JDA Kings Bounce Back
Phew, what a weekend of hockey for the Grande Prairie JDA Kings. After being handed there first two game losing streak in over a year last weekend the Junior B club was faced with a big task this past Saturday night when they hosted the now league leading North Peace Navigators. With a potential three game losing streak on the line the game also would again have repercussions for first place prior to the NWJHL’s Christmas break.
It didn’t disappoint.
A good crowd was entertained to an end to end fast paced hockey game which seen a few lead changes, some overtime, a shootout and an eventual Kings win 8 to 7.
The first period seen half a dozen goals and it was apparent early on that it was going to be one of those nights where the goaltenders and team defence appeared to be an after thought. Part of that reasoning though was each teams strong powerplay. Both Peace River and Grande Prairie would click at 50% both going 4 for 8 on the man advantage and it was the powerplay each time that shifted momentum in the hockey game.
Peace River would open the scoring just over two minutes into the game when Bo Asmusson would sneak one between the legs of starting Kings starting goalie Nolan Bowker. The teams would trade chances and trade goals after that but it was Grande Prairie’s two powerplay goals that helped paced the club to 4 to 2 lead after one.
Corey Wamsteeker and Nolan Trudeau would score on the man advantage while rookie Sheldon Hubbard and Ryan Trudeau would add the others.
The second was all in favour of Peace River. The Navigators would add four goals in the middle frame (one on the PP) and Navs starting goalie Patrick Earle would rebound after the first to blank the Kings and lead after two 6 to 4. Joe Doerksen who finished the night with 4 points for Peace River would tally two of those goals. Brendan Szmata and Josh Peters added the other two.
Then there was the third.
Grande Prairie would start the third with newcomer Sky Buller in between the pipes and it seemed to spark the Kings. Four minutes into the third Lyndin Lewis would make it 6 to 5. It remained that way thanks in large part to the Navs Patrick Earle who made a handful of spectacular pad saves keeping Peace River ahead…at least until the Kings got a powerplay. At the 9.55 mark defensemen Mac Putio finally tied the game at 6. Unfortunately it was short lived.
One minute later getting a powerplay of their own Peace River would capitalize when Brendan Hawryluk snuck one between the legs of Buller with 8:50 remaining.
Not phased the Kings kept pushing and it eventually paid off. On a funny redirection the Kings would tie the game once more on a powerplay as Nolan Trudeau was the benefactor of a good bounce from a Dustin Gould point shot.
That’s how the third would end and for the first time in a long long time the JDA Kings went to overtime. Despite no goal scoring in the extra time it wasn’t without excitement. Both teams played 3 on 3 for 5 minutes and both goalies would put on a show keeping the game tied.
After three shooters in the shootout the teams once again remained tied. Gould would just barely miss with his fourth shot for the Kings and Doerksen would be stopped. The hero of the night would go to forward Zack Mungall who snapped one low glove side past Earle to put the Kings up in the shootout. Brendan Hawryluk would be stopped by Buller and the Kings would pick up a much needed extra point.
A highly entertaining game to say the least.
Despite the big win the Kings had little time to celebrate as they had another game Sunday afternoon in Fairview against the Flyers.
Fatigue appeared to be a factor throughout the game but Grande Prairie would manage to gut out a 7 to 5 win thanks in large part again to undisciplined play by the Flyers. Grande Prairie would strike again scoring four powerplay goals going 4 for 9 on the man advantage. Lyndin Lewis would lead the way with 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) while linemate Corey Wamsteeker would add a goal and three assists. Nolan Trudeau had two goals and brother Ryan would add the other.
Khalin Marsolais had four assists on the afternoon for the Flyers.
With two wins on the weekend the Grande Prairie JDA Kings improve to 18 and 3 on the season and currently sit one point back of Peace River with one less game played. With Peace River idle till January they will have a chance to close out the Christmas break back in first with a win this Thursday night in Grande Prairie against the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks.
North Peace Navigators vs JDA County Kings
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs Fairview Flyers