Powell River Kings’ hangover came, not from the wildly successful New Year’s party, but from their first back-to-back losses of the season. They dropped a 6-4 exhibition game decision to Sweden’s SuperElit Malmo Redhawks on New Year’s Eve and then, for the first time this season, lost their second consecutive game 4-2 to Langley Chiefs on Sunday.
Prior to those losses they did come back from the Christmas break with a good effort against archrival Nanaimo Clippers and a tidy 6-4 win on Wednesday, December 29.
Kings were led by Matt Garbowsky’s second hat trick in two games with Jon Jutzi, Cohen Adair and Mike Sones adding singles.
The Kings’ play looked encouraging and coach Kent Lewis said after the game, “They came back after the break with good energy and I think what it is, is that you’ve got a great group of guys who like each other and they’re excited about being back.”
They may have been a little too exuberant, however, for the highly anticipated exhibition game against Malmo Redhawks and although many of the goals drew oohs and aahs from the fans, the play of the Kings didn’t sit well with anyone on the bench.
Malmo had lost to Dawson Creek Rage 2-1 and Grande Prairie Storm 8-4 in their first two games of the tour but Redhawk’s coach Roger Ohman said after the Kings game, “This is the best game we have played,” putting the previous losses down to possible jet lag. “The three games have been tight games and fast games,” he said, adding that the smaller ice surface, “is exactly why we’re here. The kids have to learn to pass the puck faster, to make quicker decisions.”
His son Victor won the most valuable player award for Malmo while Andrew Pettitt picked up the honours for the Kings.
Pettitt was extremely disappointed with the outcome but said, “They are a skilled team but we don’t like losing. We’re not used to losing and we don’t want to get used to it.”
After the game over 200 people gathered in the Arbutus Room at Powell River Recreation Complex for a fabulous New Year’s Eve party that catered to fans from ages five to 85 and rocked into the wee hours of January 1, 2011.
Kings didn’t stay long as they had to board the bus on Saturday for a date with Langley Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.
They started the game without Captain Garbowsky who was ill and that may have been an omen for things to come as his teammates Daniel Schuler and Justin Dasilva were both ejected from the game with hits to the back and head respectively.
The teams traded powerplay goals in the first two periods but Langley scored three times in the third to take a commanding 4-1 lead before the Kings could answer very late in the game to make the final score 4-2.
Kings outshot the Chiefs 38-26 but goaltender Michael Garteig, who recently committed to Quinnipiac University, wasn’t sharp and he was replaced by Sean Maguire after the fourth goal.
Kings will have a chance for redemption with a couple of games against two of the weaker teams in their division. They played Port Alberni Bulldogs on Tuesday, January 4 and will meet Coquitlam Express at 7:30 pm on Friday, January 7, Hap Parker Arena.