Photo courtesy of the Morinville Kings
by Stephen Dafoe
After running through three rounds of NCHL playoffs in eight games, the Morinville Senior AA Kings entered provincials over the weekend, returning to town with their second gold-medal win. The Kings took the provincial banner in 2014, the club’s inaugural year.
Sunday saw the Kings in the gold-medal game against Daysland, a team they defeated to take the NCHL Championship this year in three straight games. Sunday’s contest saw the Kings shutout Daysland with a 7-0 victory.
Kings President and Coach Wayne Gatza was ecstatic about the back-to-back wins over Daysland.
“The Morinville Kings have now won both trophies at the Senior Level A and AA. This one is sweet as we went 12-0 to capture the NCHL Championship and Senior AA Provincial Championship especially defeating the three-time League champions twice to win both titles,” Gatza said.
The Kings entered round-robin play against Nanton on Thursday and emerged with a tight 3-2 win.
Their second game on Friday against Hillmond saw the Kings widen the gap on their victory with a 4-1 win.
Saturday night the Kings faced host Wainwright to determine if they would play for Gold or Bronze on Sunday. In that game, the Kings were up 2-1 after one with Zach Carr pocketing one in the closing seconds of the frame. The second period gave a similar result with Blake Grainger scoring for the Kings with 51 seconds left in the period, and Zach Carr making it 4-1 with 37 seconds left. The Kings added two to their tally in the third to close the game 6-1.
Sunday’s finale was a complete shut out on Daysland, something Gatza believes shows the Kings’ dominance.
“I am so proud of the Kings,” Gatza said. “They were completely committed to doing all the little things to be successful – discipline, hard work, quick feet, positional play and team first.”
Gatza said that effort showed in the fact that over the four provincial games the Kings gave up only four goals while scoring 20.
With every player giving their heart and soul for the team to win, Gatza said it is little wonder why the Morinville Kings won two titles.
“Going in the gold medal game, the boys were extremely focused as they wanted to ensure Daysland knew it wasn’t that we were lucky to win and to reinforce that we were the better team,” Gatza said. “Wow, what a finish. Such an amazing job by the players.”
Gatza said he is proud of what he sees as an “awesome group of players” that are a tightly-knit family.
The Kings are looking forward to their banner-raising home opener in the Morinville Leisure Centre in the fall.