Victoria Royals looking to shore up penalty kill

The Victoria Royals will be looking to go the distance after having squandered third-period leads, thanks to late penalties against, in their last two games.

The Royals [0-3-1] meet the Prince George Cougars (1-2-1) tonight in Kamloops and the Vancouver Giants (3-1 heading into a late game Monday night) on Wednesday in Kelowna in B.C. Division Western Hockey League play.

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“We need a little more discipline and structure in closing out games,” said Royals GM and head coach Dan Price.

Missing has been the tenaciously aggressive Royals penalty kill of seasons past. Victoria is last in the league in penalty-killing efficiency at 61.1 percent, allowing seven goals on 18 opposition opportunities. That’s way too much.

“We haven’t seen that bolt-type penalty kill yet. But it will come,” said Price.

It has to, and quick. The lack of success on the penalty kill is one of the reasons Victoria has the worst winning percentage to date among the 22 WHL teams.

Off-ice news, meanwhile, has taken as much of the spotlight as on-ice news, particularly with the B.C. Division game postponements caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on the Kelowna Rockets.

“We have an inward focus,” said Price, about the situation.

“We know we can’t control anything out of our own team cohort, and we are being strict and thorough within our own group.”

Each team in the B.C. Division will play 24 games, all in Kamloops and Kelowna, and without spectators.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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