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Next Up For Kings Is The Regular Season

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The next time the Dauphin Kings hit the ice for a game it will be the team’s first meaningful contest since, Nov. 1, 2020.

After three preseason contests in which they went 1-1-0-1, the Kings open the regular season, Friday in Neepawa against the newly-re-christened Titans.

The annual rookie game against the Swan Valley Stampeders saw the Kings skate away with a 3-1 win, Sept. 7. The Stamps got a measure of revenge two nights later with a 5-4 victory and Dauphin ended its exhibition schedule with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Wolverines, Saturday in Waywayseecappo.

Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley liked what he saw throughout the preseason.

“We really like our mobility on the backend. Goaltending has been okay and we’re going to have some work to do up front. But we think that we’ve got some speed and skill to get something started,” he said.

Hedley has pointed out the Kings will have to rely on scoring by committee, which is not necessarily a bad thing. All four lines, he said, will have speed, a little bit of size and a skill set that will produce offence.

“You’re not going to be able to focus on one line or two lines. We’re going to try and score by committee. And a lot of the offence is going to be generated from the backend,” Hedley said. “We just need to play with some good team structure, solid away from the puck and good things will happen.”

The Kings are down to 27 players, with 24 skaters and three goaltenders. Hedley expects to be down to 25 players by the weekend.

Leading into Friday’s season opener, the Kings focus in practice will be on the team’s structure in the defensive zone.

“And focus on some simple things that we can do very well. We’re not going to get through every system in one week, but we’ll get through a little bit of D zone coverage, neutral zone rush defence, basically some forechecking that we want to implement this year. And then touch on special teams and what Neepawa is looking like toward the end of the week,” Hedley said.

Hedley hopes the Kings will be a team that can entertain the fans this season.

“We have some good team speed. We’ve always taken pride in our work ethic and effort. And just determination. Playing for the crest is a privilege and we have a good group of players that are focused on playing for the crest and trying to get to the next level,” he said.

Dauphin’s home opener will go Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when the Titans pay their first visit of the season to Credit Union Place.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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