Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
August 28, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Team White defeated Team Blue 3-2 in an entertaining Victoria Royals Intra-Squad game Wednesday night at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The (estimated) 1,000 fans in attendance were treated to a nice preview of what the Royals might look like in two or three years, as of the 38 players dressed for both sides, only 13 were on the team last year, with the bulk of the roster featuring players with birth dates in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Alex Aguirre of Team White was just one of many wide-eyed prospects skating in the intra-squad game Wednesday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Notable 2012-1013 regulars not dressed for the game included Logan Nelson, Ben Walker, Steven Hodges, Brandon Magee, Jordan Fransoo, Joe Hicketts and goaltender Patrick Polivka.
On the other side of the coin, returning players Coleman Volrath (who started for Team White in net), Ryan Gagnon, Keegan Kanzig, Trent Lofthouse, Taylor Crunk, Kolton Dixon, Brandon Fushimi, Luke Harrison, Isaac Schacher, Jack Walker, Logan Fisher, Austin Carroll and Brett Cote were sprinkled in amongst the youngsters to provide some veteran leadership and size on both sides.
Team White’s Keegan Kanzig was one of 13 veterans in the intra-squad lineups on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
As one might assume in reading the list of returning players noted above, the number of roster spots that might be available this year for any of the young prospects who were on the ice tonight, will be minimal. Making this even tougher is the fact that the highly touted Tyler Soy (who played for Team White) and D-Man Chaz Reddekopp (who did not play), are expected to break camp with the team this year.
Team White’s Luke Harrison looks for an opening during first period action Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That did not stop the newcomers from battling hard though, with a number factoring into the scoring during the evening.
First off the mark in this regard was Team Blue’s Brayden Dunn, a Royal’s 2013 draft pick, who would score in the first period to open the scoring. Assists went to veteran Brett Cote, with a beautiful cross-ice pass to Dunn, and to James Gaume.
Team White’s Nolan Carothers somehow avoided a penalty as he impedes Team Blue’s Regan Nagy as he drives to the net in the second period Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Team White knotted the game up early into the middle frame. Defenceman Kolton Dixon led the rush along the left wing before he snapped a low shot past Team Blue starter Griffen Outhouse just 15 seconds in. Assists on the play came from Kaiden Jones and Matthew Campese.
Team Blue’s 15-year old Noah Gregor, all 5’9″ of him, looks for a way to get around the 6’5″ frame of Team White defenceman Keegan Kanzig (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
At the midway point of the period, both sides would change goalies, with Team Blue going with Marcus Daly, who spent last season with the South Island Royals Major Midget team, while Team White switched to the giant 6’6″ Evan Smith, a 16-year old who hails from the Pikes Peak Miners program in Colorado.
Team White defenceman Keegan Kanzig has no trouble pushing Team Blue’s James Gaume off the puck in Wednesday night’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Things did not fare well for Daly in the latter half of the period, as Team White would tally twice, the first at the 12:06 mark as Trent Lofthouse would convert from Ben Baker and Tyler Soy. They would then make it 3-1 shortly thereafter when Matthew Campese would steal the puck at the blueline and go in alone to score on a nice deke around Daly.
Team White’s Matthew Campese had a good night with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That’s the way it would stay until early in the third, when Team Blue would finally solve the lanky Smith, when a Cote slapshot from the point found its way into the net. Assists on the play went to Andrew Marshall and Matthew Dykstra, both teammates last season on the CAC United Cycle Midget AAA team in Edmonton.
Team White’s Tyler Soy would get an assist Wednesday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That would be the end of the scoring as, Daly would rebound with a solid third period, stopping all of Team White’s 11 shots and Team Blue, despite a couple of late power-play opportunities, and an extra attacker with the goalie pulled late in the game, could not put another past Smith and Team White would emerge with the 3-2 win.
Team White’s Brodie Smith fires a shot off the wing in front of Team Blue defenceman Oliver Lester (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Royals will travel south of the border Friday morning to begin their 2013 WHL Pre-Season schedule. Victoria will head down to Everett, WA to play three games this weekend against the Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri-City Americans. The Royals’ only home pre-season contest will come Saturday, September 14th when the club welcomes the Vancouver Giants to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. An afternoon puck drop is slated for 1:35 p.m.