Morinville Kings lead Championship series 2-0

by Stephen Dafoe

Seven games into the 2019 North Central Senior Hockey League playoffs and it seems there is no stopping the Morinville Senior AA Kings.

After defeating the Westlock Warriors in two straight, and the Red Deer Rustlers in three straight, the Kings added another two playoff wins over the weekend.

The Kings defeated Daysland Saturday night 8-5 and repeated the win with a 7-1 win at home to lead the best-of-five series 2-0.

Saturday’s road game saw the Kings leading throughout, building from a 1-0 first-period tally to 2-1 after two. As is so often the case with the Kings, they piled on extra goals in the third to end the contest 8-5.

“Saturday night was a whale of a game. It was a tight game up until the third, and we traded ten goals in the third,” said Kings President and Coach Wayne Gatza. “It was back and forth. They made a couple of powerplay goals. They worked hard. They battled hard. This [team] is a good team we’re playing. They’re not going to go away. They’re going to work hard.”

Sunday’s game was an exact repeat of Saturday for the first two periods. The Kings lead 1-0 after one and 2-1 after two. But this time around, the Kings added another five to their tally while backstop Ty Swabb kept Daysland’s ten chances out of Morinville’s net.

Daysland, who finished the regular season at the top of the pack with a 13-2-1 record, will need to win the next three in a row to defeat the Kings, who are making their first appearance in the finals since they began in the NCHL several years ago.

“We’ve got to make sure that we keep working and we’ll do fine,” Gatza said of the series. “As long as we do those little things we need to do to win, we’ll be fine.”

With Game Three of the best-of-five series on the road, the Morinville Kings may have played their final game in the Ray McDonald Sports Centre Sunday night.

“There’s a little bit of nostalgia there for sure,” Gatza said of the prospect. “This barn’s been here for a long time, and I’ve been in this barn for a long time. It would be sweet to remember that my last game here was a big win for the Kings and the Championship.”

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