Kings battle bus conditions for road win

By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then it was inevitable the Strathmore Wheatland Kings would avenge last week’s shootout loss when their bus broke down on the way to Medicine Hat.
The Medicine Hat Cubs (12-19-2) came into the Strathmore Family Centre Jan. 28 and pulled out a shootout victory, sending the Kings to the basement of the Southern Division.
The Kings boarded the bus Feb. 3 to head to the Kinplex Arena, but just a few miles into the trip, the players noticed the bus was getting a little frosty.
“The heater stopped working. It was just as frozen inside as it was outside,” said Kings Head Coach Shadoe Stoodley. “It was kind of funny.”
Not everyone was finding it all that funny, considering the outside temperatures hovered around -20 Celsius.
“The weather stripping on the windows started to come off, so it was like driving with the windows down,” said Kings captain Keenan Ogle. “Some guys huddled in the bathroom which was bigger than normal and located over the engine. Some guys had blankets and draped them over the seats.”
Upon arrival, surprisingly, it didn’t take too long for the Kings to thaw, as they opened up with a great first period en route to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs.
“It was probably one of the best first periods we have played all season,” said Stoodley.
Third-year defenceman Brenden Moore set a career high with his seventh goal of the season when he teed up a shot on the power play from Brad Tingey 2:15 into the first.
Sophomore forward Kody Hammond staked the Kings to a 2-0 lead when he pumped in his fourth of the season from Ogle and Cole Busslinger in the closing minutes of the frame.
Perhaps some of the Kings (12-18-3) were working a little harder in the first to shake off any cobwebs after having a great time at the Drew Gregory concert the night prior.
“Sometimes playing a little guilty isn’t the worst thing in the world,” said Ogle. “We pulled together and found a way to squeak one out.”
Ogle scored his seventh of the year in the second, as the Cubs went on to tie the game five minutes into the third.
The third period has been a nightmare for the Kings this season, especially of late, but Tingey was able to salvage the road game with his eighth of the season midway through the third.
Rookie netminder Calum Humble has been on the wrong side of a few outstanding performances this season. He previously got slapped with a loss after pulling off 43-, 47- and 44-save performances this season. He finally picked up his first win in Medicine Hat after making 24 saves.
“Calum was great again and he has been great for us all season. When we signed him, we had meetings with all our goalies. We told them that we were going to go with whoever was winning,” said Stoodley.
The Kings grabbed a new bus for the return trip and enjoyed a comfortable ride home for a number of reasons.
Now, they eye down a three-game weekend to close out their Heritage Junior Hockey League campaign, starting with a home-and-home with the Cochrane Generals Feb. 9 at the Strathmore Family Centre. The Kings will play the Generals (21-11-1) Feb. 10 at the Spray Lakes Family Centre and wrap up the season Feb. 11 at home when they host the Coaldale Copperheads (21-10-2).