(Making 30 saves on 33 shots, Tavin Grant was named the 3rd star of the night against the Bulldogs. Photo by: MyLight Photography)
After allowing 10 goals the night before, the Prince George Spruce Kings defense were able to limit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, but it was the offense that struggled to click.
The first period Saturday night was very similar to the game before against Powell River. Prince George was heavily outshot, but managed not to break and that left the game at 0-0 after one. Shots were 14-5 for the Bulldogs, and Jarod Hovde had the first shot of the game for PG around six minutes in.
Tavin Grant made his biggest save of the night stopping a slap shot from Trevor Cosgrove who sits third in BCHL defensemen for goals with eight. Ethan de Jong nearly had a break go his way later on as his return feed looking for Ben Brar was nearly tipped in by Keith Anderson of the Bulldogs. Mackenzie Wight had a glorious opportunity for the Bulldogs to the right of the Spruce Kings net, but with Grant out of position, Wight sent his shot through the crease.
Alberni kicked off the scoring in the second with Alex MacDonald getting things started. With Ethan de Jong in the box for tripping, it took the Bulldogs just three seconds to score. Ryan Steele got the puck off the faceoff to MacDonald who snapped it past Grant for his seventh goal of the season. Trevor Cosgrove would score his ninth goal of the season to put him in a tie with Connor McCarthy of the Chilliwack Chiefs for second in league scoring amongst defensemen.
Immediately after the BCHL media timeout, MacDonald had a glorious opportunity, but was robbed by Grant. That goal would prove vital as Parker Colley got Prince George on the board 15:18 in digging a puck past Claeys. The goal ended a six game point drought for the second year Spruce King. Alberni Valley would reply with 1:36 in the game as Darren Rizzolo sprung Cayden Kraus on the left wing. Gaining a step on Adam Burnett, Kraus was able to snap a shot from the faceoff dot, and squeeze it in past Grant to restore the two goal lead at 3-1.
The story of the third period was power plays. After going two for three the night before in Powell River, the Spruce Kings had 4.5 chances (0.5 was carry over from the second period) but couldn’t convert and were zero for six on the night. Things got chippy in the third, and a number of big hits were called for penalties. Ben Brar caught a defenseman behind the Bulldogs net, and received a game misconduct. Tyler Anderson laid out Kyle Kaufman at centre, receiving an interference on the play. Connor Russell got into a shoving match with Alex MacDonald, and the later was called for slashing after taking a lumberjack swing at the back of Russell’s calf.
Prince George fought right to the end, but Trevor Cosgrove would score the only goal of the third sending the puck into an empty net. Heading into the game, Prince George and the Victoria Grizzlies were the only teams yet to allow an empty netter, but that honour now belongs to the island leading Grizzlies.
The Spruce Kings won’t get long to think over their latest loss with an afternoon game tomorrow in Nanaimo. Earlier this season in the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena it was Prince George coming out on the winning end of a 6-1 decision.