Hawks Defeat Kings in Game 2
Good teams often find themselves having to battle through adversity throughout the regular season, the past weekend the Grande Prairie JDA Kings got a good lesson on that having to battle through a rash of special teams play throughout their weekend series with the Capital Junior Hockey Leagues Fort Saskatchewan Hawks.
Despite a slow start Saturday night the Kings found their game in the second and third periods helping the club skate to a 6 to 4 win.
Sunday afternoon saw an identical start and an identical score…only this time favouring the home team from Fort Sask.
Another slow start in the first had the Kings chasing all afternoon only this time they couldn’t come back. Not helping that cause was getting the chance to play at even strength.
Saturday night the Hawks had 11 powerplay opportunities to the Kings 9 yet Sunday afternoon both teams special teams got even more work. The Kings and Hawks combined for over 200 penalty minutes.
I don’t think any coach would argue how hard it is to try and get his team into a rhythm when its faced with 16 minor penalties, 4 of those 5 on 3 opportunities.
“Special teams were strong all weekend” said Assistant Coach Darren Walker. “You don’t like seeing so many special team opportunities but having it in an exhibition game helps give us a feel for seeing players in certain situations.”
Hawk forward Nick Veenstra seemed to relish at the opportunity of all the special team play. Veenstra scored 4 goals on the afternoon, including two power play and one shorthanded.
Strong play on the afternoon from Kings forwards Corey Wamsteeker and Ryan Trudeau helped the Kings pull to within one late in the third period. Still there wouldn’t be any comeback magic on the afternoon despite the effort.
“Guys ran out of gas” said Kings Head Coach Kyle Chapple. “It was one of those games, having players sitting at times for 10 – 20 minutes for strange reasons” said Chapple, “our bench got awfully short towards the end of the game and we had a lot of guys playing more minutes and in more situations then they’re accustomed to.”
Despite the loss Chapple was satisfied with the weekend and echoed the same sentiment regarding his clubs special teams.
“Our Powerplay and Penalty Kill was solid this weekend, definitely was one of the bright spots.”
With the loss the Kings sit at 1 and 1 on the exhibition season. The hockey club will resume practices this week starting on Tuesday before finishing the pre-season Thursday evening at the Coca Cola Centre when they host the Sexsmith Vipers. Game time is 8:30 pm.
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