Powell River Kings lost back-to-back BC Hockey League games for only the fourth time this season during a recent road trip. After posting a 4-1 win over Nanaimo Clippers on December 8, Kings dropped a 4-2 decision to Cowichan Valley Capitals on December 9 and fell 7-4 to Victoria Grizzlies on December 10.
Kings had not lost two games in a row in over a month.
“We were missing pieces, but what we were missing on the weekend were some brains and some compete,” said Kings head coach Kent Lewis.
Forward Carter Turnbull, one of the team’s leading scorers, and veteran goaltender Mitch Adamyk were missing from the lineup. Both players are on Team Canada West’s roster at the World Junior A Challenge.
Lewis said Turnbull and Adamyk’s absences are not the only holes in the roster.
“We're missing other guys, too,” said Lewis. “Ben Thomas has only played a period, but he's going to be a very good player for us, Nick Abbott has been out a long time and Jack Long brings us something we need more of in the locker room and on the ice. We miss that spunk.”
The game in Cowichan matched the first-place Kings against the last-place Capitals in the Island Division. Capitals had only won four games before beating the Kings.
“It was a real hungry Cowichan team and our guys didn't match the hunger,” said Lewis.
Kings forward Ben Berard overtook Turnbull as the Kings leading scorer and continues to be a dominant presence on the ice. Berard picked up five points over the weekend with two goals, both against the Capitals, and three assists. His season total of 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points places him in ninth spot in league scoring. Berard is averaging 1.16 points a game.
Kevin Obssuth scored twice while Jonny Evans, Andy Stevens, Ethan Kimball, Gavin Rauser, Josh Coblenz and Kyle Kawamura also added goals for the Kings.
With Adamyk unavailable, Matteo Paler-Chow carried the workload between the pipes for Powell River. He turned away 32 shots against Nanaimo and was named the game’s first star. Paler-Chow earned third-star recognition against Cowichan.
Kings remain in first place in Island Division standings with 40 points from 18 wins, nine losses, two overtime losses and two ties. The team is three points ahead of the Clippers.
“We need heads screwed on here and to not squander more points,” said Lewis.
Kings finish 2017 with a tough schedule over the final six games. The team hits the road again for another three-game series from December 15 to 17.
“This weekend we'll be putting some good young players on the ice who haven't seen action yet,” said Lewis. “I believe that will help us.”
Kings return to Hap Parker Arena for the last home game of the year against Nanaimo at 5 pm on Friday, December 29, prior to closing out the month with a pair of games in Port Alberni on December 30 and 31.