Exploding for 14 goals in a two-game homestand against Cowichan Valley Capitals on November 24 and 25, Powell River Kings moved back into sole possession of first place in the BC Hockey League Island Division.
In the opener, the Kings blanked the Capitals 7-0 behind Matteo Paler-Chow’s goaltending. He turned aside 34 shots in recording his second shutout of the season. On Saturday, the Kings won 7-5.
The big story from that second game was the five-point performance by Kings forward Ben Berard, who scored four goals and added an assist. The 18-year-old from Duncan also had a goal on Friday.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Berard. “The bounces were just going my way. It seemed everything I shot was finding the back of the net. I didn't think I was playing spectacular.”
The league thought his performance worthy of recognition. To top the week off, Berard was named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending November 26 and committed to play NCAA hockey for Cornell University in 2019-20.
When the Kings acquired Berard last season, head coach Kent Lewis said he would become an impact player for the team and he has lived up to the hype.
“He is a unique player,” said Lewis. “He's got that powerful body, soft hands and a good shot. He's just now learning consistency in terms of pace. With the summer of training, specifically to power and speed, you're going to see him continue to blossom this year and be a dominant player in his last year.”
Berard said having his first full season behind him has helped his adjustment to the Junior A game.
“I feel a lot better, just physically and with the size and speed of the game,” he said.
Berard is only six points shy of his entire scoring output in his rookie season. His 13 goals so far matches all of last season and he has 12 assists compared to 18 in 2016-2017. Berard is second in team scoring behind Carter Turnbull.
Kings played their last game of the month on the road in Victoria against the Grizzlies on November 28, beating the Grizzlies 7-3. Game results were unavailable at press time.
The team continues at home Friday, December 1, versus Langley and Saturday, December 2, versus Surrey.