Braving slippery road and parking conditions caused by last week’s snowfall, 603 fans made it to Hap Parker Arena on Tuesday, February 7, to witness Powell River Kings shut out Alberni Valley Bulldogs 9-0, and celebrate veteran forward Curtis McCarrick’s 200th game in the green and gold jersey.
McCarrick said playing 200 games with one team is special.
“I remember it like it was yesterday, coming in as a 17-year-old player,” said McCarrick. “At the time, the 20-year-olds said ‘time flies by in a blink.’ They were right, and I am happy to have spent it all in Powell River.”
Kings head coach Kent Lewis said McCarrick has proven himself a good person and teammate, and that he’s had a strong year.
“He’s been a good soldier for us,” said Lewis. “This year he’s been a big part of our penalty kill and he’s really solidified a good third line with Liam Lawson, Gavin Rauser and sometimes Carter Turnbull.”
McCarrick said he remembers the nerves he felt when he first walked into the dressing room, but the veterans made it easy, a roll he has now taken on.
“That’s why you have veterans in the room that can calm you and show you the ropes,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do this year.”
Kings won twice in two tries last week. Brian Wilson recorded his third shutout of the year in the blowout over the Bulldogs.
Against divisions rivals Victoria Grizzles, star forward Jonny Evans scored the winner in a close 4-3 game.
Evans recently received major recognition for his offensive outburst in the month of January. After scoring 11 goals and adding 13 assists in 11 games, Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) named Evans its first star of the month.
As the governing body of Junior A hockey in Canada, CJHL includes 10 leagues and 126 teams across the country.
Evans also moved into a second-place tie in the BCHL scoring race thanks to his torrid scoring pace in January. Kings were also hot during the month, losing only one of 11 games played.
Kings have defeated the division-leading Grizzlies in each of the last three meetings between the two teams. Lewis said that competitive play was not evident at the beginning of the season when Kings faced Victoria.
“It always frustrated me,” said Lewis. “For whatever reason, we just played like horse-crap against them. It’s a club that is hungry. They didn’t make the playoffs last year.”
Grizzlies currently hold first place in the BC Hockey League (BCHL) Island Division, just four points ahead of the Kings, but with two games in hand.
After the division frontrunners, seven points separate Nanaimo Clippers, Cowichan Valley Capitals and the Bulldogs in a fight for playoff spots.
In the first round of playoffs, Grizzlies will play against the fourth-place finisher. Kings will have home ice advantage against the third-place team.
Powell River faces Nanaimo in a pair of games this weekend at Hap Parker Arena. Game time on Friday, February 17, is 7:15 pm. Puck drop takes place at 5 pm on Saturday, February 18.