Royals drop two, Grizz’ slow bleeding, Jr. B captains duel

Everett Silvertips visit Royals Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Cougars host Oceanside Generals Thursday night

Captain Hayden Rintoul kicks up a rebound from goalie Keith Hamilton versus the Vancouver Giants earlier this season. The eighth-place Royals host the 10th place Everett Silvertips Tuesday and Wednesday nights

Royals host Everett

At last, Sam Grist scores again.

The Peninsula product notched just his second career goal in the WHL as his Tri-City Americans defeated the Victoria Royals 6-3 on Saturday. The former Victoria Grizzlies defenceman also tallied an assist.

Grist was one of the positives for Victoria hockey fans to take away from the fact the Royals lost both games during their weekend swing through Washington State, including a 6-5 shootout to the Spokane Chiefs on Friday.

Gleaning the positives is what being a younger team is all about. Another reason for optimism is the four game goal scoring streak Jamie Crooks is on. Crooks leads the Royals with 29 goals as Victoria host the Everett Silvertips,

7:05 p.m. Wednesday night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Grist now has two goals in 102 WHL games. It took him 96 games to get his first goal, which came back on Jan. 14.

Grizzlies bear down

After a run of high scoring, one-sided losses the Victoria Grizzlies plugged the defensive leak on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to the Powell River Kings.

Granted the Grizz’ came up short of a win, but the team’s goals against average earned a much-needed respite after losing 8-5 to the Coquitlam Express on Friday.

Former Grizzly Teal Burns, who was also a junior-B Victoria Cougar, returned with the Kings on Saturday. Burns was assigned to the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers in January by the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. Nanaimo then traded his rights to Powell River at the deadline, and Burns scored three goals and eight assists in his first nine games.

The Grizzlies play in Coquitlam on Friday (Feb. 10) and Saturday in Port Alberni.

Cougars and Braves in captains’ duel

One-game efforts are great for conversation, which Sam Gagner is finding out, but the true bread and butter of scoring leaders is piling up the multiple point games.

It’s how former Saanich Braves player Wade Murphy, now with the Penticton Vees, has climbed to 77 points in 46 games, second overall in B.C. Hockey League scoring (as of Feb. 5).

It’s also how Ty Jones of the Saanich Braves has caught Brody Coulter of the Victoria Cougars in what has become a captains’ duel for the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League scoring race.

As of Monday each had 68 points, Jones with 33 goals and 35 assists, Coulter with 27 goals and 41 assists.

Jones had a late start and has played seven less games. He finally caught and surpassed Coulter with a four point game on Feb. 1. Jones scored twice and added two assists, while Mitch Johnstone scored a hat trick in the Braves 11-0 drubbing of Peninsula Panthers at Pearkes arena.

Jones held the torch for just 24 hours, however, as the Braves lost to the Cougars 5-2 in Esquimalt the next night. Jones scored the first goal, one minute and 27 seconds into the game. But the Cougars roared back with two goals by Chris Bannister, and one each from Steve Axford, Connor Stephens, and Graham Zagrodney. Coulter had two assists.

The Cougars host the Oceanside Generals Thursday, 7:15 p.m., the Braves host Kerry Park, 6:30 p.m. on Friday.