Thursday, 26 March 2015

Preview: Prince George at Victoria Game 1

The Victoria Royals (39-29-3-1, 82pts) entertain the Prince George Cougars (31-36-2-3, 67pts) Friday and Saturday night, in the beginning of a best-of-seven opening round playoff series.

Pregame show on The Zone @ 91.3fm at 6:40 or online at

Victoria finished 2nd in the BC Division and have home ice advantage against 3rd place Prince George.

The Cougars return to the playoffs after a 3 year absence, while the Royals look to build on last years second round exit to the Winterhawks, after a winning the franchise’s first playoff round in a sweep of the Chiefs.

In their 8 head to head meetings this season, Victoria holds a winning record of 5-3, while Prince George has points in 5 of the 8 encounters holding a record of (3-3-1-1).

Victoria won their last visit in Prince George 4-3 in a shoot out March 7th, after falling 4-3 the night earlier.

The Royals have outscored the Cougars 30-20 in their head to head meetings, while putting up 22 more goals overall, and allowing 76 less against.

During their 8 regular season meetings, Victoria was 10/44 on the power play (22.72%), while keeping the Cats to 7/45 (15.55%).

Top Head To Head Scorers:
Brandon Magee 6gp (6g, 4a) 10pts
Austin Carroll 8gp (4g, 6a) 10pts
Greg Chase 7gp (3g, 6a) 9pts

Prince George:
Josh Connolly 7gp (5g, 3a) 8pts
Jari Erricson 8gp (2g, 5a) 7pts
Brad Morrison 8gp (3g, 2a) 5pts

Prince George is the most penalized team in the WHL on average per game, with Victoria ranked 3rd.

Both clubs have 6 wins in their past 10 heading into the post season.

The Royals are 9 over .500 at home (21-12-3-0), while the Cougars are 4 under on the road (15-19-1-1).

Victoria has the 4th most 20-plus goal scorers in the league with 5. Austin Carroll (38), Tyler Soy (28), Alex Forsberg (26), Brandon Magee (23), and Greg Chase (20).

8 Royals players registered at least 55 points during the regular season.

’97 born Jansen Harkins leads the Cougars in scoring with 79 points, tied for 20th in the league. He set a new Cougars record for assists, breaking Quinn Hancock's former record of 58, and is averaging 1.16 points per game, tops on the team. He played for Team Orr at the CHL Top Prospects Game. Harkins is ranked 18th by NHL CSS mid term rankings for the upcoming draft.

Chase Witala leads Prince George in goals with 38, and is 2nd in team scoring with 69 points.  Connolly (54), Morrison (50), and Erricson (44) round out their top 5.

Victoria’s 21 year old forward Austin Carroll agreed to a three-year entry level contract with the Calgary Flames on Thursday, which was also his birthday.

Carroll led Victoria in goals (38) and points (77) this season as he set the Royals’ single season record in both categories. He also set the all-time franchise mark for career game winning goals and penalty minutes with 19 and 470 respectively. The 6-3, 214 lb winger was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 7th round with the 184th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Joe Hicketts is 2nd in team scoring with 64 points including a team high 52 assists. Joe Hicketts was named Western Conference 2nd All Star Team. He is the first Royal and third player in franchise history to be named to a WHL All-Star Team.

This season, Hicketts led the Western Conference in scoring for defencemen and finished second in the WHL with 64 points (12g-52a) in 62 games played. Hicketts averaged 1.03 points per game, which was second in the league for D-men. The 5-8, 175 lb blueliner set the Royals’ single season record for most assists with 52 and also recorded the franchise mark for most powerplay assists by a defender in a campaign with 27.

Tyler Soy is 3rd in scoring with 63 points, including the 2nd most goals with 28.  Soy is ranked 152nd, by NHL CSS while defenseman Chaz Reddekopp is 199.

Cougars Forward Jared Bethune is rated 101, defenseman Tate Olson is 106, and forward Brad Mossison in ranked 150th.

Entering the 2015 WHL playoffs three Royals are nearing franchise records. Austin Carroll (8) sits two goals away from tying Jamie Crooks (10) for most playoff goals. Travis Brown (2g-5a) is currently three points back of Jordan Fransoo (2g-8a) for most points by a defenceman.

Brandon Magee (4g-10a) begins the playoffs only six points behind Steven Hodges (6g-14a) for most playoff points in franchise history, and four points behind Hodges for most assists.

Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry has been named the bench boss for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships taking place December 26th, 2015 – January 5th, 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.

Lowry was a member of the gold medal winning team at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Montreal, QUE, and Toronto, ON, where he served as an assistant coach. Lowry was also the head coach for Team WHL in the 2014 SUBWAY Super Series against Team Russia.

Games 4 and 5 go in Prince George next Wednesday and Thursday.

