Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Preview: Victoria at Moose Jaw

The Victoria Royals (14-26-2-3) will play their first ever game in Mosaic Place tonight, against the Moose Jaw Warriors (26-14-4-1). 
Royals players at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw

SERIES:  The last meeting was back on new years eve, 2010 in Chilliwack as Moose Jaw defeated the Bruins 4-2.  The Victoria franchise (1-4), hasn’t beaten Moose Jaw since their inaugural season in Chilliwack, a 3-1 victory on Jan 2, 2007.

LAST GAME: The Royals are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Broncos last night, as Swift’s leading scorer Taylor Vause had a goal and assist.   The Royals peppered netminder Jon Groenheyde with 39 shots, and was named the games first star for his efforts.  Swift Current scored a goal in each period as Robin Soudek got the lone Victoria tally in the second.

Quinton Howden
The Warriors snapped a two game slide with an 8-2 drubbing of the Wheat Kings Sunday in Moose Jaw.  The Warriors scored 5 unanswered goals in the third while their power play clicked 3 times on 4 chances. Four Warriors registered three point nights. James Henry and Cam Braes each recorded a goal and two assists.  It was their first game back on home ice after only picking up 2 wins in 8 straight on the road.  Moose Jaw is 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.

STANDINGS: Victoria has the final playoff spot in the west with 33 points, 2 back of Seattle, but just 1 up on Prince George who have 2 games in hand.  Moose Jaw is 2nd in the east with an almost inverse record to the Victoria.  With 57 points, the Warriors are 2 up on Kootenay and Saskatoon, and only 3 up on Medicine Hat and Regina in a tight conference.

TRIP: Victoria is 1-2 on a 6 game in 9 night eastern road swing after a loss in Regina and a win in Brandon.  They play 4 games in 5 nights to close out the trip with stops in Prince Albert Friday, and Saskatoon Saturday.

THE NUMBERS:  Moose Jaw has the second most wins on home ice with a record of 18-3.  They’ve taken the 5th most penalty minutes on average in the league, but penalty killing is 8th best.  While only giving up the 7th fewest goals against, they’re 13th in the league in scoring.  The power play is ranked 9th.  Moose Jaw’s first period is their best, outscoring the opposition by a margin of 18, while they have given up more goals than scored in the remaining frames.

Victoria has outshot the opposition in their last two outings, and have allowed three goals or less in regulation in back-to-back games for the first time since victories on October 29 and November 4.

Robin Soudek
THREATS:  World Junior star Quinton Howden has 33 points in 25 games, Justin Kirsch is on a point-a-game clip since returning to the line-up, with 24 points in 22 games. Newly acquired Cam Braes has recorded five points (2g, 3a) in three games. James Henry acquired from Vancouver, picked up three points in the Brandon game Sunday night.

For Victoria, Jamie Crooks leads the team in scoring with 45 points, but had his 7 game point scoring streak snapped last night.  Robin Soudek scored his first in 10 games and has 3 points in his last 3 (1g 2a).  Since the trade with Brandon, defenseman Jordan Fransoo has assisted in all three games (3a).

WARRIORS TRADES: Cam Braes from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a first in this year's bantam draft and a second in next year's. James Henry from Vancouver for a second round pick in 2012 and a third round pick in 2014. 

For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl, Upper body, 1 month+ has missed 41 games.
For Moose Jaw: Morgan Rielly, Lower body, 1 month +

DRAFTED/NHL SIGNED PLAYERS: For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl (Carolina, 6th rd 2010), D Jordan Fransoo (Ottawa, 7th rd 2011).  For Moose Jaw: D Dylan McIlrath (NYR, 1ST rd 2010), F Quinton Howden (FLA 1st rd 2010), D Kendall McFaull (ATL 6th rd 2010)

TOP PROSPECTS:  Central Scoutings mid-term rankings of North American players positions Victoria’s Steven Hodges (55), and Logan Nelson (108). Morgan Rielly tops the Warriors nominees ranked in the number five spot. Defensemen Travis Brown and Shayne Gwinner are ranked 79th and 158th respectively.  

Crooks (23-22-45)
Nelson (18-24-42)
Soudek (18-21-39)
Rintoul (11-22-33)

Moose Jaw:
Braes (26-24-50)
Henry (7-37-44)
Fioretti (15-19-34)
Howden (14-19-33)

The next home game for the Royals is Jan. 27 at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre against the Kamloops Blazers.