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Western Kings still in driver’s seat heading into Game 6 against St. John's Maple Leafs

Will Keating and his Western Kings teammates were on the Corner Brook Civic Centre ice Wednesday night for a practice.
Will Keating and his Western Kings teammates were on the Corner Brook Civic Centre ice Wednesday night for a practice. - Chris Quigley
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

It’s not technically a must-win situation, but it will quickly turn into one if they don’t.

The Dennis GM Western Kings hit the road this weekend for the biggest game of their Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League season.

Depending on how that one goes, it might become the biggest two games instead.

The Kings currently hold a 3-2 edge in a best-of-seven semifinal series over the St. John’s Maple Leafs, a team that held a 16-point advantage in the standings over the course of the regular campaign.

In this series, however, the Kings have looked dominant at times as they split the first weekend on the road, before a two-week hiatus over the course of the Canada Winter Games threatened to quell their momentum.

It didn’t.

The Kings kicked right back into high gear by taking two of three this past weekend, the first two victories coming at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex in Deer Lake.

“We came out flying the first two games,” said second-year Kings player Will Keating.

But then a painful loss at the Corner Brook Civic Centre on Sunday forced the series to continue back east.

“It would’ve felt good (to close the series out) at home,” said Keating.

“But now we’ll get it done this weekend.”

The son of Corner Brook’s Susan and Bruce, the 17-year-old Keating says he loves the “feeling on the ice” when he’s playing hockey.

“Just the pace of it,” he said. “The physicality.”

A centreman for the Kings, the five-foot-10, 170-pounder finished third on the team in scoring over the regular season with 21 points (5G-16A) in 32 games.

He said the team is going into Game 6 with a win-or-die attitude, and won’t even think of the possibility of Game 7 unless, suddenly, they have to.

“Right now, it’s all Game 6,” he said.

Despite the discrepancy between the two teams’ records this season, Keating believes the ever-improving Kings match up well and are confident, if they play their best game, they can oust the Leafs and advance to the league final.

“I think we know what kind of team they are and how to play against them,” he said.

The Kings meet the Leafs 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Southern Shore Arena in Bay Bulls. Game 7, if necessary, would go ahead at the same place at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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