JDA Kings outworked at home – Logan Clow DHT
Outworked, outhustled and outplayed.
That was the fortune for the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings on Saturday, falling 4-1 to their northern Alberta rivals – the North Peace Navigators – at the Crosslink County Sportsplex.
As a result, the Navigators (13-2-0-1) maintain top spot in the North West Junior Hockey League standings, and open a six-point gap over the Kings (10-2-0-1).
“Peace River outworked us, plain and simple,” said Austin Martin, assistant coach of the Kings.
“There was just no effort on our part. Honestly, if it wasn’t for our goalie (Andy Gilker) it probably would have been 8-1 or 9-1. They just worked harder than us…”
“They outworked us on the powerplay, they outworked us on the penalty kill, they outworked us even strength… we just didn’t work hard enough.”
Gilker made 35 saves against the Navigators, who scored all four of their goals on the powerplay, including two from forward Dustin Long.
Kyle Lipinski scored his sixth goal of the season for the Kings in the second period.
It was the third meeting of the season between the teams. The Navigators now hold a 2-1 edge in the season series.
Martin noted it was a dominating performance by the Navigators. He said it was disappointing the squad couldn’t come within two points of first place.
“Any game against Peace River is huge, especially with the way the playoffs are this year with the first place seed getting a bye. These games are so huge and you can’t afford to give points up,” said Martin.
The Kings have 17 games remaining in the regular season, including two against the Navs.
On Jan. 30, the Kings will host the Navigators at the Sportsplex and then play in Peace River on Feb. 8.
In the short-term, the Kings are back in action on Thursday hosting the Sexsmith Vipers and then host the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks on Saturday. Both games start at 8 p.m.
“We have to try and forget about this game. We just have to go out there and work hard on Thursday, play the game right and stick to our systems and I think we’ll be fine,” said Martin.
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators