Archive for the ‘Game Day Previews’ Category


STATSGame: Victoria Grizzlies vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 11-9-0-0 (3rd Island)
Opposition Record: 7-12-0-2 (5th Island)

TRENDSBoth teams are coming off wins against the Prince George Spruce Kings. On Friday, the Kings snapped a 6-game losing skid with a 6-2 win over Prince George. The powerplay went 2/6 and Nick Halagian was in on 5 of the 6 goals including a hattrick for himself. Jeff Smith stopped 18 of 20 Prince George shots for his quietest victory of the season.

Despite Victoria being statistically one of the worst teams in the league this season, are also right now one of the hottest. A team that struggled enormously out of the gate has rounded into form, winning 4 games in a row including last weekend where they beat Cowichan 2-1 and Prince George 7-4.

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  • A new line of Nick Halagian, Jonny Evans and Carter Turnbull paid immediate dividends for a Kings club looking to break out. In Evans’ return to the lineup, he slotted back into the top 6 nicely and excelled at finding open sticks. Halagian’s 1st is an example of Evans’ ability to put the puck wherever he wants to put it. Carter Turnbull got a bit of a monkey off the back style goal, a goal-scorers goal to boot as he opened the scoring by sniping upstairs shortside.
  • The powerplay went 2-for in the 2nd straight game, this time 2/6. The last time, and only time that’s happened this season was back against Alberni then Coquitlam at the Showcase. Following that, the Kings went 2/43 in the following 12.
  • Not of concern, but certainly of note is that the penalty kill continues to bleed goals. It hasn’t been a lot and it hasn’t been costing Kings games, but the team hasn’t had a perfect outing on the kill in its last 7, giving up 1 goal in each of those contests. The team has skunked opposition powerplays 7 times this season, the last of which coming against the Wenatchee Wild in Powell River.
  • A big reason why the penalty kill is not a major concern is because it doesn’t go to work very often. The Kings have consistently been, and currently are the league’s least penalised team, having been shorthanded 68 times this season. For a bit of perspective, the Grizzlies (tonight’s opponent) are the 4th least penalised team and have given up 15 more powerplays.
  • Defensively, the Kings 20 shots against vs Prince George is a season low, beating out the 24 against Surrey at the Showcase.
  • I said above that Victoria are statistically one of the worst teams in the league, and that’s true. A record of 7-14 (including OTL’s) doesn’t paint a flattering picture. Look closer though…two wins against the Kings in pretty emphatic fashion. Two recent wins over Cowichan (something the Kings haven’t done once) and a shutout of Vernon in the last few weeks. Makes it very easy to say Victoria are a team that doesn’t reflect their record.
  • Watch for the veteran trio up front tonight in Brayden Gelsinger, PJ Conlon and Cole Pickup. The 1, 2, 3 in team scoring have been very good against Powell River this season and in years past. Kevin Massy and Dante Hahn are also two names that will be familiar to Kings fans from years prior. Of the new players to make an impact this season, Tyler Welsh (who affiliated with the Grizzlies against Powell River last season) is off to a good start, and Keyvan Mokhtari scored in the last matchup between these two teams.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:55pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network and FastHockey PPV. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis about snapping the skid with a win on Friday, that new line with Halagian, Evans and Turnbull, as well as a quick reflection on Remembrance Day. We’ll also talk with Craig Didmon from the Grizzlies about his team’s run that’s resulted in them being the 3rd hottest team in the league (behind Penticton at 19 straight and Chilliwack at 6 straight). In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with Nick Halagian, Jeff Smith and Kyle Betts. In the 2nd break, we’ll continue out catch up with former Kings Captain and current Alaska-Anchorage Senior, Chris Williams with part 2 of my interview. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Prince George Spruce Kings vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 10-9-0-0 (3rd Island)
Opposition Record: 5-12-0-1 (5th Mainland)

TRENDSThe Kings have lost 6 straight and hardly anything else really matters. This is the lone game on the schedule for the club this weekend. They’ll next be in action Tuesday, hosting Victoria, then again Friday as the Kings entertain Langley.

