There is a saying among successful teams in sports: The defence never rests.
But what about that Victoria Royals goaltender? Does he ever take a night off? Apparently not. The indefatigable Griffen Outhouse made his 23rd consecutive start Saturday in a 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. That’s a franchise record, surpassing the old standard of 21 straight starts by Lucas Gore in 2010-11 when the club was located in Chilliwack and known as the Bruins.
Outhouse is 14-7-2 with three shutouts in those 23 games.
The Victoria goaltender made his 47th appearance of the WHL season with 25 saves Saturday. The sophomore picked up his 28th win before 5,605 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
“He told me he could play all 72 games,” chuckled Victoria coach Dave Lowry.
On a serious note, Lowry added: “Griff was put in a position where he had to play a lot.”
That’s because back-up goalkeeper Dylan Myskiw only returned from injury to the Victoria lineup on Friday for the first time post-Christmas. Lowry was non-committal about who will get the start tonight when the teams meet again at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Matthew Phillips, now with 37 goals, and Dante Hannoun each scored twice for Victoria.
“As a team, we are playing with speed and don’t hold the puck too long. Skating and aggression are our keys,” said Phillips, who matched his 37 goals from last season, when the Flames prospect was named WHL rookie of the year.
Ethan Price and defenceman Scott Walford, who also counted in Friday’s 3-1 victory over the Giants in Langley, scored on successive nights. Carter Folk got the other Victoria goal. Vancouver’s Jordan Borstmayer opened scoring.
“To win games, we have to be fast and relentless,” Lowry said, of the make-up of his club.
It was the second of three consecutive meetings between the clubs, continuing this evening at 5 p.m. at the Memorial Centre. The cross-strait derby is an annual 10-game affair. Victoria (28-19-4) leads this year's series 4-0-1.
The Giants are last in the Western Conference at 17-29-4 and appear on their way to missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years. Vancouver traded four veterans this month in a full-out rebuild and was again missing injured high second-round Edmonton Oilers draft pick Tyler Benson.
ICE CHIPS: In their fifth season together, the tandem of coach Lowry and GM Cam Hope reached the 200-win plateau Saturday with the Royals. In the six previous seasons of franchise history, the club had won only 161 games.