Royals look to get back in the win column with two games in Prince George

Royals look to get back in the win column with two games in Prince George
WatchDespite one win in five games to open the season, the Victoria Royals see progress as they head on the road for the first time.

It’s been a tough start for the Victoria Royals finding the win column in the club’s 11th Western Hockey League season in the B.C. capital.

A five-game home-stand to kick off the year yielded one win. Yet in spite of an 8-3 loss on Oct. 13 to the Kamloops Blazers, the Royals’ Head Coach and General Manager considered that effort the team’s best of the five games.

“Even though it didn’t look very good on the scoreboard, I thought the game control in the first period, the second period, the quality of chances, how even the o-zone play was, the special teams, all those things,” said Dan Price, in his second season as the club’s GM and Head Coach.

“But up until that point when they did capitalize and pull away, I thought it was a great game, so we’ve learned a lot about that, we’ve learned about the things that we need to fix, both execution-wise and just sort of player personnel-wise, we’ve learned a lot there. And it sets us up really well, in my view, for these games against Prince George.”

One of the early bright spots for the Royals is forward Brayden Schuurman. The 17-year-old from Abbotsford is among the league leaders in goals with six, recording his first WHL hat-trick Oct. 8 against the Kelowna Rockets.

“Whatever I can do to help the team, if that’s scoring, I think that’s something that I can do this year. Expectations obviously set high for myself and for the team to have success both individually and as a group,” said Schuurman, a fourth-round Bantam Draft pick of the Royals in 2019.

“He works so hard to develop his game, he has such habits of how he prepares his body, how he trains, how he mentally focusses. That’s the reason why he’s able to translate that into his on-ice play,” added Price.

Eight different players have found the net in the opening five games, including first WHL goals for newcomers Bailey Peach, and the Wilson Brothers from Swift Current; forward Anthony and defenceman Wyatt.

“It was unreal, my younger brother was on the draw there, he won the draw back to me, a shot off the wall,  got it through, so I was super excited, super relieved to get that one off my back,” said Wyatt Wilson, whose goal came a day after his 18th birthday.

“Yeah, it was pretty special. I mean I wasn’t expecting it, but it was pretty awesome to see me and him score and I like how I assisted too, it was pretty neat,” said Anthony Wilson, playing in his first WHL season at 16-years-old.

Despite the early season growing pains, the Royals say it was special to play in front of fans, for the first time in 19 months.

“It’s unreal, it completely changes the game, you know the guys can feed off the crowd’s energy and use that to score a goal or make a big hit, so it’s unreal to be back,” said the older Wilson.

“It’s been great, obviously having fans back and cheering us on, you hear from on the ice, so it’s pretty special,” added Schuurman.

After two games in Prince George, the clubs will square off again in Victoria on Oct. 22 and 23.

Andy NealAndy Neal

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!