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Kings take 3 of 4 points in first games of 2023

Weekend Recap is presented by Iris Optometry.

The Kings officially kicked off 2023 with two games at the Hap this past weekend as they took on the Wenatchee Wild and Cowichan Valley Capitals.

Friday was the one and only meeting with the Wild this season and after a tough end to 2022 the Kings were determined to get the new year started off right. The Kings would open the scoring midway through the first period we Anthony Lucarelli one timed the puck in the slot for his 11th of the season, then 16 seconds later Noah Eyre would shoot the puck on a 2 on 1 to notch his 5th as the Kings held a 2-0 lead after the first period.

In the second the Wild would get on the board 90 seconds into the period on a fortunate bounce after the puck to a bad bounce of the Zamboni gate and headed straight to the front of the net where Cade Littler put it into the open cage as Kyle Metson went out to play the puck. The Kings wouldn’t let that bad break keep them down as they would go on to score 3 goals in the period. First Ryder Ringor scored his 4th on a power play, then Marcus Dashevsky would also get his 4th by beating Owen Millward with a backhand, then Caleb Bentham scored his second of the season on new goalie Andy Vlaha. Cam Symons would pick up an assist on all three goals as the Kings we’re cruising into the third with a 5-1 lead.

In the past the Kings have been very solid with leads in the third period, but the Wild came alive in the final frame and put a lot of pressure on the Kings defence. Wenatchee forward Ean Somoza would score on a power play 55 seconds into the period, then moments later Arvega Hovsepeyan would score on a odd man rush, then Cade Littler would get his second on another power play as the Wild scored 3 goals in the first 6 minutes of the period to reduce the Kings lead to one. It would remain 5-4 till the dying moments of the game as with the goalie pulled the the Wild would press hard for the equalizer and they would get it with 5.5 seconds left in the game after Garret Szydlowski put in the loose puck to force OT.

The Wild came into this game having played the most OT games in the BCHL this season and would make the most of another opportunity in the extra frame. The Wild would make quick work as Cade Littler scored his hat trick goal on the first shot 38 seconds in as he just snuck it under the arm of Metson and it just trickled over the goal line to complete the comeback as the Kings were on the receiving end of a devastating loss.

 

After a heartbreaker on Friday the Kings had a quick turn around as they took on a team they’ve had lots of success against this season in the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

It would be the Capitals scoring first just 6 minutes in on another funky bounce as Andrew Haxton’s shot his two Kings, bounce up in the air then rolled into the net just sneaking between the post and the pad of Liam Vanderkooi. The Kings wouldn’t let that bother them as they continued to press as they controlled most of the first period. The game would get tied 11 minutes in when Adam Mendelson fed new King Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero in the slot and he one timed it in for his first as a King and 6th of the season as we remained tied after the opening period.

In the second the Kings would take the lead when Anthony Lucarelli made a strong drive to then net and went cross ice to Cam Symons who then scored his 7th of the season to make it 2-1. As the period went on the Caps started to find their footing and would have a couple of good chances, but Liam Vanderkooi was sharp and stopped all 13 shots he faced in the period.

For the second game in a row the Kings held a lead going into the third and they would quickly extend the lead to two 30 seconds in on a power play when Jack Blanchett scored his 10th as it was 3-1. The Capitals would reduce the lead back to one when Andrew Haxton scored his second of the game after he was left all alone in front of the net. Just like the game versus the Wild the Kings would have a one goal lead in the final minutes with the opposition goalie pulled and once again things did not go the Kings way as Luke Lavery would bank the puck off of Vanderkooi from behind the net with 52 seconds left to tie the game and we headed to overtime for the second game in a row.

The Capitals would outshoot the Kings 5-1 in OT but nothing was solved as we headed to a shootout. The first shooter would be Alex Sandhu who has the only shootout goal for the Kings this season and would make an almost identical move to score on McCoy Bidewell to give the Kings the early advantage. Cole Melady, Dylan Hewlett, Luke Lavery, and Noah Eyre would all fail to score in their shootout attempts as it cam down to Kai Duntis to keep the shootout going but Liam Vanderkooi stopped his as he stopped all 3 shots in the shootout and made 40 saves on route to his first win at the Hap this season.

Despite the tough loss on Friday it would be a successful weekend for the Kings to kick off the new year as they took 3 of 4 points and now have a record of 11-17-2-2.

The Kings are back at home next week for two games against the Chilliwack Chiefs. The first game of the double header will be Saturday at 7pm on Tla’amin Nation night then it will a Sunday Afternoon matinee at 1:30 pm on the 15th.