Smiles on Friday night turned into frowns on Saturday as the Kings received a reality check from the Nanaimo Clippers.
Kings learned a valuable lesson tonight and that is every team they face this year is going to be “up” and ready to take on the two time Coastal Conference Champs.
Nanaimo seemed to be much more ready for the game tonight than the Kings and the 4-3 final score was probably indicative of the want meter.
Prior to the game members of Kings' alumni were honored and a short speech by the Kings' first coach included special mention of the contribution of Joe Mastrodonato, Doug McCormick and Kent Lewis.
Both teams had a number of chances in the opening frame but Garteig and Pelletier turned aside every shot.
Nanaimo opened the scoring in the second on a point shot that Garteig lost in a screen.
Kings' got it back on a two on one with Garbowsky using Niddery as a decoy and then he snapped a shot on the short side to tie 1-1.
Nanaimo got the next two goals – one on a rebound and their third on a nice two on one that ended with Jaw roofing the puck past Garteig.
Kings managed to close the gap to 3-2 when Niddery got loose at the side of the net and backhanded the puck in past Pelletier.
Kings had a lot of energy to start the third and finally tied the game when Puddifant got a four minute spearing call on Mike Sones.
Schuler picked up the tying 3-3 goal with a high wristy from the top of the circle and it looked as though the Kings were gathering a little momentum.
Kings got crossed up on an innocent looking two on two and Nanaimo's game star Kyle Kramer beat Garteig for the winner at 16:27.
Kent Lewis was philosophical after the game saying, “this group is going to have to get used to teams coming in here pretty wired up and we've heard a lot of 'you're all this and you're all that' the last couple of weeks, so this is reality.”
Captain Chad Niddery, who has been with the club for a few years now, wasn't surprised that Nanaimo brought it.
“For the last couple of years we've been the leading club in the division,” he said, “so you've got rivalries with every team in the league basically because you're the best.”
“And we still want to be the best,” he said, implying that this was just an early season setback.
Ron Armitage Mens Wear Three Stars.
1. Kyle Kramer
2. Chad Niddery
3. Brayden Jaw