The Spruce Kings are beginning to rebound after an awful start where they consistently bled goals in large numbers. The team is coming off a win and a weekend split against the Wenatchee Wild, a marked improvement considering the last two games against the Wild resulted in two very lobsided losses. The Spruce Kings are 2-2 in their last 4 and 4-5 in their last 9.

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  • The elephant in the room is the common links between these two clubs and it starts at the top. Head Coach Chad van Diemen returns to Powell River and the Hap Parker Arena for the first time since leaving in the off-season to work in Prince George. It’s also the first matchup against his former club. Chad spent 6 seasons in Powell River as an Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager. The familiarities don’t stop there as both Connor Logan and Nic Ponak have dressed in Powell River colours. Both were affiliates last season playing 8 and 2 games respectively, each with 1 assist in those games.
  • Despite the 6th straight loss, a lot of good things to take out of Sunday’s game in Duncan. The powerplay went 2/5 and scored for the first time in 7 games and 23 opportunities. The Kings scored more than 3 goals for the first time during that stretch as well and Chris Protopoulos chipped in for his 1st in the BCHL.
  • A key to success for the Kings has been a good start. The team is 10-2 when scoring 1st and leading after 1 this season, and scoring the first goal is something that simply hasn’t happened over the last few weeks with an regularity. Where better to change that at home where the Kings have outscored opposition 6-1 in the 1st period this season.
  • Another indicator for success on any Kings team, regardless of year, has been shot totals. This has always been a team that peppers opposition netminders, and shot totals of 40+ to 25-30 are routine when the team plays well. In the last 3 1st periods the Kings have outshot their opposition twice, but it hasn’t translated to success as the Kings have been outscored 7-2 in those opening 20’s.
  • With a rejuvenated powerplay, the Kings can go into tonight with some confidence and will have a statistical edge on both sides of the puck. The Kings powerplay (narrowly) outranks the Spruce Kings PK, while the PK for the Kings outranks the Spruce Kings powerplay. The edge is minimal…so small that prior to Sunday’s action, both clubs were a perfect mirror for each other in the special teams rankings. The key though will be the 2/5 on Sunday in Duncan for the Kings, while Prince George haven’t scored a powerplay goal in their last 3.
  • On that note, you’d think a Prince George sports store would have a whistle available for purchase? Apparently not as during the Spruce Kings’ last game (Friday at home to Wenatchee), not a single penalty was called, both teams 0/0 on the powerplay. The referee must have left it at home? First time I’ve seen that I think from memory.
  • Provided he starts, this will be Jeff Smith’s 50th game in the BCHL. Coming into action tonight he’s 28-17-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .925sv% with 5 shutouts….and 1 assist.
  • Also nearing milestones is Nick Halagian who has been stuck on 49 Junior points for the last couple of weeks. The Kings’ leading scorer has 1-11-12 this season.
  • And finally, on the scoring. Tonight will be the first time that a Spruce Kings player will come into the game with more points than an opposition player with both Corey Hoffman and Adam Brubacher are currently outscoring Nick Halagian. However the Kings as a unit have 38 more points than the Spruce Kings and have 10 players with 9 points or more, compared to the Spruce Kings’ 4.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:55pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network and FastHockey PPV. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis about facing his former Assistant, as well as some reinforcements that could be pending up front for the Kings with 3 forwards missing Sunday. We’ll also talk with Chad van Diemen about returning to Powell River and a bit of a turn around for the Spruce Kings in recent weeks. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with Liam Lawson, Mitchell Hawes, Chris Protopoulos and Jack Long. In the 2nd break, we’ll catch up with former Kings Captain and current Alaska-Anchorage Senior, Chris Williams. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Powell River Kings vs Cowichan Valley Capitals
Arena: Island Savings Centre
Puck Drop: 7:00pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:40pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 10-6-0-0 (1st Island)
Opposition Record: 8-4-1-2 (2nd Island)

TRENDSThe Kings have lost 3 straight and have been shoutout in their last 2 by 3-0 scores, including last Saturday against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The team’s lead at the top of the Island Division standings has dwindled to just a single point (over Cowichan).

