21-year-old forward Jaycob Masciangelo is the Strathmore Motor Products King of the Week!
The veteran forward is in his last season with the Wheatland Kings, and as he reflects back on his time with the team, he feels that the Kings and the league as a whole has evolved quite a bit since he first stepped on the ice as an 18-year-old rookie.
"The team has been a lot faster from my first year it seems Junior B hockey in general is just getting smaller and faster and it's becoming a way better league, I think. So everybody on the team is way faster than it has been in the past," he said.
As one of the older players on a team full of rookies, Masciangelo has been a locker room leader to help the young guys get used to the league. He says the best thing the players can do to better themselves is to work hard and listen to the coach.
This Kings team has really come together recently, as they've won five of their last seven, with their most recent win coming against the Cochrane Generals, one of the best teams in the league. That game was arguably the most exciting of the year, as it went to a 12-round shootout before the Kings finally earned the win. Masciangelo said the fan support played a huge role in getting that win.
"You look up at the fans and they're cheering and it gives you that extra motivation to push through a game if it is a close one. The fans at the Cochrane game were outstanding, that's a big reason why we won that game."
While the success the team has seen over the last few games is a welcome change Masciangelo does see areas the team can improve on going forward one of those being their power play, "During the game against Cochrane we went 0 or 7 on the power play and that is something we need to capitalize on so I think we need to work on that as well."
The Kings will face the Cochrane Generals one more time in Cochrane before the end of 2022 and Masciangelo feels that getting that win last weekend against the Generals who are currently second in the league shows the Kings that they have the potential to win in this league when they stay focused and work together.
This big win unfortunately was followed by a loss to the Sylvan Lake Wranglers on the road. The Kings will have a chance at redemption this weekend when the Wrangles are back in Strathmore on Saturday night, and Masciangelo said it'll take a full team effort and focus to get back in the win column. However, he did add that perhaps a pre-game ritual they did before the Generals game may help, although he himself isn't too superstitious.
"I know there are quite a few guys on the team that tape their left shin pad before their right shin pad and stuff like that."
As Masciangelo's Kings career nears its end, he says the main highlights of his time with the team are more about what happened off the ice rather than the games themselves.
"Just team bonding and meeting new people and becoming friends with everyone. It's like a big family, the Kings Association. It means a lot to me, that's basically all the memories and smiles and stuff."
Cheer on the Kings Saturday night at 8 pm when the Wranglers come to town for the team's last home game of 2022, the team will have two more games away this month and then will have some time off over the holidays with the season resuming on January 6, 2023.
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