Tyler Palmer stopping 63 of 65 shots in two games not only helped the Victoria Royals win twice in the same week for the first time in 2022, it earned him the Western Hockey League’s top netminder award.
Palmer was named goaltender of the week Monday after he posted a 1.00 goals-against average, .969 save percentage and one shutout in his two starts last week.
The praise is a needed bright spot for the Royals, as the team has slumped its way through the first two months of 2022 after going on an inspired run in December.
Palmer, an 18-year-old rookie goalie, started the week by stopping all 35 shots he faced in Victoria’s 3-0 win over Vancouver on Feb. 21. He then turned away 28 of 30 when the Royals beat the Giants 4-2 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena on Saturday (Feb. 26).
The Fernie product’s .905 save percentage for the season puts him in a three-way tie for the rookie lead in that category, but Palmer – with 31 games played – is the only one of the trio to play more than 15 games. There’s also no shortage of work on a game-by-game basis, as he averages the second-most shots against per game (36.4) in the league.
Besides the two wins with Palmer in net, the Royals also had a loss to Vancouver on Friday to go 2-1 on the week.
It was the first time in 2022 that the local team has been able to put two wins together in the same week.
The Royals surged in December with a 9-3 record, but then went winless in 11 games in January. Victoria has fared slightly better with three wins in 11 February contests. With less than two months remaining in the regular season, the Royals are currently in a three-team battle for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Victoria is set to play in Kelowna on Friday (March 4) when they open a two-game road trip against the Rockets. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.