Thursday, 18 September 2014

Preview: Victoria at Kamloops, Friday Sept. 19

The Victoria Royals head into their 4th campaign on the Island after a record setting season.

Pregame show on The Zone @ 91.3 fm at 6:40, with puck drop at 7pm.

A franchise best 100 points, and 48 wins.  First ever playoff series victory with a  sweep of the Spokane Chiefs, only to fall in 5 to the Portland Winterhawks.

Bench Boss Dave Lowry was rewarded with WHL Coach Of The Year honours, and recently signed a contract extension.  GM Cam Hope was name Executive of the Year.

Lowry was later named an assistant Coach for Team Canada for the upcoming World Juniors.

The Royals lost some veterans as they graduated Captain Jordan Fransoo, Logan Nelson who’s off to New York Rangers Main Camp, and Ben Walker who’s been assigned to St. John’s, the Winnipeg Jets affiliate in the AHL.

Netminder Patrik Polivka signed a pro contract in his home country.

Steven Hodges got signed by the Florida Panthers and later had his rights traded to Tri City as the 20 year old has a great chance of playing Pro.

19 year old defenseman Brett Cote was traded to Red Deer at the Bantam Draft.

Victoria’s leading goal getter and penalty minute leader Austin Carroll was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 7th round.

Many players were busy in the off season competing on the world’s stage.  Joe Hicketts earned a Bronze Medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship, and the Royals Rookie of the Year 17 year old Tyler Soy won Gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

The CHL import draft brought over the fleet footed, and gritty Slovakian forward Kristian Ferletak.

Five Royals are now at NHL Main Camps, including Carroll, Brandon Magee, and Keegan Kanzig for the Flames, Joe Hicketts is off to Detroit Red Wings camp, while Axel Blomqvist who could play for Team Sweden at the World Juniors is attending the camp for the Winnipeg Jets.

Defenseman Travis Brown returned from Ottawa Senators camp and will head up a defence corps that allowed the second-fewest number of goals in the WHL last year.

With plenty of talent returning, the Royals aim to remain at the top of the B.C. Division.  Up front, the Royals could return four of their top six scorers from last season, including feisty Brandon Magee who’s beginning his 12 game suspension from an incident in the final game of the playoffs versus Portland.  Big power forwards Austin Carroll and Axel Blomqvist will also be counted upon for offense.

17-year-old Tyler Soy impressed in his rookie season last year, and is a good bet for a much bigger role in the attack.

Joe Hicketts will look to put last year’s injury woes behind him while Keegan Kanzig and Ryan Gagnon add toughness and defensive strength to the blue line.

19-year-old Coleman Vollrath takes over the top job in the Royals’ goal after posting 20 wins and a WHL-best .928 save percentage in 34 games last year.  Michael Herringer was traded to Saskatoon, leaving 6'6 Colorado netminder Evan Smith in the back up role.

Friday night they begin the season on the road in Kamloops to take on former Vancouver Head Coach Don Hay, back behind their bench for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

They met once in exhibition, with Kamloops coming away with a 3-2 overtime victory.  Last season Victoria owned the set, winning 7 of 8 games.

Kamloops did not make the playoffs last year winning just 14 of 72 games (14-53-2-3) 33pts.

The Blazers may be without their leading scorer from last year, 19-year-old Cole Ully who’s attending Dallas Stars camp.  Defenseman Ryan Rehill at New Jersey’s.  Forward Matt Revel was returned from a free agent try out by the Canucks.  Colin Shirley also attended Stars camp on a free agent try-out.

Saanichton’s Nathan Looysen is no longer with the Blazers, and has joined the Victoria Grizzles.

Dallas Stars prospect Cole Ully will once again be the focal point of the Blazers’ offense after coming off a 30-goal, 72-point season.  Veterans Matt Needham, Matt Revel and Collin Shirley will also contribute offense for Kamloops, while 17-year-old Nick Chyzowski should take a step forward in his development.

Defensively, 20-year-old Brady Gaudet returns to the team that drafted him and will lead the Blazers’ blue line.  Veteran Josh Connolly can provide plenty of offense from the point while physical and strong Ryan Rehill will have to keep things organized in the defensive zone.

20-year-old goaltender Bolton Pouliot looks to be the Blazers’ No. 1 netminder.  With 85 games of WHL experience under his belt, Pouliot will provide a stable presence in net.

- Marlon Martens

Victoria Royals vs Kamloops Blazers: Head To Head Stats

Head to Head Record 2014 PreseasonVictoria 0-0-1-0Kamloops 1-0-0-0
Head to Head Record 2013-14 Regular SeasonVictoria 7-1-0-0Kamloops 1-7-0-0
Last 5 Years record between teamsVictoria 20-17-1-2Kamloops 20-17-1-2
Victoria vs. Kamloops Last 5 Years record at VictoriaVictoria 13-5-1-1Kamloops 7-11-0-2
Victoria vs. Kamloops Last 5 Years record at KamloopsVictoria 7-12-0-1Kamloops 13-6-1-0
Previous Meetings This SeasonKamloops 3 @ Victoria 2 (Sep 6 2014) Final OT

How the 2 teams match up: Preseason

Team Record4-1-0-0 -- 8 points2-3-2-0 -- 6 points
Division Ranking1st B.C.4th B.C.
Conference Ranking2nd Western9th Western
League Ranking3rd17th
Past 10 Games4-1-0-02-3-2-0
Last Game4-3 W vs Prince George (Sep 12 2014) Final OT3-2 W @ Kelowna (Sep 13 2014) Final
Home Record2-0-0-00-1-1-0
Away Record2-1-0-02-2-1-0
GF17 14 
GA15 18 
PP (Overall)(3/18) 16.7(7/49) 14.3
PP (Home)(2/9) 22.2(0/13) 0.0
PP (Away)(1/9) 11.1(7/36) 19.4
PK (Overall)(4/29) 86.2(2/27) 92.6
PK (Home)(3/13) 76.9(1/6) 83.3
PK (Away)(1/16) 93.8(1/21) 95.2
Leading RookieMaier (1-2-3)Peckford (1-1-2)
Most PIMMaier - 10Brown - 8
Team PIM/GM14.2/Game11.4/Game
Leading ScorersUlly (3-3-6)Soy (2-3-5)
 Zaharichuk (2-3-5)Dmytriw (3-1-4)
 Kryski (2-2-4)Campese (2-0-2)
 Maier (1-2-3)Blomqvist (1-1-2)
 Needham (1-2-3)Peckford (1-1-2)
Last 5 Games4-3 W vs Prince George (Sep 12 2014) Final OT3-2 W @ Kelowna (Sep 13 2014) Final
 5-1 W @ Vancouver (Sep 7 2014) Final3-0 L vs Vancouver (Sep 11 2014) Final
 3-2 W @ Victoria (Sep 6 2014) Final OT4-1 W @ Kelowna (Sep 7 2014) Final
 5-0 L @ Kelowna (Aug 30 2014) Final3-2 L vs Kamloops (Sep 6 2014) Final OT
 5-4 W vs Vancouver (Aug 29 2014) Final SO3-1 L @ Tri-City (Aug 31 2014) Final