Morinville Kings playoff series comes to a close

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by Staff

It was do-or-die time for the Morinville Senior AA Kings on home ice at the Morinville Leisure Centre Thursday night. After the Devon Barons defeated the Kings 6-2 on Friday night and 16-3 on Saturday night, both games at the Dale Fisher Arena, the Kings needed Thursday’s win and two more to take the best-of-five NCHL Playoffs opening series.

But Devon shut the Kings’ hopes and playoff season down with a 13-1 win to take the series in three straight.

The Kings were outshot in the first period Thursday night by a factor of 22-5, the Barons capitalizing on four of their opportunities to head into the middle frame 4-0.

But where the Kings were short on chances in the first 20 minutes, they made up for it in the second period. Slightly trailing Devon 21-16, the Kings only managed to score on one of their chances, while Devon pocketed another four, two of which were back-to-back just ahead of the final minute of play.

With an 8-1 deficit and 20 minutes left to play, the Kings had an all-but-impossible task ahead. That task increased with each passing moment as Devon piled on the goals, leading 9-1 by the half and 12-1 with six minutes left on the clock. Another Barons’ goal with 2:34 remaining would seal the deal at 13-1 and bring the Morinville Kings’ playoff season to an end.

This season is the third consecutive year the Kings fell in the first round, two of those in three straight.

The Kings dropped three straight games in a best-of-five opening series against the Westlock Warriors in 2022. Although the Kings were leading 2-1 in a best-of-five North Central Hockey League playoff series against the Devon Barons a year ago, back-to-back losses on the road and at home brought the Kings’ hopes of carrying on to the next round to an end.

In 2020, The Morinville Kings fell 3-1 to the Red Deer Rustlers in the fifth and deciding game in the North Central Hockey League’s semifinal series.

Later that year, the Morinville Kings hung the League Championship banner in the Morinville Leisure Centre, having ended the regular season in first place with an 11-4-1 record.

The club had previously hung Playoff and Provincial championship banners in the then-new arena for the previous years’ efforts.

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