Anyone who was at Hap Parker Arena for Powell River Kings’ 4-1 BC Hockey League win over Alberni Valley Bulldogs on February 3 witnessed something special, which has been rare of late for the inconsistent and injury riddled hockey team.
For Powell River’s Cam Stevenson, a 16-year-old midget rep goaltender, it will be one of those unforgettable nights.
With about four minutes left in the first period, Kings’ starting goaltender Mitch Adamyk had to leave the game after hitting the ice hard when two Alberni players crashed the net. Regular backup goalie Matteo Paler-Chow was already on the Kings injury list and in the stands watching the game.
New interim head coach Brock Sawyer looked down his bench and sent out Stevenson, an emergency backup goaltender that league rules stipulate can only enter the game in the event of injury.
Stevenson won the game and 862 hometown fans cheered wildly. Fans were cheering when Stevenson skated onto the ice, after every save, when his teammates swarmed him at the final buzzer and when he was named first star.
“It was such an unbelievable evening and such a great night for him and his family to be there to witness it,” said Sawyer. “He battled and he gave our guys a chance to win it. They rallied around him and committed to team defence and won a game. They were hungry for a win and wanted to do it for Cam and each other.”
Kings split the weekend series with the Bulldogs. On February 2, the home team came back to tie the game in the third period but lost 4-3 in overtime.
Stevenson made fans forget that loss. He stood on his head, according to his coach.
“He was phenomenal,” said Sawyer. “He played his game.”
The storybook night with the Kings rallying around Stevenson might be just the jolt the team needs to finish out the season and take attention off the sudden firing of longtime head coach and general manager Kent Lewis on January 29.
Eight games remain in the regular season. Kings play the next five at home before closing out the schedule with three road games.
Winning streaks have been few and far between for the Kings, partly due to an injury situation that has challenged the team all year.
“We’re hurting,” said Sawyer.
Kings have clinched an Island Division playoff spot and are locked in a three-way race for first place. Going into the final stretch, Kings sit in second place with 58 points, one point behind first-place Victoria Grizzlies and two points ahead of Nanaimo Clippers.
Earlier in the week on January 31, Kings lost 5-2 on the road against Wenatchee Wild.