Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Preview: Kelowna at Victoria, Friday Jan. 16, 2014

The Victoria Royals (29-15-0-2, 60pts) entertain the #1 team in the CHL, the Kelowna Rockets (36-5-0-2, 74pts) for a pair of games Friday and Saturday.

Pregame Show on The Zone @ 91.3 fm both nights at 6:45, with puck drop at 7:05.

The Royals are 2-1-0-1 against the Rockets so far this season, as both clubs have won twice in the oppositions rink, with a  regulation and shoot out victory each.

Victoria is 3rd in the West, and coming off a split againts Portland last weekend, earning a 3-2 shoot out victory Friday and dropping a 2-1 decision Saturday.  The loss snapped a two game win streak, however the Royals have won 8 of their last 10 earning Honourable Mention for the CHL Top 10.

The Rockets are riding a 3 game win streak after going 3-1 on a Central Division road swing.  They started with a loss in Edmonton and picked up wins in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and most recently a 4-2 victory Sunday against the top team in the East, the Calgary Hitmen.

Kelowna handed Calgary just their fourth home loss of the season snapping a string of 12 wins in a row at the Saddledome.  The Rockets earned their 21st road victory, matching the road win total from all of last season.  Kelowna held Calgary to a season low 19 shots on net.

The Royals are the stingiest team in the league (2.39), while the Rockets have allowed the second fewest goals against on average per game (2.47).  Both clubs penalty kill is in the top 3 in the league.  In the four games on the Central Division road trip the Rockets killed off 24 of 25 opposition power plays including all seven Hitmen power plays.

Kelowna has overtaken Portland as the most offensive team, scoring the most goals for per game on average (4.35).  However, the Rockets don’t have anyone in the top 20 in scoring.  They spread the scoring around, having 7 players with 30 or more points, and 12 with 20 or more.

Kelowna with 36 wins only has 5 regulation losses this season, and recently had a 16 game win streak snapped.  With a 36-5-0-2 record, the Rockets are on pace to break the WHL record for most wins and points in a season.

Players to watch for on the Kelowna roster include a pair of New Jersey Devils prospects. Myles Bell, a recent Denny’s WHL Player of the Week, boasts one of the hardest shots in the WHL and paces the Rockets with 25 goals this year while rearguard Damon Severson has put up 35 points (11g-24a) in 36 games so far.

Expecting to make his Rockets debut is 20 yr forward Marek Tvrdon, a 4th round pick of the Detroit Red Wings acquired in a trade with the Giants.  He had been playing with the Wings affiliate ECHL club the Toledo Walleye.  He missed a large portion of last year with injury, but the year previous scored 31 goals and 74 points in 60 games with Vancouver.

Since Tvrdon put Kelowna above the overage limit with four, they sent 20-year-old Zach Franko to the Kootenay Ice for a 2014 sixth-round bantam pick and a 2016 third-round bantam pick.

Victoria forward Logan Nelson who’s missed 11 of the teams last 13 games has been back skating with the team and could possibly make his return this weekend.  Nelson, a 5th round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, has 32 points in 35 games.

Royals forward Brandon Magee and recently-acquired defenceman Travis Brown still share the team scoring lead after last weekend with 39 points apiece.

Goaltender Coleman Vollrath is coming off a pair of strong starts against Portland and still boasts the best numbers in the WHL with a 1.98 GAA and a .941 save percentage.

Kelowna’s goaltender, Jordan Cooke, sits second behind Vollrath in the numbers department.

Victoria Royals defenseman, Joe Hicketts made the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term Rankings, coming in at 213 among North American Skaters, with LV (limited viewing). 

Hicketts has only played 15 games this season (4g 5a) with 9 points, and has missed the last 29 games due to an upper body injury.  He's expected to return in 4-5 weeks.

Kelowna has 3 players making the mid-term rankings, D Riley Stadel (58), F Justin Kirkland (74), and F Tyson Baillie (90) who was named the WHL Player of the Month for December.

The 18-year-old forward, recorded five goals and 15 assists for 20 points along with a +8 rating in 12 games during the month of December.

Participating at the U-17 challenge were Nick Merkley and Joe Gatenby from U-17.

After the pair of games against Kelowna, Victoria wraps up their five game homestand with a visit from the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday.
-Marlon Martens
Victoria Royals vs Kelowna Rockets: Head To Head Stats

Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular Season Victoria 2-1-0-1Kelowna 2-1-0-1
Head to Head Record 2012-13 Regular Season Victoria 1-6-0-1Kelowna 7-1-0-0
Last 5 Years record between teams Victoria 14-18-1-3Kelowna 22-9-2-3
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 8-9-0-1Kelowna 10-5-0-3
Previous Meetings This Season Victoria 4 @ Kelowna 1 (Nov 20 2013) Final
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 36-5-0-2 -- 74 points 29-15-0-2 -- 60 points
Division Ranking 1st B.C. 2nd B.C.
Conference Ranking 1st Western 3rd Western
League Ranking 1st 5th
Past 10 Games 8-2-0-0 8-2-0-0
Streak 3-0-0-0 0-1-0-0
Last Game 4-2 W @ Calgary (Jan 12 2014) Final 2-1 L vs Portland (Jan 11 2014) Final
Home Record 15-2-0-2 15-9-0-1
Away Record 21-3-0-0 14-6-0-1
GF 187  138 
GA 106  110 
PP (Overall) (45/195) 23.1 (42/199) 21.1
PP (Home) (18/96) 18.8 (22/113) 19.5
PP (Away) (27/99) 27.3 (20/86) 23.3
PK (Overall) (24/195) 87.7 (33/198) 83.3
PK (Home) (9/91) 90.1 (20/112) 82.1
PK (Away) (15/104) 85.6 (13/86) 84.9
Leading Rookie Merkley (11-20-31) Soy (9-8-17)
Most PIM Goulbourne - 72 Carroll - 84
Team PIM/GM 15.3/Game 15.0/Game
Leading Scorers Baillie (18-29-47) Magee (14-25-39)
Bell (25-21-46) Brown (9-30-39)
Olsen (21-20-41) Carroll (21-14-35)
Bowey (14-25-39) Blomqvist (16-18-34)
Severson (11-24-35) Nelson (12-20-32)
Last 5 Games 4-2 W @ Calgary (Jan 12 2014) Final 2-1 L vs Portland (Jan 11 2014) Final
5-4 W @ Medicine Hat (Jan 11 2014) Final 3-2 W vs Portland (Jan 10 2014) Final SO
5-1 W @ Lethbridge (Jan 10 2014) Final 3-2 W @ Portland (Jan 4 2014) Final
4-2 L @ Edmonton (Jan 8 2014) Final 5-3 L @ Spokane (Jan 3 2014) Final
4-2 W vs Vancouver (Jan 4 2014) Final 1-0 W vs Everett (Jan 1 2014) Final SO
Leading After 1st 16-0-0-1 17-1-0-0
Leading After 2nd 24-0-0-2 21-0-0-0
Tied After 1st 12-2-0-1 10-2-0-0
Tied After 2nd 9-2-0-0 4-0-0-1
Trailing After 1st 8-3-0-0 2-12-0-2
Trailing After 2nd 3-3-0-0 4-15-0-1
Out Shooting Opponents 24-4-0-1 8-5-0-1
Out Shot by Opponents 9-1-0-0 18-10-0-1
1-Goal Games 12-1-0-2 13-5-0-2
2-Goal Games 7-2-0-0 6-4-0-0
3-Goal Games 9-2-0-0 5-3-0-0