As told by Royals Assistant Coach JF Best
- Vancouver Giants (13-11-1-1) at Victoria Royals (13-8-2) – Wednesday Dec. 4th, 2019
- Victoria has just posted a 7-2-1 November record and lead the season series 1-0
- The Royals have 3 games in hand on the Giants, but the teams remain tied in the BC Division standings with 28 points each
- Not much to set-up here – this is the opening shift of the game!
No matter the opponent, a good ‘tone-setting’ shift to start a game is always optimal. On this night, we had #26 Graeme Bryks (Bryksy) starting at center, #29 Brandon Cutler (Cuts) playing on his left wing, and #10 Logan Doust (traded to Moose Jaw the following month) to his right.
The play begins in the defensive zone with defenseman Will Warm moving the puck from behind our net to the RW (right wing) half wall. Under pressure, Doust chips the puck out into the neutral zone leading to a quick strike and another highlight-reel goal.
Check out this month’s video below as it shows the play in real-time (as called by the voice of the Royals, Marlon Martens) before being slowed down to key-in on these 4 key moments that make this play:
- After the puck is chipped into the neutral zone, Bryksy takes a few hard strides to win the race to the loose puck. He then uses his strength and long reach to move the puck with one hand to his left flank where Cuts is flying up the wall.
- Cuts uses his speed to turn the corner on the SSD (strong side defenseman) and wheel around the net. He remains strong on his edges as he gets pushed by the SSD. He then slips the pass to #26 who is stationed in front of the net.
- The replay from the corner camera provides a perfect angle to appreciate a great read and even better anticipation by Bryksy. As Cuts makes his way behind the net, Brysky recognizes that his defender, the WSD (weak side defenseman), senses danger which causes him to leave Bryks to try to check Cuts below the goal line. #26 then hits the breaks in a prime scoring area and waits for the pass in an athletic shot-ready posture.
- The overhead replay provides another great angle to appreciate the shot placement. Knowing that the Vancouver goalie had to go post-to-post to track Cutler behind the net, Brysky understands that the far side of the net will likely be open. A 1T (one-timer) snapshot like this, off his front foot, is a highly technical skill to execute, but he makes it look easy. 1-0 home team.
Thanks to this quick start, plus some great goaltending from Farkas, the Royals took the game over their divisional rivals 3-1.
In our last Behind the Bench segment “Keanu Believe It” #22 Keanu Derungs celebrated one of his biggest goals of the season with a classy single-leg, double-fist pump. By now you know, no two celly’s are the same…
This one is a little harder to describe because right when the puck goes into the net, Cuts blows a tire in the corner. Bryksy cellies the goal with an abbreviated double-arm raise, cross-over running man as he makes his way over to Cutler, who, meanwhile, has transitioned from a single-arm to a double-arm raise as he slides around the boards celebrating on his back.