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Thread: Royals gunning for a Giant 21/22 Sept

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Victoria BC

    Default Royals gunning for a Giant 21/22 Sept

    He’s The Real Deal.

    Even if he says so himself.

    Patrik Polivka — who has that statement painted on the back portion of his goalie mask — will get a chance to prove it tonight at 7:30 when he draws the start in goal for the Victoria Royals in their Western Hockey League regular season opener against the Vancouver Giants at the PNE Pacific Coliseum.

    The Real Deal nickname was given to Polivka, who has played internationally for the Czech Under-16,

    U-17,U-18 and U-19 teams, by teammates in the HC Plzen club system.

    The Royals are hoping he is just that.

    As to be expected by anybody bearing that moniker, Polivka doesn’t lack for confidence. But he’s not cocky.

    “I’m not the type of goalie who gets nervous. I’m more excited than anything and just want to do my best and stop some pucks,” he said.

    He is a quick-reaction goalie. Of the things he said he wants to work on are stickhandling and rebound control.

    When Polivka was drafted 14th overall by the Royals during the summer in the 2012 Canadian Hockey League import draft, involving all 60 North American major-junior hockey teams, he admitted the first thing he rushed to find inside his Czech home was a map. He couldn’t have come further in North America than to an Island off the West Coast. But if he’s as good as the Royals think he can be, this may just be the real deal for both parties.

    “His play [through training camp and pre-season] has warranted this and he’s earned the opportunity,” said Royals head coach Dave Lowry.

    The other goalies with the Royals, on a roster that still contains 23 skaters and three goaltenders, are returnee Jared Rathjen and newcomer Coleman Vollrath.

    But while his opening-night starting goalie is decided, Lowry still hasn’t settled on a captain for the Royals, even as his son Adam Lowry was being named captain of the Swift Current Broncos.

    “It [Royals captaincy] is not a primary focus for us . . . we [team coaching and management staff] only really started talking about it yesterday,” said the elder Lowry, who will play without a captain tonight and who also did not divulge alternate captain roles.

    “We’re waiting for someone to step up and assume the leadership role. There doesn’t have to be a sense of urgency about this [naming a captain]. Either you’re a leader or you’re not a leader.”

    As for his son, Lowry said: “I’m very excited for him. He’s a good player.”

    The Giants, meanwhile, have found their captain in undrafted 20-year-old defenceman Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, who has only three goals and 20 points in 147 career WHL regular-season and playoff games, but who brings so much else to the ice in terms of physicality and grit.

    “We’ve got a younger team with a lot of new guys,” said veteran Giants head coach Don Hay, from Vancouver.

    “We’re getting to know our guys and establishing our line combinations as we now play for real. The intensity and pace of the games will go up with points on the line and everyone will have to dig in more.”

    Like the Royals, the Giants are not considered a top-tier team in the talent-laden 2012-13 WHL.

    “There is only one team that we know is going to be in the 2013 Memorial Cup and that’s [host] Saskatoon,” countered Hay.

    “We want to establish ourselves as a team that can really compete against anybody. How you progress determines how you finish. I always look at the process.”

    Hay’s teams are certainly never easy to play against.

    “The Giants always forecheck hard and we have to find a way to push back on them,” said Royals forward Jamie Crooks, last season’s team leading scorer and MVP and one of the primary captain candidates for this season along with defenceman and fellow 20-year-old Tyler Stahl.

    The undrafted Crooks, who had 37 goals last regular season and four goals in four playoff games, is on an intriguing Royals’ top line with NHL draft picks Steven Hodges and Logan Nelson.

    “I’ve set a few [scoring and points] goals for myself this season but the most important thing to have is team success,” said Crooks.

    With the NHL lockout, the Giants are hoping for a trickle down and expect a huge crowd tonight at the Pacific Coliseum.

    “We’ll use that crowd as inspiration for ourselves,” said Crooks.

    In heralding the end of the pre-season and start of the regular season, he said: “There’s lots of excitement building in our team because now it’s the real deal.”