The Capitals had a 4-game winning streak snapped on Saturday at home to the Penticton Vees, a 5-3 loss. Before then, the Caps had beaten Powell River, Surrey, Nanaimo and Victoria both at home (2 games) and on the road (2 games). The Caps are 1 point back of the Kings in the standings, and have a game in hand.

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  • The Kings scoring woes continued Friday with a 3-0 loss at home to the Penticton Vees. It marked another 3 periods where the Kings failed to score, and it’s now been over 7 periods or 149:05 of playing time since Liam Lawson scored in the 2nd period against Victoria a couple of weeks ago.
  • To go along with a lack of goals has been a lack of scoring chances and in simple terms…shots. The Kings have been outshot in 5 straight games 130-185 and in 8 straight 1st periods 66-112. To turn the tide, the shots must come out. Over the years, this has been a hallmark of ‘good’ Kings teams…bombard the goalie and make him work.
  • Work is a word we’ll use a lot tonight. The Kings must get back to what’s made them successful. Good board battles. Good traffic in front of the net. Blocking shots and sacrificing to make plays. Jeremy LeClerc has been a bright spot this season in that department. Coming into action tonight, he leads the team in blocked shots (17) and hits (48).
  • It’ll be another strong goaltending battle tonight. Storm Phaneuf has been carrying the mail for the Caps with Lane Michasiw out of the lineup over the last couple of weeks. He’s earned the playing time as well with sparkling performance after sparkling performance, going 7-4-1, 2.88 GAA and a very good .919 sv%. Jeff Smith should counterpart him tonight, who has been very very good as well. 8-4, 3rd in GAA (2.03), T-2nd in save percentage (Wornig is 4th incidentally).
  • Finally, the Kings will have to fight for a win tonight to avoid a bit of history. It’s been 7 seasons since the Kings lost 3 games in a single year to Cowichan. 2007/2008 the Kings went 2-3-0-1 against Cowichan and since then they’ve been 38-8-0-4 including 0-2 this year.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:40pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network and FastHockey PPV. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis on scoring woes and changing things up vs staying with the tried and true. We’ll also talk with Caps boss Bob Beatty about the season series thus far and a very deep team where scoring is spread out. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with injured forward Jonny Evans on his progress towards returning, Tristan Mullin in a lack of team scoring and Nick Halagian about being in and out of the lineup and his role in both situations. In the 2nd break, our player profile segment continues with defenceman Jake Kohlhauser. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Penticton Vees vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 10-5-0-0 (1st Island)
Opposition Record: 13-1-0-0 (1st Interior)

TRENDSThe Kings have been slipping over the last couple of weeks, starting with a 3-0 loss in West Kelowna and followed up by the season’s first back-t0-back losses on Vancouver Island last weekend to Victoria (5-2) and Cowichan (3-0). This means that out of the 5 games the Kings have lost this season, 3 have come in the last 5 games.

The Vees meanwhile keep on rolling. After dropping their opening game 4-2 in Salmon Arm, the team has rattled off 13 straight, including most recently a 4-2 win over West Kelowna on Wednesday night. They lead the Interior Division and the BCHL by 8 (over Salmon Arm) and 6 (over Powell River) respectively.

