Royals ready for Hunter as Tigers visit

Leading NHL-prospect Hunter Shinkaruk visits Victoria tonight (Oct. 3) as the Royals host the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Victoria Royals forward Tim Traber tries to jam the puck past Kamloops Blazers goalie Cole Cheveldave against Kamloops defender Josh Connolly

Here comes Hunter.

Leading NHL-prospect Hunter Shinkaruk visits Victoria tonight (Oct. 3) as the Royals host the Medicine Hat Tigers (3-1).

Shinkaruk, 17, is riding high as the WHL player of the week. The a potential first-rounder for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft scored 49 times last year and this is likely the only chance for Royals fans to see him, as its the Tigers’ only visit of the season. Shinkaruk is coming off a six-point weekend, with a goal and five assists in the Tigers 5-4 win over the Red Deer Rebels 5-4 on Friday and 5-1 win over the Regina Pats on Saturday.

The Royals, meanwhile, have recovered from Sunday’s 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Kamloops Blazers and are looking to improve on their 3-1 record, second only in the B.C. Division to Kamloops (3-0-1).

Cole Chevaldave earned the Blazers shutout, making 22 saves against an anemic Royals’ attack. It was a decidedly better effort from the Blazers, who were stunned by the Royals 4-3 in a shootout on Friday night.

“We got exactly what we expected Sunday. We knew they were going to have a push, they didn’t surprise us, we just didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” coach Dave Lowry said.

“We had one of the top teams of the country come in here, and I thought we played well in the first period. But we got into penalty trouble and it took too many guys out of the game.”

Royals goalie Jared Rathjen stopped 36 of 39 shots on Sunday, his first start of the season.

Sixteen-year-olds Jack Walker and Brandon Fushimi made their debuts for the Royals, playing both games against Kamloops. Fushimi, of Thornton, Colo., scored an assist in his first ever game on Friday on Brett Cote’s powerplay goal. Logan Nelson and Alex Gogolev also scored on Friday, with Nelson scoring the only goal for both teams in the shootout.

Game time versus the Tigers (3-1) is 7:05 p.m. tonight at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.