Empire Junior Hockey League: South Shore Kings roll four lines successfully

Empire Junior Hockey League: South Shore Kings roll four lines successfully

The South Shore Kings are in the midst of the fight for first in the Eastern Conference of the Empire Junior Hockey League.

“At [14-2-0-1], I can’t really complain. In the same manner, I don’t want our guys to get too complacent,” said Kings head coach John Gurskis. “We’re only a month into the season and we have yet to hit the toughest part of our schedule.”

The key to the Kings’ success is the team’s depth. With a run of four wins in a row in the first two weeks of November, the Kings used this depth to pull into first place overall in the Eastern Conference. The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Boston Junior Bruins were each one point behind as of Nov. 10.

“We’ve rolled four lines, we haven’t relied on a few offensive guys. I just let the guys have their ice time and get their feet wet,” said Gurskis. “In goal, I’ve flip-flopped two guys. I let them both have their fair share of games. They haven’t given me any reason to deviate from that system.”

The Kings are a young team, with six 1995-born players, seven ‘96’s and one ’97.

Empire Junior Hockey League,South Shore Kings,USA Junior Hockey“Even for a few of my ‘95’s, this is their first go-around with junior hockey,” said Gurskis. “They all had pretty good seasons last year with their high school teams. It’s very important they get off to a fast start and gain some confidence.”

Daniel Clifford, a ’93 from Bradenton, Fla., led the team at 31 points in 16 games, while fellow ’93 Evan Jacques was right behind at 30 in 17.

“Daniel already had a year of junior hockey under his belt. I expected him to come in and have a good start and a good season. He’s met my expectations,” said Gurskis. “The older guys are an extension of the coaching staff. They’ve played under me for a season, so they know what to expect. As long as they execute, the younger guys will follow.”