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Kings Sweep Stampeders In First Meetings Of The Season

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The Dauphin Kings maintained their hold on first place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s West Division with a pair of wins over the Swan Valley Stampeders, this past weekend.

The Kings scored three goals in a span of 2:14 late in the second period to break open a close game en route to a 5-0 victory, Friday in Dauphin, as Carson Cherepak stopped 20 shots for his second shutout of the season.

The next night in Swan River, the Kings completed the sweep with a 2-1 shootout win, with Kaden Bryant netting the only goal in the shootout.

Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said Friday’s game was closer than the score indicates.

“Swan played very well. The game was 1-0 halfway through. The good thing about it is we were patient. We played very well away from the puck. Really focused on being D-side on battles and took advantage of mistakes when we had the chance and made some good plays. A lot of good things, that’s for sure,” he said.

The Stampeders took advantage of their smaller rink to come at the Kings hard, Hedley said about Saturday’s game.

“And they’ve got a good sized hockey club. They had good speed and kept us to the outside a lot. There are certain times in a game where you have to battle to get into the greasy areas. You’ve got to give Swan some credit, they played very well,” he said.

“We hung tough, though. Finding ways to win is a very positive characteristic of a hockey club and right now, guys are staying patient. They’re not getting upset or frustrated. Staying focused and staying the course and right now, it’s paying off, that’s for sure.”

Saturday was the first time the Kings have gone to a shootout, which is something the players work on in practice, Hedley stated.

“These guys have something they call juice in practice. It’s just one-on-one with the goaltenders or breakaways. We just kind of fed off that,” he said in explaining how he chooses which players to send out for the shootout.

“We have a hard working team that has some depth in scoring. I think we could have thrown anybody in there. But Kaden Bryant, obviously, is one of our leading goal scorers. And the same with Brayden (Dube). Hayden Lacquette went in because he has a good skill set.”

Player selection could change every game, Hedley added, noting it was the first shootout of the season for the Kings.

“So we’re still trying to figure things out as well,” he said.

Hedley expects another couple of tough battles when the two teams meet again this weekend, beginning Friday in Swan River at 7 p.m., followed by the finale, Saturday in Dauphin at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re going to have to be better and we’re going to have to stay consistent away from the puck. They create some opportunities by using their speed. So going back into Swan, we’re going to try and play a little heavier if we can and try to get to the greasy areas a little more,” he said.

Forward Mathew Rathbone left Saturday’s game with an upper body injury and was to be re-evaluated Monday morning.

Kings court:

At 14-4-0-0, the Kings are two points ahead of the Waywayseecappo Wolverines and are tied with the Winnipeg Blues for second overall in the league, one point behind the Steinbach Pistons. Only two points separate the bottom four teams in the West Division, with Virden in third with 17 points, followed by Swan Valley with 16 and Neepawa and OCN tied with 15 . . .

Dauphin moved up in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20, now sitting at no. 14, up five spots from last week. Steinbach fell from no. three last week to no. six this week, while Winnipeg moved up one spot to no. 17.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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