Saturday, June 15, 2024

Back-to-back: Victoria Royals to host Kelowna Rockets during Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend

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Kung Hei Fat Choi, Victoria!

The Victoria Royals will celebrate the Lunar New Year in style this weekend with a pair of home games against the Kelowna Rockets.

Puck drop on Friday is set for 7:05 p.m., while Saturday’s game starts at 6:05 p.m.

With festivities planned, fans will be able to enjoy plenty around the arena this weekend, with door prize giveaways scheduled for both Friday and Saturday games, as well as local artists present around the arena.

On Saturday night, the Royals will wear unique Chinese New Year jerseys designed specifically for this game.

Given that this is the Year of the Dragon, you can imagine they’ll be quite spectacular.

Who wouldn’t want to see dragons on a jersey?

The full jerseys will be revealed on Thursday, February 15th, starting an auction that will run through February 25th.

Each night, Fancy Ching Wealth Management will be offering a suite as a grand prize in the lucky red envelopes given at the door, with 1,500 envelopes distributed each day.

Additionally, the Fancy & David Foundation will be making significant donations in honor of Lunar New Year: $10,000 to Jeneece Place on Friday and another $10,000 to the Victoria Royals Foundation on Saturday.

Saturday will also feature live lion dancers, with a custom Royals lion involved in the performance.

There’s only one weekend in 2024 when hockey, dragons, and lions are all happening simultaneously, and it’s this one.

You can grab your tickets here.

Royals can’t let injury bug derail promising season

Injuries are a part of sports at any level, but it sure feels like the Royals have been handed a disproportionate amount lately.

Hudson Bjornson and Robin Sapousek have been out for a while already, and their return to the lineup seems distant and unclear at best. Nate Misskey was also injured early in January and has no timeline set for his return.

But recent injuries to Cole Reschny, Austin Zemlak, and Tyson Laventure have left the Royals scrambling to fill the void and hard-pressed to sustain their winning ways.

Currently sitting 5th in the Western Conference, the Royals cannot simply accept losing. However, when you factor in that injuries are forcing skilled winger Dawson Pasternak to play on the blue line, you can see that the lineup dominoes are falling in a tough manner.

Reschny, Laventure, and Sapousek are all top-six forwards, as is Pasternak.  Zemlak and Misskey are both fixtures in the top four.

It’s a bleak injury report at the moment.

With it comes the opportunity for the younger Royals to play at the top of the lineup, understand the challenges of playing against top competition, and, frankly, deal with the internal pressure that comes with being hemmed in your own zone regularly.

Last weekend’s away set against the BC division-leading Prince George Cougars would have showcased that challenge in spades, as they have a top-five offense so far this year, scoring 4.27 goals per game.

Though Victoria did score 7 goals in those two games, they also allowed 13, struggling to handle a potent Cougars attack that comes in wave after wave.

And that’s what the Royals—regardless of who they have in their lineup—need to do against the Rockets this weekend.

It’s been Casper Haugen Evensen centering Tanner Scott and Reggie Newman as the top line, and they’ll need to do the heavy lifting against the Rockets.

But the real test will be for Teydon Trembecky, Ben Riche, and Escalus Burlock to handle their increased ice time against better competition.

The Rockets are on the hunt for the Royals, just 7 points back.

Just as important, it appears the cream of the Western Conference crop is Prince George, the Portland Winterhawks, and the Everett Silvertips.

That leaves the Royals and Wenatchee Wild in 4th and 5th in the Conference, and, with the Wild trading both of their star forwards in Matthew Savoie and Conor Geekie at the trade deadline, 4th place—and home ice in round one of the playoffs—is up for grabs.

As it stands, both Victoria and Wenatchee are tied at 58 points, with the Vancouver Giants and the Rockets both sitting at 51 points.

Home ice in the first round (and the first Royals home playoff game since 2019),have to be the goal for the squad down the stretch and through the remaining 15 games, injury bug or not.

Upcoming Victoria Royals Games

  • Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard Street
  • When: 
    • Victoria Royals vs Vancouver Giants — Wednesday, February 15th, 7:05 p.m.
    • Victoria Royals vs Kelowna Rockets — Friday, February 16th, 7:05 p.m.
    • Victoria Royals vs Kelowna Rockets — Saturday, February 17th, 6:05 p.m.
Jeremy Weeres
Jeremy Weeres
Victoria Royals and hockey writer at Victoria Buzz

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