It can be a tricky time of year. The much anticipated 13-day Christmas break is right around the corner, but there is still a lot of work to do for Powell River Kings to climb in BC Hockey League standings.
The team’s final stretch before Christmas began on Tuesday, December 4, in Cowichan Valley for the sixth game between the two clubs this season, with Powell River winning four of the previous matchups.
Ethan Kimball opened the scoring in the first period, burying a rebound after Josh Coblenz was stopped on the goal line. Powell River’s powerplay took over the game at that point. First, Jayden Lee’s shot through traffic found its way into the net for his third of the season. Then, after weathering a Cowichan storm in the second, Powell River scored back-to-back five-on-three goals in the third period against an unravelling and undisciplined Capitals team.
Ryan Brushett scored his 22nd of the season, tying him for the league lead in goals, and a share of second overall in points.
Christian Buono rounded out the scoring 40 seconds later and Mitch Adamyk stopped all 30 Cowichan shots in the 4-0 win for his 13th victory of the season and third shutout in two weeks.
“Our guys were huge tonight, blocking shots, clearing pucks and making things easy for Mitch (Adamyk),” said Kings assistant coach Brock Sawyer. “Mitch was fantastic, especially on our penalty kill where he was grabbing pucks and slowing the game down.”
Kings went three for eight on the powerplay. The effort marks the 10th time this season Powell River has scored two or more powerplay goals, the fifth time against Cowichan.
Powell River’s week began on Friday, November 30, as hosts to Alberni Valley Bulldogs for a pair of games at Hap Parker Arena, closing out a seven-game homestand in the process.
Bulldogs drew first blood, opening the scoring less than five minutes in, however, goals from Lee and Coblenz gave Powell River a 2-1 lead before Alberni tied the game on a powerplay late in the first period.
Alberni took the lead again through a lone second-period goal to put Powell River down 3-2 after 40 minutes. The goal marked just the 11th time this season Kings trailed after 40 minutes. Their record in that situation was one win and nine losses.
A comeback was triggered by an early third-period goal from Brushett before Coblenz scored on the powerplay a few minutes later for his second of the game and a 4-3 lead.
Coblenz completed his second hat-trick of the season late in the game on a partial break behind Alberni’s defence, propelling Powell River to a 5-3 win, their fourth in a row.
“It all starts with the team,” said Coblenz, reflecting on his three-goal night. “I benefited from good plays by guys around me. They start from our d-zone. I thought our defence was great tonight and I ended up getting lucky on a couple of shots.”
Kings concluded their long homestand on Saturday, December 1, with the back half of a doubleheader against Alberni.
A scoreless first period gave way to another Coblenz goal on the powerplay early into the second. Brushett’s powerplay marker late in the frame gave Powell River a 2-0 after 40 minutes, a situation they were 12-2 in this season.
An early Bulldog powerplay goal in the third period, combined with a turnover led to back-to-back Alberni tallies and a 2-2 game after 60 minutes. Early into the overtime session, following a Powell River chance, Alberni scored the game winner to win the game 3-2.
“We weren’t intense on the kill, we got beat to the net and that’s a powerplay goal, then a careless turnover in our own end catches us napping,” said Sawyer. “We battled hard, we had some opportunities to put the game away but it wasn’t enough.”
After an 0-2 start, Powell River finished its homestand with a record of 4-2-1, taking nine of a possible 14 points and helping steady an up-and-down period for the team.
As of Wednesday, December 5, Powell River special teams are the best in the BCHL (23.3 per cent on powerplay, 88.5 per cent on penalty kill), a full percentage point ahead of second place Victoria.
Kings hit the road for four of their final five games before the holiday break.
Powell River hosts Salmon Arm for the final home date of the 2018 calendar year on Friday, December 7, at Hap Parker Arena. Puck drop is 7 pm.