by Glen Gibbs Peak Sports A charitable Christmas tradition on the BC Hockey League (BCHL) schedule is for fans to throw teddy bears on the ice when the home team scores its first goal of the game.
It is a great event for a worthy cause but in the future organizers, for full fan enjoyment, might want to avoid Powell River Kings.
On this three-game trip they made Alberni Valley Bulldog fans sit on their furry friends until the last 30 seconds of the game by winning 4-1, Victoria Grizzlies’ faithful never got to throw their next of kin over the boards losing 4-0 while Cowichan Valley Capitals scheduled theirs at a later date but lost to the Kings anyway, 3-2 in overtime.
Determined to improve on their mediocre road record to date, Kings started the trip with a very impressive 4-1 win in Port Alberni.
Craig Dalrymple, named BCHL player of the week and recently interviewed by TSN’s Gino Reda on Team 1040 radio, was a huge force with a hat trick and four points to lead the Kings. Dalrymple’s assist was a blast from the point which was saved but Matt Scarth scored on the rebound.
Kings went 4 for 8 on the powerplay and controlled the game from the outset with perhaps the only blemish a couple of foolish penalties near the end that allowed the Bulldogs to score in the last 30 seconds and spoil Jamie Phillips’ shutout bid.
Another incident occurred in the second period that BCHL fans are becoming very familiar with.
Cohen Adair (six feet two inches) was moving forward with the puck when an Alberni player (five feet six inches) came up to hit him. Of course, when the 200-pound Adair and the 165-pound Bulldog collided, the smaller player, who was slightly off balance, hit the ice and was seriously injured.
There was no initial call by the referee and despite the Kings’ argument that Adair’s hit was purely defensive an official conference ended with a five-minute major and game misconduct with a further suspension guaranteed by the Junior A supplement.
Happily, the tape was sent into the league and when it clearly showed that Adair was not the aggressor his suspension was overturned, which allowed him to play for the remainder of the road trip.
He and the Kings turned in another brilliant performance on Saturday in Victoria where they shut down the most potent offence in the Coastal Conference.
Tanner Cochrane has been frustrated in getting his first goal this season but at 11:30 of the first period he took the shot, chased down the rebound and scored a beauty which was the eventual winner in the 4-0 Kings’ win.
Phillips was very sharp in the net for his shutout and, on added goals by Teagan Waugh, Evan Richardson and Adair, gave the Kings something they haven’t had this year—two straight wins on the road.
Earlier Bear Mountain officials advised the fans, that in the event of a shutout, they should toss the teddies upon completion of the game.
Fans reluctantly did that, but to the dismay of many the Grizzlies quickly left the ice, so the Kings, in a very classy move, remained to pitch in with the collection of the toys.
Sunday afternoon two tired clubs, both playing their third game in two and a half days, took the ice at the Big Stick in Duncan, but the importance of the game between the two top clubs in the conference guaranteed a fast pace.
Kings and Capitals traded singles in the first and second periods to end the game 2-2 in regulation but Carter Shinkaruk preserved the Kings’ winning record against the Capitals when he sank the winner at 2:29 of the first overtime period.
Dalrymple and Adair provided the first two goals and Phillips stopped 26 shots for his third straight win in the net.
In an interview with Kings’ broadcaster Alex Rawnsley, Coach and General Manager Kent Lewis stressed more than anything the real key to hockey success, “is to have fun.”
“At no point do we tell our guys that we have to win,” he explained, however, “we have to execute. And if we execute we’re going to have a good night and at the end of that 60 minutes, if you have a good effort, you feel good about it.”
If that’s the case then the Kings, with three wins, had a ball on the island and look forward to a double-header at home against the high octane offence of Victoria Grizzlies at 7:30 pm on Saturday, December 10 and 1:30 pm on Sunday, December 11, Hap Parker Arena. After this pair of games Kings are on the road until their next home game against Alberni Bulldogs on December 31 followed by their New Years bash.
DIVISION: Coastal Conference
TEAM GP W L T OTL PTS
Cowichan Valley 28 17 6 1 4 39
Powell River 28 16 9 2 1 35
Surrey 26 15 8 0 3 33
Nanaimo 28 14 9 0 5 33
Victoria 29 15 14 0 0 30
Coquitlam 27 13 11 1 2 29
Langley 28 11 16 0 1 23
Alberni Valley 25 10 14 1 0 21