoria, and Chris Driedger have been splitting the duties and are both coming off wins.
Jake Virtanen the Hitmen’s first overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft picked up his first WHL goal last Friday in Kamloops.
ROYALS THREATS: The Royals Jamie Crooks is coming off a 4 point night with his third hat trick of the year Friday in Portland. Crooks moves into 2nd in Royals scoring with 38 points, Logan Nelson (2nd in rookie scoring) and Robin Soudek are tied for 3rd with 36.
Kevin Sundher is tied for 5th in league scoring with 60 points, and with a goal and two assists last game to extend his season high point streak to 9 games with 15 points. Last season he rode an 11 game streak picking up 20 points. The newly formed line of Sundher, Crooks and Walker combined for 9 points last game.
Puck drop between the Royals and Hitmen is 7:05pm at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, pregame show at 6:45 on The Zone at 91.3.