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  • Anyway you slice it for tonight, it’ll be a battle of two of the league’s top statistical goaltenders. Jeff Smith is the likely starter for Powell River co-leads the league in wins (8), co-leads the league in shutouts (2), is 3rd in goals against average (2.03) and in a share of 2nd for save percentage (.941). He’s been everything the Kings wanted in their returning netminder this year and more, giving the team a chance to win every night. He won’t be satisfied with his last effort, a disappointing one by his lofty standards in Cowichan, and will be hungry tonight. The goaltender that Smith is tied with in wins and save percentage is Vees tender Anthony Brodeur. The former Quebec Major Junior netminder is thriving in his friendly Penticton surroundings by going 8-0 and leading the BCHL in goals against average (1.56). If he doesn’t go, Zachary Driscoll would get the call with a record of 4-0, 5th in GAA and 10th in save percentage.
  • Both teams come into tonight’s game a little battle tired, and something given the schedule may favour the Kings. The team will be without Jonny Evans and Colton Sandberg who remain on the shelf medium-to-long term for lower body injuries, while Nick Halagian remains a game time decision after resting in Cowichan on Saturday. The returns of Curtis McCarrick and Mitchell Hawes were welcomed in Duncan against the Caps, but it’ll take a game or two for them to get back up to speed 100%. McCarrick missed 2 weeks, Hawes a week, and it takes some time to get game legs back. The Vees are missing key personnel as well. Forwards Demico Hannoun and Jason Lavallee, along with defenceman Gabe Bast missed Wednesday vs Kelowna. While the team also lost Desi Bugart in the 1st period. No word as of this writing on their status into tonight.
  • Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. The Vees carry with them not one, but two potential first round draft picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro are pegged to hear their names on Friday June 24th in Buffalo when the first round is carried out. It’s the first time since maybe Kyle Turris back in 2005-2006 where the league has received this much attention relating to the draft. They’re good players no doubt, you’d be stupid to say otherwise. Both sit top 10 in league scoring, Jost is at 2.0 PPG, Fabbro 1.7 and leads BCHL defencemen in scoring. However you can’t be awe-struck by the hype. They’re just players. They’ve gone through the same channels as many of the Kings, both went in the same Major Midget program as a handful of Kings, both have played in high profile tournaments like the World Junior A Challenge.
  • Important to note that it’s just 60 minutes this weekend for the Kings. No extra game, no saving yourself, no pacing the action. 60 minutes for a good weekend off.
  • Special teams are always huge and it’s a focus for the Kings to try and turn around. 2/31 (6.45%) in the team’s last 9 games is unacceptable at this level and the coaches will say that shows a lack of bare down on chances and a lack of urgency. The team has dropped from top 3 or 4 in the league at around 23%, to 10th at 16.95% entering action tonight. The Penalty Kill has been acceptable, albeit not great. 50% in Cowichan in 2 chances and 24/29 successful kills in the team’s last 9 games. The positive is the fact that the kill doesn’t have to go to work a lot as the team remains the least penalised team in the BCHL.
  • I could write a long, lengthy, drawn out preview on everything the Kings have to do tonight to win, but at the end of the day it comes down to one aspect…work. Where have the Kings been the most successful this season? How have the Kings scored 40+ of their 49 goals this season? What’s led to pretty much all of the 10 victories for the team this season? Hard work. When the Kings battle, when they skate, when they move the puck and play a 200 foot game, they’ve been pretty close to untouchable this season. When they’ve created traffic in front they’ve created chances and goals. When they’ve won battles along the boards, they’ve created chances and goals. When they’ve backchecked well, picking up the trailer, they’ve shut out 3 teams this year in 15 games. At the end of the day, it’s about work, battle and commitment. 18 skaters, 200 feet, 2 points.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:50pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network and FastHockey PPV. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis on the powerplay and what needs to happen to get that percentage trending north. We’ll also talk with him about this Vees team and the extra hype that comes with them. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with Curtis McCarrick about returning to the lineup, Jeremy LeClerc on managing a high powered offence and Colton Sandberg with an injury update and what he’s doing to stay in game mode. In the 2nd break, we’ll air an interview with the President of the CJHL Kirk Lamb. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Wenatchee Wild vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:00pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:40pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 9-3-0-0 (1st Island)
Opposition Record: 6-3-0-1 (2nd Mainland)

TRENDSDespite having their 7-game streak snapped on Saturday in West Kelowna, the Kings rebounded and won their 8th game in their last 9 attempts with a 6-0 win in Washington state against the Wild. Jeff Smith stopped 47 shots for his 2nd shutout and 7th win of the year.

The Wild lost 2 of their 3 games over the course of last weekend, both by shutout. They lost 3-0 in Langley before the result on Sunday against the Kings. Sandwiched in the middle was an 8-1 opening night spanking of the Coquitlam Express.

