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Spruce Kings Lose Big Lead in 5-4 Loss to Trail

(Jarod Hovde the third star of the night had a goal and assist on Friday, Photo by: Randy Emery Photography)

From the first drop of the puck, it looked as if Prince George was destined for their 6th straight game with a point.

On his third shift of the game, Jarod Hovde moved in from the blue line, and roofed a shot into the top left corner from the top of the circles for the early 1-0 lead. The next shift his line would double the lead as Kyle Johnson drove through the middle of the Trail zone, and from the right side centred the puck. Hovde chipped the puck up, and out of mid-air Ethan de Jong swatted in his second of the year. Tavin Grant had to stand on his head a few minutes later as Blaine Caton broke out for a breakaway, but the Burnaby netminder kicked out his right pad just in time for the save.

Just after 13 minutes had ticked by, the Smoke Eaters took advantage of a poor Spruce Kings line change, and charging down the left wing Ryan Moon was able to snap in his third of the year. That would do it in the first, but with the 2-1 lead, Prince George again came out firing in the middle frame.

Like the first, the visitors struck in the first five minutes with Brett Mennear taking a feed from Jamie Huber, and scoring to restore the two goal lead. Moments later, Prince George would head to the first power play of the game, and didn’t fail to capitalize. It was a beauty tic-tac-toe play as Tyler Anderson held the blue line, and passed it off to Mennear on the right wall. He sent it to the top of the right circle for Tanner Campbell who put the puck on the tape of Chong Lee on the left side. On the one timer, the hot forward scored his fourth goal in five games. With the 4-1 lead, Prince George was dominating the play, and looked set to cruise to victory.

Trail had other ideas, as they would convert on their first man-advantage of the night. Jamming for the puck in front of the net, Ross Armour scored for what would be the start of a thrilling comeback. The Spruce Kings killed off one more power play in the second, but had to start the third down a man as Cavin Tilsley took a last second slashing penalty.

Down two goals, and with a fanbase brimming on their seats, the Smokies gave them reason to cheer. Redeeming himself for the failed breakaway earlier in the game, Caton was able to tuck in the 4-3 goal with ten seconds left in the power play. The former Spruce King making his Trail debut would strike three minutes later as Mitchell Barker scored the game tying goal. Capping the scoring for Trail was the boy from Northern BC, Luke Santerno who had three points in his first meeting with Prince George this season. The Smoke Eaters leading point scorer sealed the deal with 11:34 to go with Josh Laframboise swinging down the left wing, and centring the puck out front.

Prince George would receive a late power play, and pulled Grant for the extra attacker, but Zach Dyment backstopped his team in the final minutes. The Smokies goalie allowed four goals on the first 17 shots, but was perfect after that stopping the next 22.

A goal and an assist gave Jarod the third star of the game, while the man who tied the game, Mitchel Barker, was the second star. Starting the comeback, and assisting on the game tying goal was Ross Armour, and he received the nod for first star.

Prince George is back in action tonight against the Penticton Vees who are once again rolling through the BCHL with just three regulation losses this year. Prince George is 0-2 against the Vees, but the last match was a tight 3-2 loss compared to the 4-0 shutout in Penticton’s season opener.

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