[Photo by: Matt Jensen Photography]
It was the finish that counted for Prince George. A one goal first period was followed up by seven in the next two as the Spruce Kings dominated a Coquitlam Express team ravaged by injuries.
Missing three of their top four scorers coming in, the Express were in for a tough task taking on one of the hottest teams in the BCHL who had just one loss at home since mid-September.
The first period didn’t get off to a great start though, as Hunter Luhmann was late getting off the ice in warmups, resulting in a bench minor to start the game for his side. Prince George was able to kill off the penalty, and if anything had the best scoring chance. Kyle Johnson went down on a two-on-one with Jarod Hovde, and the saucer pass across to Hovde was one-timered, but stopped by the stick of Lawson Fenton making his fourth start of the year against Prince George.
Hovde who had five points in his last meeting with Coquitlam would strike later in the period though on the Spruce Kings first power play. Chong Lee took the puck off the left wall, and sent it over the Hovde who was all alone on the inside of the left circle. With time and space, Hovde was able to pick his spot and beat Fenton for the 1-0 lead.
Prince George would outshoot Coquitlam 10-9 in the first period, but were unable to break past Fenton again. In the second, it was Kyle Johnson opening the scoring nearly halfway into the frame. It wasn’t a highlight reel goal, but his shot bounced off the shoulder of Fenton, and over the Express netminder just making it’s way past the goal line. That came minutes after a potential game tying goal for Cal Babych was waved off as the refs said the net was off when the puck went in despite the red light from the goal judge going off.
Two minutes after Johnson’s goal, it was the captain scoring twice in a space of six and a half minutes as Brett Mennear was able to make it 4-0 heading to the third. The first was a great individual effort as he drove the net, and knocked in his own rebound. That was followed up by a snipe that went bar down after taking a feed from Jamie Huber.
The blueline got involved in the third, as Adam Burnett scored on the man-advantage. A pass from Ethan de Jong found Burnett at the point, and he leaned into a wrister that he buried for the 5-0 lead just over two minutes in the third. That was followed up 4:42 into the period as Brett Mennear scored a potential goal of the year. Down the left side, Mennear dragged the puck between his legs, and on the backhand picked the top left corner.
Parker Colley who had a goal in his last game against Coquitlam followed up with a pair, as he scored twice to wrap up the scoring at 8-0. It was the second game of the season by that score with Prince George repeating their October 14th feat against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
With the 27 save shutout, Tavin Grant was named the third star of the night. A goal and an assist gave Kyle Johnson the nod for second star, and Brett Mennear’s three goals and an assist easily made his the first star. Jamie Huber had two assists, and was the Fortis Energy player of the game.
Devin Sutton and Keegan Ward each made their BCHL debuts Friday night, and looked very good. Sutton was called up from the Cariboo Cougars as the Spruce Kings were missing forwards Tanner Campbell and Ben Poisson to injury. The big 1999 forward had a number of good scoring opportunities, and helped move the puck up ice with his size. The same could be said for Keegan Ward who was a heat seeking missile all night long. From his first shift the forward acquired from the Omaha Lancers hit everything that moved, and had some offensive opportunities later in the game.
|6:15||PG||Jarod Hovde (8) ASST: Kyle Johnson (13), Chong Lee (9) (PP)|
|8:22||PG||Kyle Johnson (8) ASST: Jarod Hovde (14), Adam Burnett (14)|
|10:03||PG||Brett Mennear (12) ASST: Hunter Luhmann (9)|
|16:33||PG||Brett Mennear (13) ASST: Jamie Huber (13), Chong Lee (10)|
|2:06||PG||Adam Burnett (3) ASST: Brett Mennear (22), Jamie Huber (14)(PP)|
|4:42||PG||Brett Mennear (14) ASST: Jamie Huber (15), Sam De Melo (8)|
|13:18||PG||Parker Colley (7) ASST: Jarod Hovde (15)|
|16:32||PG||Parker Colley (8) ASST: Jarod Hovde (16)|