(KINGSVILLE, ON) – On the back of a first period natural hat-trick by Zack Zulkanycz, the Kingsville Kings won Game 4 of their series against the Halton Ravens and have thrust themselves into the Greater Metro Jr A League’s championship rounds.
By winning the South Division championship, the Kings and the Tottenham Steam, winners of the Central Division, await the victor of the South Muskoka Shield and Almaguin Spartans series in the North. The division winners will each compete in a home-and-home championship round robin to determine who will get a bye to the GMHL’s Russell Cup final.
Before travelling to Waterdown the Kings had built a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Ravens with 9-2 and 12-4 wins at home. Tuesday night the Kings visited the Ravens for the first of two road games in three days.
Kingsville fell into early penalty trouble and the Ravens capitalized with power play markers from Chad Herron and Jacob Black. With 3:37 left in the first period Kingsville’s Ludwig Niederbach notched a goal, only to be answered by Halton’s Alex Zaccaria 20 seconds later, with a shorthanded snipe.
In the second period, the Ravens fell into penalty trouble of their own, and the Kings capitalized. Kingsville pumped in four goals in the period, two on the power play from Branko Oktavec and Lukas Havelka, and two even-strength markers by Ryan Gruszka and Robert Lis.
Halton’s Black scored again, minutes into the third, to bring the Ravens back within a goal. From this point the Kings ran away with the game, cashing in four unanswered goals from Oktavec on the power play, Blake Naida, Gruszka, and Niederbach.
Jan Pechek picked up the win with 23 saves on 27 shots, while Brendan Polasek faced 29 for the Ravens.
Two nights later, the Kings and Ravens returned to the ice with Kingsville potentially only 60 minutes away from a division championship.
Zulkanycz had quite a first period, registering a natural hat-trick and two minor penalties to boot. The Kings coasted their way to their tenth consecutive playoff win from there on in.
In the second, Dan Leach and Havelka each scored and in the third Leach popped one more goal to seal the deal.
Pechek made 34 saves for the shutout victory and Polasek allowed 6 goals on 37 shots in defeat.
Kingsville has yet to lose a game in the playoffs, polishing off both the North York Renegades and Niagara Whalers in three games before their sweep of the Ravens.
The Kings will play next this coming Wednesday against the winner of the South Muskoka Shield/Almaguin Spartans series and again on Friday against the Central champion, Tottenham Steam, who have also yet to lose in the playoffs.