Nelson’s Cole Arcuri is making an impact with the Powell River Kings as the BCHL playoffs get underway.
Now two games into the semi-final series against Nanaimo Clippers, the Kings lead 2-0.
Arcuri got the call to Island Division’s Powell River in early January. The leading defenseman with the Nelson Leafs joined the Kings as they were on the verge of a playoff run.
Arcuri was instrumental in the game opener Tuesday helping his team draw first blood. Down 2-0 in the first, the defenseman got his team on the board in dramatic fashion — an end-to-end rush.
“It was almost like the building was pretty silent,” Arcuri told the Star. “I picked the puck up behind our net and I went end to end and scored a pretty highlight reel goal. It ignited the crowd.”
Another goal quickly followed Arcuri’s and the team went to the dressing room tied 2-2.
“It was a great goal, an exciting goal and it really did pump the team up,” said assistant coach Derek Bachynski.
The Kings took the game 3-2.
Post game commentator Alex Rawnsley and Bachynski talked up Arcuri’s valuable midseason addition to the Powell River team on 95.7 SunFM.
“Here’s a guy who’s come in midseason and just got better and better especially over the last four weeks or so. It seems to be a broken record on the post game show ‘oh, Arcuri had a pretty good game,’” said Rawnsley.
When the Kings and Clippers met up again Wednesday, they held an early lead to earn a 3-1 victory.
Arcuri, a 17-year-old Nelson native is 6’1” weighing 170 lbs., was in his third season with the local KIJHL squad. Taking his play to the next level has been an “overwhelming” experience.
“It’s all happening so fast,” he said. “Moving up to the Junior A level from Junior B, I am playing a lot better kids and it’s a lot faster. I didn’t expect to come up and do as well as I am.”
Arcuri finished the season getting four points with the Kings — one goal and three assists.
“I think I got some confidence over the time I’ve been here and it helps a lot,” Arcuri said. “I am just having a lot of fun, really and when you’re having fun, I feel like it’s easier to play the game.”
The Kings and Clippers face off again tonight in Nanaimo for game three with game four in the seven game series going on Saturday. Arcuri feels his team is well positioned and “playing our game” is the key to moving onto the next round.
Should they move on, the Kings play the winner of the Victoria Grizzlies vs. Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the Island Division final.