Kings Split Weekend Games – Logan Clow DHT
The County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings have moved into a first place tie with the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks.
The Kings split their two weekend games to move to 5-2 in North West Junior Hockey League play.
Friday, Zach Bennett, Tyrone Kipling and Joel Wamsteeker scored in a 5-3 loss in Fort St. John. Goaltender Liam Murphy made 34 saves.
As expected, Saturday’s home game at the Crosslink County Sportsplex against the North Peace Navigators was a chippy, penalty-filled affair as both teams combined for more than 200 penalty minutes.
Bennett, Kipling, Taylor Lileikis and Kyle Smeding propelled the Kings to a 4-1 victory. Goaltender Dalyn Haire was sharp in net turning aside 32 shots.
Kyle Chapple, head coach and GM of the Kings, said he was pleased with the team’s response Saturday.
“I think it was more of a complete team effort from start to finish. In the game Friday night, we had a few guys that didn’t play their best and, you know, we just had a few breakdowns at bad times in the game and it cost us,” he said, noting he was pleased to see improvement with the team’s powerplay and penalty kill.
“I thought (against Peace River) it was more of a complete game from us. I thought we played pretty close to a full 60-minute game and everybody was contributing in some way and it showed in the win.”
The Kings return to the Crosslink County Sportsplex Oct. 21 against the Navigators.
Chapple said the team is starting to build an identity of being a tough, physical opponent.
“…It takes time early in the year (to build an identity),” he said, noting the team has a young line-up this season.
“But, to be off to a 5-2 start, we’re extremely pleased with that and it’s all about keeping our foot on the pedal moving forward and keep winning games.”
He said the only major area of focus at this point in the season is playing stronger defensively.
“We’d like to make it a little easier on (our goaltenders). Giving up 35-plus shots is far too many. We want to limit that and just tighten up defensively. Doing that, obviously, we’re going to be able to play a little more offence,” said Chapple.
“It’s great that we’re putting the put in the net early in the year, we’ve scored quite a few goals (39- second in the NWJHL), but our first mindset has to be defence first.”
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators