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Kings busy on the trade front, lose at home to Blizz


Through no fault of their own, the Dauphin Kings had a relatively easy schedule last week, with just one game.
But head coach and general manager Doug Hedley was busy off the ice, making four moves to bolster the lineup.
Dauphin was set to host the OCN Blizzard, Saturday, but that game was postponed due to poor travel conditions, resulting in the game being rescheduled for Sunday.
Sunday was to have been an OCN home game between the two teams, but that was postponed when Saturday’s game was moved. They were to have played tonight, but it, too, has been postponed. Anyone who purchased a ticket to that game can get a refund at the ticket office.
As for Sunday’s contest, the Kings got off to a good start, building a 4-1 first-period lead at one point.
But OCN chipped away and made it 4-2 before the period break and tied it at four by the end of the second period.
Three goals in the last five minutes gave OCN its first win of the season.
Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley felt penalties were a factor, with the Kings having to kill off three straight penalties in the second period.
“You’ve got to control your stick and stuff, but the penalties were really weak. Really weak. And a couple for them (OCN) could have been called and they just let it go,” he said.
“It’s hard to figure out what kind of a game that was.”
After producing 14 shots in the opening frame, Dauphin’s offence only managed three in the second period and five in the third.
The Kings did have a goal called back in the third period that would have given them a 5-4 lead, but it was ruled a hand pass.
Hedley felt the team got away from its structure.
“We weren’t shooting enough and tried to get too fancy. And then we got away from our structure. We had guys giving up odd man rushes, just like we did against Wayway the first game,” he said.
“All of a sudden we’re not patient anymore. It’s nice to push the pace, but you still have to have structure. You still have to have some kind of patience and support.”
Hedley said the team has to start thinking defence first and be a little more patient.
“We had opportunities over and over and over again. We just didn’t capitalize,” he said.
Off the ice the week began with a blockbuster deal with the Portage Terriers, sending defenceman Cole Dekoninck, 20, and forwards Noah Wagner, 18, and Dylan Winsor, 18, for the Terriers for defenceman Layne Toder, 20, a second round draft pick and future considerations.
With the depth on the Kings this season, Hedley felt the team had enough offence up front that they could acquire a stay-at-home defenceman, which led to Dekoninck being sent to Portage for Toder.
Wagner wanted a bigger role on the team after being relegated to the fourth line.
“I understand that. This will be a better opportunity for him in Portage and playing a lot and developing as a player,” Hedley said.
Winsor was added to the deal because of the numbers game. Portage had listed him at one time, so they are familiar with him.
Also new to the team is 17-year-old Tyson Kozak, who was the Western Hocke  League’s Portland Winterhawks’ Rookie of the Year, last season.
Kozak was drafted by the Kings in the second round, 13th overall, of the 2017 MJHL draft. He was recently named to the NHL’s Central Scouting list of players to watch.
“He’s a decent kid that’s growing and getting strong and stronger,” Hedley said.
The Kings also swung a deal with the Steinbach Pistons, acquiring Roblin native Jakob Brook, a forward, and a sixth round draft pick in 2021 for forward Kade Runke and a fifth round pick in 2021.
Brook split last season between the Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats, while Runke played for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The WHL announced last week they would allow players to play junior A this year to continue their development until WHL training camps start in the new year.
Kadin Ilott also wanted a bigger role on the team, but Hedley said it would have been tough getting him the minutes that he wanted. So the second-year player was sent to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines for future considerations.
With the pandemic affecting junior hockey across the country, there are no deadlines for teams to cut down the number of cards they are allowed.
Hedley said teams are allowed 45 cards until the Jan. 10 deadline, after which they can carry 25 players until the end of the season instead of the usual 23.
“I think they did it more to let the Western Hockey League guys play,” he said.
The Kings will face the Terriers in Portage, Friday, before hosting Portage on Saturday.
Kings court: Due to Prairie Mountain Health being moved to the orange level in the pandemic response, the capacity at Credit Union Place has been reduced to 25 per cent for Kings games. As a result, only season ticket holders will be allowed in the venue for games and walk up tickets will no longer be available.

Doug Zywina