|Credit Kevin Light: kevinlight.photoshelter.com/#!/index|
Pregame show at 6:45 both nights on The Zone @ 91.3 fm.
The Royals hold a 2-0 series advantage after a pair of overtime victories.
Saturday Travis Brown scored the winner in a 2-1 victory, while Logan Nelson provided the heroics on Sunday in a 4-3 win.
Sunday, the Chiefs struck 47 seconds in, but Royals hardest worker award winner, Logan Fisher responded 40 seconds later firing a shot out of the corner past Eric Williams.
“I’m just glad that we got the second goal, got it back to even real quick – or it’s a different hockey game.” said Lowry on Fishers snipe.
The clubs Unsung Hero, Ben Walker set up team MVP, Brandon Magee to give Victoria a 2-1 lead heading to the second, where Royals Rookie of the Year, Tyler Soy put the team up by a pair. Chiefs Liam Stewart replied just :46 seconds later.
Reid Gow pulled Spokane even in the third on the power play to force overtime, where Logan Nelson notched the winner on a rebound just over 2 minutes into the extra frame.
“It felt nice, my mom was in the stands, so it was good to score one for her.” said Nelson on the winning goal.
It was just the 4th time in franchise history that the club has won a playoff game in the extra frame. It’s the first time in franchise history that the club has won the first two games and led in a series.
Both nights, Victoria held a lead going into the third, only to have Spokane tie the game to force extra time.
Netminder Patrik Polivka won both games sporting a 1.84 goals against average, and a 0.931 save %. Polivka set the franchise record for wins by a netminder with 4, passing Lucas Gore. Eric Williams suffered both defeats with a 2.76 gaa and 0.923 save %.
The Royals have outshot the Chiefs by a margin of 20 (78-58), and outscored them 6-4 in the two games.
Victoria’s penalty killers have stopped 9 of 10 Spokane power plays so far, while the Royals power play has gone 0 for 8.
“That’s a trend that I don’t like the way it’s going right now,” said Head Coach Dave Lowry on the 10 power plays over 2 games for man advantage specialists Aviani and Holmberg.
“You know that those guys are going to break out…it’s a long battle. We have to make sure that we’re a lot more aware. The officiating here right now is real tight. We have to adjust our game, get back to maintaining our composure but still pushing the envelope.”
Brandon Magee leads the way for Victoria with 3 points in 2 games, (1g 2a), while Travis Brown, Ben Walker, and Brett Cote have 2 points each. Steven Hodges (2g 9a) 11pts is 1 point away from tying Kevin Sundher (6g 6a) for 2nd in franchise playoff points with 12.
Defenseman Jason Fram leads Spokane with 2 points. While the league’s regular season scoring leader Mitch Holmberg has been held scoreless in the series and his teammate Mike Aviani has one assist.
“We’ve been lucky so far that we’ve been able to hold them at bay, but we have to continue to key on them and play our best against them and hope that we can shut them down.” – Royals Captain Jordan Fransoo
Victoria won their only game in the regular season series in Spokane by a 4-1 score, on the back of Coleman Vollrath’s 41 saves.
On the road the Royals won a franchise best 26 games (26-9-0-1), including a 9 game road win streak. The club was 17 over .500 off the Island.
Spokane has won 21 at home, with an 8 over .500 record (21-13-1-1).
Wednesday, March 26th Victoria @ Spokane 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 27th Victoria @ Spokane 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 29th Spokane @ Victoria 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Monday, March 31st Victoria @ Spokane 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Wednesday, April 2nd Spokane @ Victoria 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
VICTORIA REGULAR SEASON:
The Royals concluded their best regular-season performance in franchise history, having smashed Club records for wins (48) and points (100) in a season. Brandon Magee led the team in points with 67, and Austin Carroll in goals with 34.
Victoria’s offense boasts a balanced attack, with six players who hit the 20-goal mark and nine players who posted at least 30 points.
The Royals were the second best defensive team in the league, with netminder Patrik Polivka earning 28 wins, and the 5th best goals against average (2.56). His tandem Coleman Vollrath lead the league in save percentage (0.928), held the 3rd best GAA (2.29) while earning 20 wins.
Other franchise records include, points in 14 consecutive games, road wins with 26 including 9 victories in a row, home wins with 21, scoring the most goals (238), giving up the fewest (181), having a positive goal differential for the first time (+57), cracking the CHL Top 10, now ranked 10th after reaching 7th last week.
SPOKANE REGULAR SEASON:
The Chiefs finished with 40 or more wins for the sixth time over the last seven seasons.
20 year old forward Mitch Holmberg captured the Bob Clarke trophy for leading the WHL in scoring, with 118 points (62g, 56a). He also led the league in goals with 62. He’s just the second WHL player since the 2000-01 season to reach the 60-goal mark, Layne Ulmer (63 in ’01 with Swift Current) and Emerson Etem (61 in ’12).
