Before I get to tonight's preview, I thought I would share a few interesting stories generating buzz in the hockey world.
- An interesting article, TSN's Bob McKenzie wrote on Tie Domi's son. click here. No, He actually uses his hands for more then laying knuckles to opponent's cheeks.
- Staying within the NHL, the league has announced its suspension for Canucks forward, Rick Rypien. Read it here. First of all, what an idiot. I love Rypien just as much as the next Canucks fan, however, you need to use what you have between your ears.
- An idea the BCHL should follow? The Oilers announced they are getting cheerleaders. This will distract the fans from Taylor Hall's inability to hit the net. Oh, I kid Edmonton fans.
- Shifting gears, here is an in-depth preview of tonight's Penticton-Vernon game. click here
- Over at Evan Hammond's Bulldogs blog, he is doing a nice job of documenting his teams interior road swing. Follow here
An editorial note, I have been remiss when discussing the Powell River Kings depth on this platform. As the term "bottom six" doesn't apply to this hockey club. The Kings have complete confidence in all four lines they ice, game in and game out. For that error, I do apologize.
Now to tonight's game.
For a look at the opposite side of the ledger, check out Brian Wiebe's Cents' blog. He has the Merritt Centennials covered. click here
The Kings haven't had much. if any success, in Merritt in quite some time. In fact, the Kings haven't won in Merritt since January 13th, 2007. On that night, they picked up a 7-2 victory. This rink, hasn't been the kindest to Powell River in recent years.
RECORD: 2-9-0-3 (7TH)
HOME RECORD: 1-2-0-3
LAST 5 GAMES: 1-1-0-3
As I stated above, the Nicola Valley Arena has haunted the Kings in recent years. They haven't won in this tiny barn in four seasons. The Centennials are a much different team at home, then they are on the road. As they use the cramped confines to their advantage.
Also this team will look considerably different from when the Kings blanked the Cent's 3-0 earlier this season. GM-Head Coach, Luke Pierce, traded last year's leading scorer, Dustin Johnson, to Victoria for Scott Milnthorpe and Brett Kolins. Pierce then flipped, Milnthorpe and Ausitn Baecker to Grand Prairie, for goaltender, Lino Chimienti. Kolins, however, hasn't reported to Merritt, and likely will see his rights dealt somewhere soon.
With Johnson gone, there will be large offensive hole to fill. Jeff Jones, leads the team in scoring with 12 points through 14 games this season. Also the trade means fresh faces will now be counted on to fill larger roles upfront. Max Vallis and Regan Soquila are two rookies who will have to shoulder more of the offense for the Cents'. Vallis has 10 points followed by Soquila's 9.
It remains to be seen if this group can supply the offense this team needs to be successful with the big guns in the interior.
The Cents' D has taken a slight hit without Kolins coming from Victoria. However, they do have some veterans that can play significant minutes. Steve Tresierra and Jeff Zmurchyk are two 20 year-olds who will have to eat up a lot of minutes. The shuffling, also means, 16 year-old Reece Wilcox, will have a larger role with this team. It is a young core, as half of the blue-line are true BCHL rookies.
The biggest piece in the roster moves, is the addition of Lino Chimienti. The 19 year-old, acquired from the Grand Prairie Storm, has given Pierce a potential clear number one. He has started two games, splitting both and sporting good numbers as a result. Tyler Steel is also a young goaltender, who looked very sharp in the loss to the Kings earlier this season.
RECORD: 11-3-1-1 (2ND)
AWAY RECORD: 4-1-1-0
LAST 5 GAMES: 4-0-0-1
The Kings are where they expected themselves to be on this interior road trip. They battle through Tuesday's win over Quesnel, before Wednesday's convincing performance against Prince George. The special teams are providing a big boost for the hockey club along with timely scoring.
The line of Cohen Adair, Chad Niddery and Andrew Pettitt are on a role. Each scored in Wednesday's win and collected 8 points in the process. Don't be surprised to see Niddery's name on the BCHL website for Player of the Week honours. The Penticton native is red hot, scoring a goal in his last 3 games, including multiple goal games against Westside and Prince George.
The Kings are getting scoring from everywhere. On Tuesday we saw Brendan Hawryluk get his second of the season. Then on Wednesday, Carter Shinkaruk also chipped in with his second of the campaign. Scoring from all four lines only does wonders for a teams confidence.
The Kings rear guards are flexing their muscle to their advantage. On Wednesday they simple shut down the Spruce Kings attack. A night earlier, they made minor adjustments as the game wore on and snuffed out any chance of a Quesnel comeback. Jason Yee and Jon Jutzi are becoming quite the shut down pair. The two blue liners are seeing the oppositions top line and doing very well in keep them in check.
Its invaluble to have the depth the Kings have on their back end, and it starting to show as the season progresses.
Sean Maguire will get his third start of the season and will look to build against his sharp outing against Quesnel back on the 8th. The Powell River native has the size and mobility to be a top goaltender in this league and he will have plenty of time to prove it.
Mike Garteig will get a night of rest after quite the performance in his home town two nights earlier. The 19 year old, right now, is the best in the BCHL. Rebound control, vision and poise stand out for me as three skills he is Superior in.