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Alex Rawnsley talks on a pair of Kings victories over the Cowichan Valley Capitals from the past weekend, some depth scoring for the Kings over the last 6 games and a preview of an upcoming double header against the Victoria Grizzlies.

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This Week’s Stories
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6-1 win vs Cowichan: http://bit.ly/1MSrcZM
3-1 win vs Cowichan: http://bit.ly/1Os6DFL
Jeremy LeClerc Player of the Week: http://bit.ly/1OAsOYH

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The Social Kingdom
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FACEBOOK: http://Facebook.com/powellriverkings
TWITTER: http://Twitter.com/bchlkings
WEBSITE: http://www.powellriverkings.com

 

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It’s been a little quiet on the blog here over the last few days. I haven’t had an opportunity to see the team much over the last few days due to my work here in Powell River, however with the season around the corner things are due to ramp up so I thought it fitting to do one of my now trademarked ‘catchup’ posts, as well as what to expect over the next week leading into home opener on the 12th.

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Kings Drop 2nd Exhibition Game to Alberni
Goals to Chris Protopoulos and Austin Kamer weren’t enough as the Kings closed their exhibition schedule with a 3-2 loss in Port Alberni. You can read a recap of the game courtesy Bulldogs broadcaster Evan Hammond. On that note, a big thank you to Evan along with Caps broadcaster Jeff Sargeant for their work during the two exhibition games. Their live tweets/blogging were able to keep Kings fans up to date.

More Videos
I’m making it a point of doing more video work this year, as before doing play-by-play I was a television director and occasional editor. If you’re ever looking for the latest videos that we produce, which during the season will include “Three Things“, game highlights and other odds and ends, visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. On there you’ll find all the camp videos I’ve been posting over the last couple of weeks, along with new chats with Tristan Mullin and Kyle Betts.

TRYING FOR THE CUT: Andy Stevens [left] and Kyle Betts were two of the Powell River Kings’ prospects at Hap Parker Arena during training camp, recently. Kings’ season opener is at 7 pm on Saturday, September 12, against Nanaimo Clippers. Alicia Baas photo

TRYING FOR THE CUT: Andy Stevens [left] and Kyle Betts were two of the Powell River Kings’ prospects at Hap Parker Arena during training camp, recently. Kings’ season opener is at 7 pm on Saturday, September 12, against Nanaimo Clippers. Alicia Baas photo

Roster Status
The Kings took 25 and returned with 23 from the exhibition road trip and are in the process of getting to 22 in time for September 12th. The final roster should be unveiled into early next week and once that occurs, I’ll have a detailed post on all the players so you know who is who come September 12th. There have no doubt been a couple of surprises through camp and in my opinion some big jumps forward from some of the returning players too. Kent Lewis commented in the Powell River Peak this week, “we’ve got a good group. Character is always first and foremost here and it has given us the consistency over the years. This year we’ll have a lot of new faces again and we’ll have the time over the next few weeks to figure out the final pieces.”

The Next Week
On the blog, expect the first “Three Things” episode to come down Wednesday or Thursday, before moving to a Tuesday schedule for the remainder of the season. We’ll look at some key points from the off-season, as well as three things to look for as the Kings battle the Clippers at the Hap in a double header. Also watch for the roster profile post and everything leading into the first game preview of the season next Saturday morning.

Expect an announcement on the Ice Breaker Season Ticket pickup party at the Complex sometime next week as well. It’s an event where season ticket holders can pick up their tickets and meet with the players. Finally, we’re hoping to have an announcement this season on the broadcast format and delivery system. It will be different to last year, but details are still being worked out.

9 days.

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Another game, another rally, another point and another missed opportunity for 2 as the Kings dropped their 4th OT game of the year with a 5-4 result in Chilliwack against the Chiefs.

Here are some thoughts from the game:

  • As evidenced by 2 goals inside 10 minutes, a good start from the Kings as they came out firing. It was again the top line doing the damage with Kurt Keats getting a home-town bounce off the Prospera glass following a Jarid Lukosevicius shot that went wide. In talking with Luko after the game, he said with a pretty big smile that he intentionally missed his shot to tee up Keats, but credit the end glass with a key assist on Keats’ 12th of the season which briefly tied him for the league lead in goal scoring. The goal did extend the point streak to 9 games and Luko’s run to 5 games.
  • All Jarryd Leung on the 2nd goal, using a part of his game that he’s not overly known for. Some good speed down the left wing tracked down a loose puck and made a smart and good pass to Stephen Hiff who used his own speed to get position on the backchecking Chief, earn some space and go to the front of the net with his stick on the ice. Hiff did well to get it upstairs and give goaltender Mitchell Datz little to no chance for a save.
  • Craig Puffer continues to be King cryptonite. 3 goals tonight, 3 more in exhibition play and 1 at the Showcase. He’s by far the most dangerous Chilliwack forward and showed why he leads the team by a long way in goal scoring. He took advantage of some slack Kings defending on the 2nd goal, being left along on the goal line and able to step out and roof past Magnus.
  • Speaking of Magnus, it’s tough to say this after a 5-goal outing, but there were some key saves made tonight in the Kings net. Certainly goals 4 and 5 you really don’t want to give up, both squeezing through when Magnus was square to the shooter and seemingly was set, but there were some good glove saves and a nice stick one in the 1st period with the Kings up 1-0. That’s 8 straight starts for Magnus now too.
  • The rally. It seems every game were talking about some sort of rally. On Wednesday, it was down 2-0 vs Nanaimo. Friday was down 4-0 vs Prince George. Tonight it was a 4-2 deficit with 4-straight Chilliwack goals. “Character” was a word that has been thrown around a lot in recent days…teams that can repeatedly come back from those types of situations clearly have character, but I’m certain that the coaches and players would prefer not to be in those situations at all, especially in a case like tonight where the Kings had a 2-goal lead.

The Kings have the day in Chilliwack before heading up to Merritt to take on Jonah Imoo, Cole Arcuri, James Neil and the rest of the Merritt Centennials at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, a 7:30pm start. It’s live on the Kings Broadcast Network and 90.1 CJMP FM beginning at 7:00pm with the pre-game show.

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It’s been 184 days since the Kings were eliminated from the 2014 BCHL Playoffs at the hands of the Victoria Grizzlies, but another “longer than wanted” off-season ends Saturday night at the 3rd annual BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. Coming off a tough 3-game exhibition schedule where the Kings learned that they had a lot to learn about “Kings hockey”, the team has been hard at practice every day this week in an effort to get up to speed before the games count for real.

The Kings will play the Chilliwack Chiefs at 7:00pm on Saturday night, then back up for a Sunday morning 10:30 faceoff against the Trail Smoke Eaters. Both games are live on the Kings Broadcast Network, beginning 30 minutes before opening faceoff both days. Saturday’s game will also be broadcast on CJMP 90.1FM in Powell River, the first of 19 live broadcasts on the station this season. To listen in, head to the Kings website: http://www.powellriverkings.com/, or dial your radio to 90.1 on Saturday night.

On this week’s episode of The Faceoff, we get you set for the weekend by talking with Cole Arcuri, Wes St. Amand and Jarid Lukosevicius.

Here’s a little more on both opponents this weekend:

Saturday September 20th | 7:00pm | Prospera Centre (Primary)
Powell River Kings @ Chilliwack Chiefs 
The Chiefs squad that beat the Kings handidly 7-3 last weekend in exhibition play will be nearly identical to the one the Kings face on Saturday night. Chilliwack underwent a massive off-ice change, with long-time coach Harvey Smyl stepping aside and Jason Tatarnic coming in to bring his own philosophies and coaching style. In last Saturday’s game, we saw a steering away from the big, physical sides that Chilliwack fans have come to expect, and a lean more towards some skill. Not to say that Chilliwack were ‘soft’, but there seemed to be a better balance than in previous years and we’ll see if that trend continues.

Of the new crop of players, Craig Puffer stood out as he notched 3 goals in the big victory. Also impressive was Vincent Desharnais on the back end, who used his size and skated well for a 6’6 defenceman. A big turnover of new players were complimented well by returnees Jordan Kawaguchi, Jake Hand and Kurt Black (among others). In net, a pair of 95-born goaltenders are listed on the roster and look set to start the season splitting the duties, at least on paper as there is no clear number 1 with extra experience or age. Michael Datz went the distance in Saturday’s win.

This game is a rematch of last year’s Showcase opener for both clubs, a game where the Kings got a big 6-1 victory on the back of multi-point nights for JJ Coleshaw, Ryan Scarfo and Drew Dorantes. It was the start of a long season for Chilliwack who were well out of playoff contention by Christmas, and despite a late run weren’t able to make up ground on Surrey or Coquitlam for the final 2 spots in the Mainland Division.

Sunday September 21st | 10:30am | Prospera Centre (Secondary)
Powell River Kings vs Trail Smoke Eaters
“Change” could also be a word to describe the Trail Smoke Eaters off-season, moreso than the usual Junior hockey shuffle of players moving on or up. A Smokes squad that has struggled over the last few years has some new life and boasts 8 committed players come opening day, with 4 of those new recruits. It’s a far cry from just the 1 committed player (Scott Davidson, who is back this year) on the roster last year, that saw Trail slump to a 6th place finish in the 6-team Island Division.

Among the returning players with NCAA commitments are former Bulldog Craig Martin, former Rivermen defenceman Victor Dombrovskiy, along with Smokies Bryan Balsilico and the aforementioned Davidson. Also back is Jake Lucchini, who has his brother Jeremy on the roster. Both are local kids and among 5 on the roster from the Kootenay’s. Speaking of hometowns, Bryan Balsilico is from Macomb, Michigan…the same hometown as Kings forward Jacob Pritchard. The two would have played against each other in Bantam and the U16 level before going their separate ways.

