The Coquitlam Express scored the first two goals of game, and the last two but it was the Spruce Kings coming away with the 6-4 win.
Prince George entered the game 12 points back of Coquitlam, with the Express holding two games in hand. The visiting team rolled into the Coliseum coming off a big 5-1 win the night before against the Vernon Vipers, and got off to a hot start.
There was no scoring in the first 15 minutes, but eventually Jackson Cressey would create a turnover in the corner, and center it to Austin McIlmurray who buried the first goal of the night. Less than two minutes later it was Keegan Jones pouncing on a turnover by Sam Tanguay. The netminder tried to play the puck behind the net, but it wound up bouncing out front to Jones who tapped the puck into the empty net for the two goal lead.
Before time wound down though, Kyle Johnson would finish off a nice passing play between him, Matt Stief, and Parker Colley to cut the lead in half.
In the second it was all PG as they would rattle off four unanswered goals in just under 10 minutes. First it was Nick Guerra bursting down the left side, and his centring feed went off the stick of an Express defender, and into the net. Then the Spruce Kings went to two power plays, and converted on both. First it was a point shot from Adam Brubacher than Lawson Fenton blockered right to stick of Bryan Basilico who scored on the rebound for the home team’s first lead of the game. Two minutes later it was Cavin Tilsley digging the puck home to double up the score at 4-2. Then just before the halfway mark of the period ticked by, Corey Hoffman, took a drop pass, and scored his first goal since Oct 24th which was also a home game against Coquitlam. That would do it for Lawson Fenton as he was pulled after allowing five goals on 20 shots.
The Spruce Kings would start the third on a good note as well. Nick Guerra having one of his best games of the season came down the right side on a two on one with Jarod Hovde. The second year forward passed over to the Camrose native, who took the pass in stride and slapped the puck over the sprawled Tyger Howat for his first BCHL goal.
Coquitlam wouldn’t leave without a fight though, and scored two more in span of four minutes to bring the score to 6-4 with half a period of play remaining. First it was Colton Kerfoot scoring for his second point of the night, and then Owen Stout, but that’s as close as the Express would make it. Parker Colley would draw a late penalty as he was hauled down on the left side going towards an empty net.
The game would finish 6-4 in favour of the Spruce Kings, and they were rewarded for winning the special teams battle shutting down the lone Coquitlam power play, and scoring on two of their five man advantages.
A night after a strong performance against their Mainland rivals the Coquitlam Express, the Spruce Kings couldn’t match the performance Friday against the Nanaimo Clippers.
It was the first meeting between the two teams, but will be seeing each other soon as PG travels to Nanaimo in just two weeks.
The Spruce Kings got off to a strong start, as Adam Burnett flipped up a Hail Mary pass to Parker Colley who went down on the breakaway beating Evan Johnson blocker side for a goal less than three minutes in.
That seemed to awaken the beast though, as Matthew Hoover scored just eleven seconds later, on a big rebound kicked out from Liam McCloskey. Then four minutes later it was Sheldon Rempal breaking down the ice, and sliding a puck along the ice that just went by McCloskey’s pad, and in for two on four shots. Chad van Diemen didn’t like what he saw, and made a goalie swap to bring Sam Tanguay in. Prince George was able to escape the rest of the period without a goal against, but took a penalty that would go into the second period.
There the third ranked power play went to work scoring just 19 seconds into the middle frame. This time it was Hoover playing trigger man again as he took a pass in the slot from Rempal who was behind the net. Despite being outshot 18-7 in the period, the Spruce Kings would also score a goal of their own in the second as Kyle Johnson stole the puck behind the Clippers net, and wrapped the puck around to the far side of the net for his 5th goal of the season.
The third would bear no fruit for the home team though, as Nanaimo scored twice more to cap the game at 5-2. First it was Dodero, then Hoover finishing off his hat trick.