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The St. Albert Merchants deposited two wins last weekend to move into first place in the west division of the Capital Junior B Hockey League.

The Merchants improved to 3-0-1 after beating the Strathcona Bruins 7-3 at Akinsdale Arena and the Edmonton Mustangs 5-3 at Bill Hunter Arena.

“It was a very positive outcome over the weekend in terms of two victories but we will need to continue improving on competing for an entire 60 minutes and avoid the two or three costly lulls that we seem to experience each game,” said head coach Scott Rodda. “We also need to have more success with the man advantage as well; safe to say right now it’s not firing on all cylinders and is rather inconsistent at best. The coaches are still experimenting with different player personnel in terms of line combinations and power play units but are feeling very good about the depth of our team in all areas.”

Connor Hoekstra potted a pair and added one assist against the Bruins (2-2).

Stefan Meunier, Blair Johnson, Liam McNamara, Ryan Harrison and Blair Macuch also scored. Kurtis Watts, Mitch McNamara and Casey Reid collected two assists apiece.

The Merchants posted period leads of 2-0 and 6-2.

Shots were 49-37 for the home team. In net was Justin Pawlenchuk (2-0, 3.92 GAA).

Max Cathcart recorded the win against the Mustangs (1-3) with 17 saves in his first start of the season.

Down 3-0 after the Mustangs scored twice on the power play and once at even strength during a 2:09 minute span, the Merchants rallied on goals by Dan Rombough with 1:33 left in the first period, Josh Jewell (shorthanded) and Thomas Rotundo (power play) in period two and Jordan MacPhee and Brent McGugan (power play) in the third.

After four games Hoekstra is the Merchants’ top scorer with four goals and six points and Reid has five assists and six points.

The Merchants are back on the ice Friday against the Stony Plain Flyers (2-1) at 8:30 p.m. at Glenn Hall Arena. Sunday they host the Beaumont Chiefs (3-1) at 8 p.m.

The senior AA Morinville Kings will make their season debut in the North Central Hockey League in Friday’s exhibition at Athabasca.

Faceoff is 8 p.m. against the Aces.

The Kings also have an exhibition scheduled Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre.

The league opener is Oct. 18 against the defending champion Barons in Devon.

The first home game is Oct. 26 against the Westlock Warriors at 8:30 p.m.

The Kings will skate in the north division with Athabasca, Devon, Westlock and Slave Lake Winterhawks.

The south division includes the Drayton Valley Wildcats, Edson Ice, Rocky Mountain House Rams and Whitecourt Wild (home games are in Mayerthorpe). Hinton recently dropped out of the league.

The Kings’ roster includes defenceman Jason Holland, a Morinville product drafted in round two, 38th overall, by the New York Islanders in 1994. The former Memorial Cup champion with the Kamloops Blazers and world junior gold medallist with Team Canada played 81 NHL games with the Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings and recorded four goals, five assists and 36 penalty minutes.

The former St. Albert Raider, the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League’s most valuable defenceman in 1992/93, spent the last seven seasons of his pro career in Germany playing for Ingolstadt ERC and DEG Metro Stars before retiring after the 2011/12 campaign.

Visit www.morinvillekings.com or www.northcentralhockeyleague.com for more information on the Kings.

The Fury (145 PF/49 PA) and Rams (147 PF/42 PA) are 4-0 in the Capital District Minor Football Association.

Last year the Fury finished 3-3 in the Tier 3/4 division, but with the bulk of the roster older and wiser they are running the table at the highest level in the league.

The team’s fourth win was 27-7 over the Edmonton Black Raiders (1-3) last weekend at Johnny Bright Park.

The Fury buckled down after the Raiders took the opening kickoff and strung together an eight-play drive that ended with a converted touchdown.

The Fury replied on their first offensive play, as Colten Meronyk raced around the right side for a 68-yard TD. The convert was no good.

It was 7-6 Raiders until late in the first half, when quarterback Sam Cuciz hit newcomer Matt Schaaf, a track specialist at wideout, for a 27-yard TD strike. The convert made it 13-7.

The second half was dominated by the Fury to the point where the Raiders never crossed midfield.

Keaton Zachkowski’s eight-yard TD run and slotback Jesse Stuht’s 10-yard TD reception from Cuciz rounded out the scoring.

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St. Albert Gazette

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