Playoff Push! WHL All Access
The Victoria Royals continue to hang on to the last playoff spot in the Western Conference despite their best efforts.
The club dropped a 3-2 decision to the Everett Silvertips, currently occupying seventh place in the conference, last Wednesday despite outshooting Everett 37-13. Kent Simpson was, to say the least, fantastic in net for the Silvertips.
Over the weekend the Royals scored three in the third to take a 3-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets. Jamie Crooks scored his 35th of the year.
The following night saw Kent Simpson rear his ugly head again and shutout the Royals 3-0. Cody Fowlie had two goals for the Silvertips.
Sunday was a match-up with the Vancouver Giants, who took the contest 5-4 in overtime. The Royals tied the game with 22 seconds left from captain Hayden Rintoul in what might be a playoff-saving goal. Jordan Martinook and Marek Tvrdon each had a pair of goals for the Giants Brandon Magee had a pair for the Royals.
The regular season is all but complete for the Royals, but a playoff berth is still on the line. The Royals will play host to the Portland Winterhawks Wednesday and Friday in what would be a first round preview if the Royals hang on to the final playoff spot.
All eyes in Victoria will be on the out-of-town scores for the Seattle Thunderbirds who are three points back with two games in hand.
It’s nailbiting time in Victoria to say the least. Those locals with some faith in the abilities of the Royals can purchase playoff packages here.
News & Notes
Royals fans can vote for the Keg 2011-2012 Fan’s Choice Award that will be unveiled as part of an awards ceremony to be held on March 17. Tickets for the event can also be purchased at the above link and Season Ticket holders who renew by March 14 will receive a complimentary ticket to the event.
No matter which powerhouse they face, if the Royals do indeed hang on to a playoff spot, they’ll start the playoffs on the road on Friday March 23 and Saturday March 24.
Player of the Week
The Milestones Player of the Week is winger Dakota Conroy. The 17-year-old has six goals in 28 games for the Royals since coming over from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The 6’1″ 190 lb teenage is a bruiser, as evidenced by this fight with Lukas Walker.
While the Royals are still in an uncertain race at the bottom of the playoff seeding, the top of the ladder and their potiental first round opponent is similarly up in the air. It will most likely be one of the Portland Winterhawks or Tri-City Americans, two powerhouses with over 100 points still locked in a high stakes divisional battle.
The Royals have just one wn over the Americans this year in four tries and none against the Winterhawks in a couple of games.
The only silver lining possible is that the Royals face the Winterhawks and the absence of Sven Bartschi, recently recalled by the Calgary Flames, throws the team out of sync.
With the playoffs in the line, the Royals will host the Winterhawks in a pair of games Wednesday and Friday that will also serve as a test to the difficulty of their potiental first round match-up.
After 70 games it all comes down to these two games and hopefully some losses by the Seattle Thunderbirds. Good luck boys.