Kings vs Alberni Valley 02.27-0004

Jacob Pritchard’s 4th hat trick of the season steered the Kings over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday night at the Hap Parker Arena.

  • A pretty interesting start to the game as we started without a goal judge behind Brett Magnus for the first 20 seconds or so and survived a Mitch Makin chance, but then on a clearence not long after that Jeremy LeClerc rimmed the puck around and sent it down the ice. Icing was waved off on the play and Drake Brown played it back around the boards only for it to pop off a seam in front and right to Jacob Pritchard to hammer home.
  • Despite protests from the Bulldogs bench, the goal stood. The only explaination I heard on the waved off icing was the fact the Bulldogs were on a change and that’s why it was waved off. Not saying that’s correct, but that’s what was said after the game.
  • Full credit to the Dogs for rebounding and scoring 47 seconds later. I wouldn’t say it helped put the 1-0 goal behind them as the bench was still quite hot after but it certainly was an excellent response after a difficult start.
  • The rest of the 1st period was everything we’d come to expect from the Kings and Bulldogs this season. Fast, tight checking and highly entertaining. Both Kings goals were greasy around the net with Nick Halagian scoring a goal in his 3rd straight game, while Kurt Keats scored his 31st of the season to make it 3-1 Kings through 20.
  • Into the 2nd and much more of the same. An early Kings goal was cancelled out by another quick Bulldog response before the Kings scored 2 late for another 3-1 period and a 6-2 lead through 40. Two of the goals belonged to Pritchard who completed the hattrick in typical Pritchard fashion with a snipe from a tight angle, then a snap shot in the high slot for a goal scorers goal.
  • The middle frame also saw some emotions begin to pile up. A Ross Hnidy hit on Marcus Russell sparked a scrum along the penalty box doors but it never flowed over unlike some other times this season between these two clubs. The game from start to finish was played in a quick, tough, physical way, but was kept between the whistles outside of a few minor dust ups.
  • The 3rd  was largely uneventful despite two pretty nice goals. Brent Lashuk returned to the lineup and got on a breakaway right out of the penalty box to convert for his 14th of the year. Then right near the end, Adam Tracey showed some nice hands for his 7th, deking out Nathan Warren in close quarters.
  • Brett Magnus stopped 31 for his 24th win of the year in his 13th straight start between the pipes for the Kings. He finally gets a well earned rest Saturday, but more on that in a bit.
  • For Pritchard, the trio was his 4th hat trick of the season joining others against Chilliwack, Langley and Penticton.

Here’s what Brock Sawyer, and guest Liam Lawson had to say through 60.

Unfortunately for the Kings, out of town results didn’t go their way and the Victoria Grizzlies beat the Clippers in double overtime to secure 2nd in the Division and home ice advantage in the 1st round. The results also firm up the 1st round of the playoffs as the Clippers will take on the Bulldogs and the Kings will battle the Grizzlies for the 3rd straight year in the playoffs.

It means that game 58 tonight doesn’t mean a whole lot in the standings, but will mean a whole lot to the players for pride and momentum heading into the post season. The Kings will likely make a couple of changes and that includes Stefan Wornig to go between the pipes for the Kings, his first start since mid January. The team will also get Curtis McCarrick back into the lineup as he has finished serving his 2-game suspension for a check from behind in Nanaimo last week. It’s also likely that Hunter Findlater draws back in to get him ready for playoffs.

Also, the Vancouver Canucks Green Men will be in attendance for their 2nd visit to Powell River. Force and Sully are always lots of fun and it’ll be great to have them back in Powell River for another game.


STATSGame: Alberni Valley Bulldogs vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 26-18-1-9 (2nd Island)
Opposition Record: 36-16-0-3 (1st Island)

TRENDSThe Kings are on a season high (tying) 4-game losing streak and a season high 5-game winless streak when you include the 3-3 tie to Penticton a few weeks ago. The Kings are coming off a pair of losses on Vancouver Island against the Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Grizzlies last Friday and Saturday nights. The Bulldogs have also lost 4-straight, including all three on their weekend 3-in-3 through the Interior last weekend. Stops in Salmon Arm, Penticton and Merritt proved too much, despite close scores on Friday and Saturday nights, and a last minute winner against Salmon Arm to start the road trip.

