(KINGSVILLE, ON) – A week ago, the Kingsville Kings found themselves up against unrelenting goaltenders. This weekend, the local Greater Metro Junior A hockey club ran roughshod over their opponent’s, snapping home 16 goals in two games.
Head coach Michael Guzzo was happy with the turnaround.
“Just getting better quality shots was beneficial,” said Guzzo on Monday. “We weren’t looking for an extra move or an extra pass, we got traffic in front and went to the net for rebounds.”
The Kings, who sit second place in the South Division, carry a record of 19-4-3.
On Friday, the Kings returned to Tillsonburg. Kingsville’s last win against the Hurricanes, a 5-4 scare on November 16, was no doubt in the backs of their minds as they pounded the ‘Canes, without mercy, by a 9-2 score.
The Kings set the tone early, etching a 3-0 lead by the end of the opening frame. Scoring for the Kingsville crew were Arthur Panchenko, Tyler Garcia, and Marek Malinsky.
The Kings continued the rout in the second, picking up mid-period goals from Dan Leach and Miroslav Hylena.
The Hurricanes broke Kings goalie and Windsor-native Pierce Dubowski’s shutout bid with five and a half minutes remaining in the act to shorten the lead to 5-1.
Soon after, Adam Kusior extended Kingsville’s lead, but was bookended, with 15 seconds left, by Tillsonburg’s Victor Lilja-Iwanstam.
Up 6-2 at the start of the final stanza, the Kings hunkered down and finished off their opponents. With a goal from Kusior and Panchenko knocking home two more to complete the hat-trick, Kingsville drove home with a 9-2 win.
Dubowski was successful in picking up his third win of the season, stopping 14 attempts, while Yudin Oleksander and Kyle Rarick split the loss, turning aside a combined 38 shots.
“[In the] Tillsonburg game, we played well, [but we were] smarter with the puck traffic in front [and] stayed out of the box,” stated Guzzo. He added that the match was, “… all around one of our better games.”
Two afternoons later, the Kings played host to their rivals, the London Lakers. Garcia started things rolling early, popping a power play goal just over six minutes in.
Before the midway point of the opening frame, London’s Matthew Cameron knotted the game at one. Kingsville extended their lead to 3-1 soon after, with back-to-back goals from Kusior and Leach.
Before the period could end, Cameron struck again for the Lakers on the man-advantage.
A chippy middle frame led to two more goals for the Kings. Panchenko and David Vostarek each ripped the London mesh, pushing the Kingsville advantage to 5-2.
Before the period let out, the Lakers’ Jake Trask and Malinsky chucked some knuckles in a feverous exchange, and both were ejected from the game.
In the third, London’s Nick Bennett, Cameron, and Zach Perry all lit the lamp, but were never able to bring their team closer than two goals back of the Kings. Garcia scored twice, scattering the Lakers’ offense, and picking up the hat-trick.
London’s goalie, Naoki Onondera, turned aside 44 of Kingsville’s 51 attempts. With less than a minute to go, the Kings’ Brendan Sorrels collided with Onondera and was sent to the box for goaltender interference.
Onondera was livid over the contact. After the final buzzer, the Lakers’ goalie blew a gasket, swinging his fists at the closest Kings player he could get his hands on. He was restrained by a linesman and pushed off the ice, but not before exchanging choice words with his Kingsville opponents and members of the audience.
Chase Stanford picked up his ninth win of the season in the Kingsville net, stopping 22 of the 27 shots he faced.
“It was a physical, rivalry game,” said coach Guzzo. “London always comes ready to play and we had to match their intensity. We played well, [but] had a few errors in the third, and they made it close. We stuck to our game plan and finished strong.”
The Kings will next be in action on Saturday when they travel to London for a rematch. Sunday afternoon, Kingsville will be at home, hosting the division leading Niagara Whalers at the Kingsville Arena at 3:00pm.