    And, from the crease out, maybe in more ways than one for the Royals.

    ICE CHIPS: The Royals open at home Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Centre against the Giants as London Olympics silver-medallist rowing eight coxswain Brian Price will drop the ceremonial opening puck after Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly belts out O Canada . . . Stahl will miss the first three regular-season games because of a suspension incurred in the pre-season.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Victoria BC

    Default Royals 6 Giants 4

    Royals open with all guns firing.

    If Victoria Royals forward Steven Hodges has favourite road buildings, the Pacific Coliseum on the grounds of the PNE in Vancouver has to be high on the list.

    Not only is it the closest opposition building to his adopted hometown of Delta, but he also has a certain knack in that rink.

    Hodges scored twice Friday in a three-point night to lead the Royals to a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League 2012-13 regular-season opener for both clubs.

    Not bad for a guy who took a puck to the mouth during warm-ups.

    In the 2011-12 season opener last year, also at the Pacific Coliseum, Hodges scored the first goal in Royals history following the move of the franchise from Chilliwack.

    The darting 19-year-old centre is this season aiming to prove he will eventually be full value for the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft.

    He is flanked on Victoria’s top line by wingers Jamie Crooks, last season’s team MVP and leading scorer, and Buffalo Sabres-draft pick Logan Nelson. The latter two were held point-less on the night.

    The 20-year-old import Alex Gogolev assisted on the Hodges goals, which both came on first-period power plays. The smooth stickhandling Russian, acquired in a trade last weekend from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for forward Zane Jones, quickly displayed why he had 57 points last season for the Hitmen.

    “I didn’t even clue in about [the similarity between] last year’s opening game and this one,” said Hodges, following the contest.

    “I was more happy after my first goal with Gogolev getting his first assist. He is a good hockey player with eyes in the back of his head.”

    Victoria held period leads of 2-1 and 4-2.

    “We’re still working on things but when we get opportunities, we bear down,” said Hodges. “And tonight showed we have firepower.”

    In what could be a sign of things to come, lauded 16-year-old Royals rookie defenceman Joe Hicketts recorded his first career WHL points by drawing an assist on forward Ben Walker’s goal at 15:37 of the second period and then scoring his first major-junior goal at 37 seconds of the third period.

    Vancouver goals by forwards Brett Kulak and Nathan Burns at 10:46 and 13:53 of third period made it 5-4 as Vancouver pressed before a home crowd of 7,812.

    But forward Logan Fisher sealed the deal for Victoria with an empty-net goal with 58 seconds remaining as Gogolev earned his third assist of the game.

    High-energy forward Brandon Magee had Victoria’s other goal on the night, which came in the second period. Veteran forward Cain Franson led led Vancouver with two goals.

    Patrik Polivka, a rookie Czech import, made the start in goal for Victoria and faced 30 shots. Liam Liston, acquired in a trade from the Lethbridge Hurricanes to be the Giants starter, saw 18 Victoria shots in the Vancouver nets.

    ICE CHIPS: The Royals, who have yet to name a captain, had defenceman Jordan Fransoo and forwards Magee, Tim Traber and Jamie Crooks designated as the alternate captains Friday . . . Making their debuts for the Royals were Polivka, Gogolev, Hicketts, Fisher, Mitch Deacon, and Kolton Dixon.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Victoria BC

    Default From the Royals


    Victoria wins 6-4 Over Vancouver to open the 2012-13 season

    For Immediate Release
    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Vancouver, BC – In a Friday night matchup, the Victoria Royals kicked off their 2012-13 WHL regular season with a trip to the Pacific Coliseum to take on the Vancouver Giants. The Royals’ gave Patrik Polivka the nod in net while the Giants’ countered with Liam Liston.

