Friday, 6 January 2012

Preview: KEL at VIC

Tonight the 8th place Victoria Royals (13-23-2-2) are at home for the first of back to back meetings against the 6th place Kelowna Rockets (15-19-2-3). 

Last Game: The Royals winless in 7, coming off a 9-4 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday.  Logan Nelson had a hat trick while Jared Rathjen made 18 saves. 

The Rockets snapped a 3 game slide Wednesday with a 5-2 home win against the Spokane Chiefs as Brett Bulmer scored three straight goals.  Kelowna has just 3 wins in their last 10.

Season Series:  Victoria leads the series 4-1 and have outscored Kelowna 21-17.  The Royals defeated the Rockets in Kelowna in their last meeting 2-1 back on December 2nd.  The Rockets are 7 for 24 on the power play, the Royals are 7 for 28 while outshooting Kelowna 143-140 in the first 5 games. Following this weekend the series wraps up March 9th at Prospera Place.

Previous Meetings:
Victoria 2 @ Kelowna 1 (Dec 2)
Victoria 5 @ Kelowna 6 (Nov 26)
Victoria 3 @ Kelowna 2 (Oct 22)
Kelowna 3 @ Victoria 4 (Oct 15) OT
Kelowna 5 @ Victoria 7 (Oct 14)

Home & Away:  Victoria is 1 under at the SOFMC (8-9-1-1), while Kelowna is 4 under on the road (5-9-2-2).

Special Teams:  The Royals power play is ranked 12th, Rockets 14th.  Victoria’s penalty killing dipped to 20th after allowing 3 goals on 4 Hitmen chances.  Kelowna went 3 for 3 for the Spokane, and is ranked 13th overall.

Standings:  With 30 points, Victoria is 3 back of 7th place Seattle, but just 2 up on Prince George who have 2 in hand.  The Royals will face the Cougars 6 more times this season.  Kelowna has 35 points and is now chasing Spokane for 5th, while sitting 2 up on Seattle.

Who’s Hot:  Kevin Sundher has stretched his point streak to 10 games (4+12=16 points), a season high.  One more game will match last years longest streak.  He’s currently tied for 6th in league scoring with 61 points. Kevin Sundher has exactly the number of points (61) as he did 2 years ago & needs just 15 more to equal last season.  Sundher and Robin Soudek both have 10 points in 5 games vs Kelowna.

Logan Nelson now sits atop of the rookie scoring race with 39 points.  Zane Jones has 4 points in his last 2 (2+2), Jamie Crooks with 6 points in his last 3 (3+3), and Brandon Magee has 4 points in his last 3 (2+2).

For Kelowna, Brett Bulmer has points in 11 of his last 13 games (13+4=17). Shane McColgan has 8 points (3+5=8) in his last 11 games.  McColgan has 8 points in the 5 games against Victoria.  Adam Brown has started in goal in 28 of the first 39 games.

Personnel Changes:  Royals defenseman Jesse Pauls announced his retirement from hockey this week citing ‘chronic pain’ from a previous broken leg.  Victoria sees the return of Keegan Kanzig from the U-17, placing 5th with Team Pacific in Windsor. 

The Rockets also see the return of Jesse Lees, Madison Bowey and Tyson Baillie all from the U-17 tournament.  Still injured is Damon Severson, Upper body, 4 weeks, and Spencer Main, Upper body, 2-3 weeks.

Leading Scorers:

McColgan (10-28-38)
Bulmer (17-14-31)
Sissons (21-7-28)
Severson (4-16-20)
Rigby (10-8-18)

Sundher (22-39-61)
Crooks (20-19-39)
Nelson (17-22-39)
Soudek (17-19-36)
Rintoul (9-20-29)

Pregame show 6:45 on The Zone at 91.3 FM.