With just two more games left in the regular season, the Victoria Royals have their sights set on a new challenge: the playoffs.
The Royals have had a roller coaster of a season, sitting fourth in the Western Hockey League’s B.C. division with a record of37-26-5-1, as of Monday.
“I think we’ve had periods where we played extremely well and I think there’s been some nights where we haven’t been asgood, hence our record,” said head coach Dave Lowry.
Lowry said scoring hasn’t been an issue this season, praising his team’s ability to consistently find the back of the net.
Centre Matthew Phillips leads the team in scoring and sits fourth in the league for goals scored, with 48. Phillips’ 47th markerrecently surpassed forward Tyler Soy’s 46-goal-record for the most goals scored in a season with the franchise, which Soy setlast year.
Left winger Jack Walker and centres Dante Hannoun and Soy, have 69, 63 and 55 points, respectively.
Netminder Griffen Outhouse has had a solid perfomance during his first season as starting goaltender, taking over forColeman Vollrath. Outhouse has recorded 34 wins and a save percentage of 0.918.
With another season in the books, the team is looking ahead to the post-season, after defeating the Spokane Chief’s 4-3 onMarch 4 and clinching a playoff spot.
“We just need to raise our level of compete and we’re going to need to make sure we have 20 guys involved,” said Lowry,noting preparation is key.
“We’ll focus in on our special teams and then just our five on five play. We’re just going to worry about the first game in thefirst round, we’re not going to look beyond that … It’s hard to win. What we’ll do is we’ll set ourselves up and give ourselvesthe best chance to win in the first round.”
This is the sixth consecutive season the Royals have clinched a playoff spot, and is the team’s ninth post-season appearancein franchise history. Last year, the Kelowna Rockets defeated the Royals in game seven of the Western Conference semifinalseries at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
The Royals lost to the Kelowna Rockets 4-2 over the weekend in overtime. The team has also been dealing with mumps. TheRoyals will take on the Everett Silvertips in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. Friday night’s game is fanappreciation night and the team’s last home game of the regular season.