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Western Kings goalie Lucas Park loves the ‘big moments’ between the pipes

Western Kings’ Lucas Park makes a save against the Tri Pen Osprey during Game 7 of the provincial major midget hockey league final at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex in Deer Lake on Saturday night.
Western Kings’ Lucas Park makes a save against the Tri Pen Osprey during Game 7 of the provincial major midget hockey league final at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex in Deer Lake on Saturday night. - Roxanne Ryland
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Western Kings’ Lucas Park had always wanted to be a goalie.

When he got his first opportunity to don the pads back in novice hockey, he jumped at the chance.

“I just found it cool,” he said. “I loved it from the beginning.”

Some kids would never think of stepping between the pipes. The threat of finger-pointing failure too great to overcome.

Others thrive on the pressure of being the last line of defence for their team.

Park falls into that latter category.

“I just like the big moments and the adrenalin rush,” he says of playing the position.

Park sits atop his net with the championship trophy following the Kings 4-3 Game 7 victory.
Park sits atop his net with the championship trophy following the Kings 4-3 Game 7 victory.

If it was pressure he craved, he received it in spades during the best-of-seven Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League final against the Tri Pen Osprey.

After falling behind 3-1 in the series, Park backstopped the Kings to three straight wins in — no hyperbole required — three must-win games to capture the championship.

“Yeah, it was awesome,” the 17-year-old son of Steady Brook’s Dale and Jennifer conceded with a laugh.

“It was pretty much three Game 7s for us as a team.”

Park, who typically splits the cage with Lucas Wiseman, was actually in goal for all four series wins, including overtime triumphs in Games 3 and 5.

“The win (in Game 5) in overtime gave us momentum,” he acknowledged.

“We had the confidence to know if we came out playing like we could it was going to be a good outcome.”

With little time to soak in the championship win, the team now turns its collective attention to the 2019 Major Midget AAA Atlantics, which begin Thursday in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Joining the provincial champions will be the Moncton Flyers (N.B.), Halifax Macs (N.S.), Kensington Wild (P.E.I.), and the host Charlottetown Pride.

The quick turnaround time doesn’t faze Park in the least. In fact, he prefers it this way.

“We’re coming in fresh off of winning,” he said. “Now we can keep the momentum rolling.

“I don’t mind that at all.”

The Kings kick off their Atlantic Championships Thursday against the Macs, before squaring off Friday morning versus the Wild and then Friday evening against the Flyers.

Their round robin schedule concludes Saturday afternoon when they face the Pride.

The championship game between the top two seeds goes ahead Sunday afternoon.

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