    Victoria got on the board early when they capitalized on a 4-on-3 powerplay. Alex Gogolev corralled a Logan Nelson shot to the right of the Vancouver goal and fed a cross-crease pass to Steven Hodges. The Royals’ forward buried the shot for his first goal of the season at the 2:25 mark. The Giants equalized three minutes later when Cain Franson collected the loose puck and skated out from behind the Victoria net before he beat Polivka high to the glove side. The Royals’ regained the lead at 15:16 of the period with a second powerplay tally of the period. As Victoria gained the Vancouver zone Gogolev slipped a pass to Hodges on the left wing and he fired a shot from the circle that beat Liston to the short side. Victoria headed to the intermission in front 2-1.

    Brandon Magee increased the Royals’ lead to two goals 4:51 into the second frame. After a wrap-around attempt, the Victoria forward collected his own rebound and snapped home his first of the season past the Vancouver netminder. Ben Walker would make it 4-1 for Victoria at 15:37 after he collected a flip pass from Joe Hicketts at center ice. The Victoria forward sprung into the offensive zone on a breakaway and fired the puck over the glove of Liston. The Giants’ cut the lead in half with under two minutes to go before the intermission. Franson received a pass in the slot from Marek Tvrdon before he slid the puck past the left pad of Polivka. After 40 minutes Victoria led 4-2.

    Victoria jumped out to a quick start in the third period as Hicketts tallied his first WHL goal. The 16-year-old rookie wristed a shot from the left point as Royals’ powerplay ended that beat a screened Liston to go up 5-2. Vancouver cut into the Victoria lead just past the halfway point of the period. Forward Brett Kulak banged home the loose puck at the right of the net after Jackson Houck gained the zone, but was tripped up in front of the Victoria goal. The Giants clawed to within one goal at 13:53 after Houck rang a shot off the far post. The rebound found the stick of Nathan Burns who slotted the puck into the open net. Logan Fisher sealed the victory for the Royals’ with an empty net marker for his first career WHL goal. Victoria 6 Vancouver 4.

    Victoria went 2/4 = 50.0% on the power play, while Vancouver was 1/5 = 20.0%. The Giants’ outshot the Royals 30-18.

    The Royals will kick off their 2012-13 home schedule tomorrow night when they host the Vancouver Giants at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Tickets are still available at the Select Your Tickets Box Office at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. The Royals encourage fans to buy their tickets early to avoid line-ups prior to the game.

    Season tickets and mini-packs are now on sale. Guarantee yourself the best seats by visiting, calling 250-220-7889, or emailing before it’s too late!


  4. #4

    Smile Nice One

    Good solid win for the boys tonight. Nice to see the confidence of Polivka and Hicketts - the whole team's body language seems different from last season already. As both coaches and players stated after the game, "we have to learn to play with the lead" as for two games in a row, an ironclad three goal lead in the third period became a one goal lead late on. A dumb instigator penalty from Dixon with 4 minutes left didn't help matters, I think the coaching staff had a word with him afterwards. Props to Magee not only for his goal, but a brave "take one for the team" shot block with seconds left on the clock to seal the win.

    Looks like Rathjen is odd man out in net (he wasn't dressed tonight) and I'm thinking that Polivka will likely get both starts this coming weekend against the Blazers. Not sure about Gogolev getting the first star, he's always dangerous, had a nice goal but the Royals weren't an offensive juggernaut tonight - I would have moved Polivka up one position from third star.

    Good atmosphere, a few hundred shy of a sellout. Roll on Friday for a sterner test.

  5. #5

    Post ZJ

    P.S. - Zane Jones potted two for the Hitmen tonight in Calgary. Watch out for that boy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Victoria BC

    Default Royals 3 Giants 2

    Alex Gogolev nets his first for Victoria in 3-2 win over Vancouver.

    For Immediate Release
    Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

    Victoria, BC – In a Saturday night match-up at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals squared off in their home opener against the Vancouver Giants after defeating the Giants in Vancouver on Friday. The Royals started Patrik Polivka in net while the Giants gave the nod to Liam Liston.

