by Stephen Dafoe
Friday night’s 5-3 win over the Westlock Warriors has kept the Morinville Senior AA Kings at the top of the North Central Hockey League standings with 23 points. But it is no guarantee of a first-place finish, even with one game left to play.
Their next closest rivals, the Daysland Northstars, who racked up another two wins over the weekend, sit with 20 points and two games in hand before the season ends.
Coach Wayne Gatza said Morinville would need to win Saturday night’s finale against Red Deer to guarantee a win over Daysland, or Daysland would need to drop one of its two remaining games.
A Morinville / Daysland loss would end the season with the Kings at 23 and Daysland at 22. But if Daysland takes both of their remaining games and Morinville loses to Red Deer, it would see Daysland at 24 and the Kings at 23 points. Even if Morinville wins and Daysland dropped both remaining games, the regular season would be decided by a narrow three-point margin. Currently, only one point separates the next three teams. Fort Saskatchewan (19), Red Deer (18), and Devon (17).
Given Daysland is playing 6th place Lacombe and 8th place Bonnyville in their final two games this weekend, Morinville will likely need to take out 4th place Red Deer in Saturday night’s game to secure the regular-season championship.
Fifteen games in, the Morinville Kings have three of the top 10 scoring leaders with Kyle Harris and Adam Wilson holding the top two slots with 31 and 29 points, respectively. Blake Grainger carries the third spot with 22 points, and Jordan Thomas holds 13th place with 19 points.
The Kings face the Rustlers Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8:15 p.m. at the Morinville Leisure Centre’s Landrex Arena.