Venue: Shaw Centre
Game Time: Saturday January 28th @ 7pm
Last night the Prince George Spruce Kings (20-20-3-2) needed a win, and found just that against the Merritt Centennials. Opening up their first of three games in 2.5 days, the Spruce Kings were able to silence the Merritt power play four times which entered as the 2nd ranked group in the league just behind the Wenatchee Wild.
Ben Brar had a pair of goals on the night bringing him to 14 on the season, and 12 in 22 games since coming to Prince George. Chong Lee had the game winner in the third period as he was able to take advantage of a fortunate bounce that popped out in front of the net surprising the Merritt side. The first goal of the 3-1 win came on the power ending a two game drought the Spruce Kings had suffered while down in Wenatchee.
This is the second meeting of the year between Salmon Arm and Prince George. The first had PG emerge victorious at home with a 6-3 final. The Spruce Kings led just 4-3 late in the game, but received empty net goals from Chong Lee and Travis Schneider to seal the deal. On special teams Prince George was one for six, while the Silverbacks were unable to capitalize on two opportunities.
Brett Mennear had four assists in the game, and is coming a double helper performance last night in Merritt. Chong Lee had two goals in the game, and leads all the two teams in head to head goals this year. From the Silverbacks, Elijah Barriga and Carson Bolduc each had a goal and an assist up in the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena to lead their side.
Prince George has two wins in the year of 2017, and the win last ended snapped a streak that saw them winless in five. The trade deadline saw Salmon Arm ship away a number of veterans, and their results since have shown with one win in the six games. It should be noted though that the win was a 5-2 decision at home over the Penticton Vees last Friday. The Backs played the Nanaimo Clippers last night and lost 4-3 in overtime. Justin Wilson had one goal and an assist while Carson Bolduc setup two goals.
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The win last night for Prince George tucked them ten points behind the Langley Rivermen for third in the Mainland division. Langley plays Coquitlam tonight, and a win could clinch them a spot in the playoffs. Prince George 10 points ahead of Surrey needs 11 more points to clinch. On a stretch that has seen them pickup one win in 10 games during 2017, the Eagles don’t play tonight, but are in action tomorrow against the Nanaimo Clippers who are four points ahead of Alberni Valley for the final island playoff spot.
Over in the Interior, the Silverbacks sit 6th, six point back of the West Kelowna Warriors who also have two games in hand. Thanks to the league new rules, all Interior teams make it in unless there is a crossover from the 5th spot in the Mainland. That team right now is Surrey who is 6 points behind Salmon Arm.
WHO TO WATCH:
Chong Lee – FWD: One of the most consistent Spruce Kings of late, Lee has 12 point in the last 10 games. Matched on a line with Brar and Mennear, the trio has been giving teams fits in the offensive zone. This will be Lee’s third game against Salmon Arm, and had two goals in the first meeting including the first empty netter.
Tyler Anderson – DEF: The big defenseman leads BCHL blueliners in goals with 16, but hasn’t scored in three games. He hasn’t gone four games without a goal since late October. Anderson too had a good game in the first meeting with Salmon Arm this year notching a goal and an assist.
Carson Bolduc – FWD: He is tied for the team lead in points with 44, and is first in assists with 31. He had a pair of helpers last night, and against the Spruce Kings back in November had a goal and assist. He is on a four game point streak with six points in that span.
Justin Wilson – FWD: The rookie forward who was second in BCMML scoring last year had a bit of a slow start, but has picked things up of late, and is currently on a three game point streak which ties his season high. He has one goal in each of his last two games.
Spruce Kings @ Vernon Vipers – Sunday January 29th, 2pm – Kal Tire Place
Spruce Kings @ Surrey Eagles – Thursday February 2nd, 6:30pm – South Surrey Arena
Spruce Kings @ Langley Rivermen – Friday February 3rd, 7:15pm – George Preston Arena