The 3rd seed Victoria Royals (48-20-1-3, 100pts) entertain the 6th seed Spokane Chiefs (40-26-3-3, 86pts) in round one of the playoffs beginning Saturday and Sunday.
Pregame show Saturday at 6:45 pm, and on Sunday 4:45 on The Zone @ 91.3 fm
It’s the second time they’ve met in the history of the franchises, as back in 2011, the Chiefs beat the Bruins in five games in round one. That was Royals forwards Brandon Magee and Steven Hodges rookie year.
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.
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.
Victoria is 6-4 in their past 10 after dropping their last 3 games of the regular season. Recently falling to Everett back to back nights in a home and home by 5-3 and 3-2 scores.
Spokane lost 3-0 at Tri City to conclude their season, after defeating the Americans 4-3 in the home and home. The Chiefs won 5 of their last 10 heading into the post season.
Fransoo 20gp (0g 6a) 6pts
Hodges 13 (2g 8a) 10pts
Brown 13 (0g 2a) 2pts
Nelson 10 (2g 8a) 10pts
Ben Walker 10 (4g 5a) 9pts
Cote 10 (2g 2a) 4pts
Magee 8 (1g 3a) 4pts (DNP in ’12 post season)
Carroll 8 (3g 1a) 4pts
Polivka 6 (2-3-1) 3.51 gaa / 0.910 sav %
Mitch Holmberg leads the Chiefs active roster in both playoff goals and total points with 20 goals and 28 points (18th in franchise history) in 37 games (32nd).
Mike Aviani has played 38 career playoff games (t-26th) – most on the team – scoring 9 goals and adding 17 assists for 26 points (21st). The next highest scorer after Holmberg and Aviani is team captain Reid Gow, with 2 goals and 9 points in 23 games played. Gow also leads the team in career playoff penalty minutes with 37.
Eric Williams has appeared as netminder in 24 playoff games, posting playoff averages of 2.87 goals against and 0.910 save percentage. His career playoff record is 11-9-1-0 entering the series.
Satuday, March 22nd Spokane @ Victoria 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 23rd Spokane @ Victoria 5:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26th Victoria @ Spokane 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 27th Victoria @ Spokane 7:35 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)
The Royals handed out their hardware Thursday.
Rookie of the Year – Tyler Soy
Most Dedicated – Steven Hodges
Hardest Worker – Logan Fisher
Top Defenseman – Joe Hicketts
Unsung Hero – Ben Walker
Scholastic Award – Ryan Gagnon
Community Service Award – Coleman Vollrath
Top Scorer Award – Brandon Magee
Fans Choice Award – Ben Walker
Most Valuable Player Award – Brandon Magee
The League announced Thursday the Eastern and Western Conference 2014 WHL Award Finalists. The WHL Player of the Year finalists will be named on Thursday, April 17th, 2014.
The winners of these awards along with the WHL Player of the Year will be announced at the 2014 WHL Awards Luncheon in Calgary, Alberta on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014.
Royals GM Cam Hope and Head Coach Dave Lowry are WHL Award Finalists:
WHL Coach of the Year, Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Shaun Clouston, Medicine Hat Tigers
Western Conference – Dave Lowry, Victoria Royals
WHL Executive of the Year, Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Mike Moore, Calgary Hitmen
Western Conference – Cam Hope, Victoria Royals
Victoria Royals vs Spokane Chiefs: Head To Head Stats
|Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular Season||Victoria 1-3-0-0||Spokane 3-1-0-0|
|Head to Head Record 2012-13 Regular Season||Victoria 1-2-1-0||Spokane 3-1-0-0|
|Last 5 Years record between teams||Victoria 4-13-1-2||Spokane 16-4-0-0|
|Victoria vs. Spokane Last 5 Years record at Victoria||Victoria 1-8-1-0||Spokane 9-1-0-0|
|Victoria vs. Spokane Last 5 Years record at Spokane||Victoria 3-5-0-2||Spokane 7-3-0-0|
|Previous Meetings This Season||Victoria 3 @ Spokane 5 (Jan 3 2014) Final
Victoria 4 @ Spokane 1 (Oct 19 2013) Final
Spokane 6 @ Victoria 1 (Sep 25 2013) Final
Spokane 6 @ Victoria 2 (Sep 24 2013) Final
How the 2 teams match up
|Team Record||40-26-3-3 -- 86 points||48-20-1-3 -- 100 points|
|Division Ranking||4th U.S.||2nd B.C.|
|Conference Ranking||6th Western||3rd Western|
|Past 10 Games||5-5-0-0||6-4-0-0|
|Last Game||3-0 L @ Tri-City (Mar 15 2014) Final||3-2 L @ Everett (Mar 15 2014) Final|
|PP (Overall)||(65/292) 22.3||(61/297) 20.5|
|PP (Home)||(34/142) 23.9||(33/153) 21.6|
|PP (Away)||(31/150) 20.7||(28/144) 19.4|
|PK (Overall)||(73/330) 77.9||(53/284) 81.3|
|PK (Home)||(35/158) 77.8||(29/146) 80.1|
|PK (Away)||(38/172) 77.9||(24/138) 82.6|
|Leading Rookie||Zwerger (16-10-26)||Soy (15-15-30)|
|Most PIM||Proft - 145||Carroll - 114|
|Leading Scorers||Holmberg (62-56-118)||Magee (25-42-67)|
|Aviani (38-43-81)||Carroll (34-23-57)|
|Gow (6-56-62)||Blomqvist (24-32-56)|
|Fram (6-51-57)||Walker (24-30-54)|
|Helewka (23-27-50)||Nelson (23-31-54)|
|Last 5 Games||3-0 L @ Tri-City (Mar 15 2014) Final||3-2 L @ Everett (Mar 15 2014) Final|
|4-3 W vs Tri-City (Mar 14 2014) Final SO||5-3 L vs Everett (Mar 14 2014) Final|
|4-2 L vs Everett (Mar 12 2014) Final||3-2 L @ Vancouver (Mar 12 2014) Final|
|6-4 W @ Seattle (Mar 11 2014) Final||3-2 W @ Kelowna (Mar 11 2014) Final|
|8-0 W @ Prince George (Mar 8 2014) Final||3-2 W vs Kamloops (Mar 8 2014) Final|
|Leading After 1st||22-2-1-0||27-2-1-1|
|Leading After 2nd||28-1-0-0||33-0-1-1|
|Tied After 1st||12-5-2-2||14-4-0-0|
|Tied After 2nd||6-3-2-3||9-0-0-1|
|Trailing After 1st||6-19-0-1||7-14-0-2|
|Trailing After 2nd||6-22-1-0||6-20-0-1|
|Out Shooting Opponents||29-14-1-1||20-7-1-2|
|Out Shot by Opponents||11-12-2-2||24-13-0-1|
|28||X Luke Harrison||3||1||0||1||5||0|
|6||X Isaac Schacher||4||0||1||1||2||-2|
|21||Axel Blomqvist (total)||2||0||0||0||0||-4|
|23||X Kolton Dixon||2||0||0||0||0||-2|
|26||X Matt Dykstra||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|9||X Dante Hannoun||1||0||0||0||0||-1|
|8||X Trent Lofthouse||2||0||0||0||0||-5|
|24||X Regan Nagy||3||0||0||0||0||-1|
|16||Jack Palmer (total)||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|12||X Landon Welykholowa||1||0||0||0||0||-1|
|7||X Tyler King||3||0||0||0||4||2|
|28||X Jackson Playfair||4||0||0||0||19||-1|