The Corner Brook Civic Centre has been home for the Dennis GM Western Kings for the majority of the 2018-19 campaign, but recently the Hodder Memorial Recreation Centre has been where the heart is.
That will be the case again this weekend as the Kings open their best-of-seven Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League championship series against the Tri Pen Osprey.
“I like the smaller arena more,” said Kings defenceman Lucas Robinson of the Deer Lake ice.
“It’s less room, so you’re closer for shots on net.”
The 16-year-old from Rocky Harbour put up 15 points (7G-8A) in 32 regular season games, before nothing five goals and six assists in the first give games of the playoffs (Stats from Game 6 were still unavailable as of press time).
“I’m very happy with my play,” Robinson said, before quickly adding the whole team has been “playing excellent.”
He describes his style as defence-first, though he’s not afraid to take his chances when an offensive opportunity presents itself.
“I shoot and hope for the best,” he said. “If it goes in, it goes in.”
If there was one facet of his game he’d like to improve upon, it would be his footspeed. He says that is an area every player could always stand to work on.
“The faster you are, the higher calibre you can play,” he said.
He’d know all about higher levels of hockey, as his older brother Kyle is currently lacing them up with the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Robinson says his brother serves as his biggest inspiration in the game.
“I just try to be like him, pretty much.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s games, Robinson admits it was a bit of a shock to see the Osprey eliminate the highly-favoured East Coast Blizzard, though the Kings authored an upset of their own against the St. John’s Maple Leafs.
It’s a Cinderella story versus a Cinderella story, with midnight looming for one.
Robinson says the Osprey are “just like us,” in that they have a handful of highly skilled players, mixed with a solid core.
“We just need to focus on those top players,” he said of the blueprint for victory.
The Kings and Osprey clash for Game 1 of the final 8:30 p.m., with Game 2 going 8 p.m. Saturday night, also at the Hodder.