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The Victoria Royals are set to play their final two games of the regular season this weekend in a two game home-and-home series against the Everett Silvertips.
The Royals will look to finish the season strong and follow up on a dramatic 7-6 shootout victory over the Prince George Cougars last Saturday night.
Forward Brayden Schuurman played the hero in that win – recording two goals and the shootout winner – and will look to reprise that role this weekend against Everett.
Despite being limited to just 37 games this season, the Abbotsford, BC product has been one of the most consistent performers on the ice for Victoria, recording 26 total points (15 goals, 11 assists).
Braden Holt and Nicholas Cristiano are both expected to make appearances in net this weekend.
The 19-year-old Holt has made the majority of starts over the past few months, recording a 8-12-3-1 record, two shutouts, a 4.61 goals against average (GAA) and a .871 save percentage (SV%) in 25 games with the Royals this year.
However, we have also seen Cristiano play increased minutes between the posts in recent weeks, making appearances in each of Victoria’s past four contests. The Langley, BC product has posted a 5-14-0-0 record with a 4.58 GAA and a .848 SV% in 26 games with the Royals this season.
Everett has won both of the two matchups against Victoria this weekend, earning a 4-0 victory back on Oct. 2, 2022 and winning 5-2 in their most recent matchup on Feb. 26.
Royals General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price wants to see his team end the season on a high note and turn their fortunes around against a scrappy Silvertips squad:
“The week of preparation has been very similar to preparing like it would be for a playoff game,” said Price following a team practice Wednesday. “You’ve had the whole week to train and then you’re playing one specific opponent twice in a row…Going into that building in Everett, it’s one of our favourite buildings to play in, such a challenging environment.”
Everett is a team that benefits from a stable of talented veteran forwards, led by top-goal scorer Jackson Berezowski, who has tallied 76 points (44 goals, 32 assists) over 60 games this season.
Berezowski has scored twice in both matchups against the Royals this season and has totaled 10 points (six goals, four assists) against Victoria since coming into the league in 2018.
Former Royals netminder Tyler Palmer is expected to resume his starting role in net for the ‘Tips this weekend. The Fernie, BC native has earned a 15-14-1-1 record with one shutout, a 3.31 GAA and a .902 SV% across 31 games for Everett this year.
Swiss-born goaltender Tim Metzger provides backup duties for the Silvertips. He has totalled a 4-4-0-0 record with a 3.33 GAA and a .888 SV% in 16 games played for the club this season.
The Royals will be holding their annual Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Golf Town, when they wrap-up their regular season home against Everett this Saturday.
All tickets for the game have been made available for the low price of $10 and there will be several exciting attractions in and around the rink, including a complimentary BBQ and beer garden outside of the rink before the game, a live performance by DJ Anger, Item Bag giveaways, and games and activities for all ages.
The Royals will also be presenting their team awards to players prior to the game and will be holding a live action of mascot Marty the Marmot’s jerseys following the game.
Additionally, representatives from the Victoria HarbourCats baseball team will be in attendance handing out free tickets for the first 500 fans to enter, and providing photo opportunities with mascot Harvey the HarbourCat.
The first game of the weekend is set to get underway at 7:05 pm on Friday, Mar. 24 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA.
Puck drop for game two is set for 6:05 pm on Saturday, Mar. 25 at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria and doors for the pregame celebration will open at 4 pm.
Players to watch:
#29 Teague Patton (F) – 66 GP, 44 PTS (14 G, 30 A)
#8 Kalem Parker (F) – 66 GP, 37 PTS (6 G, 31 A)
#28 Riley Gannon (F) – 66 GP, 44 PTS (18 G, 19 A)
#14 Austin Roest (F) – 60 GP, 78 PTS (32 G, 46 A)
#9 Ben Hemmerling (F) – 55 GP, 62 PTS (21 G, 41 A)