JDA Kings looking to build on consistency – Logan Clow DHT
The County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings (17-3-0-1) continue to remain in the battle for top spot alongside the North Peace Navigators in the North West Junior Hockey League.
Following a 9-2 loss to the Fairview Flyers on Jan. 3, the squad rebounded with a 3-0 road win over the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks on Wednesday, courtesy of a two-goal effort from captain Corey Wamsteeker.
Wamsteeker leads the league with 27 goals and has 25 assists to tie Fairview Flyers forward Doug Morris with 52 points in the league scoring race.
Friday, the Kings return to face the Jr. Canucks (10-9) and then host the Fort St. John Huskies (8-12) at the Crosslink County Sportsplex on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Kyle Chapple, head coach of the Kings, said he has been pleased with the team’s response to their loss in Fairview.
“I thought we played a really good game (on Wednesday). I thought we were good in both ends. We worked hard throughout the entire 60 minutes and we did the things we had to do to pick up the road win with a big two points,” said Chapple, adding he wants the team to play the same type of game again on Friday against the Canucks.
“We have a busy schedule here in January and we can’t jump too far ahead or start thinking about playoffs yet or what the standings look like. We just have to take each game one at a time.”
Austin Martin, assistant coach for the Kings, added that their skill isn’t the lone attribute that will win them hockey games.
“I think that’s what we thought would happen in Fairview is that our skill would carry us and they outworked us. If we outwork teams, we’ll stay with them and if we play sound defensively, we’re going to score goals,” noted Martin.
The Kings will split their eight remaining regular season games with four home and away games.
Chapple said he wants to see the team continue to be consistent headed down the stretch, as well as play strong defence and generate scoring chances.
“We have had a lot of success on home ice this season,” noted Chapple.
“(Home games) are big for us, absolutely. We’ve got to capitalize on these games when we’re playing on home ice and a place where we’re very comfortable. Anytime we have a team that’s travelling to play us, we’ve got to make it as miserable for them as possible.”
On Saturday, he said the team will have to be sharp on home ice against the Huskies. The Kings have won all three meetings this season, outscoring them 19-6.
“We’re going to be in a back-to-back situation and three games in four nights. The biggest thing is staying mentally sharp and not making mistakes,” said Chapple.
Chapple said he anticipates a little bit of movement leading up to Saturday’s roster deadline, where teams must reduce their roster to 23 players.
“There will be a couple changes. There won’t be any major changes. We’ll expect to make maybe one, or two changes in our line-up and that’s strictly to get stronger,” said Chapple.
“We’re pretty happy with where our team’s at. We’re a pretty young team and the future looks bright here, but if we can add one or maybe two guys with experience at the junior level, we’re going to do so for the stretch run.”
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators