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Kings home schedule ends with split versus Capitals

Weekend Recap is presented by Iris Optometry.

It was the final two home games for the Kings this past weekend as they hosted the Capitals in the first of three straight meetings between the two teams. The Kings entered the home doubleheader trailing the Caps by four points for the final playoff spot.

With a strong start to the game of Friday the Capitals opened the scoring at 13:43 when Matthew Swanson made a nifty spin pass to Dryden Kuramoto was at the side of the net and knocked it in. The Kings had themselves a late surge to finish the period, but they ended trailing by a goal after the first.

It didn’t take long for the Kings to even things up in the second, just 27 seconds in Ryan Arnold buried a rebound for his 4th to make it a 1-1 game. The Capitals would regain the lead just minutes later off a goal from Luke Lavery, but the Kings would have another quick response. In the final seconds of a power play a Zander Stewart point shot would be denied but Thomas Belzil was there to knock in the rebound for his 7th to make it 2-2. We fast forward to the end of the period when the Capitals put on some late pressure, but the Kings held them off and took the puck down the ice. Kristians Samitis found Zander Stewart open on the left side of the net, who then found Simone Dadiè open open on the door step and he tapped in his 13th with 20 seconds left to give the Kings the lead heading into the third.

The both teams locked things down defensively in the third period with scoring chanced coming few and far between. Moving ahead to the final minute the Capitals had the extra attacker out looking for the equalizer, but Vincent Lamberti was solid in goal all night long and he made a couple saves in the final minute to secure a victory for the Kings. The Caps only managed 8 shots in the final frame but threw 36 total shots towards Lamberti, and the Kings had 29 shots on Cody Butikis.

Now two points behind the Capitals, Saturday the Kings looked to tie them in the standings with a win in their final regular season home game. Cowichan got off to another solid start getting off to a 2-0 lead 17:20 into the period with both goals coming on 2 on 1 opportunities. Falling behind in such a big game, the Kings found a spark late in the first on the penalty kill when Anthony Lucarelli sent Jaxon Fuder on a shorthanded breakaway and Fuder made no mistake going post and in with 16 seconds left for his 5th, to reduce the deficit to one.

The Kings were outshot 22-10 in the opening period and looked to improve and even the score. The home side was able to reduce the amount of chances for the Caps, however the visitors did the same and wasn’t making things easy for the Kings to comeback. Luke Lavery scored once again at 6:15 of the second to expand their lead to two goals. Shots were 9-9 in the second but it was the Capitals leading and the Kings were set for their biggest third period of the season.

Learning their lesson from the night before, the Capitals were determined not to give up the lead and pick up a crucial win. The Kings pushed hard, fighting for every inch of space and every scoring chance, but the Caps D was solid and Cody Butikis was dialed in between the pipes. The best chance for the Kings came late in third on a 3 on 0 chance but they couldn’t take advantage as Anthony Yu’s pass to Anthony Lucarelli hopped over his stick. The missed chance was a perfect example on how the game was going for the Kings. Cowichan Valley added an empty netter in the final minute to win 4-1. The final shots were 41-31 for Cowichan.

With a split at home the Kings are right back were they started the weekend, four points behind the Capitals for the final playoff spot with four games left. These teams meet one more time on Friday in Duncan and it is do or die for the Kings. They need at least a point to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Capitals pick up a regulation win they will clinch the final playoff spot. Puck drop from the big stick is at 7pm.

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