Morinville Kings take the lead in playoff series

by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville Senior AA Kings took the lead in a best-of-five opening round of North Central Hockey League playoffs Saturday night with a 17-1 win over the visiting Bonnyville Pontiacs.

Fans received a spectacle of scoring from the Kings, who played a very different game than in their first two outings in this round, tied at a game apiece when the puck dropped.

With seven minutes left in the opening frame, the Kings had racked up a 6-0 lead. That deficit grew to 7-0 by the end of the period.

Kings Head Coach Wayne Gatza said he was a little nervous heading into the game, but had a sigh of relief over the breathing room as he headed to the dressing room.

The second period saw the Pontiacs get their only goal of the game, while the Kings piled on another six goals to bring the deficit to 13-1 in the Kings’ favour.

With 40 minutes under their skates, the Kings lead Bonnyville 47-27 in chances.

That 20 shot gap would remain through the final frame as the Kings outshot the Pontiacs 61-41.

The final period saw the Kings capitalizing on four of their 14 chances to seal the game 17-1.

Game four takes place on the road Saturday, Feb. 8. Bonnyville needs that win to push the game to a fifth and deciding game Feb. 9 in Morinville at 3:45 p.m.

In other NCHL round one series, Red Deer has defeated Devon in three straight games, fort Saskatchewan leads Blackfalds 2-0, and Lacombe and Daysland stand at a game apiece.

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