    Ben Walker opened the scoring at 7:15 of the first period as Victoria pinned Vancouver in their zone after an expired powerplay. Walker beat Liston off the right post when Austin Carroll poked the puck to him from the middle of the crease. The Royals took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

    Brandon Magee extended Victoria’s lead to 2-0 at 11:55 of the second period on a powerplay goal. Magee accepted a long stretch pass from Jamie Crooks and broke in alone on Liston before he made a toe-drag move and slotted the puck between the Vancouver netminder’s pads. Victoria added another marker just 36 seconds later when Alex Gogolev potted his first in a Royals’ uniform. Logan Nelson sped down the left wing on a two-on-one before he feathered a saucer pass to Gogolev who batted the puck into the open net. After two periods of play, Victoria held a 3-0 lead.

    Vancouver added their first goal of the game mid-way through the final frame on a goal from Nathan Burns. Marek Tvrdon centered a pass from behind the net that bounced off a couple bodies in front before Burns buried it on his second swing. The Giants would press with another marker in the final 30 seconds from Cain Franson, but it would not be enough. Victoria 3 Vancouver 2.

    Victoria went 1/2 = 50.0% on the power play, while Vancouver was 0/2 = 00.0%. The Giants outshot the Royals 25-23.

  7. #7

    Post Royals score king-size victory

    Royals score king-size victory


    If Victoria’s opening weekend in the Western Hockey League was a poker game, it would be a Royal Flush.


    Royals’ Joe Hicketts sends Giants’ Thomas Foster flying into the boards at the Royals’ home opener at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Saturday.

    “This is a hockey town and I’m happy to be here,” said Czech rookie import and Victoria starting goaltender Patrik Polivka, after the Royals defeated the Vancouver Giants 3-2 Saturday night at Save-onFoods Memorial Centre to debut 2-0 on the season.

    The 16 returning Royals especially are enjoying the moment after a seventhplace finish last season in the Western Conference.

    “It’s fun to be in the Barn on Blanshard on a night like this,” said second-year forward Logan Nelson, the Buffalo Sabres draft pick who finished the night with two assists.
    “It’s something special for sure to get two straight wins. It didn’t happen a lot last year.”

    Polivka wasn’t overly taxed in the first two periods but had to be sharp in the third in making 21 saves for the victory.

    His bid for the shutout was ended by Nathan Burns at 10:42 of the third period.

    Vancouver pressed hard in that final frame, counting again from Cain Franson with 26 seconds remaining, but it wasn’t enough as the game ended with Victoria forward Brandon Magee sliding out to block a David Musil shot with his head.

    “We need to work on the third periods. They [Giants] have been better in the third periods than us [including in Victoria’s opening 6-4 victory Friday night in Vancouver]. But we won, that’s it,” said Polivka.

    Nelson concurred that the Royals will need to find a way to close out better.
    “That’s something we need to work on in the long run,” said the native of Rogers, Minnesota.
    “We’re still working out some kinks.”

    Victoria head coach Dave Lowry is a bottomline guy.
    “You have to look at the end result and that was that we found a way to win a hockey game,” he said.
    “We battled hard out there and that was a pretty solid game. We will learn to play with the lead. That’s part of the process.”

    Victoria second-year forward Ben Walker is known more for his flashpoint quickness but he’s also demonstrating a certain dogged toughness. That was on display in the first period when he stayed with the puck in the crease to bang it in at 7:15.
    “I got really lucky to get to that rebound and we were fortunate to get the first goal and that got us off to a good start,” he said.
    “It was real nice to get two wins in a row to start. We have a lot of quick, skilled guys.”

    Walker’s goal held until Magee gave the Royals a two-goal lead with a darting break down the right side at 11:15 of the second period on the power play. Then, Russian import forward Alex Gogolov took a two-on-one feed from Nelson to make it 3-0 at 12:31.

    The Royals finished with 25 shots on Giants goaltender Liam Liston.
    “It was nice to have the crowd behind us tonight,” said Walker, a native of Edina, Minnesota. “It’s always fun to play in front of a big crowd like that.”

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