(KINGSVILLE, ON) – The Kingsville Kings junior hockey club had a lot to celebrate Sunday afternoon. In the opening ceremonies of their game against the Niagara Whalers, outgoing team president Tom Schinkelshoek was honoured by the Kings for his 40-plus years of service to the local game.
“Getting your name retired and hung up in the arena you love is the greatest honor you can bestow on a person involved in hockey,” said Schinkelshoek on Facebook after the game. “Thank you Jack Sports Group, the Kingsville Kings, and all our supporters.”
In honour of Schinkelshoek, Kings captain Blake Naida and his teammates laid a pretty good beating on the defending Greater Metro Junior A Russell Cup champions. The two teams traded a goal each in the opening frame when Niagara’s Nick Pastorious netted an unassisted marker just under four minutes in while Kingsville sniper Petr Panacek evened the balance about four minutes later.
In the middle period, the Kings started to rip and roar. Goals by Thomas McKinnon and Nicholas Lang set an early precedent before Jakob Reeves was able to get one halfway through for the Whalers. Naida picked up his first of the game just over 12 minutes in, but was answered by Niagara’s Erik Peavey.
Naida struck again with five minutes left, threading Whaler goalie Will Harvey’s five-hole with a breakaway tally to take a 5-3 lead into the break. As the period drew to a close, the game turned a bit chippy.
Kings goalie Zachary Upplegger and Pastorious were each assessed fighting majors in the midst of a slew of penalties for both teams.
In the final act, the two teams continued trading goals. Naida completed his hat-trick and answered by Daniel Pugliese for the Whalers. Filip Kafka extended Kingsville’s lead midway through only to get a response from Brandon Lindberg. Lang’s unassisted empty-netter, with under three minutes to go, was the final nail in the coffin as the Kings took the win 8-5.
Harvey suffered the loss for the Whalers, stopping 40, while Upplegger faced 39 shots in the win, improving his record to 5-0-0.
The night before, the Kings hosted the North York Renegades in a neutral site game at Tilbury Arena. The opening stanza was relatively innocuous with each team trading a single goal and a penalty each. Kafka tallied for the home side while North York’s Chris Martin responded.
Trouble struck for the Kings halfway through the middle frame when Martin went ablaze and fired home a natural hat-trick in only 2:57 of play, on Kingsville goalie Nicolas Jouanne. Late in the period, the Kings regained some sense of composure as Kafka managed to tally twice in the final 90 seconds to bring the game back within one.
In a third period that could only be described as stressful, the Kings kept fighting back despite trailing three times in the stanza. Panacek scored early to knot the game at 5-5 and he was answered by Steven Santos for the Renegades.
After the midway point, David Vostarek rifled a tally to tie the game once again, but North York seemed to score the game-winner with only 91 seconds to go on a blast from Nevin Guenther. However, captain Naida would have nothing of it.
With 31 seconds go, he connected on a pass from McKinnon to send the game into overtime. Then, McKinnon broke the plane in OT to seal the win for the Kings, just under three minutes in.
Jouanne picked up the victory by turning aside 29 chances while Evan Purdy suffered the loss after facing 33 shots.
The Kings are next in action on October 21 when they travel to Tottenham for a road meeting with the Steam. Their next home game will be Sunday at 3pm against the Bradford Bulls at Kingsville Arena.