GAME DAY: VICTORIA VS. LETHBRIDGE
6 p.m. at the Enmax Centre
Radio: The Zone 91.3 FM / TV: None
The Western Hockey League match-up tonight in Lethbridge can be likened to a sink with two water taps, one running hot and the other cold.
The Victoria Royals (9-8) are on a four-game losing skid, while the host Hurricanes (10-7-2) are 4-0-1 over the last five games and 7-1-2 over the past 10.
"They [Hurricanes] have been playing extremely well," admitted Royals head coach Dave Lowry.
"But our primary focus is on our club and what we need to do. We need a committed effort from 20 guys."
The Royals' losing streak coincides with the first four games of their seven-game road swing, which concludes Friday in Calgary against the Hitmen and Saturday in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.
Lowry expressed real disappointment in only the opening loss of the road swing to the lowly Vancouver Giants.
"We've been losing to good hockey teams," he said of the other three losses.
"Kamloops is No. 1 in the country and Portland [where the Royals suffered two defeats last weekend] is another highly-rated team. Sure, there are some things we'd like to correct.
But we have to stay the course."
Lethbridge has nothing close to the depth up front boasted by the talent-laden Blazers and Winterhawks, but Hurricanes leading-
scorer Russell Maxwell (20 points in 19 games) will bear watching. Especially on the power play, from where five of Maxwell's 12 goals have come this season.
The Hurricanes otherwise don't have a lot of flashy baubles but are steady and balanced under the captaincy of 20-year-old Graham Hood.
The Hurricanes' rookie Swedish import forward Axel Blomqvist - whose brother Albin Blomqvist is a Hurricanes defenceman - is expected to draw some interest for the 2013 NHL draft based on his six-foot-five frame alone.
The workhorse of the Hurricanes is Ty Rimmer, the first goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League to reach the 500-save plateau this season, and who has started all 19 games. WHL teams want value out of their 20-yearolds and Rimmer, acquired in a trade over the summer from the Tri-City Americans, has provided that for Lethbridge with a 2.75 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
ICE CHIPS: The Hurricanes will wear military-themed third jerseys tonight on Canadian Armed Forces Night . . . Lowry proclaimed a healthy Royals roster for tonight's game, meaning captain Tyler Stahl should return after missing the last five games . . . Lethbridge's top defence-man, Adam Henry, is out until the New Year because of a heart condition known as Myocarditis.
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