The Victoria Royals took a costly loss in their only weekend contest as the Western Hockey League’s playoff picture will be decided by the last handful of games in the regular season.
The Royals, Vancouver Giants, Spokane Chiefs and Prince George Cougars are all within two points of each other in the Western Conference standings, but only three will move on to the post-season.
The Royals and Giants have been deadlocked in points in recent weeks, but Vancouver has two games in hand on Victoria. The Royals have a one-point lead over the eighth-place Chiefs, while the Cougars sit one point back of Spokane. Prince George, however, has a game in hand on Victoria and Spokane.
Victoria’s remaining games will be crucial to their playoff hopes as three of their final four matchups are against one of the two teams chasing them. The Royals, Chiefs and Cougars all finish the season on April 16. Victoria and Spokane play that night, so the game could end up deciding who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.
The Royals were shut out 5-0 by the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night. The local team struggled in the loss, managing just 15 shots on goal.
Victoria faces the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night. That game starts at 7 p.m.
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