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Kings, Warriors will open playoff series Tuesday in Whitby
Posted: July 13th, 2013 @ 10:33pm
Kingston Kings will open the first round of Ontario Junior Lacrosse League playoffs Tuesday in Whitby.
The Kings were pushed back into fifth place Friday night when the Warriors defeated the Peterborough Lakers 10-7 in Peterborough. The win lifted Whitby into a tie with Kingston at 7-8-1, but the Warriors were awarded fourth place by virtue of having beaten Kingston in both regular-season contests this year.
The best-of-five quarter-final will begin Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Iroquois Park, then shift to Centre 70 Wednesday night for Game 2. Both games will start at 8 p.m.
The two meetings between the teams this year were vastly different. In the first, May 16 at Centre 70, the Kings spotted the visitors a 4-1 first-period lead before scoring six straight goals. Kingston led 9-6 with two minutes to play in the second period but Whitby then scored five straight goals to lead 11-9 with seven and a half minutes to play. Zach Masterson scored back-to-back unassisted goals for the Kings to tie the game but a shorthanded goal by Connor van Ryn at 17:52 proved to be the winner in a 12-11 victory.
The Kings' return engagement in Whitby was not pretty. The Warriors scored in the first minute, led 4-0 after seven minutes and scored six goals in the third period of a 14-3 victory.
Van Ryn was a thorn in the Kings' side in both games, with five goals and eight points in Kingston, and three goals and two assists in the contest at Whitby. He finished the regular schedule as his team's leading scorer, with 29 goals and 53 points in 15 games.
Rookie Jeff Fernandes (13 goals, 39 points) and Connor Scott (18 goals, 37 points) were the other top snipers for the Warriors. Fernandes enjoyed his games against Kingston (six goals, 14 points in the two games), while Zack Lysyk had five of his 15 goals this year in the two games versus the Kings.
With one game to play in the regular schedule, Kingston's Kyle Aylesworth stands fifth in the league scoring race, with 58 points. With 32 goals, he and teammate Josh Smith are part of a three-way tie for second place among the league's leading goal scorers, two less than Jarret Pitt of Brockville. With Smith held to one goal in the season-ending 8-4 win over Brockville Thursday and Aylesworth held off the scoresheet for just the third time in 16 games, each missed an opportunity to match or surpass the team's modern record for goals in a season, 33, set by Tim Bergin in 2009.
Aylesworth had six points and a season-best five goals in the home game against the Warriors, and he assisted on two of the three Kingston goals at Whitby. Smith, who closed the season with 14 goals in his last four games, had a goal and two assists against the Warriors. Masterson had four goals and six points, both season bests, in the game at Kingston and of the three Kingston goals at Whitby, he had one and assisted on another.
The Kings ended the season with back-to-back wins. Since the debacle at Whitby, Kingston went 3-3, with one of the defeats a dramatic last-second, one-goal overtime loss to Peterborough. After winning just one of its first five games - against Kingston - Whitby enters post-season play having won three of its last four.
If history suggests how the series will go, fans can expect a run-and-gun display. In the regular year, the Kings were fifth of 16 teams in the league with 8.44 goals per game, while Whitby was sixth at 8.25. Neither team, meanwhile, is a world beater on defence, with Whitby 12th in the league (7.00 goals against per game) and Kingston 15th (9.50 goals against per game).
The Kings did not register a win against a team above them in the standings this year - combined 7-0-1 against Brockville and Gloucester; 0-8 versus the rest of the league - while Whitby had a one-goal loss and a 9-5 win against first-place Cornwall, as well as an overtime tie with Peterborough. The Warriors were, however, beaten 12-5 by Brockville.
The complete first-round schedule:
Tuesday, July 16: Kingston at Whitby, 8 p.m., Iroquois Park
Wednesday, July 17: Whitby at Kingston, 8 p.m., Centre 70
Friday, July 19: Kingston at Whitby, 8 p.m., Iroquois Park
Saturday, July 20: Whitby at Kingston, 8 p.m., Centre 70, if necessary
Sunday, July 21: Kingston at Whitby, 2 p.m., Iroquois Park, if necessary
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