The Victoria Royals (20-13-0-1, 41pts) visit the Swift Current Broncos (19-12-0-3, 41pts) Thursday night in their only meeting of the season.
Pregame show on The Zone at 4:45 Pacific.
Last season the Royals won 2-1 on home ice, but fell on the road the year prior 3-1.
The Broncos are in a long jam for top spot in the Eastern Division, sitting 2nd, with the same amount of points as Victoria (41), and both clubs are 7 games over .500.
Victoria is now 5th in the West trailing Seattle by a single point, as the Thunderbirds have won 7 in a row.
Swift Current had their 3 game win streak snapped at home with a 4-2 loss against Kelowna Tuesday. The Broncos are tough on home ice with just 3 regulation losses in 17 games (12-3-0-2). The Royals are (9-5) on the road this season.
Swift will still have Julius Honka who is 2nd in both defenseman and rookie scoring in the league, as he soon joins the Finnish national team for the upcoming World Junior tournament.
The Broncos have 4 wins in their past 10 games (4-4-0-2), have scored the 8th most goals for while surrendering the 9th fewest. Their power play is 6th best.
Victoria dropped their second in a row to Vancouver on the road Tuesday by a 3-2 score. Ben Walker scored twice, and Coleman Vollrath made 30 saves, but were outshot 33-16 overall and ultimately couldn’t find the equalizer.
The Royals were without 5 regulars as they kicked off a 5 game road trip.
Steven Hodges (personal) and Logan Nelson (upper 7-10 days) were not in the lineup, joining defensemen Jordan Fransoo (upper, 2 weeks), Joe Hicketts (upper, indefinite) and forward Jack Walker (illness, day to day).
“You take those guys out, it hurts. I think what we have to understand is that we’re not looking for excuses. We have guys that are fully capable of stepping in and contributing. There’s a couple of guys we’re still waiting for to take advantage of opportunities.” said Head Coach Dave Lowry on the depleted line up.
The Royals are one of the stingiest team in the league, allowing the 3rd fewest goals against per game on average. Their penalty kill is also ranked 3rd best.
Victoria is 15-1 when scoring first, and 14-0 when taking a lead to the third period. They have the most wins in the WHL when being outshot (11-8).
Ben Walker is on a 3 game goal scoring streak (4g 1a). Tyler Soy is 12th in Rookie Scoring (15pts), 3rd among 16 yr olds, and leads all '97 born players in goals with 8.
After Swift Current Thursday, Victoria plays in Medicine Hat Saturday, Lethbridge Sunday afternoon and finally in Edmonton Tuesday before the Christmas Break.