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Kings need win to stay in hunt for fourth place
Posted: June 18th, 2013 @ 5:15pm
Kingston Kings return to Centre 70 for their first home game in two weeks Thursday, when they will host the Peterborough Lakers in an Ontario Junior C Lacrosse League game.
The Kings will be trying to reverse their fortunes after they were defeated 14-2 in Whitby last Thursday but it will not be easy against the Lakers, a team that posted a 10-2 home-floor victory over Kingston in the first week of the season.
The Kings, Lakers and Whitby begin the week in a three-way tie for third place, each with nine points, five behind second-place Cornwall and four ahead of sixth-place Brockville. For Peterborough, which has only played seven games, this will be a pivotal weekend, as they play three games in three days against teams in eastern Ontario. Kingston, 4-5-1, has played 10 games and Whitby has played 11.
A victory for the Kings, winners just once in their last four games, will enhance their hopes of finishing at least fourth, and gaining home-floor advantage in the first round of playoffs. A win would be significant for two other reasons: It would be their first this year against a team with a record above .500, and it would be the first ever by a Kingston junior team over a club from Peterborough. The Lakers are 9-0 all-time versus Kingston in the regular year, and they swept the Kings from the 2009 playoffs in three straight.
The Lakers are not a high-scoring team, averaging just 6.7 goals per game - never more than 10 in any single game this year - and they won't be helped Thursday by the fact that they'll be without their third-leading scorer, Nick Andreoli, who is suspended for being the instigator in a fight in the Lakers' 10-5 win Saturday over Cornwall. He had two of his seven goals and four of his 12 points in the game against Kingston.
Despite their recent struggles, the Kings still have three players among the league's top 20 scorers: Kyle Aylesworth (18 goals, 30 points in 10 games) is tied for seventh; Haneh Brant (17 goals, 27 points) is tied for 11th and Josh Smith (15 goals, 25 points) is tied for 17th. Brant and Smith have already established career bests in both goals and points; Aylesworth and Brant rank 5-6 in the league in goals scored.
Home floor, where the Kings are 2-2-1, hasn't been to Kingston's advantage but both of Peterborough's losses have come on the road, where the Lakers are 1-2.
Kingston's downfall to date has been its defensive play. The Kings are 15th in the 16-team league in goals against per game (9.70), better than only winless Gloucester.
Game time Thursday is 8 p.m.
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