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Kings season comes to a close after Okanagan trip

Weekend Recap is presented by Iris Optometry. Photo by Tami Quan Photography

After claiming 3 of 4 points in Cowichan and Alberni last weekend, the Kings entered their final two games 3 points behind the Capitals for the final playoff spot. The Kings headed to the Okanagan to wrap up the regular season and needed to win both games to secure the final spot.

On Friday the Kings were in West Kelowna to face the the Warriors who were looking to clinch the second seed in the Interior Conference. It was a homecoming for 2 Kings as 20 year old Zander Stewart got to play in his hometown and goalie Justin Katz retured to Royal LePage Place for the first time since being dealt to the Kings from the Warriors where he played for two and a half seasons. In his return Katz would steal the show making a number of big saves as the Warriors peppered him with plenty of shots. The game remained scoreless until there was 14:32 remaining in the second when Dylan Krayer tipped the puck over Katz to make it 1-0. Felix Caron added a second goal for the home side three minutes later on a breakaway as they Warriors held a two goal lead entering the third period.

With their season on the line, the Kings were desperate to get themselves back in the game but ran into some penalty trouble as they wound up on a extended penalty kill after Jaxon Fuder received five and a game for goalie interference. Jack Oakenfold scored on the long power play to make it 3-0, then right after it expired Trent Wilson notched the Warriors fourth to take a big lead 6:25 into the third. It seemed like the Kings playoff dreams were over after that point but they did not give up in West K. The team in green & gold ended up on another penalty kill but this time they flipped the script and Adam Mendelson flipped it to Christian Maro on a 2 on 1 and the Holy Cross commit Maro buried his 15th to give the Kings some life. Then 52 seconds later Maro’s shot from the far wall was deflected in by the the hometown boy Zander Stewart to put Kings within two goals. The game would tighten up as the Kings desperately pushed to keep their season alive. With just over a minute to go the Kings got a chance. Christian Maro’s shot was stopped, the rebound went to Anthony Yu who fed it in front to Zander Stewart who tipped it home for his second of the game, e=8th of the season and most importantly reduced the deficit to one with 1:08 to go. The Kings got the extra attacker out for an offensive zone faceoff with 10 seconds left. They got a few shots towards the net but they were blocked as the Warriors held on to win 4-3 and ended the Kings playoff hopes.


Entering game 54 the Kings knew it was the end of the line but they looked to finish off the year with a win as they were in Vernon to take on the Vipers for the first time since 2019. Like the previous game the game was scoreless and we needed to wait till the second to break the ice. Around the midway point in the second the Vipers had a tremendous opportunity to open the scoring but failed to get a shot on net, the Kings would then turn it into a 2 on 1 with Adam Mendelson leading the way. In his final junior game Mendelson sniped it from the left circle to score his 10th and give his team the coveted lead. The Vipers answered a few minutes later off the rush with a long shot from Isaac Tremblay to even things up at one which carried over to the third period.

Vernon was on the man advantage to start the final frame and capitalized 25 seconds in to take the lead, then added two more by the 11:33 mark to make it 4-1. Later in the period on the PK Vincent Lamberti came up with a highlights reel save to keep is team down by three, then only a few moments later Adam Mendelson stole the puck in the offensive zone and slide it under Colin Reay to score his second of the game. It would be the 4th shorthanded goal scored by the Kings forward this years which is tied for first in the BCHL, and the 11th overall for the Kings which was the second most in the league this season. The Kings weren’t going down without a fight but the Vipers sealed the deal with two more goals later to eventually win 6-2.

The Kings finished the season with a record of 14-35-5. With the season now over, it marks the end of the junior hockey careers of the teams 6 twenty year old players. We would like to congratulate Anthony Lucarelli, Adam Mendelson, Zander Stewart, Simone Dadiè, Luke deVries, and Kristians Samitis one their junior hockey succuss, and thank them for all their time and effort dedicated to the Kings organization. Good luck to all of them as they take the next step in their lives.