One does not require a mathematician to tell you that three does not go into one very evenly, especially when the topic is goaltending.
Just a few days away from the launch of their Western Hockey League season, the Victoria Royals still have three netminders on hand with no sign of making that final chop to bring it down to the customary duo.
Patrik Polivka, Coleman Vollrath and incumbent Jared Rathjen are all still around, which might surprise some, at least those on the outside, but head coach Dave Lowry doesnt give one iota how it appears, at this stage.
The wily veteran coach isnt ready to pare down just yet, nor is he tipping his hand glove or blocker for that matter as to who his No. 1 will become Friday in the opener in Vancouver against the Giants.
Surely, Czech Republic import Polivka, who has put together the sixth best totals in Western Hockey League pre-season play, rates the call, although those statistics dont interest Lowry either.
Hes done what we need our goalies to do, hes given us an opportunity to win. Hes made some saves when we werent as sharp as we need to be, Lowry said of Polivka, who played the full 60 minutes of the Royals final pre-season contest last Saturday and was being measured up for new pads on Tuesday.
But Lowry still wasnt deeming the 18-year-old native of Plzen his No. 1.
You can call him one of our three goalies. You can call him whatever you want, Lowry said with a chuckle.
These guys are going to battle for that. We have high expectations for all three. Its up to the individuals.
Asked how long the situation might run that way, Lowry in his usual stone-faced fashion said: When were comfortable, well make the decision.
These guys have to understand that practice is critical right now, added Lowry, who continues to evaluate every day.
Through the pre-season, Polivka had a 2-0 record with a 1.41 goals against average and .963 save percentage. Thats second best among goalies who have played more than 120 minutes.
Hes also coming off a 4-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday in which he made 28 stops.
Vollrath, who has also looked strong of late, was 33rd in pre-season stats with a 3.31 GAA and .906 save percentage and a 2-1 record. By all indications he was outstanding last Friday in a 5-4 shootout win in which he stopped 24 of 25 shots against the Giants in 34:54 of work, then halted nine of 11 staredowns in shootout.
I cant speculate anything. My job is to come out and do my job the best that I can every single day and let the chips fall where they may, Vollrath responded when asked if he felt hes done enough to secure a job.
Camp has been really good for me. Ive come in with no expectations at all and I think thats worked out for myself. I had a good game last Friday in Vancouver. My job is to give the guys a chance to win and thats what Dave expects from me here. I just try and stop all the pucks I can, added Vollrath, who did suggest he felt he proved himself in that shootout victory.
The 17-year-old is a proven winner. With the Calgary midget triple-A Buffaloes last season the team lost to eventual Telus Cup champion Red Deer in the second round of Alberta playoffs. He also won the bantam triple-A provincials in 2010 with the Calgary Bisons.
I think I can play at this level and be successful at this level, said Vollrath, who skated at Lowrys camp this summer. I definitely want to push for the starting role here. I want to be that guy every night who gives my team a chance to win and I think I can do that.
Rathjen played three pre-season games and recorded a 3.90 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage.
ICE CHIPS: Royals forward Brandon Magee did not skate on Tuesday ... After Fridays away opener, Victoria returns home Saturday and Mark Donnelly of Mr. O Canada and Vancouver Canucks fame will be on hand to sing the anthem for the rematch. The ceremonial puck drop will feature members of Team Canadas London 2012 contingent.
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