Royales Beat Writer
Hockey is back at Lakeview Arena this weekend after a week off, as the Marquette Royales (14-2) hope to trick the Wooster Oilers (12-6) into treating them to another three-game sweep. The Oilers quietly sit tied in second place with Illiana (12-5) in the Great Lakes division, just three points behind division leading MQT.
The Royales have an impressive 14-game win streak going on and are currently leading the MNJHL with 28 points, one point ahead of the Minnesota division's Maple Grove Energy (13-6). Wooster who has won five of their last six games are also currently in good position to make a run and compete for home ice come play-off time, which is the main objective at the moment for the top teams in each division.
Offense should be abundant in this series, as it will feature two of the leagues hottest goal scores. Oilers' forward Dillon Kessy leads the league with 20 goals and Royales' Dallas Mclaughlin has 19. MQT has a league high 101 goals and Wooster in third with 86 while both teams combine for five of the top seven goal scorers in the division. Royales forwards Lane King and Jeff Salzbrunn are big reasons for the high production as they are the top two players in assists and points in the league.
"I'm doing real well and teammates are scoring. Its all working out right now," Salzbrunn said. "The team that we got here is just unbelievable. Its all straight forward business and were ready to win this year."
Special teams will be a factor in this series, as MQT has 447 penalty minutes. Having the penalty kill unit on the ice isn’t always a bad thing for the Royales however as they have ten shorthanded goals with five coming from McLaughlin. The Royales defense will have to keep two eyes on Kessy as he has racked up nine power play goals so far.
“ We were mimicking in practice a lot what Wooster does, so our power play can get ready for it” Stanaway added
Goaltending is the key matchup with the most intrique. The Royales who have started a total of five goalies this year seem to have there top three with Nate Eminger, Bryce Leaf and Walker Enstad all getting the majority of the starts so far. Eminger who is undefeated and Leaf are leading the way on the team both with five wins. Wooster has a two goalie main rotation with Daniel Kemter and Creighton Furber. Kemter is 6-2 with a 2.94 goals against average compared to Leafs and Eminger’s 2.00 and Enstad's 3.00 GAA. Wooster’s number two net minder Furber (4-3) has a 4.59 goals against average. No goalie decisions have been made at this time.
Both Friday and Saturday's games will start at 7:30 p.m. while Sunday’s conclusion game will begin at 1 p.m.. The Royales who are coming off a bye weekend continue their hot streak and extend their win streak to 17 games or will Wooster be able to overcome their biggest challenge and become the new Great Lakes Division Leader.
“Come out and see the games," said Salzbrunn. "Lakeview is a great atmosphere so come have some fun and watch some good hockey."
Brandon Decremer is the MQT Royales beat writer for MQT Social Scene. He can be reached through our website's contact page.