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  • Those last 4 games the Kings have dropped have really put the Kings in a tough spot and over the course of 7 days the team has gone from controlling its own destiny in playoff seeding, to relying on some out of town help to secure home ice advantage. It’s something the Kings haven’t had in just 1 of their last 4 playoff series and coincidently that’s the one that they won (vs Nanaimo last year). The other three (Penticton 11/12, Victoria 12/13 and Victoria 13/14) didn’t go the Kings way.
  • A hallmark of this Kings team all season has dried up over the last couple of games, and that’s the offence. The Kings have scored just 7 goals in their last 4 games, while conceding 18. 2 of the 3 goals over the weekend came from Nick Halagian who finally got rewarded for some good play. He’s a player who has been a little ‘snakebit’ over the last few weeks…creates chances but just didn’t have the finish. He kept at it and scored a couple of greasy goals which does the world of good for confidence.
  • On the offence, it was a tough weekend for the Kings top three of Kurt Keats, Jarid Lukosevicius and Jacob Pritchard. Pritchard was held off the scoresheet in back to back games for the first time since October, the same fate fell on Keats for just the 2nd time this year (2 games in late November/early December) and Lukosevicius scored 1 goal on Saturday snapping a 3-game drought. Look for all three to fire back, as with all three players their “droughts” (using the term very loosely) have all been followed by dominating point streaks which has steered all three to be some of the highest scorers in the league.
  • Brett Magnus has been a workhorse for the Kings this season. I went through some numbers on Thursday, and I do want to preface this with the fact that I am missing some season numbers for the goaltenders in the early years…however going back to the mid-late 90’s, Magnus is currently 4th in single season minutes played (2761) and with just over 2 periods worth of work this weekend, he’ll move into 2nd place, eclipsing Michael Garteig’s 2805 in 2010/2011 and behind Kris Tebbs (2900). Among those top minute getters, Magnus is already 2nd this season in both saves (1451) and shots against (1601), behind Travis Harrington (1518, 1701) in 2000/2001. For context, current Kings assistant coach Chad van Diemen was a member of the Kings roster that year before moving to Quesnel.
  • On Magnus, results will dictate how much he plays this weekend I imagine. The Kings want to get Stefan Wornig in some game action before playoffs, a goaltender who has been badly bit by the injury bug this year, and when healthy, has been kept out by a stellar Magnus, particularly through November. I can’t speak for the coaches, but I could see a split with the goalies, depending on what’s at stake on Saturday…but as always it’ll be the coaches call.
  • With the injury bug, Alberni has been bit in a couple of key areas this season. Evan Tironese went down November 11th in Powell River and hasn’t returned. He was their ace up front, now their top defenceman Kurt Gosselin has played just 32 games this season and none down the stretch in February. The Bulldogs do have cover, but losing your top defenceman stings no matter how much depth you have. He was a powerplay quarterback, a smooth skater and extremely solid on the back end.
  • The Kings are 3-2-0-2 against Alberni this season and 1-0-0-1 in Powell River. This season series has been some of the most entertaining hockey I’ve seen this year with all 6 games being decided by just a goal, multiple overtimes and some great divisional battles. The last meeting was in Powell River on New Years Eve, with the Bulldogs taking a 3-2 overtime win.

The broadcast goes live on the Kings Broadcast Network 6:55 with the pre-game show, 7:15pm opening faceoff. We’ll talk with Stephen Hiff and Nick Halagian in our 1st intermission, with former Paper King Brad Klyn featured in our 2nd break, along with an update from the coaches through 40 minutes with Zach Evans.

