The Dauphin Kings are set to face the Swan Valley Stampeders in a rematch of last year’s Manitoba Junior Hockey League quarterfinal series, which the Kings won in six games.
Dauphin ended the season with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winkler Flyers, Saturday in Winkler. That came on the heels of a 6-2 victory over the Winnipeg Freeze, last Monday in Winnipeg.
The Kings dressed APs Marco Bodnarski, Havryil Simchuk and Madden Murray, while Roan Coe made his MJHL debut on the blueline.
Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said it was a tough environment in front of a large crowd, noting the Flyers dressed their full lineup.
“I thought all our kids played real well. Roan Coe was good on the back ende, as was Marco Bodnarski. Simchuk and Murray all played very well,” he said, adding the Kings only dressed four 20-year-olds, including goaltender Dmytro Kubritskyi, who made 49 saves in the loss. “Like I said, it was a tough enviroment to play in and they responded really well. They didn’t look out of place at all and fit right in,” Hedley added.
Dauphin finishes the season in fourth place in the MGEU West Division with a 32-21-3-2 record. Their 69 points were two back of third-place Virden and three behind second-place OCN.
The Kings will now prepare to face the 36-16-5-1 Stampeders in the quarterfinals.
Dauphin won the season series, winning four of the six games. Five of the six contests were decided by one goal, with the Kings winning three times in overtime. The only game not decided by a goal was a 3-00 Swan Valley victory in the first game between the two teams, Sept. 23.
Hedley expects a long, tough series between the two rivals.
“I’m expecting a real battle. Obviously, they’re well coached and have a good hockey club. We just have to make sure we bring our A game,” he said. “Hopefully, everybody is healthy and 100 per cent and we get four lines rolling. I think we stack up very well against them.”
Hedley knows goaltending will be key to any team’s success and with Swan Valley’s Kobe Grant winning the Top Goaltender Award this season, the Kings will have to find ways to get to him.
“The biggest thing is second shots. Taking his eyes away as you can by sitting in front of him. We have to get to the paint. We have to get to the net. We have to make it difficult for him to see pucks,” Hedley said. “Do as much as we can to create traffic in front of him.”
The schedule for the series can be found below!
MGEU WEST – (1) Swan Valley Stampeders vs (4) Dauphin Kings
|Fri, Mar 24||Dauphin Kings||at||Swan Valley Stampeders||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Mar 25||Swan Valley Stampeders||at||Dauphin Kings||7:30 pm|
|Tue, Mar 28||Dauphin Kings||at||Swan Valley Stampeders||7:00 pm|
|Fri, Mar 31||Swan Valley Stampeders||at||Dauphin Kings||7:30 pm|
|Sat, Apr 1||Dauphin Kings||at||Swan Valley Stampeders||7:00 pm ***|
|Tue, Apr 4||Swan Valley Stampeders||at||Dauphin Kings||7:30 pm ***|
|Wed, Apr 5||Dauphin Kings||at||Swan Valley Stampeders||7:00 pm ***|