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Kings burn opponents in pair of games

Young players steal the spotlight
Glen Gibbs

Powell River Kings opened their 2012-13 season at home on the weekend and, amid the controversy of a trade gone wrong with Cowichan Valley Capitals, took both games 5-2 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday.

When Kings’ Teal Burns failed to crack the lineup of Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League he was expected to return to Powell River but didn’t.

“Teal requested that he’d like to play closer to home,” said coach Kent Lewis, “so we made a trade [with Cowichan] for a player we felt would help us.”

The player he was referring to was forward Steven Iacobellis who also requested a trade closer to his home in the Lower Mainland.

“We’ll just see how things unfold here with his situation,” said Lewis.

In the meantime, Burns returned to Hap Parker Arena with the Capitals but was not a factor in either of the two games.

Kings’ new faces, and there are many, were prominent in the 5-2 win when rookies JJ Coleshaw, Stephen Hiff, Luke Nogard and Brad Parker gave the Kings a comfortable 4-1 lead after two periods.

Cowichan drew to within two early in the third but their lack of discipline killed any chance of a comeback. First Steen Cooper dropped Kings’ Matt Scarth at centre ice with an obvious knee to draw a five-minute major penalty and then assistant coach Aaron Plumb was ejected from the game which left Cowichan down two men.

Kings pounced on the opportunity with furious pressure on the Capitals’ net and finally the bouncing puck went to Jarryd Leung who took his time and fired the fifth goal into the net.

It was a very strong game for the whole team but the young line of rookies Coleshaw, Nogard and Parker shone as they picked up six points.

“It was a great atmosphere,” said Nogard, “and just a great game. We held them to under 20 shots, didn’t make many errors and had a great offensive game.”

He and his linemates are all over six feet and around 200 pounds, and they thrive on the Kings’ program based on hard work.

“We’ve got lots of chemistry now,” he said. “We just bang and crash, keep it simple and completely out-body them down low.”

On Sunday the two teams met again at 1:30 pm and as expected Cowichan, in an effort to avoid a weekend sweep, took a run at the Kings early.

Out-shot 8-2 at one point in the first period, Kings gradually took control of the game and turned the tables with a 25-8 count on the clock.

The turnaround was also reflected on the scoreboard as JP Villeneuve, Drew Dorantes and Hiff lifted the Kings to a 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately for Jonah Imoo his shutout bid was spoiled with just 70 seconds to go in the game, but he gladly celebrated the sweep of the Capitals with his teammates.

Waterford, Michigan native Dorantes said of his team, “I’m liking it a lot. Kent is old-fashioned so as long as you work hard, give it everything you’ve got, you’re going to succeed.

“He preaches puck possession,” he added, “so that’s been huge for our line to take that from practice to the games.”

Possibly the Kings’ fastest skater, Matt Dupont, talked about the effectiveness of the team’s speed and work ethic on the weekend.

“It’s a good chip and chase team,” he said. “With my speed that compliments me to kind of get in hard on the D [defence] for turnovers and stuff.” Dupont said the team has strong defensive zone play and works hard as a core group.

Kings feel they are starting to gel as a unit and that’s a good thing as they prepare for a tough road trip.

On Friday, September 28, they are in Chilliwack, Saturday they play in Penticton and then scramble for a 3 pm game on Sunday, September 30 in Trail.