Venue: South Surrey Arena, Surrey
Game Time: Saturday February 11th @ 6:30pm
Things have been fairly lopsided in the season series this season. The Prince George Spruce Kings (22-23-4-2) have points in all five games, and were not happy when they lost 2-1 in overtime to the Surrey Eagles (16-32-4-0) back in November.
The most recent meeting was more to the Spruce Kings liking, and for good reason as the team had nine separate goal scorers in a 9-0 win. Two goals came on the power play, one was short handed, and the remainder came at even strength. The scoring was spread evenly period to period as well with three goals coming in each frame.
This weekend marks the final games these two teams will play this season. Last year they ended the season against one another, and Prince George wound up walking away with victories in both, and had their first hat-trick of the season courtesy of Jarod Hovde. Both teams sat last in the standings though, so the games didn’t mean much to either. This year is different though for Prince George who is fighting to finish the season strong heading to the playoffs. They will play either the Wenatchee Wild, or Chilliwack Chiefs, neither easy opposition.
Both of the biggest winning margins this season have come against the Eagles. The team opened the season series with an 11-2 win, and Tavin Grant picked up his second BCHL shutout last week against Surrey in the 9-0 victory. While Surrey doesn’t have a great record, at home they’re one point under .500 with 11 wins, 10 losses, and three overtime losses.
Surrey is coming off a tough loss to the Langley Rivermen where they led by two goals a quarter of the way into the third period, but Langley would come back to tie it, and eventually win in overtime. Prince George didn’t have much better luck on Thursday losing 4-0 to the West Kelowna Warriors. Former Spruce Kings Braiden Epp and Cavin Tilsley each scored, while Gabriel Morency stopped 33 shots for his first BCHL shutout. Prince George had seven power plays, but couldn’t break the Warriors penalty kill that entered the game bottom three in the league.
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Things appear to be settling into place now in the Mainland. While Chilliwack still has hopes of catching the Wenatchee Wild, the Langley Rivermen can’t catch the front runners, and need just two points or a Prince George loss in these final seven games to secure third place. After missing the playoffs last season, Prince George is in this year, and have not missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since the BCHL changed over to the three division system following the 2011/12 season.
Surrey lost in a pair of games to Wenatchee last weekend, and in doing so lost their chance to make the playoffs in the Mainland bracket. Thanks to the new rule with the crossover though, if they can catch Salmon Arm from the Interior, they will cross over to the sixth spot there. The Silverbacks are currently six points ahead with two games in hand. The last time the Eagles went beyond the regular season was in the 2013/14 season.
WHO TO WATCH:
Hunter Luhmann – FWD: Ending a 24 game goal drought a few weeks ago in Vernon, Luhmann is now eight goals without a tally. One of his best weekends points wise came last week where he had two assists against Surrey, and one against Langley.
Ethan O’Rourke – FWD: His first BCHL goal came against the Surrey Eagles, and O’Rourke would love to make it two goals in two games. It was also the power forward;s first multi-point game, but hasn’t recorded a point in the last three games. The Spruce Kings do best when they’re able to roll their lines, shown by the last outing in Surrey where the team had nine different goal scorers in the 9-0 win. If O’Rourke and his line is rolling, that will be a good sign overall.
Darius Davidson – FWD: He missed an opportunity in the last game to open the scoring less than a minute in the game. Instead he was denied by Tavin Grant, and the rest of the game was downhill for Surrey falling 9-0. What could have been an early goal surely would have changed the game, and you can bet the eldest Davidson will be out to redeem himself tonight.
The Goalies: You can’t heap all the blame on the goalies, but Surrey has surrendered 31 goals in five games this season against Prince George. Former netminder Michael Botiz allowed most of those with 15 coming against him, but 14 have come against the duo of Daniel Davidson and Keelan Williams in a combined 85:33 minutes. Williams was yanked last weekend, allowing five goals with a 0.722 save percentage.
Spruce Kings @ Surrey Eagles – Sunday February 12th, 4:00pm – South Surrey Arena
Spruce Kings @ Chilliwack Chiefs – Sunday February 21st, 5pm – Prospera Centre
Spruce Kings @ Langley Rivermen – Monday February 22nd, 7:15pm – George Preston Arena