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  • Lets go back to Sunday and Jeff Smith in net, because he was probably overlooked by me on the post-game show…all the focus on Brock Sawyer’s first win and Carter Turnbull’s career night. The 47 stops is a season high for Smith, outdoing his 45/48 save performance against Nanaimo earlier in the season. He was…Jeff Smith. The expectation for him to be one of the league’s top goaltenders has been there ever since his return was announced and he has not disappointed. Smith has stolen games, held the Kings in it and on some nights been routine but his consistency is what has stood out the most. Night in, night out, the Kings can win hockey games because of Smith in net. He’s being pushed real well by goalie partner in Stefan Wornig wants Smith’s job and is slowly putting together a solid season on his own on his way to earning it.
  • Sunday was also the 3rd time this year the Kings have given up 40 shots, however they’ve won all 3 games. The others coming in that game against Nanaimo in September, and last Friday night in Coquitlam.
  • And finally on Sunday, what is hopefully in the rear view mirrors…poor starts. The Kings scored 1:20 into the 1st period via Austin Kamer and returned to scoring first and flying off puck drop…something that had slipped over the last 3-4 games. It set the Kings back and despite the fact they got outshot badly in the 1st period again, then got a lead and held it…taking the crowd out early.
  • The Kings should have some reinforcements back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Wild. Curtis McCarrick, Jonny Evans and Colton Sandberg all missed the Wenatchee trip. And while Evans is still a couple of weeks away, the other two are closer. McCarrick skated on his own on Wednesday after the team practice and the message from the coaching staff was that a weekend off could do him well. We’ll see if he goes tonight. Sandberg at last check was a 1-2 weeks, but I haven’t heard anything concrete on him.
  • The Kings will want to be careful on over confidence. It’s been the one little chink in the armour this season. A 7-2 win against Coquitlam at the Showcase was then followed up by maybe a little bit of “this is easy” last Friday…leading to an overtime win in a game where the Kings got out in front but could never pull away. Winning greasy in games like that and Surrey at the Showcase show what this team can do, but look back and see how maybe glamorous, fancy, toe drag goals we’ve seen this season….not too many. Most have been a result of hard work, greasy, gritty play around the net.
  • What can you expect out of the Wenatchee Wild? Speed. They truly are one of the quickest teams in the league and you’ll see that especially in the transition from defence to offence. They move the puck up ice very very well and it’ll again be a case of getting in shooting lanes and blocking shots to neutralise that aspect of the game. Watch for #23 Brendan Harris who was probably my favourite Wild player from Sunday’s game, along with #6 Blake Christensen. Both are skilled and both were routinely the biggest threats from a Wenatchee club looking to score. In net, Chase Perry is the number 1 guy and a 5th round Detroit Red Wings draft pick. He had an off night with the 6-goals sending his GAA to 2.30 from the 1.90 it had been going into Sunday’s game.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:40pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network and FastHockey PPV. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis the Wenatchee trip, THAT Carter Turnbull goal, over confidence and home matchups against the Wild. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with Austin Kamer about playing and scoring in his home country, and Carter Turnbull on the aftermath of his 4-goal night. In the 2nd break, we’ll air an interview with the BCHL’s Assistant Director of Officiating, and 30-year NHL linesman Brad Lazarowich. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Powell River Kings vs Coquitlam Express
Arena: Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex
Puck Drop: 7:00pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:40pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 7-2-0-0 (1st Island)
Opposition Record: 5-4-0-1 (3rd Mainland)

TRENDSThe Kings have won 6-straight following a weekend sweep at home over the Vernon Vipers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs last Friday and Saturday nights at the Hap Parker Arena. The Kings were perfect on the kill all weekend, including extended kills on both major and double minor penalties, while going 1/6 on the powerplay.

The Express were last in action Wednesday in West Kelowna, squeezing out a 3-2 win in overtime against the Warriors. It was the 2nd of the last 4 games that needed extra time and the Express have gone 2-1-1-0 in the month of October, with both of those wins in OT. Interestingly enough, Charlie Barrow has scored both OT winners.

