Saturday, 14 January 2012

Preview: Victoria at Brandon

Sundher in a Wheat Kings Jersey
SET UP:  Five days after being traded, Kevin Sundher will face his old squad, this time wearing number 29 in a Brandon Wheat Kings uniform.   Uncharacteristicly Sundher has been held off the scoresheet in his first two as a Wheat King.

It also marks the return of Jordan Fransoo and Dakota Conroy, players acquired in the move who had never been traded before. A first round pick in 2012 was also part of the deal.  ansoo spent 1 ½ seasons with the Wheat Kings, recording eight goals 29 points and a +6 rating in 106 regular season games while Conroy was in his rookie season with Brandon, having notched four goals and eight points in 39 contests. 

The contest also features a pair of rookie sensations, Logan Nelson (41), and Aleesio Bertaggia (36) – both of whom are tied for 2nd in freshman goals with 18.

Bertaggia (Switzerland) and Mark Stone (Canada) both represented their countries at the World Juniors.  Sophmore defenseman Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy are 3rd and 4th in scoring among defenseman and aren’t draft eligible until 2013.

Both clubs are looking for wins as Brandon (22-19-1-1) has dropped their last two, and have only one win in their last six, while holding the final playoff spot in the east.  The Wheat Kings are (6-12) in their last 18 games.

LAST NIGHT:  A 5-4 setback at the hands of the Red Deer Rebels in Brandon.  Mark Stone (72 points) is 3rd in league scoring after notching two goals and two assists while Brodie Melnychuk recorded a ‘Gordie Howe’ hat-trick.  They wrap up their 3 game homestand this evening.

The Victoria Royals (13-25-2-3) took a 3-3 tie into the 3rd last night in Regina but came out on the wrong end of a 7-3 score against the Pats.

They lit the lamp 3 times in their first outing without Kevin Sundher, but gave up 2-0 and 3-1 leads while being outshot 39-27.  The Pats scored six unanswered staring in the second, led by Andrew Reider’s (3g, 1a) 3rd period hat trick and Jordan Weal’s 5 point night (2g 3a).

Victoria now winless in 10, got goals from from Logan Nelson (18th), Brandon Magee (12th), and Jamie Crooks 22nd who extends his point scoring streak to 6 games (5g, 6a).  They sit 8th in the West with 31 points, 2 back of Seattle and 1 up on Prince George who have a game in hand – yet the Royals will tackle the Cougars 6 more times this season. 

FRESH FACES: Jordan Fransoo looked steady in his first outing, and effective in killing penalty’s and was an even on the night.  Dakota Conroy took a piece off the puck with a shot in the third playing the right wing on a line with Mike Forsyth and Tim Traber.

SERIES: The Royals won last years only meeting, but are 0-2 lifetime in Brandon.  The Wheaties are just 2 over .500 at the Keystone Centre this year.

SPECIAL TEAMS:  The Royals went 0 for 3 on the power play last night in Regina, it’s ranked 14th.  They only gave up one shorthanded marker on 3 Pats chances, remaining 21st overall on the PK.

Brandon has scored the 5th most goals in the league on average, and boast the 3rd best Power Play – before adding Sundher’s 22 assists on the man advantage to the mix.  They however, own the second worst penalty kill and have given up the 16th most goals against.

Tonight the Royals look to snap their winless skid as three players face their old teammates with Fransoo and Conroy tackling Kevin Sundhers Wheat Kings in Brandon.

BRANDON’S THREATS: F Alessio Bertaggia has nine points (5 G, 4 A) in the last eight games he’s played with Brandon…F Mark Stone has 11 points (4 G, 7 A) in his last six games…F Michael Ferland has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the last four games…F Kevin Sundher had a 12-game point streak (4 G, 16 A) end on Wednesday night.  All 12 of those games came while he was still a member of the Victoria Royals…D Brodie Melnychuk has two points (1 G, 1 A) and is +7 in the last four games…D Ryan Pulock has three points (1 G, 2 A) and is +6 in the last four games…

WHO’S OUT:  For Victoria:  F Zane Jones is serving the final of a 2 game suspension.  D Tyler Stahl (Upper Body) has missed 39 games.  For Brandon: G Corbin Boes (broken hand, 2-3 weeks); F Tyrel Seaman (upper body, week-to-week)

Drafted/NHL Signed Players: For Brandon: F Kevin Sundher (Buffalo, 3rd Round, 75th overall in 2010 – SIGNED); F Michael Ferland (Calgary, 5th Round, 133rd overall in 2010 - SIGNED); F Mark Stone (Ottawa, 6th Round, 178th overall in 2010 - SIGNED); G Brandon Anderson (Washington, SIGNED as a Free Agent in September, 2010).  For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl (Carolina, 6th rd 2010), D Jordan Fransoo (Ottawa, 7th rd 2011)