GAME PREVIEW: Royals vs. Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings take the ferry to play Victoria on Friday, looking to avenge the 3-2 overtime loss back in October when the Royals came and visited. Matthew Phillips scored with 5 seconds left in overtime to break the hearts of Oil King fans and save them from the shootout.

Edmonton Oil Kings @ Victoria Royals – Friday November 10th – 7:05PM

Past Meetings:
OCT. 18 – VIC 3 – EDM 2 (OT)

Matchup History (VIC):
9-6-0

VICTORIA:
13-5-1-0 27PTS (1st in Western Conference, 1st in WHL)
Goals For: 93 (1st in WHL)
Goals Against: 59 (9th)
Power Play: 27/111 (24.3%, 10th)
Penalty Kill: 63/83 (75.9%, 16th)
Last Game: 4-2 W vs. KEL
Last 10: 6-4-0-0

Leading Scorer:
Matthew Phillips – 19GP – 15G – 20A – 35PTS (3rd in WHL)

Starting Goaltender:
Griffen Outhouse – 15GP – 11W – 3L – 1OTL – 2.93GAA – 0.922SV%

 

EDMONTON:
5-10-2 12PTS (12th in Eastern Conference, 21st in WHL)
Goals For: 49 (19th)
Goals Against: 72 (22nd)
Power Play: 14/77 (18.2%, 16th)
Penalty Kill: 45/68 (66.2%, 22nd)
Last Game: 3-2 L vs. SAS
Last 10: 2-6-2-0

Leading Scorer:
Trey Fix-Wolansky – 17GP – 7G – 14A – 21PTS

Starting Goaltender:
Boston Bilous – 7GP – 0W – 5L – 0OTL – 3.53GAA – 0.858SV%

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It’s the best team in the West (and the league) against the worst team in the East (only Kamloops have been worse) but the game they played against each other three weeks ago was much closer than many would have anticipated. On paper, this should be an easy win for the Royals. The Oil Kings could be without their starting goaltender, Travis Child, for the 2nd straight weekend, putting their rookie backup in to look for his first win of the season in his 8th game. The Royals are coming off of a home series against Kelowna where they didn’t have their best game Saturday night but rebounded well on Sunday which they hope carries over against an Edmonton team who used to scare teams.

The Royals offense have scored the most goals in the league and they are up against the defense who have given up the most goals, which should be music to the ears of Victoria fans. The Oil Kings haven’t been terrible though. They’ve been competitive, even outshooting their opponents in both the second and third periods, but their goaltending and overall shooting percentage are at the bottom of the league. They get the shots but they can’t score, and they restrict the other team’s shooters, but the shots they do give up are more likely to go in, which is a recipe for a team to have a tough season. Even if they do get luckier and get their shooting percentage up, Edmonton is still giving up 4.24 goals-per-game, so they need to score 5 a game in order to win more games, which is unlikely. The Royals score closer to 5 goals per game so this may be an ugly score for the visitors.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

VICTORIA:

Jared Legein – LW
Off to a tremendous start in his second full WHL season, Legein has cooled off a bit after putting up 12 points in his first 5 games. A goal in Saturday’s 4-2 loss against Kelowna and a spirited fight in Sunday’s win could light that fire back under him and could be just what he needs to get that second wind back.

Scott Walford – D
The Montreal Canadiens 3rd round pick in 2017 hasn’t been noticeable in many of the games he’s played this season, and for a defenseman that is usually a good sign. The highest draft pick on the team is normally overshadowed by the Phillips and the Reddekopps of the club, but the Royals need Walford to find another gear in order to get this team back on a consistent winning track. He should have a big game on Canadian Forces Appreciation Night.

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EDMONTON:

Boston Bilous – G
If he does get the start over the injured Travis Child, Bilous will be hungry for a solid performance to steal his first win of the season as revenge for the Royals stealing that win in Edmonton. In that game, the goaltenders were the 1st and 2nd stars of the game, and this rookie will be looking to battle one of the better goaltenders in the league, Griffen Outhouse, to show that he can be a capable starter in this league for the Oil Kings.

Trey Fix-Wolansky – RW
Fix-Wolansky and Matthew Phillips have a lot in common. Both are Alberta boys, both are listed as 5’7, and both lead their team in scoring by putting up more than a point-per-game. Fix-Wolansky has been a bright spot on this Oil Kings team and does have a shooting percentage of 13.5%, which is decent but there are 9 Royals who have scored at a better clip. Perhaps Fix-Wolansky will see that stat, have a 10 shot game and put up a few goals. Perhaps he will see the fact that Phillips just played for Team WHL at the Canada-Russia series and use that as motivation to have a great game. Keep an eye on him.

The Prediction:
The Oil Kings outshoot the Royals by a lot, but Victoria scores 5 goals and win big.

Victoria wins 5-2

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