Holmberg is the first Spokane player to finish on top since Ray Whitney, who put up 185 points in 1990-91. Holmberg finished tied for second with six shorthanded goals. He also shared the League lead with 10 game-winning goals this season. Having opened the season with a 17-game point streak, Holmberg only twice went more than two games without registering a point this season. He recorded 37 multiple-point games, and 19 multiple-goal games, including 6 hat tricks.
The offensive dominance of veterans Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani has been a huge reason for the Chiefs’ success this season, with the pair combining for 31.3% of the points (199/636), while scoring 40% (100/244) of the clubs goals.
Holmberg and Aviani are #1 and 2 in power play goals with 23 and 22 respectively in the league. The duo combined for 66% of their teams power play markers.
Defenseman Reid Gow is 5th in defenseman scoring, with 62 points, 2nd among rearguards in assists with 56, and 3rd in power play assists with 29.
Veteran goaltender Eric Williams has 24 games of playoff experience to draw upon and earned the 4th most wins during the regular season with 33.
HEAD TO HEAD:
This season Victoria went 1-3 against Spokane, with two of those losses coming back in September by 6-2 and 6-1 scores. The Royals won their only game on the road 4-1 back on October 19th on the strength of Coleman Vollrath’s 41 saves. Most recently they fell at home 5-3 on January 19th.
In the series, the Chiefs outscored the Royals 18-10, while outshooting them 157-113.
Throughout the 4 games, Spokane’s power play operated at 35.5% (6/17) with 5 of the 6 goals coming back in September, while Victoria was at 26.3% (5/19).
Chiefs forwards Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani combined for 10 goals and 22 points during their encounters. Royals forward Brandon Fushimi led the way with 3 goals (3pts), while Logan Fisher (1g 2a) and Brett Cote (3a) also had 3 points in four meetings.
Spokane netminder Eric Williams was 2-0, while back up Garret Hughson was (1-1). Victoria’s Coleman Vollrath was 1-0, while Patrik Polivka went 0-3.
It’s the second time the Royals franchise has squared off against the Chiefs, with Spokane winning in 5 back in 2011 during Steven Hodges and Brandon Magee’s rookie campaign.
The Royals had 8 more wins overall. The Chiefs scored 6 more goals tha Victoria, but gave up 32 more. Spokane allows the 4th fewest shots against, the Royals the 8th fewest.
Victoria is 11 over .500 at home (22-11-1-2), while Spokane is 6 over on the road (19-13-2-2).
The Royals power play is 13th, penalty kill 7th. The Chiefs are 8th most efficient with the man advantage, and 14th while shorthanded but have scored the 3rd most short handed goals with 15.
- Marlon Martens
|Previous Meetings This Season||Spokane 3 @ Victoria 4 (Mar 23 2014) Final OT
Spokane 1 @ Victoria 2 (Mar 22 2014) Final OT
How the 2 teams match up
|Team Record||0-2-0-0 -- 0 points||2-0-0-0 -- 4 points|
|Division Ranking||4th U.S.||2nd B.C.|
|Conference Ranking||8th Western||4th Western|
|Past 10 Games||0-0-2-0||2-0-0-0|
|Last Game||4-3 L @ Victoria (Mar 23 2014) Final OT||4-3 W vs Spokane (Mar 23 2014) Final OT|
|PP (Overall)||(1/10) 10.0||(0/8) 0.0|
|PP (Home)||(0/0)||(0/8) 0.0|
|PP (Away)||(1/10) 10.0||(0/0)|
|PK (Overall)||(0/8) 100.0||(1/10) 90.0|
|PK (Home)||(0/0)||(1/10) 90.0|
|PK (Away)||(0/8) 100.0||(0/0)|
|Leading Rookie||Zwerger (1-0-1)||Soy (1-0-1)|
|Most PIM||Gow - 11||Crunk - 8|
|Leading Scorers||Fram (0-2-2)||Magee (1-2-3)|
|Gow (1-0-1)||Brown (1-1-2)|
|Stewart (1-0-1)||Walker (1-1-2)|
|Whittingham (1-0-1)||Cote (0-2-2)|
|Zwerger (1-0-1)||Nelson (1-0-1)|
|Last 5 Games||4-3 L @ Victoria (Mar 23 2014) Final OT||4-3 W vs Spokane (Mar 23 2014) Final OT|
|2-1 L @ Victoria (Mar 22 2014) Final OT||2-1 W vs Spokane (Mar 22 2014) Final OT|
|Leading After 1st||0-0-0-0||2-0-0-0|
|Leading After 2nd||0-0-0-0||2-0-0-0|
|Tied After 1st||0-0-0-0||0-0-0-0|
|Tied After 2nd||0-0-0-0||0-0-0-0|
|Trailing After 1st||0-0-2-0||0-0-0-0|
|Trailing After 2nd||0-0-2-0||0-0-0-0|
|Out Shooting Opponents||0-0-0-0||2-0-0-0|
|Out Shot by Opponents||0-0-2-0||0-0-0-0|