The North Zone Bantam Tier 1 Kings stormed into the playoffs, sweeping their best of three series against the Central Zone Rockets in two games.
Both wins, backstopped by Mandi Feist, demonstrated how effective the Kings can be when they play positional hockey as a team.
In Kelowna on Friday, it was the Rockets who opened the scoring through the efforts of Carter Schmidt. They carried the lead into the second period.
Jace Weir tied the game with an unassisted goal, leading the way for the Kings with a Bobby Orr style rush through the entire Rockets team, followed by a laser shot over the Rockets goalie Wilson Maxfield. Devin Jameson gave the Kings the lead with 6:37 left in the second; Cosmo Wilson and Deagan McMillan were credited with the assist.
Layton Feist, the goaltender’s brother, added to the Kings’ tally just over a minute later, assisted by Weir and Austin Roest, to make the score 3-1.
The Rockets cut the lead to 3-2 with 7:02 left in the third, but Layton potted his second of the night less than 30 seconds later assisted by Caleb DeHoog to restore the 2 goal lead. While the game was close, it was a sparkling performance by Maxfield that kept it so. The young goaltender stood on his head at times as the Kings outshot the Rockets 47-23.
In the second game, on Armstrong ice and with a large crowd of supporters in the stands, the Kings proved to be too much for the Rockets. They pulled off a decisive 6-1 win.
It took a while for the home team to get started, but Austin Roest opened the floodgates at 17:01 of the first period, sinking a goal assisted by Matthew Johnston and McMillan.
The rout was on as McMillan got a goal of his own assisted by Johnston and Ezra Chan. Goals from Adam Bourgeois, Roest, Grayson Williamson and Weir rounded outscoring for the Kings.
Next up for the Kings are the finals against the league champion Thompson Blazers who also swept their series against the South Zone Knights.
The three-game finals series starts next Friday in Kamloops, and it is hoped that the Kings will be up to the task. It will be difficult for them to produce two wins against a team that only lost two league games all season.
-Submitted by Terry Johnston