GOULDS Brady Griffin-Hefford had a two-goal performance and Daniel McCarthy recorded his second shutout of the series as the Colemans Western Kings downed the St. John’s Privateers 4-0 Sunday morning to capture its first provincial major midget hockey league crown since the 1996-97 season.
The victory enabled the Kings to wrap up the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League best-of-seven final showdown in five games. The two teams were deadlocked at one game apiece heading into the weekend, but the Kings racked up three-straight wins — 7-4 Friday night and 5-1 Saturday night — to claim the crown on the road.
Derian Gould, a physical force for the Kings throughout the playoff run, and Josh Taylor — who scored his share of big goals down the stretch and also did an admirable job of shadowing Cody Drover of the Central Ice Pak in a first-round matchup that went seven games — also dented the twine Sunday at the Goulds Arena.
Nathan Ellsworth picked up two assists for the Kings.
“Unbelievable sums it up. It feels great. Just unbelievable,” Kings forward Ian Skinner said from the team bus Sunday on winning the title in his final year of major midget hockey.
Skinner was proud of his teammates for battling through so many challenges all season and never once feeling like they wanted to pack it in no matter how tough it became.
“There was lots of adversity, but we overcame and every player had a role and they all played their role to the best of their ability and that’s how we won,” Skinner said.
Towering forward Neil Woolfrey had his appendix surgically removed during the first-round playoff series and missed the first five games, but returned for Games 6 and 7 at home where he helped the Kings post back-to-back wins to eliminate the pesky Ice Pak in seven games. He was a key cog in the offensive charge against the Privateers with two goals in Game 3 Friday night and a single tally in Game 4 Saturday night.
He wasn’t about to take any more credit than the next guy, but he was happy to make a contribution and would have been just as happy if he never scored any goals.
“Every line contributed in their own way,” Woolfrey said, quickly alluding to the fact the Kings became a close-knit group who had each other’s back.“It’s the closest team I’ve ever been on.”
The following is a look at who starred for the Kings in the other weekend games played at Goulds Arena:
Kings 5, Privateers 1
Ian Skinner scored the eventual game-winning goal at 2:44 of the middle stanza in Game 4 Saturday night to give the Kings a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-seven affair.
Neil Woolfrey, Jordan King, Lucas McKay and Jordan Richards, who scored the winning goal in Game 2 of the series two weeks ago in Corner Brook, rounded out the scoring parade for the Kings.
Shayne Kavanagh was the lone marksman for the Privateers, beating Kings puckstopper Daniel McCarthy with a nifty deke just 89 seconds into the contest.
McCarthy stopped 26 shots to pick up the goaltending win over counterpart Mitchell Puddester who stopped 44 of 49 shots directed toward his cage.
Kings 7, Privateers 4
Neil Woolfrey continued his consistent offensive punch for the Kings with a two-goal game as the Kings took charge of the series with a 7-4 victory in Game 3 Friday night at Goulds Arena.
The Kings, who held a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of hockey, also had goals from Peter Boland, David Alexander, Jordan King, Jordan Richards and power forward David Budgell — who had been a physical presence throughout the playoff run — as the Kings remained focused on bringing the provincial crown back to the west coast.
Matthew Caines, Peter Kavanagh, Ben Cleary and Stephen LeDrew lit the lamp for the defending champion Privateers.
McCarthy picked up the goaltending win with a 32-save performance for the Kings.
Puddester suffered the loss, stopping 11 of 16 shots he faced, before being replaced in the crease by Chris Smith, who stopped 15 of 17 scoring chances thrown at him by the Kings in the later stages of the contest.