Photo credit – Pederson Photographic
The Dauphin Kings are one day away from opening up the second round of the MJHL playoffs and they will do so on home ice Friday against the Winkler Flyers.
Dauphin has played just twice against Winkler this season, with both being back in January. Dauphin is coming off a six-game series win against the Swan Valley Stampeders. In the final game of last series, Ben Hackl got the puck to Kaden Bryant and the 20-year-old did the rest to send Dauphin to the second round. It was Hackl’s first assist of the playoffs in his second game.
He describes the feeling of winning the last series as electric.
“It was an amazing feeling for the guys,” said Hackl. “Everyone was having a good time and we were pumped up that we advanced.”
In a pair of meetings with Winkler back in January, Dauphin earned one of a possible four points. Dauphin; however, was without several of their key pieces including Carson Cherepak, Logan Calder, and Nakodan Greyeyes, to name a few. All three will be front and centre when this playoff series begins. Winkler finished 12 points behind Dauphin in the regular season, they then dispatched the Blues in the first round.
“They’re a good team and they’re going to come hard,” said Hackl. “They’re also going to get a new look at us. We’re looking forward to getting the series going, it should be a great one.”
Hackl has enjoyed every second of being a King over the past couple of years but it hasn’t always been easy on him. The former Kenora Thistle has been riddled by upper-body injuries including this year as he missed 14 regular-season games and the first few of the playoffs. Despite it all, Ben has stayed positive and he’s getting set for his third playoff game of the season on Friday.
“It’s been mentally and physically but it’s all about staying positive,” said Hackl. “I have great teammates, coaches and my family is always right by my side.”
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