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  • I wanted to expand a little on the team trends segment and delve a little into the number of this 6-game streak the Kings find themselves on after dropping 2 of the opening 3 games. In the 6 wins, dating back to September 19th against Nanaimo, the Kings haven’t trailed for a minute and have actually held a lead for just over  80% of the time. In all of the 6 victories, the Kings have led at some point by 3 or more goals and have gone 7/20 on the powerplay, while allowing just 2/19 on the kill (scoring shorthanded once too). They’ve gotten goal scoring from up and down the lineup, with 3 players just last weekend alone scoring 2 or more goals (Rauser, Betts & McCarrick).
  • It’s not all rosey for a Kings squad, as they do carry a few knocks with them this weekend, so management will be the name of the game. Joe Gage, Kobe Oishi and Braeden Cyra will all join the club this weekend as they travel through Coquitlam, West Kelowna and Wenatchee. Cyra and Oishi sit 3rd and 4th in team scoring, while defenceman Joe Gage has 1 assist in 4 games so far. Cyra and Gage have played this year with the Kings, for Oishi he will likely see his debut at some point.
  • In addition to the injuries, Chris Protopoulos will miss tonight’s game against the Express as he is serving the 2nd game of a 2-game suspension for a check from behind major on Friday against Vernon.
  • If you had to boil down everything that’s happened over the last few weeks with the Kings embarking on this run, and had to chalk the streak up to just one thing, it’d be hard work. How have 95% of the Kings goals come this year? Gritty work along the boards, a block shot leading to a breakaway, a screen in front of the goal, or work 6′ within the crease. In short, the greasy, dirty areas of the ice is where the Kings are winning battles. The coaching staff have been very quick to enforce that work ethic this season…win the battles and you win the war.
  • Perhaps the biggest difference early this season where the Kings are 7-2, compared to last season where the team was 4-4-0-1 at the same point is probably the defence and goaltending. With the exception of rare slip ups which are quickly covered or corrected, the blue line has been very very solid, and goaltending has been near perfect. Every game the Kings have had a chance to win and the experience of both Stefan Wornig and Jeff Smith have shone through. Last year Brett Magnus (by his own admission) struggled early, and with a blue line group that returned just a couple from the previous season…this year, 5 out of the 6 opening night goalies and defenceman had played in a Kings jersey, and even now only Jack Long is a rookie at the Junior level.
  • Onto Coquitlam, and the tricky Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex. It feels like one of the league’s smallest venues in more ways than one. Despite a regulation ice surface, things happen quick and the glass is very low so expect a lot of clearances out of play and a lot of stoppages followed by offensive zone faceoffs.
  • On that note, in almost 300 games in the BCHL, including a few being called in pretty vulnerable off-ice positions, the only place I’ve come close to being hit was in Coquitlam my first year by a Craig Dalrymple clearance from his own blue. It’s ironic because the broadcast booth is almost entirely covered by sliding glass doors. Regardless, keep your eye on the puck as it’ll regularly go out of play tonight.
  • Coquitlam are led offensively by 3rd year forward and captain Jackson Cressey with 7-11-18 on the season in 10 games. His supporting cast, and the Express’ top line also features Colton Kerfoot (younger brother of Alex, a Harvard sophmore and Devils draft pick) and Austin McIllmurray. After those there, there is a substantial drop off to Charlie Barrow with 3 goals and 2 assists, with 2 of those goals noted above as OT game winners in their last 4 games.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:40pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis on the weekend road trip, the challenges it presents and facing an Express team for the 2nd time this season. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with Nick Halagian on his 3-point night against Alberni, as well as Nick Nonis on his start to the season. We’ll also talk with Derek Smith, who is the brother of goalie Jeff…and the loud and large group of Kings fans planning to decend on the Palace on Poirier tonight. In the 2nd break, we’ll run Kent Lewis segment from the BCHL This Week with Jeff Patterson. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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STATSGame: Vernon Vipers vs Powell River Kings
Arena: Hap Parker Arena
Puck Drop: 7:15pm
Broadcast: Starts at 6:55pm
95.7 Coast FM in Powell River
Kings Broadcast Network
FastHockey PPV Video

NUMBERSKings Record: 5-2-0-0 (1st Island)
Opposition Record: 3-3-0-1 (5th Interior)

TRENDSThe Kings are riding a 4-game winning streak after sweeping the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack a week ago. 7-2 and 4-2 wins over Coquitlam and Surrey helped the Kings to be one of just 4 teams to win both their games (Penticton, Wenatchee and West Kelowna the others).

