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Kings take down Clippers again, but falter against Bulldogs

Weekend Recap presented by Iris Optometry. Photo by Island Images Photography

This past weekend marked the final time the Kings headed over to Vancouver Island as they took on the Nanaimo Clippers and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Friday the Kings took on the Clippers who they have had good success on the road against winning two out of the three games at Frank Crane Arena. It would be a scoreless first period, mostly due to the play of Kyle Metson as he made 10 saves including a highlight reel blocker save on Kai Daniells at the buzzer as the Kings were outshot 10-5 in the first.

The Kings found themselves in some penalty trouble in this game as 5 minutes into the second the Clippers were on their fourth power play. With a goose egg on the first three they were determined to convert the fourth and they did at 5:46 when Ethan Mistry knocked in a rebound to open the scoring. The goal against would give the Kings a jolt as they tied it up less than three minutes later on a weird play when the puck landed on top of the net then fell right in front of the goal line where Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero was able to knock it in for his 10th to even the score. The Kings would add another 2 minutes later of a rush when Cam Symons absolutely fired a ripper from the left circle for his 11th to make it 2-1. They would increase their lead soon after on a 4 on 4 scenario when the puck came to Jack Blanchett who was alone in the slot and made no mistake to notch his 13th on the season to make it 3-1 as the momentum was all on the Kings side heading into the third.

In the third the Kings found themselves in more penalty trouble and the Clippers would capitalize twice on the power play in the first 5 minutes, with both of them being backdoor plays. First it was Jake Hewitt 46 seconds into the period, then it was Charles Tardif evening the score at 4:54. Things would settle down for the middle part of the period, but with just over 5 minutes to play, the Kings turned it over in their own zone and Nanaimo would make a give and go play which Charles Tardif finished off to make it 4-3. After giving up the lead the Kings found themselves in familiar territory as they have blown goal leads in two out of their last three games, but they were reluctant to succumb to the same fate. Just over a minute after the Clippers took the lead, Anthony Yu drove down the right wing to the side of the net and roofed the puck over Aidan Campbell for his 16th to tie it up. Then at 17:57 the Parker Lalonde would pick up the puck in his own zone and take it to the offensive and with a couple defenders around him he would fire a wrister from the right circle which went over Campbell and in the net to give the Kings the late lead. Down very late the Clippers would pull their goalie for the extra attacker but were unsuccessful as Parker Lalonde would end it with an empty netter with 6 seconds left for his 12th of the season to give the Kings the 6-4 win.

Even though the penalty kill struggled going 3 for 6, Kyle Metson made up for with 30 saves for his first win against Nanaimo this season.

With the win he Kings we’re riding a six game point streak as they head to Alberni to face the Bulldogs, who we’re the last team to defeat the Kings in regulation seven games ago.

Right from the opening face off you could tell the Bulldogs we’re ready getting a scoring chance just seconds into the game, but Kyle Metson stood tall. Not long after Alberni would open the scoring at 1:54 when Ethan Bono fought off Will Jones to fire the puck over the glove of Metson to make it 1-0. The King would answer back at 5:44 after Ryder Ringor jumped in the air to knock down a clearing attempt, the puck would then go to Anthony Yu who went cross ice to Parker Lalonde who one timed it in for his 13th to make it 1-1. However, the tie didn’t last long as just 12 seconds later the Bulldogs would regain the lead on a goal from Chase Klassen to make it 2-1 which seemed like a big punch in the gut for the Kings. Nic Beneteau would one more before the end of the period to give his team a 3-1 lead.

In the second the Bulldogs would keep rolling scoring twice, first at 3:35 on another goal from Beneteau and at 13:49 from Tristan Taylor as it was 5-1 Alberni. The Kings would be able to get one back on a late power play when Karter McNarland’s shot went off the post, off goalie Campbell Arnold and in the net for his 14th as it was 5-2 Bulldogs going into the third.

The Bulldogs would officially run away with the game in the third period with two goals 40 seconds a part from Matt Kursonis and Matthew Maltais to make it 7-2 which ended the night for Metson who made 24 saves on 31 shots. The goalie change would give the Kings a brief spark as Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero would score just seconds later when he tipped in a shot from Adam Mendelson to make it 7-3. Nic Beneteau would eventually cap off the hat trick at 12:47 for Alberni’s 8th goal of the game. Towards the end of the game there would be a lot of rough stuff, as you would expect in a game like this one, and once it was settled the Kings would have a power play for the final 3 minutes and change which included a 5 on 3, but were unable to score as the final tally would be 8-3 Bulldogs.

It was a rough end to the road swing but at the end of the day 2 of 4 points against top teams is a good accomplishment. With their two points and a few losses from Langley the Kings have officially clinched the 7th seed in the Coastal Conference and will play the 2 seed in the first round off the playoffs. Currently that team is the Surrey Eagles but that could change as it is still possible for Nanaimo could fall down or Alberni Valley could jump up a spot in the final two weeks of the season.

5 games now remain for the Kings as they have a record of 17-24-5-3 and are getting set to play their final home games of the season this coming weekend against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The doubleheader will start on Friday at 7pm then the final game of the regular season with be Saturday at 5pm, but there will be a tailgate party that starts at 2pm which will be hosted by the Salvation Army.