Pembroke Lumber Kings fall to Smiths Falls Bears as newly-acquired players join team

Pembroke Lumber Kings's captain Jacob Shankar is stopped by Smiths Falls Bears' goalie Jake Smith during the first period of the Jan. 12 game at the PMC. Smith made 19 saves in the Bears 6-2 win. Tina Peplinskie / Pembroke Observer and News

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The new-look Pembroke Lumber Kings struggled at home Jan. 12, falling 6-2 to the Smiths Falls Bears.

Although Kings’s head coach and owner Alex Armstrong would rather have continued the trend from the past two outings against their opponents (Pembroke out scored Smiths Falls 16-4), the Bears had different plans.

The Kings had four new players in the lineup for the game after a flurry of activity ahead of the Central Canada Hockey League trade deadline on Jan. 10.

Newly acquired Sam Allison, who comes to the Kings from Brockville, made a quick impression as he got the Kings on the board five minutes into the first period when he ripped a shot from the face-off dot, converting the pass from defenceman Nicolas Guillemette. Fletcher Anderson also assisted on the power-play marker.

Newly-acquired Sam Allison (12) is all smiles after he scored his first goal as a Pembroke Lumber King during the first period of the Jan. 12 game at the PMC against Smiths Falls. The Bears beat the Kings 6-2. Celebrating with him are Fletcher Anderson, Brady Egan and Nicolas Guillemette. Tina Peplinskie / Pembroke Observer and News

The goal pulled the Kings even as Tate Leeson opened the scoring for the Bears 2:27 into the game, beating Nick Beck on the second shot of the game. Leeson went on to lead Smiths Falls with the hat trick. Former Kings Brendan Dempsey, Theo Todd and Ryan Richardson also scored in the win.

Sean Fortier, playing in just in second game after being sidelined with an injury, added a goal for the Kings midway through the third to round out the scoring.

Although he didn’t want to make excuses for losing, Armstrong acknowledged that the chemistry was lacking as everyone worked to adjust to new line combinations. The game was the first time the players were on the ice together as many arrived after practice on Saturday.

Also making their Lumber Kings’ debut were forward Dennis Golovatchev, defencemen Joey McCollum and Ben Hofstetter. Forward Brendan Cianflone is also expected to arrive in time for Wednesday’s home game. The Kings did not give up any players in the deals, opting instead to pay player development fees to the teams.

Golovatchev, 18, played 26 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season, where he picked up three goals and four assists. Prior to moving up to the Frontenacs he played with the Burlington Cougars and Trent Golden Hawks of Ontario Junior A Hockey League.

McCollum, 18, joins the Kings from the St. Cloud Blizzard of the North American Hockey League where the defenceman has picked up three assists in 16 games this season. Armstrong noted he hasn’t practised or played in a while, but he showed flashes in his first game.

“We’re expecting big things but it’s going to take time,” the coach said.

Hofstetter, 17, comes from the Strathroy Rockets of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League where he has four assists in 19 games.

Cianflone is coming from the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The 18-year-old forward has garnered 26 points in 30 games for the Bombers, including 11 goals. He played 35 games last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Acadia-Bathurst.

Playing his first game at home and third for Pembroke was Robert Tyska, 20, who was signed Jan. 8. He played 19 games this season with the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Junior Hockey League

While Armstrong was disappointed with Sunday’s loss, he realizes it will take some times for the new players to integrate into the lineup.

“We will move forward,” he said. “We added some pieces. There is a lot of skill out there but they’ve got to get used to playing for each other. They don’t know each other so it is like training camp all over again.”

He added there is still a lot of hockey to play so there is no reason to push the panic button just yet. Following the game, the Kings were third in the Robinson division and sixth overall in the CCHL with 45 points, just five points out of fourth spot.

“We’ve got lots of work to do, but I think there is enough character in that room and enough skill that hopefully we will be able to push forward here,” Armstrong added.

The first test comes Wednesday when the Kings host the Carleton Place Canadians in the second game of four-game home stand. Game time at the PMC is 7:30 p.m. Pembroke then hosts Kanata Jan. 17, also at 7:30 p.m. and Rockland Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the PMC.

Stars of the game: The three stars were Tate Leeson and Stuart Martin of the Bears first and third respectively and Pembroke’s Sam Allison second. The fourth star for hard work was Pembroke’s Sean Fortier.

Black and blue report: Still out of the lineup due to injuries were Jesse Kirkby and Alex Urbisci. Defenceman Sam Holy missed the game after suffering an injury in Navan Jan. 10 when he blocked a shot with his face, knocking out a couple of teeth. Having him sit out the game was a precaution.

CJHL prospect: The Kings were without the service of goalie Reece Proulx Jan. 12 as he was off to Hamilton to take part in the Canadian Junior Hockey League prospects game, which takes place Jan. 17. He was named to the Team East lineup from a list of alternates supplied by NHL Central Scouting.

Proulx replaces Tommy Da Silva who has left his former club, Panthères de St-Jérôme, to join a team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

In his first year with Pembroke, the 17-year-old North Bay product leads all CCHL rookie netminders in both goals-against average (2.68) and save percentage (.924).

Those numbers also place him fifth among all CCHL goalies goals- against and second best with his save percentage.

He’s also sits third in his league in victories with 17 and is tied for second in shutouts with two.

Armstrong called this quite an opportunity for the young goaltender which he could not deny.

“He’s playing in front of NHL scouts. It’s something he will remember the rest of his life,” the coach said. “He’s earned it. He’s playing really well. I’m very proud of the kid.”

TPeplinskie@postmedia.com

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