Cougars Royals Part Two.
Early in the 2013-2014 season, the Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals are becoming awfully familiar with one another. So far through 11 games, the Cougars have faced the Royals three times, and tonight a fourth chapter of the 2013-2014 rivalry will unfold in front of all of Western Canada. Tonight's game between the Cougars and the Royals can also be seen on SHAW TV, and both teams are going to want put their best foot forward on TV tonight.
Dave Lowry's Victoria Royals are starting to find their stride. They've won four consecutive games, and are doing so thanks to great goaltending, a stellar penalty kill, and timely offense. So far this season the Royals are 2-1 against the Cougars and have won the previous two tilts.
Who’s Up Front:
Few, if any players are hotter right now than 20-year-old Royals forward Logan Nelson. Nelson has a five-game goal scoring streak that will be put on the line tonight. Over the past five games he has managed six goals and 10 points. Nelson paced the Royals with two goals and an assist in Monday’s 3-0 victory.
Who’s on D:
At 6’5” and 242 pounds it’s hard to miss Keegan Kanzig. The 18-year-old Calgary Flames prospect has let his impressive play do the talking so far this season. Kanzig only has one goal, but his value is not determined by goals and assists. Kanzig is one of the most intimidating players in the WHL. He’s ferocious in front of his own net, and he makes the proper play more often then not. The Cougars are going to need to be aggressive whenever possible against Kanzig tonight in hopes of minimizing his effectiveness in the defensive zone.
Who’s in Goal:
Patrik Polivka is on a tremendous roll right now for the Victoria Royals. The 19-year-old import leads the WHL with three shutouts and has a goals-against-average of 2.32 and a .920 save percentage. Perhaps most importantly Polivka is 7-0 lifetime against the Prince George Cougars. Could tonight be the night where the Cougars halt Polivka’s streak?
While Logan Nelson’s stats have garnered the most attention as of late for Victoria, it’s hard to ignore the stats of his linemate Austin Carroll. The 19-year-old Arizona product is also riding a five game point streak, and has put up three goals and seven points in that span. The trio of Brandon Magee, Austin Carroll and Logan Nelson combined for all three Victoria goals on Monday afternoon and keeping them in check will be a major key for the Cougars success tonight.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars are looking to climb back above .500 tonight with a win in Victoria. Monday’s effort left a lot to be desired, and the Cougars are looking forward to their shot at redemption tonight. So far they are 2-3 on the road and 1-2 against Victoria.
Who’s Up Front:
For the Cougars to have success tonight they can’t rely on a single player or a single line. They are going to need all four lines to contribute positively to the end result of the game. The skilled players like Alex Forsberg, Troy Bourke and Chase Witala need to create offense. The agitators like Klarc Wilson, Zach Pochiro and Brett Roulston need to agitate and the rookies like Tyler Mrkonjic, Brad Morrison and Jansen Harkins need to be strong at both ends of the ice. The Cougars have shown that when all cylinders are clicking up front, they are a tough team to beat.
Who’s on D:
Defensively the Cougars can’t be too displeased about how things are going as of late. Even during Monday’s loss they still held a talented Victoria team to just three goals against, one of which was scored into the empty net. Tonight they’ll need to prevent odd-man rushes, protect the front of their net and block as many shots as possible. If they do those things, they could very well be 6-5-0-1 when all is said and done.
Who’s in Goal:
Great question. Tough answer. Does Mark Holick give Brett Zarowny another look after his third star performance on Monday afternoon? Or does he go with the reigning CHL goaltender of the week, Ty Edmonds who has only given up one goal in his two starts against Victoria this season?
If the Prince George Cougars want to win tonight in Victoria they will have to PAY THE PRICE. Patrik Polivka has shown that if he sees it, he’ll stop it. The Cougars are going to need to go at the net hard whenever there’s a chance to do so. Yes it might hurt, and yes they might take a chop or two, but it’s essential to their success against a goalie like Patrik Polivka. If the Cougars are willing to pay the price tonight then Western Canada is going to be in for a heck of a game.
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