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Kings Win Three Straight

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What a difference a week makes.

Six days after one of the worst home-ice performances in recent memory, the Dauphin Kings turned things around and swept a home-and-home with the Neepawa Titans in convincing fashion.

On Friday, Colby Jaquet had three assists and five different players found the back of the net in a 5-2 Kings victory in front of 695 fans at Credit Union Place. One night later, Kaden Bryant scored three times and added an assist to lead the Kings to a 6-3 win in Neepawa.

Kings head coach and general manager said the Kings playing with some structure and speed was the biggest difference.

“A good week of practice and guys buying in was exactly what we needed, for sure,” he said, adding the team is starting to play with some confidence.

Hedley has come up with some line combinations that seem to be working.

“And guys like playing with each other. It’s a good situation right now. Obviously, you’re only as good as your next game, so we’ve got a good week of practice again to get ready for OCN,” he said.

Hedley feels the team needs to reinforce its play in the defensive end and neutral zone forecheck.

“Just getting better and better. And get into some special teams. Our power play was pretty good (Saturday) night, some good movement. Penalty killing was okay. We’re getting into shooting lanes. We’ve just got to fine tune a few areas like faceoffs. D-zone faceoffs, offensive zone faceoffs, little things like that to make sure we’re on the same page,” he said.

Dauphin’s play in the defensive zone improved in the two most recent victories. In Dauphin’s home opener, Sept. 18, Neepawa had 45 shots on goal. It took both games this past weekend to record that many, with 20 on Friday and 25 on Saturday.

“We didn’t get a lot of time in exhibition season because we only had three games. So it takes a little time. Last week in practice we walked through the systems again and then reviewed and reinforced,” Hedley said. “Defence is hard work and hard work is a choice. So the choice was good. They worked hard this weekend and it paid off.”

The Kings will now get ready for a four-game set with the OCN Blizzard, beginning, Friday in OCN at 7 p.m., with game two in Dauphin, Sunday at 4 p.m.

Hedley said the Kings will have to make sure they are on their A game.

“And the speed, the D to D, the moving the puck up as quick as we can. Using our speed and then playing tough defence,” he said. “Everything we did against Neepawa, whose got a very good hockey club, OCN will bring the same.”

The Kings released forwards Braedon Lacomy, Nicholas Fredrick, defenceman Erik Larsen and goaltender Rylan Labrie last week.

Brayden Dube will skate with the team this week after his release from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and forward Matthew Rathbone will join the team next Monday.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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