The Final Countdown


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Two games are left for all the playoff-bound Island Division teams, and whether it’s a case of the schedule makers having some sort of future-telling extra sense or just a happy coincidence, we get immensely meaningful games this weekend as the Kings and Bulldogs have a double header in Powell River, while the Clippers and Grizzlies play two on the Island.

There are so many scenarios leading into this weekend, however for Kings fans a number of those got knocked out on Wednesday night as the Victoria Grizzlies defeated the Cowichan Valley Capitals to move 3-points up on the Kings with 2 games remaining. In the space of less than a week, the Kings have gone from a team controlling their own fate, to one who could find themselves in Nanaimo on Tuesday night.

I thought I’d take some of the confusion out of the last two games and breakdown exactly what has to happen for the Kings to finish in 2nd for a home ice playoff berth come Tuesday night.. At the end of the day, the Kings could play in 58 meaningful games and move straight into a playoff series on Tuesday night…where or against who, remains to be seen.

For the Kings to finish 2nd, and start playoffs at home on Tuesday vs 3rd place

  • The Kings win both games against Alberni this weekend and the Grizzlies get 0 or 1 point against Nanaimo in their two games (tie, overtime loss)
    • In this scenario, the Grizzlies and Kings tie in points (with a VIC OT loss or tie) after 58 games, Powell River would have the tiebreaker based on most wins (28 vs 27). If the Grizzlies drop both and the Kings win both, the Kings earn home ice outright.
  • The Kings win one game and lose in overtime or tie in the other game against Alberni and the Grizzlies are beaten twice in regulation by Nanaimo.
    • In this scenario, the Grizzlies and Kings would be tied in points and wins which means it’d move to the 2nd tiebreaker (points vs tied team in season series), which the Kings have.

At the end of the day, the Kings need at least 3 points this weekend AND some out of town help. The message with the club has been “you get what you deserve”, and the Kings have gotten themselves into a spot where they need out of town help to secure home ice in the first round. We’ll know a lot more about playoffs come Friday night around 9:30 when games wrap on the Island and in Powell River.

Off the ice, the games are just as big. Friday Coast Realty has some discounted tickets still available and some amazing prizes up for grabs in their ever popular balloon pop. On Saturday Pacific Coastal and the Canucks Green Men will return to Powell River with some penalty box antics in store. Game times are 7:15pm Friday and 5:00pm Saturday.

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11017665_1048447558504471_4689284303767320027_nA number of Kings lost their cool en route to a disappointing and frustrating 6-1 loss in Nanaimo on Friday night, extending their losing skid to 3 games and now winless in 4.

  • We’ve used the term “frustrating” a lot over the season, normally referring to the way the team played overall. Friday night it was not only that, but personal frustrations as well. Three players were tossed, not include Carmine Buono who left on an offsetting minor in the final minute. Certainly this season, I don’t know if I’ve seen a game more where individual players have gotten off their games so much.
  • Out of the three players tossed, Curtis McCarrick was the only one directly related to a game incident. He got caught in an ugly situation, crashing Anthony Rinadi head first into the wall. It was correctly assessed a 5-minute check from behind, and a game misconduct and Rinaldi returned to the game late in the frame, then into action in the third. For McCarrick, it was a clumsy hit from a guy who is the furthest thing from a dirty player.
  • Another key point from Friday’s game was a pair of disallowed goals. I’d be real curious to see the replays on the ShawTV broadcast, but the refs don’t have that luxury so let’s go on what we saw. McCarrick’s disallowed one in the 1st period was close, but the referee was in perfect position right behind the net and waved it off immediately despite a pretty intense protest from McCarrick. Jarid Lukosevicius’ one in the 3rd was certainly a little reminiscent to Jacob Pritchard’s against Penticton a couple of weeks ago. Drive to the net, tuck it in backhand. The reaction was also immediate from both the ref who was down low, but not in a great position, and the player who started celebrating as did the rest of the team. Important to note, goal lights stayed off in both cases.
  • The Kings started the game the better team, had the first real chances on Guillaume Decelles but couldn’t solve the Clipper netminder. It was Nanaimo’s 1st goal that really came against the run of play that turned the tide of the game firmly in Nanaimo’s favour. The 2nd cemented the lead and wound up being the game winner.
  • The Kings did get a good bounce on their lone goal however as Jonny Evans banged away at a puck in front of the goal before Nick Halagian swept in and roofed it over Decelles for his 4th of the year.
  • From there, all Nanaimo outside of some rare powerplay time for the Kings that they weren’t able to cash in on. The 5-minute major to McCarrick was whittled down to just over 2 minutes thanks to Clipper penalties but despite looking dangerous, the Kings failed to beat goaltender Decelles.

