Kings Open Preseason With Win
The Grande Prairie JDA Kings kicked off the preseason tonight with a 6 to 4 win over the Fort Sask Hawks, a team they have never seen before in a barn they had never stepped foot in throughout the teams entire existence. Despite the unfamiliar surroundings and a slow start the JDA Kings managed to work through the early jitters and start the pre-season off on a good start.
It wasn’t the start the Kings wanted as the Hawks scored early just 30 seconds into the game when Nick Veenstra banged home a loose puck on the powerplay behind Kings goalie Nolan Bowker to get the home team off and running. Seven minutes later the Hawks would strike again on the powerplay on a beautiful individual effort from Hawks forward Tyler Polanski as he roofed a shot behind Bowker.
2 to 0 in the first 10 minutes and outshot 12 to 4 in that time span it looked like the Kings were in a little trouble, fortunately the Kings would settle down and get back to their game. Kings forward Devin Bell would get the team on the board with 4 minutes remaining to pull within one and it looked like thats how the first would end as the teams faced off with 3 seconds remaining in the Kings zone. Polanski caught the Kings napping when he snapped a wrister to put the Hawks up 3 to 1 after the first.
“We were about 5 steps behind their intensity in the first” said Kings head coach Kyle Chapple. “We’ve been skating for a couple weeks but it seemed to take us a little longer to get our bus legs out and get a feel for game action.”
The second seen a different Kings team as the club managed to score 3 straight goals to take the lead 4 to 3 heading into the final frame. Goals by forward Ryan Trudeau, Sheldon McArthur, and Daniel Bishop had the Kings rolling heading into the third as the ice shifted in their favour.
The third played tighter between the two teams as both clubs had a couple 5 on 3 powerplay opportunities.
“Our penalty kill was the difference in the game” said Chapple. “Killing off three 5 on 3’s was a huge momentum builder for our hockey club, you accomplish that in a game and your chances to win are pretty great.”
The Kings killed 11 of 13 penalties in the game and went 2 for 9 on the powerplay.
Special teams played a large part in the hockey game and both teams couldnt find any momentum 5 on 5 with all the penalties being called.
With the win the Kings are 1 and 0 on the preseason and will face the Hawks again tomorrow in an afternoon affair. Puck drop is slated for 1pm. Tune into Facebook and Twitter tomorrow afternoon to catch game updates.
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