JUST when it seemed their MJHL championship hopes would slip away, the Dauphin Kings battled back and survived to fight at least one more game.
On Sunday night, in front of their home crowd at Dauphin's Credit Union Place, the Kings rallied to beat the Winnipeg Blues 2-1 and force a fifth game in the MJHL's championship series. For the Kings, who dropped the first three games of the series, it was time for do-or-die hockey. And though they trailed 1-0 after a tense 40 minutes of play, a thrilling third period would net them two goals and the game.
"Overall, we just stuck with it, and in the third period we found our legs... and were very successful," Kings head coach Marlin Murray told CKDM 730 radio in Dauphin after the game. "It would have been so easy to go away tonight, and we didn't."
The Blues struck fast to open Game 4 as they've done in this series before. This time, they cracked the scoreboard just 3:45 into the first period, when Blues forward Kamerin Nault beat Kings starting goaltender Jordan Piccolino for his fifth goal of the post-season. Scott Rowswell picked up an assist on that marker.
That would be the only shot Piccolino, making his first playoff start for the Kings, would let in. He stopped the other 25, a performance that earned him the first star of the game and kept Dauphin within striking distance.
The Kings made use of that chance early in the third third. With Nault in the box for tripping, Kings forward Dillan McCombie tipped in Tanner Butler's blast from the point to put his team on the board. From there, both teams battled through a flurry of chances before Kings forward Brent Wold notched the Kings' second goal.
Now, the Kings must battle for their playoff lives again, as the series returns to the MTS Iceplex in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.