BERWICK, NS - It was a huge win for the Central Kings Gators girls’ hockey team as they set their sites on the Valley High School Hockey League playoffs.
CK defeated the Park View Lady Panthers at the Kings Mutual Century Centre “Apple Dome” in Berwick on Jan. 13 with a final score of 5 to 4.
Head coach Bill Walsh said Park View, a Division 1 team currently ranked second in the league behind undefeated Avon View, was short a few players so it was fortunate for the CK girls that they played well enough to win.
“That’s a big win for us when we’re challenging for a good playoff spot for Division 2,” Walsh said.
He said he’s very pleased overall with the performance of the team so far this season. This is Walsh’s fourth year as head coach and the team is off to its best start so far. They have five wins, three losses and two ties. He said they don’t have any “superstars” but they have three balanced lines, solid defence women and good goalies.
“We haven’t been blown out of any games yet, except for one in our tournament, so we’re usually able to keep the opposition down to probably three or less goals, tonight it was four,” Walsh said.
He said the girls play well defensively, taking care of their own end of the ice first, but they’ve been having a little trouble generating offence. He was pleased to see all three lines score in the Jan. 13 game.
Having had a few games postponed due to storms, they have a run of five or six coming up over the next two and a half weeks. Walsh said how these games play out would be very important.
He said perhaps the most challenging aspect of playing Park View was facing Abby DeVries, formerly of King’s-Edgehill School. Although she was able to score on a few occasions during the Jan. 13 game, Walsh said the CK girls did a great job shutting DeVries down.
“This is the third of fourth time I’ve seen her and she can win a game single-handedly,” Walsh said.
He said CK has seven or eight girls who have played minor hockey and four or five who have played ringette. They also have a handful of players who are new to the ice. He said it’s always a challenge trying to blend that mix but the girls have great chemistry, they have fun and they know their roles.
“The main thing I think is that we have a wonderful group of girls in grades 7 to 12 and they get along great,” Walsh said.
He said West Kings, currently ranked third in the league, is probably the top girls' team in the region. CK is right there with the next handful of teams, including Par-En-Bas, Yarmouth, Northeast Kings, Middleton and Bridgetown. Walsh said it would be “a dogfight for that second seeding” against any of those teams.