Hnatowich pulls a hatty, Kings split on road

By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter

Chayse Hnatowich’s first Heritage Junior Hockey League goal was a game winner. For an encore, he powered the Strathmore Wheatland Kings 10-4 victory over the Ponoka Stampeders (0-5-1) Oct. 7 with his first hat trick of his junior career.
With the Kings up 1-0 in the first from last year’s top rookie Kody Hammond’s power play maker, Hnatowich got his first from George Montour and Austin Holmes at the 8:57 mark at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the second period, Hnatowich pumped in his second of the game from Hayden Vander Ploeg and Hammond. He finished things off at the 11:07 mark on the power play from Hammond and Montour.
Montour and Hammond would each add one goal to go with their two assists each, as Matt Thomson and Brenden Moore also turned in one goal and two assists.
Captain Keenan Ogle, Jaks Fairs and alternate captain Cole Busslinger supplied singles in the route.
Rookie netminder Cole Bright made 41 saves for his first win with the Kings (3-2-1).
The Kings opened the regular season with their first win over the Cochrane Generals (4-2-0) in more than five years. On Oct. 8, they were looking to win back-to-back games against their southern division rivals.
Three second-period goals by the Generals led the charge for the 5-2 decision at the Spray Lakes Family Sports Centre.
Busslinger netted his second of the season in the first from Ogle and Nolan Lightning.
Montour, who is on pace to destroy his career high of 17 points last year in 29 games in his first season with the Kings, supplied his fifth goal from Hammond and Hnatowich.
Montour is currently tied for the team lead with nine points, five goals and four assists, through six games.
The second-year Indiana Kelly was in net and made 38 saves, as the Kings yielded more than 40 shots in both outings last weekend.
Just one game on tap for the Kings this weekend as they host the Stettler Lightning (1-4-0) Oct. 14 (8 p.m.) at the Strathmore Family Centre.