Sports

Pembroke Lumber Kings lose on the road to Kanata Lasers

By Anthony Dixon, The Daily Observer

KANATA – The Pembroke Lumber Kings remain in the basement of the CCHL’s Yzerman Division, after dropping a 4 – 2 decision on the road to the Kanata Lasers Thursday, night.

In a remarkably quick game that saw few penalties, and the full 60 minutes of hockey played in just over two hours, the Kings had some chances, but the team’s defensive breakdowns were capitalized on by Kanata.

The first period featured no penalties with Kanata scoring the only goal. McKinnon gave the home team the lead just past the halfway point of the first frame with assists going to Samuel Bitten and Ryan Horvath.

James Buckley drew the Kings even a mere 34 seconds into the second period. The Lasers were slow and somewhat casual in trying to break out of their own zone. Buckley, lurking in behind, stole the puck from Kanata’s trailing defender, which left Buckley in the Kanata slot, alone facing only Laser’s goaltender Ryan Franz who he beat cleanly going five-hole.

The tie only lasted a few minutes. Pembroke’s Buckley earned the game’s first penalty at the 5:29 mark and Kanata scored on the ensuing power play. Laser Liam Markhauser stopped an attempted clear out of the Pembroke zone, then fed the puck deep into the Kings’ end to Paul Vella, before sneaking laterally down the length of the blue-line. Vella found Markhauser all alone in the high slot and he sent a knuckleball into the back of the Kings’ goal.

The Lasers added to their lead before the end of the second, assisted by an odd series of circumstances. The goal came off a centre-ice faceoff that was a fair way of getting action back underway after what the Kanata TV broadcast crew described as an incorrect icing call by an official. While Pembroke appeared to win the draw with the puck drifting slowly back towards the Kings’ blue-line, that left Pembroke backing up slowly while Kanata pushed forward. The Pembroke defender closest to the puck fell, Kanata’s Paul Vella picked up the puck, stepped around the downed defender at the blue-line, into the slot and then beat Pembroke goalie Boyd Diclemente.

Pembroke trailed 3-1 going into period three which saw the action get a little nastier in the dying minutes with a pair of roughing penalties on both sides.

Once again, Pembroke was given life in the opening seconds of the period when the Kings won a battle along the boards in the Kanata end. Matthew Barnaby and Alex Gilmour found Conner Jean in front of the net. He went upstairs and Pembroke only trailed by one.

With under three minutes to play and play in Kanata’s end, the puck was dug out of a scrum along the boards, drifting out across the blue-line where it received some help, getting poked forward by a Kanata player to Laser Declan Hilton who was accelerating as he picked up the pass. Three Pembroke defenders were coming back, two in the centre of the ice watching for a centring pass, and one on Hilton. The Laser managed to speed around the outside of the Pembroke player and then beat Diclemente with a backhand.

It was only 18 seconds later that the tempers flared on both sides.

Bennett Stockdale of Kanata came out of the fracas with a double-minor for roughing. Two minute roughing calls went to Markhauser for Kanata and Barnaby and Jared Steege of the Kings.

Despite the loss, Pembroke out shot Kanata 36-28, the Kings balancing their attack with 12 shots in each of the three periods.

Game stars: Paul Vella (1st star Kanata), Ryan Franz (2nd star Kanata), James Buckley (3rd star Pembroke).

Pembroke plays a pair of games this weekend at home at the Pembroke Memorial Centre. Tonight action begins at 6 p.m. when the Kings take on the Braves from Brockville. On Sunday night, after Thanksgiving dinner, they take on Kanata once again. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

ADixon@postmedia.com