The Vipers split their pair at the Showcase, falling 3-2 to the Wenatchee Wild but bouncing back in overtime to beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-3. It’s been a “one-step-forward-one-step-back” season so far for Vernon as they’ve failed to string back to back wins together so far.

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  • A full 7 days off for the Kings has been filled with tough practices this week. There were certainly a lot of things to like about the Showcase games, where the Kings controlled their opening 60 against Coquitlam and suffered only at the hands of a couple of unfortunate bounces off sticks and legs. However the 2nd game was one that probably isn’t being looked on favourably. In speaking with a couple of players this week there was certainly a feeling that the team lifted the pressure once the Kings got out to a 3-0 lead and perhaps thoughts of Thursday’s romp creeped in. Credit a tough Surrey team to get themselves back in the game, but at the end of the day the Kings did enough to survive in regulation and it was someone poetic that the empty netter for Mitchell Hawes to complete the hattrick was a result of the Kings getting back to playing tough along the boards, being gritty and playing “their” game.
  • A new face will play for the team this evening as Jake Kohlhauser makes his BCHL debut. The release on Kohlhauser is here. He’s tough, solid and will be a nice compliment to the blue line. What this will force however (in all liklihood) is a scratch on the blue line. The Kings have rolled 6 so far this season, meaning every guy goes every night. We’ll see how the coaches manage this option of rotation and making sure the best 6 go every night, not just the 6 on the roster.
  • On this note, the Kings will be without Jonny Evans for the next couple of weeks. He suffered a lower body injury in practice and is on the shelf. This means the Kings have 12 up front, although the Kings haven’t been shy this year about sitting guys nursing minor injuries.
  • Vernon has a pair of new players with them too. In goal, Brendan Barry joins the team after he was suspended and consequently released from the Penticton Vees for breaching team rules/conduct. He floated around for a couple of weeks and has landed with the Vipers. He’s a goaltender that put up good numbers on a good Penticton team last season. He’ll join Andrew Shortridge in goal who was the 20-year-old kept by the Vipers when they traded fellow 20-year-old goaltender Jarrod Schammerhorn to Merritt mid week. Also new for Vernon is winger Zack Andrusiak who comes to the team from the WHL’s Tri City Americans.
  • It’s parents weekend for the Kings as the team hosts families and friends who are in town for the pair of games. It’s another distraction for players who had better be used to them by now with home opener, then the Showcase and now parents weekend. The message though will be really simple from the coaches….you know what makes Sunday’s off day with your parents that much better? 4 points.
  • It’s the first games for the Kings on home ice as well since opening weekend against Nanaimo. It’s a short stop as well, just a pair before heading out on the road next weekend to the lower mainland, the Interior and central Washington. These short bursts can’t be overlooked as the Kings always look to make the Hap a fortress. While it might just be 2 games and one weekend, you can’t look past 120 minutes of business on your own ice.
  • In net for the Kings, I would expect to see Jeff Smith tonight, with Stefan Wornig to get another crack at Alberni on Saturday, however I should note I haven’t been told anything from the coaches on that front. Smith was very good at the Showcase and wasn’t really asked to be spectacular and he certainly deserved the shutout Thursday against Surrey if not for two bad breaks. Wornig is of course still coming off a shutout of the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago and has looked very good this year in practice and in games.

The broadcast goes live on 95.7 Coast FM in Powell River at 6:55pm. It will also be online on the Kings Broadcast Network. In our pre-game show we’ll talk with Kent Lewis on the Showcase from a coaches perspective as well as what to expect out of Mark Ferner at the Vernon Vipers. In the 1st intermission, we’ll have chats with newest King Jake Kohlhauser, Curtis McCarrick on “that goal”, Mitchell Hawes on his BCHL Player of the Week nod and Kyle Betts on the NHL Central Scouting watch list. In the 2nd break, we’ll look back to the Showcase with a feature from TSN Radio’s BCHL This Week. Brock Sawyer will join us after 60 in the post-game show.

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