Kings This Season vs Opposition: 0-0-0-0
Last Meeting: Grizzlies won 3-2 (OT) (March 20th, 2013)
Kings 2013/2014 Record: 2-0-0-0
Kings at home: 0-0-0-0
Kings vs Island: 0-0-0-0
Opposition 2013/2014 Record: 1-1-0-0
Opposition on the road: 1-1-0-0
Home Opener. There are fewer dates on the calendar that draw up more excitement and more anticipation. What will the team look like? Who will my favourite player be? Will the team win at home for the first time this season? Following the BCHL Showcase, you may already have answers to the first two questions…the 3rd will have to wait until around 10pm tonight.
Also having to wait, the announcement of the Kings captain. A decision has been made and the team is set to announce it publicly during the player introductions tonight on the ice.
The Kings were one of 4 clubs to go 2-0 at the BCHL Showcase, although they’re the only one that did it so dominantly. Outscoring their opposition 11-2, the Kings find themselves top of both offensive and goaltending categories…after two games. There is the key…it’s only been two games. The BCHL Showcase ‘showed’ that the Kings can have a (very very) good weekend, they got off to a good start…now the focus turns to repeating that effort week in and week out. Will the Kings demolish teams 6-1 or 5-1 every game? Probably not, but can they display the effort, drive and skill they did last weekend for another 56 games…that’s the goal.
I haven’t heard anything from the coaches, but I’d expect very little to change for this weekend in terms of the lineup. The two players that missed out last weekend, Jarryd Leung and Trevor MacLean both carry question marks. Leung is a certain no, and has only just begun training following his operation. MacLean is returning from a mild lower body injury and while he will no doubt be looking to get into the lineup ASAP…at the expense of who I’m not sure.
In goal, it’s hard to see anyone but Jonah Imoo starting tonight. A big game against a divisional opponent, big crowd and his performance last weekend, I’d imagine the coaches will go with their veteran guy.
Leo, to Myles, to Gerry…scores. Familiar? They’re back. The league’s most formidable triplet trio are returning for their 20 year old season. The Grizzlies are returning 9 guys from their squad last year, plus a couple of others with BCHL experience elsewhere (Burzan in Surrey, Reynard in Penticton). Two will be missing, Turner Lawson has been suspended for a failure to report, and defenceman Mitch Meek is injured.
The Grizzlies will live and die by their top line. The Fitzgeralds are ‘that’ good that they can control a game. While only in the 5’9 ballpark, they move the puck very well and can make even the best defences look foolish. That said, if you’re able to knock them off their game, you provide yourself with more opportunities to win. The Grizzlies do have some veteran scoring depth, Dante Hahn’s a 2nd year 95 forward who will look for a jump up this year, as will 19 year old Stefan Burzan.
Victoria also has some size on the back end, with Chris Albertini one of the more formidable ones. He can also jump up on a powerplay and screen the goalie, something we saw last year in the season series and playoffs. In fact, all but 5 members on the Grizzlies roster right now (Egli, Meek and the triplets) are 6’0 or over, including 6’5 goaltender Alec Dillon and 6’4 defenceman Jacob Kearley.
In goal, Nic Reynard is the veteran, having run behind Chad Katunar last season in Penticton. He’s a Victoria-born player and is hoping to secure an NCAA role with his home town team…he also started both games at the showcase ahead of the 17 year old Dillon.
We’ll carry all the pre-game introductions and festivities, including the National Anthem sung by Mark Donnelly. The man who made ‘Oh Canada’ famous at Canuck games will be in attendance to kick off the year right. We’ll also talk with the brand new Kings captain on the role, also Jeremy LeClerc and Truman Gonzales on their impressive weekends at the BCHL Showcase. We’ll also speak with defenceman Kyle Chatham about his first two competitive games since injury robbed him of last season.
In the 2nd intermission, the player profiles continue with goaltender Jonah Imoo. Then in the post-game show, Derek Bachynski and a player of his choosing will join us after 60 or so minutes to talk about the game, and tomorrow night’s rematch.