Hockey clichés tend to be cliché for a reason: because they’re true.
One of the biggest is that “every point matters” and that was on full display last weekend at Hap Parker Arena as Powell River Kings picked up key points in their pursuit for top spot in the BC Hockey League Island Division.
Powell River’s weekend began on Friday, January 25, at home against Penticton Vees.
Vees took the game to the Kings early on, forcing goaltender Mitch Adamyk to make some highlight reel saves to keep the game scoreless. The visitors broke the deadlock midway through the first period and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Penticton’s advantage stretched to two halfway through the second period before Powell River pulled within one through a goal by Levi Glasman. Vees scored a pair late in the period to hold a commanding 4-1 advantage after 40 minutes.
The three-goal deficit was almost immediately chipped away by a resilient Kings team. First, Rowan Miller notched his seventh of the season four minutes into the third period, followed by Matthew Byrne tapping home a feed from Ryan Brushett for his third of the season against his former and hometown team.
But that’s as close as Powell River came, falling short in a comeback attempt by a 4-3 score.
“If you look at the game overall, it was a pretty good game,” said Kings head coach Tyler Kuntz. “The start wasn’t great. Physically we were there, our shot attempts, hits, faceoff numbers were all very good, we just mentally went to sleep a couple of times and gave up some chances.”
The loss, combined with a Victoria win meant Powell River slipped three points back of the division lead ahead of hosting Surrey on Saturday, a team likely to miss the playoffs this season.
Kings had a better start and scored twice in the opening period, including Nolan Krogfoss’ first BCHL goal and Mitch Williams’ 14th of the season coming two minutes apart. Neither team scored in the second period with Eagles netminder Cayden Bailey making several key stops.
Surrey cut the lead in half early in the third but a late powerplay goal by Ben Thomas and an empty-net goal off the stick of Ethan Kimball gave Powell River its 29th win of the season, a 4-1 victory. Matteo Paler-Chow stopped 25 shots for his fourth win of the campaign.
“It was a good win. Surrey’s a very good team on the road and that showed tonight; they were in it until the final minutes,” said forward Josh Coblenz. “The guys fought hard and stuck with the game plan. Teams like Surrey can be unpredictable and you have to find ways to win; tonight was a good group effort.”
With a couple of days off, Powell River regrouped ahead of a rare Tuesday game at home, hosting Nanaimo in the seventh game of an eight-game season series. Kings had won five games against the Clippers this year, but the two teams had not seen each other since Nanaimo beat Powell River 5-3 on Remembrance Day.
Powell River took four separate leads in a seesaw game en route to a 5-4 victory. Christian Buono scored the eventual game winner seven minutes into the third period on an individual effort. He stole the puck away from a Clippers’ player and went in on a breakaway. Brushett, Coblenz, Glasman and Thomas also scored while Adamyk stood tall in his crease, turning aside 23 Nanaimo shots.
With the win, Powell River improved its record to 30-17-1-0. The team returns to the road this weekend for another trio of games beginning Friday, February 1, in Alberni. The two marquee games of the trip are part of a doubleheader in Victoria against the Grizzlies on Saturday, February 2, and a pre-Superbowl contest on Sunday, February 3. Powell River trails Victoria by one point.