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Statement wins move Kings one point out of fifth

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Entering a week in which they faced the top two teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, the Dauphin Kings were hoping to make a statement to the rest of the league.
Considering they won two of the three games, it is safe to say that statement was made loud and clear.
The Kings dominated the Winkler Flyers in a 5-1 win, last Tuesday.
On Friday, the Steinbach Pistons skated to a 4-1 win, before the Kings got a measure of revenge the next night, with a 5-2 victory.
Dauphin’s record now sits at 25-21-3-2 for 55 points. While they remain in seventh place, the Kings are just one point behind sixth-place Virden and fifth-place Waywayseecappo and they are five up on Selkirk.
Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said the Kings did a lot of good things in Friday’s loss.
“We probably deserved better,” he said, adding goalie Matthias Smith would probably like a few goals back.
“Those power-play goals kind of deflated us right off the hop. Two lucky ones. And the third one was right off the hop in the third period.”
Saturday’s win was the first of the season against the Pistons and it gave Dauphin a win against every team in the league this season.
But the Kings already knew they could beat any team in the league.
Hedley noted the Kings have more consistency in their game the last six or seven games, than they have all season.
“And this is the best time to do it. I just think we’re getting to where, game in, game out, we’re doing the little things right,” he said, adding the reason is because the players are buying in.
“When we get in trouble is when guys try to do others guys’ jobs. And one guy is flying all over the place, trying to do three jobs when all he has to do is his own,” he said.
“So we’re starting to get that team buy-in in the D zone and getting a better push, getting better commitment to separating guys from pucks and better corners. Tonight, we took away the middle of the ice. We had a lot of blocked shots tonight because we were tougher down the middle of the ice.”
The power play, which has struggled recently, connected for two goals in Saturday’s win and the line of Grady Hobbs, Nakodan Greyeyes and Baron Thompson combined for seven points.
“That’s what that line can do. They’re one of the best in the league and they can win games for you,” Hedley said.
Hedley added the penalty kill was also good, Saturday, despite giving up a late goal.
“Special teams are getting better and I think our work ethic is getting more consistent,” he said.
Goaltender Levi Mitchell is on the shelf with a broken finger suffered in practice. Hedley said he should be back by the weekend.
The Kings are on the road for three games this week, beginning Wednesday in Neepawa against the Natives.
The Kings and Pistons will meet each other for the third time in a week when they play in Steinbach, Friday. On Saturday, Dauphin visits the Terriers in Portage.
All three games begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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