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Kings bow out of playoffs

Team helpless to stem series defeat

After 58 regular season and 11 playoff games, Powell River Kings were eliminated Friday from this year’s run to the Fred Page Cup.

Playing in front of a large boisterous crowd of over 1,000 fans at Hap Parker Arena on, March 21, Kings fell behind early and lost to Victoria Grizzlies 4-2.

They found themselves in a do-or-die situation after their third sub-par performance in Victoria on Thursday that ended in a 3-0 shutout.

After the Kings routed the Grizzlies 8-3 in game four on Tuesday they hoped they had found the key to winning against the division leader.

Grizzlies, however, scored twice on nine shots against starter Jonah Imoo and another on Jeff Smith, who came in on relief, to win easily. Kings managed just two shots on goal in the opening period and never mounted a serious threat until the closing five minutes.

Kings looked good early in the sixth game but Victoria exploited the soft underbelly of their opposition which, in this series, has been the goaltending.

On a Grizzlies’ rush Garrett Forster hit the trailer, former King Cole Pickup, and he beat Smith top glove at 8:23.

For anyone in the crowd who missed it, a minute and a half later Gerry Fitzgerald skated across the high slot and from 40 feet drifted another wrister to the same spot and a 2-0 lead at 9:58.

At the other end, Grizzlies’ goaltender Alec Dillon was solid with key saves on Hunter Findlater, Ryan Scarfo and Luke Nogard.

Just after the second goal Kings were dealt another blow when Jarrid Leung suffered a broken tibia and was helped off the ice by teammates Jordan Burns and Nogard.

Kings got back in the game at 1:46 of the second when Jarid Lukosevicius tore down the left wing and cut to the net to deke Dillon on the forehand.

Grizzlies’ Jacob Kearley made it 3-1 at 8:24 but Nogard, off an offensive zone faceoff, got in tight on Dillon and roofed the Kings’ second goal at 15:56 on the powerplay.

Despite their desperate situation, and even with a couple of powerplay opportunities that yielded just a single shot, Kings watched helplessly when Pickup scored into an empty net at 19:48.

The result was extremely disappointing but after handshakes between the two teams, the mutual admiration between the Kings and their fans remained intact with a loud cheer and salute.

Three-year veteran Scarth, who will play for Holy Cross of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Atlantic Conference next year, savoured his last moments on the ice.

“It has been three years of my life here in this town,” he said, “where I’ve met a lot of people and a lot of relationships with players, coaches and fans. Realizing that I may never see a lot of my teammates and people again, it’s a little emotional. Definitely, saying goodbye to a town it’s a chapter closing in my life and for a moment there I was just taking it all in.”

Scarth, Kyle Chatham and captain Aidan Wright are the 20-year-olds leaving the Kings while Scarfo, Drew Dorantes, Brian Rideout and Luke Ripley are leaving for NCAA commitments.

The series against the Grizzlies was a tough one for coach and general manager Kent Lewis to swallow. “At the end of the day want has to outdo skill and depth,” he said. “I have to rethink my approach and I’m not going to comment on why I think we failed, but it will be addressed in next year’s lineup. We battled injuries all year long with success but in this series Victoria’s gamers came through and ours didn’t.”

Looking ahead, Lewis said, “We have the ability to return half the forwards and half the [defencemen] but I want to be bigger and faster. But more than anything, I want more piss and vinegar.”


Powell River Kings celebrated the year with their annual awards banquet Sunday, March 23. Receiving awards were:

  • Drew Dorantes: MVP and top scorer
  • Kurt Keats: Playoff MVP, crowd favourite, Armitage Mens Wear three stars
  • Kyle Chatham: Most sportsmanlike
  • JJ Coleshaw: Community award and unsung hero
  • Curtis McCarrick: Most improved
  • Brian Rideout: Plus/minus award and top defenceman
  • Luke Nogard: True grit award
  • Luke Ripley: Most inspirational player
  • Jeff Smith and Jarid Lukosevicius: Rookie of the year
  • Aidan Wright: Coach's award
  • Pat Hurren: True beauty award
  • Laura Passek: Volunteer of the year