Royals welcome Cougars to town for weekend set
Victoria will host Country Night and Esports & Tech Night
The Victoria Royals will host the Prince George Cougars for a two game weekend set on Friday and Saturday night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
Victoria will be looking to bounce-back from a pair of close defeats at the hands of the Vancouver Giants in a home-and-home series last weekend.
The Royals and Cougars are scheduled to face off four times over the next seven days, with the first two matchups taking place in Victoria this weekend and the following two in Prince George next weekend. The Cougars have defeated the Royals in all five meetings this season.
Forward Brayden Schuurman is a player to keep an eye on for Victoria. The 19-year-old has only made one appearance in the five games against the Cougars this year and should prove to be a big difference maker as they welcome PG to town for the final time this season.
Schuurman has posted 22 points on 12 goals and 10 assists over 32 contests this year, and has found himself on the scoresheet three times in his last four games with a goal and a pair of assists.
Goaltender Braden Holt–who leads all WHL goaltenders in games (50) and minutes (2,837) played–is expected to resume his starting role in net for the Royals this weekend. The 19-year-old has posted an 8-10-3-1 record with two shutouts, an .887 save percentage (SV%) and a 4.12 goals against average (GAA) in 22 appearances with Victoria this season.
Backup Nicholas Cristiano provides an alternative option in net for the club. The Langley, BC product has played in 25 total contests, posting a 4-13-0-0 record with a .881 SV% and a 4.19 GAA.
On the other side, Cougars forward Chase Wheatcroft will look to continue his success against the Royals, against whom he has posted 13 points on seven goals and six assists across the five meetings between the clubs this year.
The Calgary, AB native currently ranks inside the top-three in league scoring this season with 91 total points on 42 goals and 49 assists in 60 games.
The Cougars also benefit from a talented stable of goaltenders, featuring the 18-year-old Ty Young and 19-year-old Tyler Brennan.
Young, a Vancouver Canucks draft pick, has earned a 13-13-3-0 record with one shutout, a 3.93 GAA and a .889 SV% over 31 appearances, while Brennan, a New Jersey Devils prospect, has posted a 17-10-2-0 record with a 2.95 GAA and a .893 SV% in 32 games played.
The Royals will be holding their annual Country Night celebration during Friday’s game, featuring performances by local musicians on the arena concourse at Gate 1. Tickets for the game will also be available for just $15.
The team will also be honouring their 20-year-old graduating players–forwards Riley Gannon, Alex Thacker and Jake Poole–prior to Friday’s contest, presenting a framed jersey to each player.
The team will hold Esports & Tech Night at the arena during Saturday’s game, which will feature Esports tournaments on the big screen on the concourse at Gate 1. Tickets start at just $15 for the Saturday night contest.
Saturday will also see the team wear fan designed jerseys from the Real Canadian Superstore Your Team, Your Jersey contest. The uniforms will be auctioned off following the game in benefit of the President’s Choice Children’s Charity. Bidding for the auction is open until March 18.
The first game of the weekend is scheduled to begin at 7:05 pm on Friday, Mar. 10, followed by game two at 6:05 pm on Saturday, Mar. 11 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Players to watch:
#29 Teague Patton (F) – 61 GP, 43 PTS (13 G, 30 A)
#20 Alex Thacker (F) – 49 GP, 33 PTS (7 G, 26 A)
#28 Riley Gannon (F) – 61 GP, 33 PTS (15 G, 18 A)
#27 Riley Heidt (F) – 60 GP, 82 PTS (22 G, 60 A)
#13 Koehn Ziemmer (F) – 60 GP, 76 PTS (33 G, 43 A)
#12 Hudson Thornton (D) – 60 GP, 66 PTS (20 G, 46 A)
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About the Victoria Royals
The Victoria Royals are a Canadian major junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League (WHL) owned and operated by GSL Group. The Royals play all their home games at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and have entered their 12th season of their existence.
About Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC) is designed, constructed, developed and operated by GSL Group. SOFMC is Victoria’s premier entertainment facility and the largest arena in British Columbia outside Vancouver. The state-of-the-art 7,000 seat facility is home to the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League and regularly hosts large-scale concerts and other special events such as figure skating, curling, plays, trade shows and conferences. SOFMC also features a fine dining Lion’s Den Restaurant, as well as retail and meeting space.