- Marlon Martens

Victoria Royals vs Prince George Cougars: Head To Head Stats

Head to Head Record 2014-15 Regular SeasonVictoria 5-3-0-0Prince George 3-3-1-1
Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular SeasonVictoria 7-1-0-0Prince George 1-7-0-0
Last 5 Years record between teamsVictoria 28-11-0-1Prince George 12-22-1-5
Victoria vs. Prince George Last 5 Years record at VictoriaVictoria 14-5-0-1Prince George 6-11-1-2
Victoria vs. Prince George Last 5 Years record at Prince GeorgeVictoria 14-6-0-0Prince George 6-11-0-3
Previous Meetings This SeasonVictoria 4 @ Prince George 3 (Mar 7 2015) Final SO
Victoria 3 @ Prince George 4 (Mar 6 2015) Final
Prince George 2 @ Victoria 5 (Jan 10 2015) Final
Prince George 2 @ Victoria 3 (Jan 9 2015) Final OT
Prince George 0 @ Victoria 4 (Dec 28 2014) Final
Prince George 4 @ Victoria 3 (Dec 27 2014) Final
Victoria 6 @ Prince George 2 (Nov 8 2014) Final
Victoria 2 @ Prince George 3 (Nov 7 2014) Final

How the 2 teams match up
Prince George
Team Record31-36-2-3 -- 67 points39-29-3-1 -- 82 points
Division Ranking3rd B.C.2nd B.C.
Conference Ranking6th Western5th Western
League Ranking12th10th
Past 10 Games6-3-0-16-4-0-0
Last Game5-2 L @ Kamloops (Mar 21 2015) Final4-3 W @ Everett (Mar 21 2015) Final SO
Home Record16-17-1-221-12-3-0
Away Record15-19-1-118-17-0-1
GF222 244 
GA295 219 
PP (Overall)(52/327) 15.9(66/300) 22.0
PP (Home)(28/166) 16.9(35/142) 24.6
PP (Away)(24/161) 14.9(31/158) 19.6
PK (Overall)(98/349) 71.9(59/295) 80.0
PK (Home)(47/167) 71.9(25/139) 82.0
PK (Away)(51/182) 72.0(34/156) 78.2
Leading RookieBethune (6-14-20)Nagy (6-7-13)
Most PIMRuopp - 140Carroll - 124
Team PIM/GM18.2/Game13.9/Game
Leading ScorersHarkins (20-59-79)Carroll (38-39-77)
 Witala (38-31-69)Hicketts (12-52-64)
 Connolly (13-41-54)Soy (28-35-63)
 Morrison (23-27-50)Magee (23-38-61)
 Erricson (22-22-44)Chase (20-39-59)
Last 5 Games5-2 L @ Kamloops (Mar 21 2015) Final4-3 W @ Everett (Mar 21 2015) Final SO
 3-1 W vs Kamloops (Mar 20 2015) Final4-3 L vs Everett (Mar 20 2015) Final
 4-2 W vs Kamloops (Mar 18 2015) Final4-1 L vs Vancouver (Mar 15 2015) Final
 6-5 W @ Portland (Mar 14 2015) Final SO3-0 W vs Vancouver (Mar 14 2015) Final
 7-4 L @ Tri-City (Mar 13 2015) Final2-0 W @ Vancouver (Mar 13 2015) Final
Leading After 1st17-5-2-122-5-0-0
Leading After 2nd23-2-1-126-3-0-0
Tied After 1st5-8-0-111-9-0-1
Tied After 2nd3-2-1-08-5-2-0
Trailing After 1st9-23-0-16-15-3-0
Trailing After 2nd5-32-0-25-21-1-1
Out Shooting Opponents13-9-0-023-9-1-0
Out Shot by Opponents15-26-2-314-17-2-1
1-Goal Games14-4-2-315-11-3-1
2-Goal Games9-2-0-06-8-0-0
3-Goal Games3-16-0-010-5-0-0

Victoria Royals
18Brandon Magee6641043
21Austin Carroll84610235
15Greg Chase (total)7369141
16Alex Forsberg (total)5448110
17Tyler Soy833655
9Jack Walker8156191
2Joe Hicketts606680
6Travis Brown81451011
19Dante Hannoun512300
25Brandon Fushimi811262
3Ryan Gagnon811264
24Regan Nagy711240
29Chaz Reddekopp811220-2
22Taylor Crunk8101141
4Ralph Jarratt610140
27Jared Dmytriw70112-2
20Logan Fisher801140
5X Keegan Kanzig201151
23X Axel Blomqvist300000
15X Matthew Campese100000
28Marsel Ibragimov700021
14Jack Palmer50002-4
1Justin Paulic200000
8Bryton Sayers (total)30000-4
30X Jayden Sittler200000
8X Mitch Skapski400001
35Coleman Vollrath500000

35Coleman Vollrath54000273:58102.190.925
30X Jayden Sittler2020089:1642.690.882
1Justin Paulic21100118:4463.030.908

Prince George Cougars
29Josh Connolly (total)753845
15Jari Erricson825703
9Brad Morrison83252-1
25Tate Olson80552-5
13Zach Pochiro622412-1
23Aaron Boyd520201
8Chase Witala62022-2
22X Chance Braid3112201
12Jansen Harkins81128-7
20Haydn Hopkins51124-1
26Kody McDonald711221-2
10Tyler Mrkonjic81126-2
27Joseph Carvalho80220-2
2Sam Ruopp802219-4
5Tomas Andrlik (total)31010-1
18David Soltes21010-1
21Jared Bethune80116-1
19Shane Collins501120
35Ty Edmonds601100
33Patrick Gora101100
28Josh Anderson500017-1
13Cal Babych60008-2
4Kirk Bear400080
6X Martin Bobos20000-2
4X Kobe Eagletail20000-1
1Tavin Grant100000
17Aaron Macklin6000121
14Colby McAuley60004-1
3X Marc McNulty20002-3
33X Jared Rathjen100000
11Jordan Ross10002-2

35Ty Edmonds63111339:19183.180.893
1Tavin Grant1010060:0044.000.867
33X Jared Rathjen1000026:4424.490.875
33Patrick Gora1010060:0055.000.857