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Kings take first two from Caps


It might have been cold and blustery outside, but inside the Credit Union Place Arena the Dauphin Kings were heating things up to launch their 2018-19 Manitoba Junior Hockey League campaign, Sept. 22.
And the Kings sent the Pride faithful home with a warm feeling, downing the Virden Oil Capitals 4-2.
After a slow opening period, spent feeling each other out, the Kings took the lead with just 36 seconds left on the clock when Carter Sawchuck netted his first of two on the night.
The Kings continued to pressure Virden in the second, adding goals from Wayde Johannesson just 26 seconds into the period. Sawchuck added his second less than two minutes later to round out the second period scoring and send the Kings into the break up 3-0.
Virden came out with some jump in the final frame and finally solved Kings netminder Brennan Kitchen, when Jack Einarson found the back of the net at the 3:54 mark.
The Oil Capitals pulled to within one on a goal from Dylan Halliday midway through the period, but that would be as close as they would get thanks to an empty net marker from the Kings Mitchell Joss to seal the win.
Kitchen stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced in earning the win for the Kings while Dalton Dosch faced 30 shots between the pipes for the Oil Capitals.
“Obviously there was nerves to start the home opener with that many people here and the guys were excited to get started. They hadn’t played in a week and the timing was a little bit off,” Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said.
“But I thought our second period was very good. We controlled the puck for the most part.”
The third period, Hedley added, saw a few break downs which allowed the Oil Capitals back in.
“Even though they got a couple of quick goals there, we found a way to get it done. It was just the maturity and the experience of some of the guys on the back end that helped us through it.”
The Kings continued their winning way the following night in Virden in a return engagement with the Oil Capitals recording a 2-1 shootout victory.
After a scoreless first period, Marc-Antoine Couture gave the Kings the lead with the only goal of the second period.
Kolten Kanaski brought the Oil Capitals even midway through the third to round out the scoring in regulation time.
“I thought our first period was a very good road period. We played well away from the puck,” Hedley said.
“The second period we played probably half the period shorthanded. It really changes the flow of the game when you get four or five (penalties) and half the period you are shorthanded. You have to shorten your bench and a lot of guys get tired.”
Hedley said Kitchen was stellar in the net helping the Kings weather the storm. The Capitals did manage to get one by him on the power play, but it could have been worse.
“Our best player was Brennan Kitchen and whenever your goaltender is one of the top three guys on your team, you are going to have a chance to win the game,” Hedley said.
“The third period they came on and Brennan Kitchen was there.”
After 20 minutes of overtime failed to solve anything, Nakodan Greyeyes scored the only goal of the shootout to earn the Kings the extra point in the standings.
“He was the fifth shooter in. The ice wasn’t really good at the time. A lot of guys try to deke and on that kind of ice it is a mistake,” Hedley said.
“Nakodan got a big goal for us and when you lead most of the game like that, you like to get something out of it.”
Kitchen earned the win between the pipes for the Kings facing 46 shots while Dosch took the loss for the second night in a row facing 28 shots.
The Kings are now on the road for their next four games. Friday they are in Selkirk to face the Steelers and Saturday they visit Steinbach for a tilt with the Pistons. Sunday the Kings are in Winnipeg to take on the Blues and they wrap up the road trip Oct. 3 in Swan River.
“The next three are going to be tough, but at the same time it is good to get away and get the guys together,” Hedley said.
“If we continue to get goaltending like that from Brennan and we get better in our D zone and get better on our rush and start getting more pucks to the net and crashing the paint to get those second shots. If we start to do that we are going to be a tough team to beat.”