(KINGSVILLE, ON) – The goals came fast and furious as the Kingsville Kings and the Halton Ravens opened the first two games of the GMHL South Division finals at Kingsville Arena. Zack Zulkanycz opened the scoring, Friday night, at the 20 second mark of the 1st period en route to the Kings skating to a 9-2 victory over the visiting Ravens.
The teams skated equally for most of the opening period before Branko Oktavec made it 2-0 with just under 7 minutes to play. The gates then opened as the Kings fired 2 more goals, from Ivan Hodulov and Devin Darrah, before the buzzer to take a 4-0 lead into the dressing room.
Kingsville continued to dominate play in the middle frame, but didn’t score until there was 3:25 remaining on the clock. Defenseman Zach McDonough netted the Kings’ 5th goal before Oktavec scored his second and Mathias Gardiman made it 7-0.
Wes Werner replaced Jan Pechek in net to give the stalwart keeper some well deserved rest. Kingsville then proceeded to trade four goals with Halton in the second half of the stanza.
Darrah registered his 2nd on the night before the Ravens finally reached the scoresheet after a goal from Jordan Hatzinger on a goal-mouth scramble. Darrah replied for the Kings, completing the hat trick with a little over 3 minutes remaining, then Jacob Black logged a meaningless goal 48 seconds from time.
Belle River’s Ryan Gruszka was credited with 3 helpers during the evening.
On Saturday, the Kings cruised to a 12-4 victory to jump to a 2-0 series lead.
Seven different scorers helped Kingsville to overcome the Halton pressure Sunday evening. Ludwig Niederbach, David Vostarek, Zulkanycz, and Gruszka all buried the puck twice while Gardiman, Darrah, and CJ Nicholson each netting singles.
Replying for the Ravens was Wyatt Trainer with a pair of goals and Greg Tucci and Miller Hatten finding the twine once apiece.
Pechek and Werner shared goaltending duties again Sunday while Brendan Polasek, Jacob Coleman, and Andre Keire each saw ice time in goal for the Ravens, after they unusually dressed three keepers.
Kingsville is now undefeated in 8 games after sweeping best-of-three series against North York and Niagara.
The South Division final will now shift to Waterdown with games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
– with files from Devan Mighton.