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Kings need puck luck to get back into win column

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Just when it looked like the Dauphin Kings were ready to make a push up the Manitoba Junior Hockey League standings, they falter and lose ground to the teams surrounding them.
One week after blanking the Portage Terriers, 2-0 in Dauphin, the Kings went into Portage looking for another two points.
And things looked good early with the Kings carrying a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Things went downhill from there and the Terriers ended up scoring a 5-2 victory.
Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said there were a lot of positives to take from the game and he felt the Kings deserved better.
“But we didn’t get to traffic areas enough for second shots. I thought our energy level was good. We skated with them. It was a good game. It definitely wasn’t a 5-2 game,” he said, adding the power play has to get better after scoring once on five chances.
“We’re not coming up with big goals when we need them,” Hedley stated.
On Saturday in front of a crowd of 2,003 fans, the Kings went down early, allowing the first goal to the Swan Valley Stampeders just 1:14 into the contest before tying the game three minutes in.
The Stampeders then scored twice before the first intermission and skated to a 5-2 win on Ukrainian Night in Dauphin.
Just like the night before, Hedley felt the Kings deserved better against Swan Valley.
“We had puck possession all night. Chance after chance. Again, we’re not getting greasy enough in the paint. We’ve just got to want the puck more,” he said.
The team’s speed in both games was outstanding, Hedley said, adding the Kings controlled the puck in the offensive zone the whole game.
Swan Valley did a good job of clearing rebounds, mainly because there were no Kings there to compete for the puck after the initial save.
“There were a lot of second shots there, for sure,” Hedley said.
When it comes to turning things around, Hedley said the Kings’ biggest need is some puck luck.
“I don’t think we had any tonight at all. Even after we made it 4-2, Smith walks in there and put it off the cross bar. Then it’s 4-3 and the building is pretty excited,” he said.
“We had a lot of chances where guys just didn’t bear down and get it in. You’ve got to give credit to (Stampeders goalie Mikael) Foucher.”
Playing in front of a capacity crowd had the players pumped up, Hedley said, even though the fans weren’t really into the game until the Kings made it 4-2 with five minutes left to play.
“They didn’t have very much to cheer about. We had the puck a lot and chances. It’s just too bad, because the atmosphere was there. The guys were pumped to play. We just couldn’t find the net,” he said.
Defenceman Andrew Liwiski made it back into the lineup, returning from a hand injury and Hedley said he played well in his return.
“Liwiski was good. It was good to get him back,” he said.
The Kings will play their next three games on the road, starting Wednesday in a rematch with the Stampeders in Swan River.
On Friday, the Kings are in Virden to take on the Oil Capitals and on Saturday, Dauphin faces the Steelers in Selkirk. All three games begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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