Sunday, 18 March 2012

Preview: GAME 1 - Victoria at Kamloops (Fri Mar 23)

The 7th seed Victoria Royals (24-41-3-4, 55 pts) will meet the 2nd seed Kamloops Blazers (47-20-2-3, 99 pts) in the first round of the WHL Playoffs in a best-of-seven series beginning on Friday, March 23rd in the interior.  Pregame show starts at 6:45 on The Zone @ 91.3 FM in Victoria.  Or online at

PAST 10: Kamloops (4-5-1-0), Victoria (4-5-1-0)

LAST GAMES:  The Royals are riding a two game win streak into the post season after gutsy wins at home verus the Winterhawks.  Victoria won 3-1 on Friday March 16th and 4-3 two nights earlier.  The Royals have taken 5 of a possible 6 points in their last 3 games (2-0-1-0) and are 1 over .500 for the month of March (4-3-1-0).

The Blazers are coming off a split against the Cougars, losing 4-2 in Prince George Saturday March 17th, and winning 10-4 at home the night before.  Kamloops has only one win in their last 4, but are still ranked 9th in the CHL.

Both teams have won 4 of their last 10.

Victoria has a record of (1-6-1-0) versus Kamloops. 

The Blazers have outscored the Royals 39-21.  Kamloops has out shot Victoria 273-208.  Royals power play 7 for 37 (18.91%), Blazers power play 9 for 36 (25%).

Victoria 3 @ Kamloops 6 (Feb 22 2012)
Kamloops 5 @ Victoria 1 (Jan 28 2012)
Kamloops 2 @ Victoria 4 (Jan 27 2012)
Victoria 2 @ Kamloops 4 (Dec 3 2011)
Kamloops 6 @ Victoria 5 (Nov 30 2011) OT
Kamloops 4 @ Victoria 3 (Nov 29 2011)
Victoria 1 @ Kamloops 4 (Nov 25 2011)
Victoria 2 @ Kamloops 8 (Oct 2 2011)

Overall the Blazers have scored 290 goals over the course of the season to the Royals 233.


JC Lipon           8gp-5g-8a-13pts
Tim Bozon        8gp-7g-4a-11pts

Logan Nelson    8gp-4g-7a-11pts
Jamie Crooks    8gp-3g-3a-6pts

STATS SAY:  Kamloops has scored the 3rd most goals on average (4.03) per game overall, while allowing the 5th fewest (2.93).  They’ve fired the 5th most shots for on average (33.96) per game, while allowing the 4th fewest (28.96).  Goal differential per period for Kamloops (+27, +10, +43).

SPECIAL TEAMS:  Victoria’s penalty killing has only allowed 2 goals against over their last 12 outings (40 for 42).  Royals power play ranked 15th, Blazers 6th.  Victoria penalty killing 13th overall, Kamloops 10th best.


Ranford (40-52-92)    
Smith (35-50-85)
Bozon (36-35-71)
Herrod (29-41-70)
Lipon (19-46-65)

Crooks (37-30-67)
Nelson (23-39-62)
Soudek (27-30-57)
Rintoul (17-34-51)
Magee (23-24-47)

PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE:  The Royals have a combined 103 games of playoff experience, led by D Hayden Rintoul’s 29 appearances (2g 8a, +10).  12 players on their roster have played in the WHL playoffs, while 12 have not.  G Keith Hamilton has played in 2 post season games, and is looking for his first start.

THREATS: F Brendan Ranford led the Blazers in goals (40), assists (52) and points (92).  Colin Smith is 2nd in team scoring with 85 points, Tim Bozon led all rookies in goals (36) and was 2nd in freshmen points with 71.

D Austin Madaisky and D Bronson Maschmeyer combined for 28 goals and 93 points from the blue line, with a combined +46 rating.

G Cole Cheveldave in his rookie season in the Blazers’ net, posted 34 wins and a .909 save percentage in 55 games. 

For Victoria, F Jamie Crooks won the MVP and Top Scorer for the club with 37 goals and 67 points.  He has goals in back to back games.

F Logan Nelson was named the teams Rookie of the Year, as he led the team in assists with 39 and was second in scoring.

D Hayden Rintoul brings playoff experience after playing for the WHL Champions Kootenay Ice last season.  Rintoul is 4th in team scoring (51), and leads all WHL rearguards in power play goals with 13. 

After missing the majority of the season due to injury, D Tyler Stahl is back in the line up offering his hard hitting brand of hockey, and the Royals have a winning record with Stahl in the line up (10-9-1-0).

G Keith Hamilton has won his last 2 starts, stopping 69 of 73 against the number one offense in the league, the Portland Winterhawks.

DRAFTED/NHL SIGNED PLAYERS:  For Victoria: D Tyler Stahl (Carolina, 6th rd 2010), D Jordan Fransoo (Ottawa, 7th rd 2011).  For Kamloops: Brendan Ranford (PHI ’10), D Austin Madaisky (CBJ ’10).

TOP PROSPECTS:  Central Scoutings mid-term rankings of North American players positions Victoria’s Steven Hodges (55), and Logan Nelson (108).  For Kamloops: Tim Bozon (39)

For Kamloops:
#10, Chase Schaber, Lower body, day to day

For Victoria:
#3, Zach Habscheid, Lower body,
#25 Robin Soudek, Upper body, day to day
#18 Brandon Magee, undisclosed


Game 1 - Fri Mar 23 7:00 PM Victoria at Kamloops
Game 2 - Sat Mar 24 7:00 PM Victoria at Kamloops
Game 3 - Tues Mar 27 7:05 PM Kamloops at Victoria
Game 4 - Wed Mar 28 7:05 PM Kamloops at Victoria
Game 5 - Fri Mar 30 7:00 PM Victoria at Kamloops **
Game 6 - Mon Apr 2 7:05 PM Kamloops at Victoria **
Game 7 - Wed Apr 4 7:00 PM Victoria at Kamloops **
(** - if necessary)

The last time the Kamloops Blazers won a playoff series, Marc Habscheid was their head coach.   1998-99 Habscheid guided the Blazers to the WHL’s championship final where they won the first game and then lost four in a row to the Calgary Hitmen.

In the 12 seasons since then, the Blazers have made 10 first-round exits; they didn’t make the playoffs in the other two seasons, including last spring.

In those 10 playoff appearances, they have bowed out in four games seven times, left in five games once and exited in six games on two occasions. In those 10 appearances, they are 5-40. Throw in the end of the 1998-99 final, and the franchise is 5-44 in its last 49 playoff games.