Thursday, 2 February 2012

Preview: Victoria at Spokane

The Victoria Royals (17-30-2-3) are on the road in Spokane to take on the Chiefs (28-15-4-3) in just their second of four meetings of the season.  Pregame show starts at 6:45 on Friday night on The Zone at 91.3 FM.

LAST MEETING: Victoria dropped a 6-1 decision in Spokane back on October 26th.  Steven Hodges scored the lone goal for the Royals who trailed 4-1 after 20 minutes. Marek Kalus scored twice for the Chiefs.  Victoria was outshot 33-13 in Jared Rathjen’s first career start.

LAST GAME: The Royals earned a home split against the Prince George Cougars Tuesday and Wednesday.  After a 4-2 loss, the Royals responded with a commanding 5-1 victory, holding the Cougars to a season low 21 shots.  Ben Walker had 2 goals and assists in the win, while Brandon Magee added 3 helpers to take a 3-1 season series lead.  Victoria has now won three of their last six games.

The Chiefs had their 2 game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss in Kamloops Wednesday.  Tied at one going into the third, the Blazers scored 3 unanswered. Spokane has won six of their last eight (6-1-1), and collected points in seven of eight.
Ben Walker celebrates a 3 point performance in win over PG

STANDINGS: Victoria moves into 7th in the West, one point up on Seattle who has 3 in hand, and 5 up on Prince George who’s played 2 fewer games.

Spokane is in dog fight with Vancouver for 4th in the West, just 2 points up of the Giants and 6 back of the Winterhawks.

WHO TO WATCH:  The Royals are led in scoring by Jamie Crooks with 53 points, he has 9 points in his last 6 games (4g 5a) and goals in back to back games.  Ben Walker is coming off a 2 goal and assist performance for 4 points in his last two (2g, 2a).  Brandon Magee also has 4 points in his last two games (1g 3a).  Logan Nelson is third in rookie scoring with 49 points, 2 off the leader Tim Bozon.

The Chiefs are led in scoring by defenseman Brenden Kichton with 52 points, most by a defenseman in the league.  F Mitch Holmberg is on a 4 game assist streak (0g 4a), F Dylan Walchuck has 5 points in his 4 game streak (1g 4a), and F Dominik Uher is also on a 4 game point streak (5g, 2a).  F Darren Kramer is third in the league in penalty minutes (144), and tops in majors (20).

Both teams have 6 players with 30 or more points, and 3 with over 40.

STATS: Spokane is tough to play against at home with a 13 over .500 record (18-5-1-1), they’re even on the road (10-10-3-2).  They’ve allowed the fewest shots against on average in the league, while putting up the third most.  The Chiefs have scored the 8th most goals for, while allowing the 7th fewest per game on average.  The power play is ranked 19th, and penalty killing is 8th while taking the 4th fewest penalty minutes on average.  Statistically, their first period is their weakest in goal differential, scoring one more goal than the opposition, in the second they’ve scored 15 more, and the third their strongest with 18. 

The Royals went 2 for 5 on the power play last game boosting it’s efficiency to 14th overall.  The penalty killing hasn’t allowed a goal over their last two games, yet ranked 20th.  Victoria has scored the 11th most goals per game on average, including 6 short handed tallies.

Up Next a final meeting in Tri City Saturday before beginning a 5 game home stand versus Everett Tuesday and Wednesday.


For Victoria:
Crooks (27-27-54)
Nelson (20-29-49)
Soudek (21-23-44)
Magee (16-22-38)
Rintoul (12-24-36)

For Spokane:
Kichton (11-41-52)
Uher (21-25-46)
Holmberg (19-24-43)
Kuhn (12-24-36)
Kramer (18-14-32)

DRAFTED/NHL SIGNED PLAYERS: For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl (Carolina, 6th rd 2010), D Jordan Fransoo (Ottawa, 7th rd 2011).  For Spokane: Brenden Kichton (NYI ’11), Dominik Uher (PITT ’11), Darren Kramer (OTT ’11)

TOP PROSPECTS:  Central Scoutings mid-term rankings of North American players positions Victoria’s Steven Hodges (55), and Logan Nelson (108).  For Spokane: Cole Wedman (142), and Reid Gow (185)

Victoria:  Home Games (11), Away (9)
Opposition: Prince George x 4, Everett x 4, Calgary x 1, Van x 3, Spok x 3, Kelowna x 1, Tri x 1, Portland x 2, Kamloops x 1


For Victoria:
#7, Tyler Stahl, Upper body, indefinite.

For Spokane:
#18, Reid Gow, Upper body, 1 month+
#24, Cole Wedman, Upper body, day to day
#5, Tanner Mort, Upper body, week to week
Suspension: #23, Corbin Baldwin, 2 games for a check to the head in Kamloops.