The old cliché about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object never addressed what happens when you put the two together on the same forward line in a hockey game.
In the case of Dwight King and Michael Pelech, it turns out they have pretty good chemistry.
Pelech and King, the only players assigned to the Reign by the Kings to start the season, already are showing fans what prompted the NHL club to draft them. The 6-foot-3, 20-year-old forwards are bigger than many of their ECHL counterparts and just learning how to use their size effectively.
King scored his first goal in a 3-0 win Saturday over the Bakersfield Condors, a game in which Reign coach Karl Taylor said the right wing “was a force to be dealt with.”
“He did a great job on the two penalty kills he had, and he controlled the puck down low, ran up and down the walls,” Taylor said of King.
The native of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan has attended the Kings’ NHL training camp each year since being drafted in the fourth round in 2007. And each year, he has left with a stronger desire to stick around.
“I just need to play more consistently,” King said. “If I could play every game like (Saturday), then I’ll probably give myself a better chance to be up there – controlling the puck, working hard on a night-in, night-out basis.”
Pelech, a center, has proven his worth in the faceoff circle as well as with his hockey IQ, even without the puck. The Toronto native said he didn’t even expect to be drafted in June, when the Kings tapped him in the sixth round of the entry draft.
Even more so than King, who now has a goal and two assists through eight games, Pelech (one assist in eight games) isn’t going to make it to the NHL on his scoring ability alone.
“He’s real competitive,” Taylor said of Pelech. “He’s not afraid to stand up for his teammates. He adds a lot, and he’s just going to get better and better.
Goaltenders Jeff Zatkoff and Linden Rowat, defenseman Colten Teubert, and high-scoring forward Bud Holloway were the only players assigned to the Reign last season by the Kings. For fans, having King and Pelech around offers a window into the development of a different kind of hockey player.
That they happen to be clicking on the ice is a nice bonus.
“He plays a pretty similar game and he opens up a lot of space,” King said of Pelech.
“It’s good chemistry.”
Added Pelech, “We’re both big bodies. We like to get down low and cycle the puck, so it’s been working out pretty well so far. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
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