Despite losing three of their top players to the World Junior A Challenge training camp, the Prince George Spruce Kings put forth arguably their most complete effort of the season.
A 23-save shutout helped propel the Spruce Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
The victory gives Prince George a 5-1 record so far on its eight-game home stand.
Dustin Manz opened the scoring for the hosts as his wrist-shot beat Silverbacks goaltender Kyle Dumba for a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The second period was dominated by the Spruce Kings as they outshot the Silverbacks 16-4 middle frame but were unable to solve Dumba who made several saves to keep the game close.
In the third, Jarod Hovde finally gave Prince George some much-needed breathing room as he deflected a hot shot by Manz past Dumba for the 2-0 lead.
Ben Brar put the game on ice for the Spruce Kings courtesy of a shorthanded empty-netter.
“We rallied behind our goaltender tonight and we knew we had to be good because we are missing three key guys and we did that, we came out hard and did the job,” says Hovde.
“Right off the start we came at them hard and kept it simple we did what we thought was best to win the game and we executed our game plan.”
The Spruce Kings now sit second in the BCHL Mainland Division just three points back of the Langley Rivermen who fell to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on the road by a 5-2 score.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Wenatchee Wild come to town next Friday and Saturday at 7 PM.
Cooper says the team is carrying a winning attitude.
“We want to go in with the idea that were going to win and if you believe it will happen than most of the time things will go right and I think it is something we have been developing and that has been a huge help.”
It was the first game for defenceman Tyson Slater who was acquired from the Bulldogs on Friday for Luc Salem.
Cariboo Cougars defenceman Brennan Malgunas also got called up.