Kings to face off against Vipers – Logan Clow, GP Daily Herald-Tribune
Timely turnovers and mistakes have been frustrating for the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings, according to head coach Kyle Chapple.
The junior B JDA Kings will make their return to the Crosslink County Sportsplex on Friday, hosting the Sexsmith Vipers.
Chapple said the team’s early season mistakes have been a focus at practice all week long.
“Turnovers is definitely something we want to work on and limit moving forward,” he said.
“Being a young team we have a lot of new players and a lot of new faces where guys haven’t played with each other before. I think some of it is just getting familiar with each other, learning how each player plays the game and learning the routes that players have to take to break out of his zone in an orderly fashion without turning over the puck.”
Chapple said addressing mistakes, such as turnovers, are common each year early in the season.
With a 3-1 record, he said it isn’t concerning. He said the squad just needs to stop panicking, make smart decisions with the puck and be mentally sharp.
“This is to be expected. Coming in, it’s early in the season and there’s going to be mistakes that happen and it’s our job as coaches to try and fix them early in the season, so that when it comes crunch time later in the season, they know what they’re supposed to do,” said Chapple.
“The boys have one focus and that’s to win games. Even if we do turn the puck over, or if there is a mistake made, the work is there to try and prevent (our opponents) from scoring and try to get the puck back and get it out of our zone. The work ethic isn’t an issue at all with our team.”
The Vipers, under head coach Ron White, have compiled a 2-3 record and are coming off a 7-2 win over the Beaverlodge Blades on Oct. 18.
Chapple said the JDA Kings cannot take the Vipers, who are two points back of the JDA Kings, lightly.
“This isn’t a team that we can overlook. They’re going to come in and want to beat us as bad as any team in the league and we’ve got to be prepared for that. We can’t look past this game. It’s an important two points and I expect them to come out hard and give us a run,” noted Chapple.
Colby Klassen (six goals, four assists) and Sawyer Warkentin (four goals, six assists) lead the Vipers in scoring. Chapple said it’s going to be a team effort to shut down the Vipers.
Fourth-year forward Ryan Trudeau leads the JDA Kings with two goals and five assists. Trudeau’s offensive prowess and leadership qualities earned praise from Chapple.
“He’s been a big, offensive contributor to this team from day one. We expect a lot out of him and early on, he’s been a pretty valuable player to us and he knows we expect that out of him,” said Chapple.
Chapple also named goaltender Cam Smith the starter for Friday’s game. It’s Smith’s first start of the regular season, after last suiting up for the JDA Kings in a pre-season game. He said Grande Prairie Storm affiliate goaltender Andy Gilker played well in all four of the JDA Kings’ games, which made it difficult to make a change in net.
“It will give (Smith) an opportunity to get his feet wet in the league and play a home game and I know he’s excited to play,” added Chapple.
Friday’s game starts at 8 p.m.
The JDA Kings will next play on Oct. 30, hosting the Beaverlodge Blades.
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