Pregame show at 6:45 Thursday night from Spokane on The Zone @ 91.3 fm.
Last night the Royals stormed out to a 4 goal first period, striking early, just 11 seconds in.
“You get that goal first shift, and that allowed us to settle in and play how we really wanted to play…” said Lowry
Victoria’s power play came through for them scoring 3 goals on 6 chances, and they again stymied the dynamic duo of Mitch Holmberg and Mike Avaini, keeping them to a single point.
Austin Carroll had 3 points on his 20th birthday, and was named first star.
“I turned 20 (yesterday) and you always hope to have a good game on your birthday and it turned out that way, so I’m really happy.” said Carroll.
The Royals were a disciplined bunch, and shut down the only two Chief man advantages.
“The awareness on the bench was outstanding, to come in here and not have last change and get the match ups that we wanted tonight – credit to our guys.” Said Lowry on shutting down the dynamic duo.
Victoria outshot Spokane for a third game in a row 24-21, with Patrik Polivka earning his 3rd straight playoff win. Polivka is sporting the best goals against average in the post season at 1.58. Eric Williams was replaced mid way throught the third by Garrett Hughson.
Nelson was the 2nd star with a goal and an assist along with defenseman Travis Brown. Brandon Magee was the 3rd star and leads the team in scoring with 6 points after a 3 assist night.
Victoria set many post season franchise records, including most goals in a period with 4, largest winning margin with 5, most goals for with 6, allowing the fewest shots against in a period with 3 in the first and winning the most games in a playoff series with 3.
In the the three game, the Royals have outshot the Chiefs by a margin of 23, and outscored them 12-5.
Victoria’s penalty killers have stopped 11 of 12 Spokane power plays so far, while the Royals power play has gone 3 for 14.
With a stranglehold lead, Victoria can close out the series tonight in Spokane.
“They’re not going away…they have a lot of pride, they’re going to play right to the end…the fourth one is the toughest one to win – and we have to make sure we’re prepared to start the game.” said Lowry on a chance to sweep the Chiefs.
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).
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||Victoria 6 @ Spokane 1 (Mar 26 2014) Final
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||0-3-0-0 -- 0 points||3-0-0-0 -- 6 points|
|Division Ranking||5th U.S.||1st B.C.|
|Conference Ranking||9th Western||2nd Western|
|Past 10 Games||0-1-2-0||3-0-0-0|
|Last Game||6-1 L vs Victoria (Mar 26 2014) Final||6-1 W @ Spokane (Mar 26 2014) Final|
|PP (Overall)||(1/12) 8.3||(3/14) 21.4|
|PP (Home)||(0/2) 0.0||(0/8) 0.0|
|PP (Away)||(1/10) 10.0||(3/6) 50.0|
|PK (Overall)||(3/14) 78.6||(1/12) 91.7|
|PK (Home)||(3/6) 50.0||(1/10) 90.0|
|PK (Away)||(0/8) 100.0||(0/2) 100.0|
|Leading Rookie||Zwerger (1-0-1)||Soy (1-0-1)|
|Most PIM||Gow - 11||Crunk - 8|
|Leading Scorers||Fram (0-3-3)||Magee (1-5-6)|
|Stewart (2-0-2)||Brown (2-2-4)|
|Gow (1-1-2)||Nelson (2-1-3)|
|Whittingham (1-0-1)||Carroll (2-1-3)|
|Zwerger (1-0-1)||Walker (2-1-3)|
|Last 5 Games||6-1 L vs Victoria (Mar 26 2014) Final||6-1 W @ Spokane (Mar 26 2014) Final|
|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||3-0-0-0|
|Leading After 2nd||0-0-0-0||3-0-0-0|
|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||0-1-2-0||0-0-0-0|
|Trailing After 2nd||0-1-2-0||0-0-0-0|
|Out Shooting Opponents||0-0-0-0||3-0-0-0|
|Out Shot by Opponents||0-1-2-0||0-0-0-0|