In net Trail returns Adam Todd, the former Western Hockey Leaguer who has moved between the BCHL and WHL over the last few years, playing for the Saskatoon Blades, Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Trail Smoke Eaters in that time. He had a tough time last season, going 4-15 for a team that won just 10 times all season. Expect better from him, and the Smokies.

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Around 40 prospects and returnees will be at the Hap Parker Arena for this weekend, trying to earn one of 22 spots on the 2014/2015 Powell River Kings roster.

Here’s the ice-time schedule for the weekend.

Friday August 29th
Player Orientation: 4:00pm-4:15pm
Team White Practice: 5:30pm-6:45pm
Team Green Practice: 7:00pm-8:15pm

Saturday August 30th
Team White Practice: 9:00am-10:00am
Team Green Practice: 10:15am-11-15am
White vs Green Game: 7:00pm-9:00pm

Sunday August 31st
White vs Green Game: 12:00pm – 2:00pm

All ice times are open to the public, with roster information available outside the Kings office.

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The Kings have been pretty busy over recent days not only setting up for the 2014/2015 season, but putting the final touches on the previous season. Here’s a quick rundown in case you’ve missed anything from the last few days:

Chatham Commits
Kyle Chatham will join fellow King Aidan Wright at Lake Superior State University this coming season, committing to the school this week. Chatham was steady-eddie on the Kings blue line this year who just rarely got beat. He played a very simple but effective style of game that evolved as the year went on. When he scored against Chilliwack in December, we began to see a more offensive Chatham develop, and it’ll be a while before I forget him jumping in the rush short handed and scoring from a Stephen Hiff pass at the Hap. You can read more here.

Imoo Dealt to Cents
The Kings have seemingly settled their goaltending for this season, by dealing Jonah Imoo to the Merritt Centennials. Jonah joined the team at the roster deadline in January 2012 and shared duties with Sean Maguire, Braeden Ostepchuk and Jeff Smith in his 3 seasons with the club. In 95 regular season and playoff appearances with Powell River, Jonah posted a 46-35-3 record. The deal is for future considerations and leaves Brett Magnus and Stefan Wornig as the tandem to go into the season. Wornig joins the team from the Delta Hockey Academy, and saw time as an AP with the Kings during the World Junior A Challenge last year. More on the Imoo deal is here.

Additions to the Roster
A few new names have cropped up on the Kings roster over the last few days as players begin to be carded in preparation for the 2014/2015 season. The first is Carime Buono, a 97-born defenceman who suited up last year with the Vancouver NW Giants in his lone year of Major Midget hockey. Also added is 94-born defenceman Chris Diver, who joins the Kings from the NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcats. Diver, in 74 games with Bismarck and Wenatchee, posted 4-33-37 during two regular seasons. Diver is American born, from Delaware.

The last player to be added to the roster on the BCHL website as it stands now is Liam Lawson. The Vancouver-product has some BCHL experience, playing a handful of games with Surrey as an AP last season. When not with the Eagles, he was with the Richmond Sockeyes of the PJHL and posted an impressive 53 points (20-33) from 43 games last year.

No doubt there will be many more additions to come leading into main camp at the end of August. You can check out the current Kings roster here, which will be updated as commitments become finalized processed in the various systems that need to be done before the season begins.

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The Kings have acquired 20-year-old goaltender Brett Magnus from the Nepean Raiders of the CCHL, in exchange for forward Luke McCaw and future considerations.

Magnus, from Notre Dame de Grace, Quebec is a big goaltender, listed at 6’3, 200lbs. “I like to play aggressive and use my size to my advantage” says Magnus. “I’m really happy to get the opportunity to spend my last year of Junior out in BC, and especially in BC.”

Last year with the Raiders, Magnus went 15-8-2-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL) with a 2.84 GAA and .923 save percentage. He also posted 4 shutouts, helping his team to a 27-24-4-7 record last season. Prior to his time with Nepean, Magnus spent two years at a Pennsylvania-based Prep School.

“With the premature departure of Jeff Smith (to UMass Lowell), we had a hole in our goaltending tandem that we had to address” says Kings Head Coach Kent Lewis. “We’re really happy to get Brett, we’re getting a guy coming in here who we expect to be the mail carrier for this club. He’s a big, athletic goalie who will be Division 1 bound.”

An NCAA future is Magnus’ goal too. “I need to get faster and more flexible” says Magnus. “I want to work on my overall game, but those are two areas where I want to get better at. I’ve heard really good things about the BCHL, and Powell River’s goalie development in particular, so I’m really excited to get there.”

In the trade the Kings give up Luke McCaw, from St. John’s, Newfoundland. McCaw played his rookie season with the Kings in 2013/2014, scoring 4 goals and 9 assists in 59 regular season and playoff contests. “To get good something, you have to give up something good, and that’s what’s happened here with Luke” says Lewis. “Nepean is a good program and this move maybe gives him an opportunity to play a big role on that club this season.”

The Kings welcome Brett to the organization, and wish Luke the best with Nepean and his future hockey endeavours.

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