Here’s what Brock Sawyer had to say in the postgame show:

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The Kings now wrap not only the weekend, but wrap the road portion of the 2014/2015 schedule in Victoria against the Grizzlies. It’s far from a “must win” in terms of do-or-die, but in the scheme of securing home ice advantage in the first round it’s pretty much must win. The Grizzlies were idle last night and sit 1 back with a game in hand over the Kings. A Powell River win tonight can cancel that game out and maintain a 1 point lead over Victoria regardless of other results.

Over the season series against the Grizzlies, the Kings have gone through it like many other teams…starting slow and getting better along the way. Powell River has won the last 4 meetings against Victoria, 3 in Powell River and 1 at the tail end of a 3-in-3 (how many times have we said that this season?) right after the Christmas break. The Kings are guaranteed a season series win over Victoria, but will look more for a complete effort through 60, than just a win tonight.

It’s a 7:00pm puck drop from the Q Centre, I’ll have the call on CJMP 90.1FM and the Kings Broadcast Network beginning at 6:40 with our pre-game show.

 


STATSGame: Powell River Kings vs Nanaimo Clippers
Arena: Frank Crane Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video
Shaw TV (Replay)

NUMBERSKings Record: 26-18-1-9 (2nd Island)
Opposition Record: 36-16-0-3 (1st Island)

TRENDSThe Kings have dropped their last two in pretty disappointing fashion, and are winless in 3. The two losses include a Family Day decision at home to the Nanaimo Clippers, followed up by a flat 1st and 3rd against Merritt last Friday night. Nanaimo is also coming off a loss, a 4-1 result in West Kelowna on Sunday. In fact Nanaimo hasn’t won a game since that Family Day win in Powell River, going 0-3 on an Interior road trip against Penticton, Vernon and West Kelowna.

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  • Before we get to the game preview, if you missed the post from Thursday night…you can watch this game on TV on a replay. The game times for the Powell River market are available here.
  • Four games remain for the Kings, against three Island Division opponents over the course of two weeks and recent results have meant there is just one point separating the Kings from 3rd place.
  • After a 6-game home stand, where the Kings went 3-2-1-0, the team hits the road for the first time since mid-January when the Kings won in Salmon Arm to get their first points on their last 3-in-3 of the season. The team’s road record isn’t great, but a pair of wins this weekend will lift it to a game below 500 from its current 9-12-0-6.
  • Those 6 overtime losses on the road certainly sting, as many of them (particularly early) were the result of a great rally after a poor start. Down 2 or more goals, only to find a way and tie it up through regulation, then drop it on a simple play in overtime. It was an all-too-common trend for the club early, however the team has been better down the stretch winning 3 of their 4 OT games through January (none yet in February) including a 3-2 result in their last visit to the Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.
  • Despite the recent results, a pair of Kings have maintained their offensive output. Jacob Pritchard carries a 4-game goal streak (8 in that span, including his pair of hattricks) and an 8-game point streak (13-4-17). His part-time line mate Kurt Keats has points in his last 6 (3-9-12) and traditionally plays very well in Nanaimo. The third prong to the Kings “terrifying trio” up front, Jarid Lukosevicius, hasn’t notched a point in 2 games. The last time that happened, “Luko” missed the sheet for 3 straight games between December 13th and 19th, then proceeded to go on a 12-game point streak (14-4-18).
  • The top three powerplays in the BCHL still belong to Island Division clubs, with Victoria, Alberni and Powell River owning the podium in that order. Nanaimo had been a top-3 club most of the year, however their recent run of outs has dropped their powerplay to 6th. Both penalty kills have struggled this season, and both sit in the bottom quarter of the league (Nanaimo 12th, Powell River 13th).
  • The biggest key to this set of games is the fact that the team controls it’s own destiny. Both the Kings and Grizzlies have played the same amount of games, with Victoria sitting one point back. Alberni is another 2 behind and still has a game in hand that they’ll use Sunday on the road in Merritt. The equation is simple for the Kings, win out and you’re on home ice to start March. Drop a game, and you’re scoreboard watching.
  • The Kings have a largely healthy roster to select from heading into tonight, with Brent Lashuk the only absence from the road trip as he continues to recover from a hit against West Kelowna in January. It means 6 defenceman and 13 forwards will vie for the 18 spots tonight. At this end of the season, the prospect of a healthy scratch is a good problem to have.

