Victoria Royals talent unmasked: Goalie chalks up strong start

 

The whimsical image of an outhouse speaks for itself.

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It is among the things painted on Griffen Outhouse’s 2017-18 goalie mask.

“I don’t know why it was put on there,” he quipped.

“Fans will get a laugh out of that.”

Outhouse has worn the mask, painted by Travis Michael, in fine form so far this season. The veteran 19-year-old Victoria Royals creaseman was named top Western Hockey League goaltender for the first week of the season, as the Royals defeated the Vancouver Giants 7-1 and 6-1, as Outhouse opened by allowing just two goals with a 1.07 goals-against average and .975 save percentage after stopping 77 of 79 shots over the two games.

The Royals face Don Hay’s Kamloops Blazers (0-2 heading into Friday night’s game against the Giants in Langley) tonight at 7:05 and in a 3 p.m. Sunday matinée at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

“Individual awards are not important to me. It’s more important that we were good as a team in all three zones [offence, defence and crease],” Outhouse said.

Victoria’s special teams were particularly noteworthy over the opening two games with the power play connecting for a league co-leading five goals, on 15 chances for a league fourth-best 33 per cent clip, while the penalty-kill unit has yet to allow a goal in 11 opposition chances while scoring two goals itself.

Meanwhile, Outhouse’s mask displays a snowy theme this season with a rather sinister-looking snowman, perhaps appropriate in light of last year’s uncharacteristically harsh Island winter.

The back of the mask features a cross, signifying his religious beliefs, and a small silhouette of David Ortiz in honour of Outhouse’s passion for the Boston Red Sox.

There is also a touching tribute on the back to a late friend, Tyler Tenning, who died in a car crash at age 17 in May just outside Williams Lake. Tenning was an avid mountain biker and the small silhouette shows him with his hands up in victory on a bike, as he used to do after crossing the finish line. It is beneath the logo “T-10,” which was Tenning’s nickname.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Outhouse, of losing his friend.

ROYALS NOTES: The Anaheim Ducks sent unsigned forward Tyler Soy to their San Diego Gulls AHL affiliate, and he scored in Thursday’s exhibition win against the Ontario Reign. The Los Angeles Kings have sent signed defenceman Chaz Reddekopp to their AHL-affiliate Reign. Both Soy and Reddekopp are eligible to return to the Royals this season as 20-year-olds. The moves do not preclude the Ducks or Kings from sending Soy or Reddekopp back to junior hockey with the Royals. For instance, the Gulls have 36 players on their roster, which may not auger well for Soy sticking in the pros this season. Pro teams have until February to make that decision. WHL teams are allowed three 20-year-olds on the roster. Victoria is currently skating with only one 20-year-old player — forward Regan Nagy.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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