Cougars Royals Preview.
The Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals will renew hostilities this afternoon in the B.C. Capital. The Cougars at 5-4-0-1 will face the Royals at 6-5, and another chapter in their heated rivalry will be written. The Cougars have earned points in three straight games, while the Royals have won three straight. It will mark the third meeting of the season between these teams.
Dave Lowry’s Victoria Royals head into today’s game feel pretty good about their game as of late. Last weekend they swept the Lethbridge Hurricanes by a combined score of 8-3, and their 6-5 record has them ranked one point ahead of the Cougars in the B.C. Division standings.
Who’s Up Front:
20-year-old forward Logan Nelson is on a heck of a roll right now for the Victoria Royals. Over the past four games, Nelson has scored four goals and seven points. Nelson has a four game goal scoring streak that he’ll put on the line this afternoon. He leads the Royals in both goals (5) and points (12).
Who’s on D:
Sophomore defenceman Joe Hicketts continues to be Mr. Everything for the Victoria Royals. Through nine games, Hickets has nine points and is a +7, which is good enough for second in team scoring. Hicketts has long had the makings of a special player, and so far this season he is serving notice to the league that he means business. The Cougars will need to be physical with Hicketts whenever possible, and hopefully they will be able to contain him at both ends of the ice.
Who’s in Goal:
After a bit of a tough start, veteran goaltender Patrik Polivka (5-4) is starting to find his groove. Polivka has won three straight games, and has stopped 81 of 85 shots in the process. He has also never lost to the Prince George Cougars. His backup is Coleman Vollrath who is 1-1.
Heading into this week, the Victoria Royals have the second best penalty kill in the entire WHL. It’s a good thing for them, because they have the second highest amount of penalty minutes in the Western Conference. Discipline is going to be a big factor this week for both of these clubs, and the team who can avoid the penalty box the most, will give themselves the better chance to win.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars are 5-4-0-1 through 10 games of the 2013-2014 season. The Cats have earned at least one point in three straight games, and a victory today would give them their third road victory of the season. The Cougars are 2-4-0-2 against the Royals on the road dating back to the 2011-2012 campaign.
Who’s Up Front:
Zach Pochiro has done a lot of positive things as of late for the Cougars offensively. The 19-year-old Las Vegas product has goals in three straight games, and leads the team with eight points. Pochiro is at his best when he’s physical and creative, and hopefully he can keep his streak going today in Victoria.
Who’s in D:
So far this season, the Cougars have held the Royals to just one goal in two games. A large part of that is due to the collective defensive mindset of the Cougars. Blocked shots, physicality and simplicity will once again be keys today when these teams take the ice again. Joe Carvalho has points in two straight games, and has really seemed to elevate his play through the first 10 games of the season. Hopefully that streak can continue.
Who’s in Goal:
After a lengthy gap between starts, it looks as though Brett Zarowny is going to get the nod today in goal. The 18-year-old Edson, AB product has only faced Victoria once, and was on the losing end of a 3-2 score on November 24th, 2012. Brett Zarowny has shown that he can be a capable option between the pipes, and today he’ll look to improve upon his early season struggles and lead his team to victory.
Saturday night against Everett the Cougars eclipsed the three-goal barrier for the first time this season. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come as the Cougars have had to play in an awful lot of close games lately. If the Cougars can strike four or five times, and put some pressure on the Royals defense, they could easily be a 6-4-0-1 team when the dust settles this afternoon.
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