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Kings clinch playoff birth versus Grizzlies

Weekend recap is presented by Iris Optometry.

After a successful weekend in Prince George and Chilliwack the Kings were back at home for two games against the Victoria Grizzlies with a chance to secure their spot in the playoffs.

Friday wouldn’t get off to a hot start for the Kings as the Grizzlies would open the scoring 1:10 after Olivier Picard’s shot hit Liam Vanderkooi in the shoulder and hop over him and into the back of the net to make it 1-0. The Grizzlies would roll early but would take 3 consecutive penalties which allowed the Kings to get back in it. Even though the Kings did not score on those 3 man advantages it allowed them to settle into the game and shift the momentum. Shortly after the third power play expired the Kings would get on the board after Alex Sandhu found the loose puck at the side of the net to score his 4th of the season. 30 seconds later the Kings would take the lead of a rush when Anthony Yu fired one over Auyeung-Ashton for his 15th to give the Kings the lead heading into the second period.

The Grizzlies would get off to another quick start in the second period scoring twice in the span of 20 seconds to take a 3-2 lead. After the third goal was allowed the Kings would switch goaltenders as Kyle Metson came in relief of Liam Vanderkooi who made 10 saves. The Goalie change seemed to give the Kings a jolt as just 34 seconds after giving up the lead they would get back on a rush led by Will Jones who took the puck towards the net on the right wing took a shot which hit a Grizzlies stick and went into the back of the net for his 4th as we were tied a three which would be the score going into the third.

Both teams would tighten things up in the third with no one wanting to give up the go ahead goal. The stalemate would come to an end with just over 5 minutes left when a Karter McNarland drop pass at the offensive blueline was picked up by Caleb Bentham who then make two moves to get by Grizzlies defenders then wired in a shot from the left circle for the highlight reel goal and most importantly give the Kings a 4-3 lead. Now done by one the Grizzlies would press to tie it up. They would get a number of good looks but Kyle Metson came up big in the final minutes stopping everything in his path enroute to making 19 saves in a 4-3 Kings win.

Final shots would be 37-32 for the Kings while Noah Eyre would collect two assists in the win.

Friday’s win would set up a doozy of a game on Saturday. With the season series tied 3-3 the winner will earn bragging rights and more importantly for the Kings a win or a Capitals loss to would clinch a playoff birth.

Like we saw the game before the Grizzlies would be the better team at the start but Kyle Metson would shut the door. After starting to find their groove as time ticked on the Kings would open the scoring at 9:07 after Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero fed Adam Mendelson in the slot and fired it past the glove of Auyeung-Ashton for his 8th. Then the lead would turn to two at 15:39 when Cam Symons broke free from a Grizzlies defender, he went to the net and took a shot that was stopped but Ryder Ringor was right there to tap in the rebound for his 8th to make it 2-0 Kings going into the second.

In the middle frame it would be tight knit period with the Kings having the most chance but couldn’t solve Auyeung-Ashton. However they would be able to get another one past him on a power play and a quick passing play that saw Ryder Ringor pass to Jack Blanchett who then went to Casey Aman who finished it off with the slap shot for his 8th to make it 3-0. Down big the Grizzlies would aim to make a comeback to get inch closer a little over a minute after Casey Aman scored when Jack Gorton hammered in a one timer to make it 3-1. That goal would fuel the Grizzlies who tried for more before time expired but they found themselves down by two after two.

The Kings were now 20 minutes away from clinching a playoff spot themselves but the Grizzlies had other thoughts as they came out very strong. They would get withing one midway through on a slap shot from Tyler Waram to make it 3-2. The Kings would hold on to that lead until the final few minutes when the Grizzlies pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Victoria would make the most of the extra man getting the tying goal at 18:36 from Nathan King who point shot made it’s way through traffic into the back of the net as this game need OT. The Grizzlies out shot the Kings 22-14 in the third as this would be the second time in 3 games the Kings a 3-0 lead and give it up to head to overtime.

In OT the Kings would have the first good look when Anthony Lucarelli just send to puck wide right in front of the net. Shortly after the Grizzlies would have possession in the offensive zone. The puck to return to Nathan King who took a shot which hit Ryder Ringor and bounced past Metson to give the Grizzlies the OT victory.

The Kings might not of picked up the win but the picked up at least a point for the 7th time over the last 10 games. in the end the Kings still managed to clinch a playoff spot after the Capitals lost to the Bulldogs. With a playoff spot clinched the Kings next objective is to solidify themselves in the 7th seed. With 7 games left they have a record of 16-23-5-3 eight points ahead of the 8th place Langley Rivermen.

Up next the Kings go to the island for the final time this season, with a stop in Nanaimo on Friday and in Port Alberni oon Saturday. Both games are at 7pm.

The Kings have two more home games coming up this season on March 17th & 18th vs the Capitals. March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day where we will be giving out prizes for best St. Patrick’s day attire. Then Saturday is the final regular season home game a 5pm, but the Party starts a 2pm with a tailgate party hosted by the Salvation Army!

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