(KINGSVILLE, ON) – On Friday evening, the Kingsville Kings traveled to Port Colborne to engage the Niagara Whalers in another chapter of what is turning into a heated three-way dogsled race for the top GMHL seed. Despite outshooting the Whalers 43-31, the Kings were felled by the third-period heroics of Niagara’s David Christopher.
A minute into the opening act, the Whalers put up the first marker from Nick Pastorious. The Kings responded in kind with two quick goals. First captain Blake Naida sniped on the power play and, just 14 seconds later, Jiri Sup blasted home an unassisted tally.
Niagara persisted, however. A pair of goals from Ethan Spaxman regained the home team’s advantage and his teammate, Zach Main, added some insurance. A minute later, though, Kingsville’s Filip Kafka bent the mesh to bring his team back within a goal, only 7:45 into the game.
With two minutes remaining in the 1st period, Nicholas Lang rifled home an unassisted goal to knot the game at 4 going into the break.
The middle period was much less burdensome for the official scorer as the two teams traded a single goal each. Niagara’s Jake Lloyd tallied 6:52 into the frame, followed by Kingsville’s Petr Panacek just past the midway point.
In the third, David Christopher’s go-ahead goal just four minutes in would separate the teams and give the home team the win. Zachary Uppleger took the loss in net for the Kings, stopping 25 of 31, while the Whalers’ Will Harvey turned aside 38 shots for the W.
Over the next two games, the Kings ran roughshod over their adversaries by hammering home 30 goals. Kingsville headed to London on Saturday and routed the Lakers by an 18-1 score. Panacek led the way with four goals, while Ivan Mikhailov and Zachary Dillen potted hat-tricks. Kafka and Thomas Mckinnon netted a pair each while and Lang, Matyas Mach, Daniel Krizek, and Jakub Hendrych all popped singles.
Mikhailov and Elvar Olafsson each tallied six points on the night.
Kings goalie Nicolas Jouanne improved his season record to 7-0-0 with 13 stops, while London’s Owen Stevenson, Thomas Ethier, and Scott Galbraith faced 68 combined shots in the loss.
The following afternoon the Kings played host to the Oshawa Riverkings and drowned them 12-0 in another lopsided battle royale.
Lang put up a hat-trick, while Mikhailov, Kafka, and Hendrych each scored two, and Mach, Krizek, and Styrmir Maack tallied once.
Uppleger improved to 12-2-0 with 18 saves for his second shutout of the year. Oshawa’s Jack Randall faced 60 shots on the losing end.
This Saturday, the Kings return to action with a road game at Adie Knox Arena at 7:30pm as they meet the Windsor Aces for another chapter in their budding rivalry. Sunday afternoon, the Kings are at home to host the Tillsonburg Hurricanes at 3pm at Kingsville Arena.