JDA Kings Improve to 9 and 0
The Grande Prairie JDA Kings took a short trip west last night to Beaverlodge and amidst all the game within the game action managed to squeeze out a 7 to 4 win against the Blades to improve their record to 9 and 0 and move one win away from starting the season as they had hoped, 10 and 0. It wasn’t without a few nervous breaths and grey hairs.
As is the case with so many teams in the NWJHL finding a way to win in Beaverlodge can often be at times “different”. For anyone that hasn’t played there it certainly is a unique arena and a lot of good skating teams will have to adjust their game to match the style the rink offers. In all the years of being in the league Beaverlodge has been a formidable opponent on home ice and Grande Prairie witnessed that first hand last night.
Starting his second game of the season rookie goalie Sam Mok helped keep the team in it early as the Blades outshot the JDA Kings in the early going 10 to 2. Fortunately the Kings got off to a good start, something the players have been well aware of and reminded of over the course of the past month. Forward Ryan Trudeau scored on the first shot of the game for the Kings but other then that it was mostly Beaverlodge in the first ten minutes of the game as Grande Prairie got accustomed to the Beaverlodge barn. After trailing in shots the Kings managed to find that stride and eventually evened out the shot total and added another goal in the final five minutes to head into the second period with a 2 to 0 lead.
Being down by two the Blades felt they had the majority of the momentum in the opening frame and continued to press early on in the second. The Blades finally solved Sam Mok just over a minute into the middle frame when Lindan Calliou was the benefactor off a strange bounce on the powerplay at 18:58. Like it was most of the night however the JDA Kings would respond not allowing Beaverlodge to build off any momentum they may have gained from scoring goals. Just one minute after the Blades made it 2 to 1 Sheldon McArthur once again put the Kings up by two at 17:57. Once again Beaverlodge would make it a one goal game only to have Grande Prairie respond moments after to restore a two goal lead and make it 4 to 2. Thats when the side show began.
Fights, penalties and some big hits ultimately changed the theme of the game and it led to Grande Prairie wrapping up the second period with a Corey Wamsteeker powerplay goal to stretch the lead to 5 to 2.
Despite being in the game for the better part of 40 minutes the Blades appeared to get distracted. The Kings would strike first in the third period when Spencer Bowers would redirect a Zack Mungall pass making it 6 to 2. At that point things took a turn for the worse and would start to get out of hand. For the first time all season the Kings would find themselves involved in three fights in the third. Already short on the backend both defensemen Nic Yee and rookie Tyler Knoblauch would be shown the door and playing in just his second game forward Zack Mungall would also get involved with Blades Chase Reindeau. Three fights and a few minor penalties later led to two powerplay goals by Beaverlodge, one coming at 9:03 and the other at 2:47 to once again make the game interesting at 6 to 4.
As Beaverlodge pulled to within two with under three minutes to go the Kings would ultimately put a dagger through the heart responding a mere 25 seconds after Beaverlodge looked to make a game out of it. On a pass from Devin Bell league leading Corey Wamsteeker would add his third goal and fourth point of the night to secure the victory for the JDA Kings.
An ugly win appears to be an understatement for the JDA Kings and the team will now have the weekend off before returning to action against these same Beaverlodge Blades Tuesday night at the Coca Cola Centre. Despite being unsatisfied with last nights effort Grande Prairie still sits at 9 and 0 on the season and sit alone in first place atop the NWJHL standings.
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