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Next stop, the regular season

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It is crunch time for the Dauphin Kings coaching staff.
The Kings iced a younger lineup for its preseason finale, Wednesday, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Portage Terriers in Portage.
Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said the Kings were right there with the Terriers at five-on-five, noting Portage scored three times on the power play and had two five-on-three advantages.
“I really thought that was the difference in the game,” he said.
“But I was very happy with the way we stood up for each other. Guys got involved and showed they want to be here and wear the crest. It was good to see.”
The play of the younger players did not make Hedley’s job any easier when it comes to deciding who to keep and who to let go.
“We felt there was a lot of good games by a lot of our younger kids. They played well. Right now, it’s going to come down to who we feel and project are going to be the better players by the end of the year. And we hope we make the right decisions,” he said.
As of Friday, no players had been released. Hedley explained there is a process at this time of year, where players are not simply released.
“You try to find them places to play. It’s probably going to take a couple of days to put guys on the wire and see if we can get them a place to land somewhere,” he said, adding he also looks at the wire to see if there are players available who can help improve his team.
“But right now, we feel we have a good group here to start with. If we have to, we’ll go on for a little bit and see if we have to add in certain places and where our weaknesses are and see if we can improve,” he said.
The focus in the week leading up to the home opener on Friday will be to go into more tactical aspects of the game.
“Which is systems and that type of thing. So D zone, neutral zone, offence, forecheck, try to set up some power play units, and get some good practices in. We’re going to skate Sunday to Thursday, so five good practices and get ready for our first segment with four games against Wayway,” he said, adding they have already had one video session.
The Kings open the regular season, Friday against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines at 7:30 p.m. The two teams meet in Waywayseecappo, Saturday at 7 p.m.
The following weekend will see the Kings return to Waywayseecappo, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m., with the rematch in Dauphin, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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