The coach is happy. That’s the message from Powell River Kings head coach Kent Lewis after his team’s recent three-game road trip.
“I was very happy with the trip,” said Lewis. “We played three good clubs this weekend and I really started to see some good things from our group.”
The team opened with two victories, the first time it has managed to put together back-to-back wins since the end of November.
After the weekend, Kings are tied with Victoria Grizzlies for first place in BC Hockey League Island Division standings with 54 points.
On January 19, defender Carmine Buono’s fifth goal of the season tied the score 3-3 in the third period and forward Jonny Evans’ buzzer beater with one second remaining gave the Kings 4-3 win over Langley Rivermen.
On January 20, Kings beat Merritt Centennials courtesy of Ben Berard’s 21st goal of the year in the second overtime period. It was Powell River’s second overtime win of the season.
In his first BCHL start, rookie goaltender Alex Rolfe turned aside 39 shots and was named third star.
“He's only 16,” said Lewis. “We threw him into it. That can go one of two ways. It's either going to be a tough night for him or he's going to stand on his head. He’s a good goalie and played really well.”
It was a solid weekend overall for Kings goaltenders. Mitch Adamyk was named second star against Langley and third star against Prince George on January 21, when Kings finished the trip with a 4-2 loss to the Spruce Kings.
Kings were outshot in all three games: 41-27 against Langley, 41-33 against Merritt and 37-19 in Prince George.
Lewis said his team’s low number of shots was due to playing for puck possession rather than taking low-percentage shots.
Carter Turnbull scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season against the Spruce Kings.
Kings point leader Ben Berard continues his hot streak. In addition to two goals, he picked up three assists on the weekend to come away with five points, increasing his season totals to 21 goals, 45 assists and 55 points. Berard is tied for fourth in league scoring.
Kings return to Hap Parker Arena to face Penticton on Friday, January 26, and Nanaimo on Saturday, January 27.