Colemans Western Kings’ Jordan Richards and his teammates are preparing to meet the St. John’s Maple Leafs this weekend in St. John’s.
— Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
The Colemans Western Kings will begin its defence of the provincial major midget hockey league crown without top scorer Jordan King in the lineup.
King will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken collarbone against the top seed Central Ice Pak in the final game of the year-end tournament last week at the Lewisporte Stadium.
“He broke the collarbone. It was a clean hit just shoulder on shoulder. Just the way he turned a freak accident,” coach Angus Head said.
Head is hopeful he can have last year’s rookie of the year back in the fold sooner rather than later.
“If we can get though this round there’s hope we can get him back for the final,” Head said.
The third-seeded Kings open a Newfoundland Senior Hockey League best-of-seven semifinal series against second-place St. John’s Maple Leafs this weekend in the capital city. Game 1 of the series is slated for Saturday 6:30 p.m. at Feildian Gardens, while Game 2 is slotted for Sunday 12 noon at Rogers Bussey Arena in St. John’s. The other league best-of-seven semifinal featuring fourth-place Tri-Pen Osprey and first-place Central Ice Pak gets underway this weekend at the Lewisporte Stadium.
King was an offensive weapon for the Kings in the regular season with 47 points on 15 goals and 32 assists. His numbers were good enough to put him in a tie for the scoring crown with Jordan Maher of the Ice Pak, but Maher claimed the title because he had more goals. Maher potted 23 goals in 24 games, while King had 15 goals to go with 32 helpers in 24 games.
The Kings will miss his touch around the net, that’s a given, but the defending champions have been able to win hockey games with scoring coming from throughout the roster so it appears some other guys will have to step up to fill the void.
The Kings had four players listed in the Top 10 scorers for the regular season so a handful of snipers will be asked to do more this weekend. Captain Jordan Richard finishing third overall in league scoring with 43 points, while Shannon Moores finished fourth overall with 37 points and Nathan Ellsworth claiming eighth spot overall with 31 points.
Richards, the 17-year-old captain of the Kings, acknowledged that King will be missed on the top unit, but he believes the team still has enough depth to get the job done if they work hard every shift and realize the playoffs have begun.
“Playoff hockey is a little different than the regular season,” Richards said. “It’s almost like desperate hockey. We’re not in it for fancy goals this time. We’re going to be in for it the hard-working battles in front of the net. Just work harder than them is what we have to do. “
When the puck drops on the weekend, Richards is challenging his teammates to rise to the occasion with King on the shelf for at least the first-round matchup against the Maple Leafs.
“I guess everybody will have to work their hardest and a couple of guys will have to step it up,” he said. “Maybe it will be a couple of players on the third and fourth lines who step up to take a new role.”
The winner of the series will play the winner of the other semifinal series — Central Ice Pak vs Tri-Pen Osprey — in a best-of-seven final to determine the provincial major midget champions for 2014.