JDA Kings in Beaverlodge
The Grande Prairie JDA Kings will make their first trip West to Beaverlodge on Wednesday night when they visit the Blades in the first of a home and away matchup. Grande Prairie is coming off a 9 to 6 win in Slave Lake on Sunday afternoon and will be on the ice tonight for practice as they begin preparation for what should be another interesting challenge.
While both teams are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the NWJHL standings the Kings coaching staff knows all to well how hard it is for opponents to play at the Beaverlodge Arena. Both Head Coach Kyle Chapple and Assistant Coach Darren Walker have a long history with the venue growing up in the town of Beaverlodge and having played for the Blades years back.
“It’s certainly not an easy arena to play in as an opponent and it gives the home team such a huge advantage because of its smaller size” said the Head Coach. “We’re a team that likes to use our speed at home but in Beaverlodge because of the small surface you dont tend to have as much time or space and you often find yourself having to adjust your game to match the rink”.
With two games remaining in the month of October the Kings are looking to finish the month the way they started, undefeated. It hasn’t been easy though. Grande Prairie is coming off what the coaching staff dubbed “our worst game so far this season” and have started to face a lot stiffer challenge from their opponents. While some of the scores in past games might speak otherwise the Kings are well aware they have been having lapses in games not to mention slow starts for the past couple weeks. Grande Prairie has surrendered the first goal of the game in the past three of four hockey games and had it not been for another strong period the Kings may have found themselves with a “1” in the loss column this past weekend.
“Teams are going to be ready to play us no matter what position they are in the standings, we’ve talked about getting off to better starts more consistently and not letting off the gas throughout the hockey game. We feel if we do that we should continue to have success” said Kings Assistant Coach Darren Walker.
The Blades are currently sitting twelve points back of Grande Prairie and are currently riding a two game losing streak heading into Wednesday nights game. Regardless the record the team is confident they are making improvements. Beaverlodge has been in closer games including losing one to Dawson Creek 1 to 0 last week in what was dubbed as a goalie showdown. As is the case with so many teams the Blades will be looking to be the first to give Grande Prairie that first tick in the loss column and in order to do so however they will need to have solid goaltending and find a way to shut down the Kings top two lines. Grande Prairie currently boasts the top four league leaders, Corey Wamsteeker leads the charge with 28 points in 8 games, Lyndin Lewis is a close second with 27 points in 7 games, Nolan Trudeau is third with 21 points in 8 games and brother Ryan is fourth with 21 points in 8 games.
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