The Powell River Kings (33-17-1-0) may not have played their best game Friday night against the Cowichan Valley Capitals (20-25-3-2), but a pair of power-play goals in the final few minutes helped them to a 4-1 win.
Ben Berard opened the scoring for the Kings when he parked himself in the crease and perfectly redirected a pass from the far corner off the stick of Jonny Evans for his 11th of the season.
Cowichan would tie the game with a nice passing play on the man advantage. While carrying the puck into the Kings zone, Ayden MacDonald sent the puck from the right wing across the ice to Max Newton. Newton quickly fired it into the middle for Mitch Skapski who had an open net to tap it in and tie the game.
Brian Wilson made his finest save of the game in the first when he stretched out his blocker side to rob Chris Harpur of an open-net chance late in the period.
The only goal of the second period came off the stick of Carter Turnbull off another great pass from Evans.
Evans gathered the puck and skated towards the blue line before making his way down the middle of the ice. He had a good lane on net from the slot, but spotted Turnbull waiting at the left face-off circle and fed him the puck. Turnbull let the one timer go and beat a diving Adam Marcoux to make it 2-1.
Tensions grew as the game went on, and they came to a head late in the third period when MacDonald and Tristan Mullin grappled each other to the ice in the Kings crease.
MacDonald was given a double minor for roughing, so the Caps, who were on the power play at the time, found themselves on a 4-on-3 penalty kill.
Nearly 1:30 into the power play, Evans scored to give the Kings their first lead of the game as his one timer from the slot deflected off a Cowichan player and through the legs of Marcoux.
Just 40 seconds later, with one second left on the power play, Turnbull scored his second of the night after Johan Steen’s shot bounced right to Turnbull at the side of the goal, and he was able to stuff it passed Marcoux to make it 4-1 with under three minutes remaining.
The Kings and Capitals do it all again Saturday night at 5:00 as the Kings continue to try and gain ground on the division-leading Victoria Grizzlies. The Kings are four points behind, though Victoria does have two games in hand.