Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Preview: Victoria at Kelowna, Wed Nov 20th

The Victoria Royals visit the 3rd ranked team in the CHL, the Kelowna Rockets (16-2-0-2, 34pts) Wednesday night, wrapping up a 2 game BC Division road swing.

Pregame show at 6:45 on The Zone @ 91.3fm.

It’s their 4th meeting of the season, with Victoria winning 4-3 in a shoot out in Kelowna on Sept. 28th, then falling 4-1 and 2-1 in shoot out at home October 25th and 26th respectively.

Both clubs played on the road Tuesday night.

The Royals beat the Blazers 2-1 in Kamloops back stopped by Patrik Polivka’s 42 saves and a pair of first period power play goals by Tyler Soy and Steven Hodges. They’ll meet again for back to back games on the Island Friday and Saturday.

The Royals take sole possession of 6th in the West, one up on the Thunderbirds.  The Rockets are 1st in the BC Division but trail both the Winterhawks and Silvertips by 2 points in the West.

Kelowna defeated Seattle 4-3 in a shootout night in Kent, WA, extending their winning streak to 9 games.

Jackson Whistle earned the win in net for the Rockets, stopping three straight Seattle shooters before Tyson Baillie won the game in the shootout. The Rockets outshot Seattle 50-46.  Damon Severson, Ryan Olsen and Madison Bowey scored in regulation for the Rockets. In the shootout, Justin Kirkland and Damon Severson also scored, with both goals extending the shootout, before Baillie's winner.

Kelowna is 9-1-0-2 at home while Victoria has won 4 straight on the road, improving to 7-3 on the season.

Both clubs are among the stingiest in the league, the Rockets have given up the 2nd fewest goals against per game on average, while the Royals the 3rd fewest.  Victoria’s penalty kill is 2nd in the league, only behind Kelowna.   The Royals had had their string of 29 straight kills on the road snapped in Kamloops.

The Rockets have scored the 2nd most goals on average per game in the league, yet have no player in the top 20 in scoring.  They boast a club with 5 players scoring at a point per game or better.

The two teams own the top netminders in the league.  Victoria’s Coleman Vollrath has the best save percentage (0.939) and goals against average (2.06), with a record of (5-2-0-1).  Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke has the 3rd best goals against (2.09), and 2nd best save percentage (0.930) with a record of (12-0-0-2).

Defenseman Keegan Kanzig returned the line up after missing the last 4.  Victoria is without 20 year old defenseman Jordan Fransoo (upper, 4-5 weeks), and still without Joe Hicketts (upper, indefinite) and Jack Walker (illness, 1-2 weeks).

Victoria made a trade Wednesday, acquiring 18 year old Swedish forward Axel Blomqvist (bloom-qwist) and a conditional pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In exchange, Victoria sends a fourth and an eighth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft to Lethbridge.

Axel is an offensively gifted player with very good vision,” General Manager Cameron Hope said.

Blomqvist has recorded 13 points (8g-5a) for the Hurricanes in 19 games so far this year. The 6-6, 212 lb right winger hails from Osby, Sweden and will fill the Royals’ available second import player spot.

"He's big and talented, hard to move off the puck...that's part of his game that's exciting."  Said Hope,

“His combination of size and skill is hard to come by at any level. Axel is an exciting addition to our roster and we feel that he can make an immediate contribution to our success this season.”

 Blomqvist attended training camp with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets earlier this year and signed a 3 year entry-level contract.

"We're the lowest scoring team in the league despite the fact that we’ve had some success and we're well above .500.  We'd like to get more scoring and Axel can step in and help us there."

Blomqvist is expected to make his debut for the Royals in Victoria on Friday night versus the Kamloops Blazers.

The Royals sent 18 year old forward Luke Harrison to the Blazers for a sixth round pick in 2014 Tuesday night following the game in Kamloops. The West Kelowna, BC native spent the past three seasons with the Royals.  In his three years with Victoria, Harrison logged 92 regular season games in which he recorded six points (4g-2a), 51 penalty minutes and a minus-27 rating.

