Kings search for consistency – DHT – Logan Clow
There’s no room for error now in the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings’ remaining seven regular season games.
After topping the Fairview Flyers – the NWJHL’s top team – on Jan. 15 with a 6-1 win in Fairview, the Kings have lost their last two games, by a score of 5-2, against the Fort St. John Huskies.
Kings forward Donald Gaudreault and Zach Bennett scored in the team’s 5-2 on Friday in Fort St. John and goaltender Andy Gilker turned aside 36 shots.
The Kings (17-11-0-1), third in the NWJHL, are now only five points ahead of the No. 4 ranked Huskies and six points ahead of the No. 5 ranked Sexsmith Vipers.
“One of the things we definitely need to clean up is our shots against. When you’re averaging giving up 40 shots a game, it’s far too many and we have to limit our turnovers and (have) better puck management. We seem to make poor decisions with the puck at the wrong time and (the Huskies) have some guys there that if you do that, they’ll capitalize,” assessed Kyle Chapple, head coach and GM of the Kings.
Chapple said the team has been inconsistent this season defensively. He said that’s transpired into opposing teams generating too many scoring chances.
He said though giving up 40+ shots per game is concerning, Chapple praised the team’s goaltending.
“With our goaltending, no matter who is in the net, we know if we keep things to the outside and if we don’t allow (the opposition) to get grade A scoring chances, we’re going to have a good chance to win,” said Chapple.
“In these last two games, we’ve kind of went away from that and we’re giving up those grade A quality chances and it hurt us and I think that was the biggest difference in the two games against Fort St. John… they’re getting those good chances and we’re not.”
Chapple said their focus in their next seven games is playing together cohesively and getting a full team effort.
Of their remaining games, three are at home and four are on the road.
“We’re not too happy with giving away four points here in the last two games to a team that’s chasing us in the standings and we could have really separated ourselves with a couple wins and unfortunately we didn’t get the job down,” said Chapple.
“If want to hold that third spot going into playoffs, we need to get back to playing our best hockey and finding ways to get points.”
The Kings are back in action on Friday at the Crosslink County Sportsplex against the Vipers and then travel to play the North Peace Navigators in Peace River on Saturday.
JDA County Kings vs Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks
JDA County Kings vs Fairview Flyers
JDA County Kings vs Sexsmith Vipers