(Photo by: MyLight Photography)
Prince George had the pressure on them once again, and they were up to the task against the Wenatchee Wild. Down 3-1 in the Mainland semi-finals, the Spruce Kings won again to force a Game 6.
The goals didn’t come at the rate they did in Wednesday’s 7-4 win over the Wild, but the defence shut the door in a 3-1 triumph. Wenatchee had the best chances to begin to game, as a minute and a half in Brendan Harris went down on a 2-on-1, and shot low blocker on Grant, but missed the net. The Wild would then go on consecutive power plays, giving them a chance to open the scoring. A Tyler Rockwell point shot was kicked out by Tavin Grant right to Tavin Grant, but Liam Watson-Brawn was able to knock the league’s regular season scoring champion’s stick away from the puck preventing any damage.
Fuelled by the two penalty kills, the Spruce Kings attack took over. Jarod Hovde poked a puck forward for Kyle Johnson, and the team’s playoff leader in goals raced down on a breakaway. From the left wing he deked to the right, and outwaited Anthony Yamnitsky before putting the puck over the sprawled netminder. That gave Prince George the 1-0 lead at 11:55. It was followed up 1:06 later by a goal from Ben Brar.
Narrowly holding the puck in at the blue line, Tyler Anderson took a shot that pinballed on it’s way towards the Wild net. Brett Mennear wound up finding the loose puck in the right faceoff circle, and flipped a pass over to Brar. The power forward tipped the puck on goal, and had it slide across the line in time before Yamnitsky could fall back on it.
In the second, the lone goal of the period belonged to Wenatchee. Spruce King killer Dakota Raabe received a pass in the right circle from Matthew Baker, and picked the top left corner to get his team within one at 2-1 with 9:41 to go in the frame. Prince George would draw a late penalty with just over a second on the clock, and pulled their goalie, but were unsuccessful on a hopeful goal.
The power play transferred over to the third, but PG couldn’t restore their two goal lead. Both teams would trade chances, but neither could break through. Slava Demin wound up taking a late penalty for the second game in a row, putting his team down a man while they were attempting to tie the game. Like Wednesday, the Spruce Kings couldn’t score, but killing two minutes off the clock was precious.
Wenatchee would earn a late offensive faceoff, and pulled Yamnitsky while they drew up a play. Nearly identical to the Baker goal on Wednesday night, Charlie Combs pulled a spin-o-rama at the side of the goal, and put a pass across the top of the crease, but no one was there to tap it home. Jarod Hovde hustled to the puck first on the far wall, and slapped the puck down the ice into the empty net. That made it 3-1 with 1:16 remaining in the period. The Wild got possession off the ensuing draw, and were able to apply pressure, but never pulled the goalie.
Prince George had one win all time against Wenatchee after Tuesday’s loss, but winning Games 4 and 5 now have two in a row. Both teams now head south, as they prepare for Game 6 in the Town Toyota Center. The Wild are 2-0 on home ice against PG these playoffs, and were 4-0 in the regular season. Prince George trailing needs to win both games against an opponent that has only lost twice at home all season long.