Kings Hit Stride With Playoffs In Sight
Momentum appears to be swinging in the favour of the Dresden Jr Kings, after picking up two key wins this past weekend.
The Kings will not have home ice advantage in the first round of the PJHL playoffs. They also won’t find themselves in better than fifth place at the end of the regular season. But the parody in the middle of the standings could see them fall as low as the seventh seed, with two games to go until the post-season.
Their recent success, including winning three straight and six of their last nine, has Dresden firing on all cylinders and closer to a possible all-Chatham-Kent first round match-up with the Blenheim Blades.
The weekend opened with an unexpected 4-0 shutout win over the Blades on Friday night, while goaltender Joel Sowinski stood on his head from time to time, stopping all 33 shots he faced. The Kings followed that with a 6-5 win over Mooretown the very next night, much thanks to another four-goal performance from the nearly-unstoppable Dillon Liberty.
The recipe has been simmering for Dresden throughout the year, and the Kings appear to be ready to serve up some potential playoff upsets. Liberty’s historic run sees him leading the Stobbs Division with 44 goals and 75 points. The closest point producer? His own team mate, Kevin Ritzer, with 64 points, who is having a very under-rated season due to Liberty’s alarming scoring rate. Additional leadership and production from Macks Holmes in his final year, blooming depth from Geoffry Vandenboorn, Brendan Ritchie, Will Tetzlaf, Ryan Malott and sixteen-year-old Eric Carter should create a feeling of immediacy and possibility for the Kings line-up. If Sowinski is heating up at the right time, as seen in the shutout win over Blenheim and Dresden’s D-core led by Logan Purbrick, Steven Funk, Cory Lucier and forward turned d-man Derek Shaw can stand some playoff tests, the Kings could be primed to displace some higher ranked squads.
The Kings wrap up the regular season with another test on the road in Blenheim on Thursday and one last home game hosting Wallaceburg on Friday.
Both Kings and Blades home playoff games will be covered with live broadcasts on 99.1 CKXS this post-season.