Harrison will face his former club twice on Friday and Saturday as the Royals return home to again face the Blazers for a pair, a total of 3 times in 5 days.

-Marlon Martens

Victoria Royals vs Kelowna Rockets: Head To Head Stats

Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular Season Victoria 1-1-0-1Kelowna 2-0-0-1
Head to Head Record 2012-13 Regular Season Victoria 1-6-0-1Kelowna 7-1-0-0
Last 5 Years record between teams Victoria 13-18-1-3Kelowna 22-8-2-3
Victoria vs. Kelowna Last 5 Years record at Victoria Victoria 6-9-1-2Kelowna 12-4-2-0
Victoria vs. Kelowna Last 5 Years record at Kelowna Victoria 7-9-0-1Kelowna 10-4-0-3
Previous Meetings This Season Kelowna 2 @ Victoria 1 (Oct 26 2013) Final SO
Kelowna 4 @ Victoria 1 (Oct 25 2013) Final
Victoria 4 @ Kelowna 3 (Sep 28 2013) Final SO

How the 2 teams match up
Team Record 16-2-0-2 -- 34 points 14-10-0-1 -- 29 points
Division Ranking 1st B.C. 2nd B.C.
Conference Ranking 2nd Western 6th Western
League Ranking 2nd 9th
Past 10 Games 9-1-0-0 5-4-0-1
Streak 9-0-0-0 1-0-0-0
Last Game 4-3 W @ Seattle (Nov 19 2013) Final SO 2-1 W @ Kamloops (Nov 19 2013) Final
Home Record 9-1-0-2 7-7-0-1
Away Record 7-1-0-0 7-3-0-0
GF 85  59 
GA 49  62 
PP (Overall) (23/106) 21.7 (20/110) 18.2
PP (Home) (16/69) 23.2 (12/68) 17.6
PP (Away) (7/37) 18.9 (8/42) 19.0
PK (Overall) (9/89) 89.9 (13/104) 87.5
PK (Home) (2/57) 96.5 (11/72) 84.7
PK (Away) (7/32) 78.1 (2/32) 93.8
Leading Rookie Merkley (7-14-21) Soy (5-4-9)
Most PIM Bowey - 33 Carroll - 57
Team PIM/GM 15.6/Game 15.8/Game
Leading Scorers Bowey (9-12-21) Nelson (10-13-23)
  Merkley (7-14-21) Carroll (10-8-18)
  Baillie (9-11-20) Magee (6-9-15)
  Severson (6-13-19) Cote (2-11-13)
  Bell (9-8-17) Fushimi (8-3-11)
Last 5 Games 4-3 W @ Seattle (Nov 19 2013) Final SO 2-1 W @ Kamloops (Nov 19 2013) Final
  4-3 W vs Medicine Hat (Nov 16 2013) Final 3-1 L vs Seattle (Nov 16 2013) Final
  2-0 W vs Edmonton (Nov 9 2013) Final 2-1 W vs Seattle (Nov 15 2013) Final OT
  5-2 W vs Prince George (Nov 8 2013) Final 3-2 W @ Portland (Nov 9 2013) Final OT
  6-2 W vs Red Deer (Nov 6 2013) Final 5-3 W @ Seattle (Nov 8 2013) Final
Leading After 1st 9-0-0-1 8-0-0-0
Leading After 2nd 13-0-0-2 10-0-0-0
Tied After 1st 4-0-0-1 4-1-0-0
Tied After 2nd 2-1-0-0 2-0-0-1
Trailing After 1st 3-2-0-0 2-9-0-1
Trailing After 2nd 1-1-0-0 2-10-0-0
Out Shooting Opponents 12-2-0-1 4-5-0-1
Out Shot by Opponents 4-0-0-0 7-5-0-0
1-Goal Games 5-1-0-2 8-3-0-1
2-Goal Games 1-0-0-0 3-3-0-0
3-Goal Games 7-1-0-0 2-1-0-0