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.