Morinville Kings take first round of playoffs

by Stephen Dafoe

A short bench for the Rocky Rams resulted in a forfeiture that gave the Morinville Kings Game 3 of a best-of-five series.

After 11-3 and 8-4 Game One and Two wins, the Kings were handed Saturday night’s win due to the Rams having two few players to hit the ice. League rules require 11 skaters and one goalie. The Rams had a pair of goalies but only nine skaters.

Kings President Wayne Gatza said he was pleased with how the club has played this season and during Round One.

“The Kings have continued to play 60 minutes of hockey with all lines contributing each and every game,” Gatza said, adding solid goaltending from Ty Swabb has proven to help the Kings quest as they move through the playoffs. “He makes a big save, and the boys go and score a big goal right after that. We have 20 guys battling hard every night, and it’s doing the little things that make the biggest differences – like a strong backcheck, blocking a shot or taking a big hit to make a play.”

Gatza said the Kings’ discipline is a huge advantage in the playoffs, and the lack of selfish penalties helps the cause.

“They are playing as a team from top to bottom,” he said. “Every player is on the same page, and they go to war for each other. It’s a team-first mentality, and that’s what you need from your players if you want to have success.”

The Kings’ motto of “sweat + sacrifice = success” is paying off.

“We are very proud of the team and the success we have achieved so far, but we still need six more wins to complete the job,” Gatza said. “The second round, which is fast paced action packed games, will be tough, and we need to continue playing a solid two-way game to be successful. It will be exciting, and we are looking forward to it.”

Just who Morinville would face int he second round depended on the outcome of the Bonnyville versus Whitecourt series. That contest was concluded Saturday night with Bonnyville taking it in three straight.

Morinville will take on Bonnyville in Round Two with Game One taking place Feb. 4 in Morinville at 8:30 p.m.

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