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  1. #1

    Post Royals vs. Medicine Hat Oct. 3

    Royals wary of letting Tigers loose

    BY CLEVE DHEENSAW, TIMESCOLONIST.COM OCTOBER 2, 2012 11:01 PM


    Any inspiration Victoria Royals forward Jamie Crooks — last season’s leading scorer and team MVP who has only one assist in four games this season — needed may have been right there in front of him during practice Tuesday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

    Skating with the Royals was locked-out NHL forward Dwight King. In 2009-10, King was a member of the Ontario Reign playing against the Victoria Salmon Kings in the minor-pro ECHL. Just two years later, King hoisted the Stanley Cup last spring as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Hockey is a game of cycles and no situation is ever necessarily permanent.

    “If you’re going through a tentative stretch as a player, go back to doing the things that give you confidence,” said King, after the workout.

    That advice from a WHL graduate might be something to take to heart.

    “I can’t get too frustrated,” said Crooks.

    “I have to work on the little things. Maybe just get a greasy goal first and that will create some things. But overall, we’re 3-1 and I’m focusing on that.”

    Crooks is too much of a natural offensive talent to be held low for long — especially as an over-age 20-year-old now facing opposition defencemen up to three- and sometimes four-years younger.

    “It seems like the years have just flown by. I want to make this a great final year [of junior],” he said.

    Crooks’ season continues tonight at 7 inside the Memorial Centre against the Medicine Hat Tigers, who are also 3-1.

    “They are a quick team that creates pressure off turnovers and we have to limit that,” said Crooks.

    Speed has always been a Tigers hallmark — this season epitomized by highly-touted 2013 NHL draft prospect Hunter Shinkaruk.

    “Our identity doesn’t change a whole lot year to year,” said Medicine Hat head coach Shaun Clouston.

    “We work hard and have good intensity and speed.”

    Royals head coach Dave Lowry concurred.

    “The Tigers are a very skilled, very quick-paced team with a couple of good players we have to pay close attention to,” he said.

    “Shinkaruk had three breakaways in their last game. We need to have an awareness about how we manage the ice. We can’t make it easy for them.”

    But with 20-year-old goaltender Tyler Bunz having signed an entry-level NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers, the speedy Tigers can’t gamble up-ice as much as they did last season when they knew Bunz would be there to bail them out if they got caught.

    “Our goaltending has been OK. We essentially have two rookies [Marek Langhamer and Dawson MacAuley] and we’ll evaluate that and let them battle it out,” Clouston said.

  2. #2

    Post Back from the Dead

    4 3 in Over Time

    Might go down as one of the most important games of the Royals' season. After an early Thanksgiving turkey shutout-at-home Sunday afternoon against the Blazers, Royals came out flat again tonight and stayed that way for about 30 minutes. Medicine Hat looked very quick and talented and we were pretty much dead and buried at 3-0 down. But we clawed back a scrappy goal and then one that crept over the line seconds before the end of period #2.

    For some reason, Medicine Hat took their foot completely off the gas and figured they'd play rope-a-dope for the entirety of the third period. One shot. That's what they registered on Polivka. Royals found their legs and peppered the Hatters goal late on, but it seemed like the luck wasn't going to be with us. Until good-hands Gogolev had his chance, which he roofed from in close with just over a minute left. Could have won it in regulation too, based on the pressure exerted. The luck was with us a bit on the OT winner, which had a slight but fortuitous deflection.

    For half the game, you could feel the crowd getting grumbly and the Royals feeling the pressure of no goals for over 90 minutes of play. This right before a road trip. The turnaround keeps the good feelings about this season alive. Good stuff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default ROYALS COMPLETE COMEBACK BY EDGING TIGERS IN OVERTIME

    Cote scores overtime winner in 4-3 victory over Medicine Hat.

    For Immediate Release
    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

    Victoria, BC – In a Wednesday night contest at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Royals faced off against the Medicine Hat Tigers. In net for the Royals was Patrik Polivka while Medicine Hat gave the nod to Marek Langhamer.

    Medicine Hat jumped out to an early lead just over one minute into the first frame. Tigers’ forward Trevor Cox fired a low wrist shot from the slot that beat a screened Polivka under the glove. The Tigers would increase their lead on the powerplay when Cox buried a rebound for his second goal of the period. After 20 minutes, the Tigers held a 2-0 advantage.

