PHOTO BY TINA PEPLINSKIE /jpg, PM
The Pembroke Lumber Kings came up with a big 3-2 shoot-out win Sunday night against the Renfrew Wolves in a preview of a potential first-round playoff series matchup.
Joe Jordan scored the shoot-out winner, stretching out and putting the puck past a sprawling Will Craig in the Renfrew net. Jack Stockfish also scored in the shootout, with a shot from the slot. Only Mathieu Parent beat Reece Proulx in the shootout.
The Kings got into penalty trouble late in the game and found themselves down a player for the majority of the overtime period. While the play was in their end most of extra period, the penalty kill did a great job limiting the Wolves’ scoring chances, holding them to the outside.
Pembroke has clinched a playoff spot. With four regular season games remaining, the win gave the Kings 62 points and had them sitting in third sport in the Robinson Division and fifth overall in the Central Canada Hockey League, five points behind Renfrew as they also earned a point for getting to overtime.
Despite fast-paced, end-to-end action in the first period, the teams went to the dressing rooms with a scoreless tie. The Kings didn’t waste any time in the second, however, as Stockfish got the home team on the board just 13 seconds into the period when he ripped a shot into the top corner over Craig’s glove. But the celebration was short lived as Alex Rossides got the Wolves on the board less than a minute later.
Carter Vollett scored his 13th of the year with six minutes to go in the second to put Pembroke up 2-1.
Connor Garcia pulled the Wolves even with 8:17 to go in regulation, tipping the puck past Proulx then ending up on top of the goalie along with Pembroke defenceman Bruce Coltart.
The Kings did miss some chances early on and made some mistakes not moving the puck hard enough or getting it out of their own end which almost cost them, but overall Kings’ head coach and GM Alex Armstrong was happy with the win against their closest geographical rival.
He credited the Wolves for having a great team, especially strong in nets and he predicts it will be a goaltenders duel if the two teams meet in the first round. Proulx earned the win with 31 saves in regulation and Craig took the loss. The Kings out shot the Wolves 36-33.
“They’ve got a great team over there; we have a lot of respect for them but for us we’ll just have keep our heads down, work hard and stay humble and let the chips fall where they may,” Armstrong said. “For us we are getting healthy and we need to move in the right direction and do the little things right. Before you know it, we will be playing for keeps. It’s been a long year; we’re all looking forward to playing for keeps and it’s a big rivalry.”
While the Kings savoured the victory, there is still move hockey to be played. On Tuesday night Pembroke faces Kemptville who is just two points back in the standings so it is a crucial game down the stretch. The Kings are then on the road April 1 to face the Nationals in Rockland at 7:30 p.m., the final home game of the regular season is April 3 when the regular season champion Ottawa Junior Senators are in town for a 7 p.m. start at the PMC and the regular season wraps up with a road game April 4 in Smiths Falls beginning at 7:30 p.m.
THREE STAR SELECTION: The three stars of the game were Pembroke’s Reece Proulx first, Pembroke’s Joe Jordan second and Renfrew’s Will Craig third. The fourth star for hard work was Pembroke’s Jack Stockfish.
ON THE ROAD: On March 25, the Kings edged Carleton Place 4-3 in overtime. The Kings led 3-1 early in the third, but the Canadians came back to tie it up. Jesse Kirkby scored his fourth goal of the game just 27 seconds into overtime to lift the Kings to victory. Jack Stockfish picked up three assists. Scoring for the Canadians were Brandon Walker, Liam Goreski and Matteo Disipio. Reece Proulx earned the win with 27 saves and Joe Chambers took the loss 38 saves on 42 shots.