(KINGSVILLE, ON) – In a continuation of what was probably the best territorial rivalry in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League last season, the Kingsville Kings and Windsor Aces picked up right where they left off this past weekend to ring in a new campaign.
The Kings, entering their fifth season, opened on the road at the Adie Knox Arena in Windsor on Saturday night.
Last season, the Aces, only in their second year of operation, eclipsed the Kings in the standings. They won a well-fought season series, only a year removed from an expansion season where they experienced some growing pains.
The Kings went to work quickly on Saturday with a Zachary Dillen laser only 2:46 into the game to open up the scoring. He was followed by a Jan Novak power-play marker just before the 13-minute mark to gain a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Zachery Hartig split the lead, ripping home an unassisted marker just eight minutes in. Pavel Svoboda extended Kingsville’s lead to 3-1 just under eight minutes later with an unassisted tally of his own.
In the final act, Svoboda and Vaclav Boguaj started to run up the score for the Kings, but a power-play goal from Windsor’s Scott Turgeon broke up the run.
A late Jan Sefl blast on the man-advantage closed the book on the 6-2 Kingsville win.
Marek Pavlas improved his record to 1-0, turning aside 29 of 31 chances, while Jakob Doornbos took the loss for the Aces, stopping 50 of 56 shots.
The next afternoon, the two teams finished the second half of their home-and-home weekend at the Kingsville Arena.
Windsor opened the scoring with the lone goal of the first stanza going to Parker Gee.
In the second, the game grew increasing chippy, with former Kings’ and current Aces’ goalie Zachary Uppleger getting into chirping contests with the hometown fans and the Kings’ bench after a few physical exchanges with home team players standing in his crease paint.
After tallies from Dillen and Sefl to give the Kings the lead, the situation boiled over with Uppleger taking a slashing minor and Kingsville’s Bryce Tracey being assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct minor.
Early in the third, Gee struck again for the Aces to knot the game at 2-2 and with just over two minutes remaining, then Cameron Pickersgill gave Windsor a late lead on the man advantage after a Noah Shultz slashing penalty.
The lead did not hold, however, as Balok forced overtime for the Kings with a blast less than a minute later.
In the extra frame, the Kings carried their freshly earned momentum and locked down the Aces zone. Uppleger was relentlessly peppered in extra time and after making at least a dozen solid, close proximity saves in four-and-a-half minutes of play, was beaten on a breakaway by, ironically, Tracey to end the game.
The 4-3 victory gave Roni Koskinen (1-0) his first win in Kings’ colours, stopping 25 of 28 chances. Uppleger (0-0-1) took the regulation tie, allowing only four goals on 52 shots.
The Kings traveled Friday to take on the St George Ravens for their first meeting of the season. They then return home today for a 3 p.m. start against the North York Renegades at Kingsville Arena.
The Aces returned to Adie Knox Arena last night for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against those same Renegades.