    The Tigers would make it 3-0 at the 13:44 mark of the second period when Hunter Shinkaruk received a pass in the slot and wired a shot over the right shoulder of Polivka. Victoria would respond at 15:37 off a broken two-on-one that saw Jamie Crooks bang home a loose puck at the side of the net. With eight seconds left in the period, Tyler Stahl launched a shot from the left point that was deflected in front by Brandon Magee. The puck slid through the legs of Langhamer for a powerplay goal to make it 3-2 for the Tigers heading into the second intermission.

    The final frame saw the Royals push the pace and pepper the Tigers’ goalie with shots as they home side outshot the visitors 13-1 in the frame. Victoria would net the tying goal with just over one minute to play in the third period with their net empty for an extra attacker. Alex Gogolev corralled a loose puck at the side of the net and went over the right shoulder of Langhamer. The game remained tied at the end of regulation and overtime was needed.

    At the 3:04 mark of overtime, Royals’ defensemen Brett Cote picked up the puck at the top of the left circle and ripped a shot under the blocker of Langhamer for the game winner. Royals 4 Tigers 3 in overtime.

    Victoria went 1/4 = 25.0% on the power play, while Medicine Hat was also 1/4 = 25.0%. The Royals outshot the Tigers 31-25.

    The Royals’ next home game is Friday, October 12th when they host the Kelowna Rockets for the first of a two-game weekend series at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Season tickets and mini-packs are now on sale. Guarantee yourself the best seats by visiting www.victoriaroyals.com, calling 250-220-7889, or emailing vrtickets@victoriaroyals.com before it’s too late!

  4. #4

    Post Royals Tame Tigers in OT

    Royals tame Tigers in OT

    By CLEVE DHEENSAW October 4, 2012

    On a night of presidential debate, what wasn’t debatable is that the Victoria Royals scored a pretty darn nervy Western Hockey League comeback victory Wednesday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

    Defenceman Brett Cote capped a four-goal Victoria rally at 3:04 of overtime to give the Royals a 4-3 victory.

    “I was creeping in and Nelly [forward Logan Nelson] found me. My shot magically found its way through,” said Cote, who scored his second goal of the season.

    “We did not have a great first period [in which Medicine Hat led 2-0] but had a really good last 40 minutes. But we can’t do that every night. We need to play the full 60 minutes.”

    Those thoughts were echoed by Royals head coach Dave Lowry, who has his club off to a 4-1 record on the early season.

    “It was not a good start to the game and we have to start better . . . we were not sharp early,” Lowry said. “But I liked the fact that we showed we’re a resilient group.”

    Trevor Cox had a pretty good return to his home province as the five-foot-eight forward from Surrey scored the first two goals for Medicine Hat (3-1-1) in the first frame. Tigers teammate and 2013 NHL draft hot prospect, Hunter Shinkaruk, made it 3-0 with a laser at 13:44 of the second period.

    Jamie Crooks, last season’s Royals MVP and leading scorer, scored his first goal of the season at 15:37 of the second period.

    “At 3-0, we felt down a bit but we don’t give up,” said Crooks.

    “We had a comeback last weekend against Kamloops and believed we could do it again. I’m glad I chipped in and helped the boys out.”

    A power-play goal by Brandon Magee at 19:52, which just slid across the line, brought the Royals back to within one at 3-2.

    “We were a little bit down [emotionally] when we got behind but some of the older guys picked up the younger guys,” said Magee, who also had an assist.

    “We spotted them three goals but stuck to our game plan.”

    Over-age 20-year-old Russian import Alex Gogolev tied it for the Royals with 1:13 left in the third period with six attackers and the Victoria net empty.

    The two 18-year-old starting goaltenders know each other well after having played together on Czech Republic national teams from the U-16 to the U-19 levels at international tournaments. This night went the way of Patrik Polivka of the Royals, who made 14 saves in winning his fourth game in four starts. The far busier Marek Langhammer of the Tigers made 26 saves.

    ICE CHIPS: Tyler Stahl had two assists on the night for Victoria . . . Forward Steven Hodges (lower-body injury) and defenceman Jordan Fransoo (lower-body injury) were the Victoria notables who missed the game . . . The Royals now depart on a four-game road swing through Spokane on Friday, Tri-City on Saturday, Vancouver on Sunday and Kamloops next Wednesday.

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