The broadcast goes live on the Kings Broadcast Network 6:40 with the pre-game show, 7:00pm opening faceoff. We’ll talk with Mitchell Hawes and Carmine Buono in the first intermission, along with a surprise I found on my audio recorder Wednesday afternoon.


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If you’re not at the Frank Crane Arena on Friday night, or maybe you miss the live call of the game on FastHockey and the Network, then you can catch up with the Kings vs Clippers game on Shaw TV. The game will air in its entirety as part of an experience for the company, who is looking to add more BCHL content to its lineup of stations up and down Vancouver Island, covering the Sunshine Coast too.

The game will air in Powell River at the following times:

  • Saturday February 21st at 3:00pm
  • Monday February 23rd at 7:00pm
  • Wednesday February 25th at 12:00pm

The game will feature Clippers broadcaster Dan Marshall and his crew calling the action. Expect more games to be covered next season, with the goal of the project to cover all the Island teams throughout the year as they move through the Frank Crane Arena.

 


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Here’s a press release from the BCHL regarding this year’s post-season, which is fast approaching:

With the playoffs less than three weeks away, the British Columbia Hockey League is announcing it will stick with the same postseason arrangement as last year.

Regular-season games will conclude on Saturday, Feb. 28 and the first playoff games will be Tuesday, March 3. The top-four teams from each of the three divisions will qualify for the playoffs for a total of 12 teams. In each division for Round One, the No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 seed and No. 2 will play No. 3.

Round One must be played between the dates of March 3 to March 11. Round Two must be completed between March 13 and March 22. Round Three must be completed between March 25 and April 5. The Fred Page Cup Finals will be played between April 10 and April 19.

The first, second and championship rounds of the BCHL playoffs will be best-of-seven series. It will be up to the opposing teams in each playoff series to determine the format of the seven games (2-2-1-1-1 or 2-3-1-1 or 1-1-1-1-1-1-1, etc.).

After the second round, there will be three division champions left standing. As in 2014, these three teams will play a double round-robin tournament with each team hosting the other two in their home arena. This round will eliminate one team and the remaining two will advance to the BCHL Finals to play for the Fred Page Cup.

The BCHL champion will go to the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup which will be held April 25 to May 3 in Fort McMurray, Alta. The top-two teams there will advance to the RBC Cup national championship, which will be May 9 to 17 in Portage-la-Prairie, Man.

In short, it’s a lot of hockey in a short space of time…especially in that first round. 7 games in 9 days is a tough slog and several in the league have expressed a concern over the quality of play with that kind of schedule. That being said, it’s playoffs. The Kings still don’t know what will be home or away in the 1st round, as the team is still at least a couple of games away from securing 2nd in the Division. If the Kings finish 2nd, game 1 will likely be at the Hap on Tuesday March 3rd. If the Kings slip to 3rd, they play games 3 and 4 at home on the following Friday and Saturday nights.

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