Saturday, 4 February 2012

Preview: Victoria at Tri City

Eric Comrie Pink in the Rink by John Allen
The Victoria Royals (17-30-2-4, 40 pts) wrap up a 2 game U.S. road trip against the Americans in Tri City (36-12-1-1, 74 pts) Saturday night.

LAST GAME: The Royals earned a point after clawing back from a 3 goal deficit in a 6-5 shoot out loss in Spokane Friday.  Robin Soudek had a 3 point night, while Steven Hodges’ 2 goals earned him first star honours.  The Royals outshot the Chiefs 29-26.  Victoria has now earned points in 4 of their last 7.

The Americans snapped a 2 game slide with a 4-1 win against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night.  Tri City took a 2-1 lead to the third period, and added a pair on empty net goals by Justin Feser to seal the win.  Patrick Holland had three assists while Eric Comrie stopped 21 shots. The Americans have not lost more than two in a row all season. Seattle lost their 21st consecutive game at the Toyota Center.

SERIES:  After winning in Tri City 5-4 on October 25th, Victoria dropped a pair at home to the Americans by scores of 6-2 and 5-3 on December 6th, and 7th respectively.  Tri City has only lost 3 regulation games on home ice, one to Victoria.  The Royals have have a chance to even the series tonight.

STANDINGS:  The Royals with 40 points are 7th in the West, 2 points up on 8th place Seattle, and 6 ahead of Prince George.  The Thunderbirds have 3 in hand, while the Cougars have 2. 

With a league leading .740 winning percentage, the Americans are 2nd overall with 74 points, 2 back of the West leading Blazers, but have 2 games in hand.  Tri City was ranked 5th in the CHL this week and have Portland sniffing at their heels with just a 3 point cushion.
WHO TO WATCH:  Jamie Crooks leads the team in scoring with 55 points, has goals in three straight and 10 points in his last 7 outings.  Ben Walker has 6 points in his last 3 games (2g 4a), while Brandon Magee 5 points in 3 (2g 3a).  Steven Hodges has 3 goals in his last 2 games.  Logan Nelson is 2nd in rookie scoring with 51 points and has 3 assists in his last 2 games.  Robin Soudek has 4 points in his last 2 (1g 3a).

Jamie Crooks on Ty Rimmer
For Tri City, Adam Hughesman and Brendan Shinnimin are 6th and 7th in scoring with 77 and 76 points respectively. Justin Feser with 57 points, has reached the 100-goal mark for his WHL career.  Patrick Holland is 9th with 69 points and 2nd in league assists with 49, Hughesman has 48.  D Zachery Yuen is tops in the leaue in plus minus with a +34.  G Ty Rimmer leads the league in three departments, goals against average (2.26), save percentage (92.7), and 5 shut outs.

MORE STATS: Tri-City has now recorded 20 plus home wins in six consecutive seasons.  They’ve allowed the fewest goals against in the league, while boasting the number one penatly kill.  They’ve scored the 4th most goals, and have out scored their opposition by 29 goals in both the second and third period.
The Royals haven’t allowed a goal while short handed in their last 3 games (7 for 7).  The power play struck 3 times on 7 opportunities in Spokane Friday night, and is now 5 for 12 in their last 2.

After tonight Victoria only plays 7 more times on the road and have 11 remaining at home.  They open a 5 game stand on the Island Tuesday and Wednesday against the 10th place Everett Silvertips.

Crooks (28-27-55)
Nelson (20-31-51)
Soudek (22-25-47)
Magee (17-22-39)
Rintoul (12-25-37)

Hughesman (29-48-77)
Shinnimin (30-46-76)
Holland (20-49-69)
Feser (26-31-57)
Messier (16-20-36)

IRON MEN:  Four Royals have played in all 53 games this season, Hayden Rintoul, Jamie Crooks, Steven Hodges and Mike Forsyth.

DRAFTED/NHL SIGNED PLAYERS: For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl (Carolina, 6th rd 2010), D Jordan Fransoo (Ottawa, 7th rd 2011).  For Tri City: Zachary Yuen (WPG ’11), Patrick Holland (CGY ’10).

TOP PROSPECTS:  Central Scoutings mid-term rankings of North American players positions Victoria’s Steven Hodges (55), and Logan Nelson (108).  For Tri City:  Michal Plutnar (84).

DOWN THE STRETCH (19 games):
Victoria:  Home Games (11), Away (8)
Opposition: Prince George x 4, Everett x 4, Calgary x 1, Van x 3, Spok x 2, Kelowna x 1, Tri x 1, Portland x 2, Kamloops x 1


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

For Tri City:
#18, Mason Wilgosh, Lower body, week to week
#21, Marcus Messier, Upper body, day to day