Patience paid off for the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The BCHL’s Mainland Division leaders stung the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-3 in overtime on Saturday from the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena as Ben Poisson slid home a backhand shot through the legs of Chilliwack goaltender Mathieu Caron.
In a game that had post-whistle scrums, ejections, relentless boos from the crowd and bad officiating the animosity shown between both teams resembled an early playoff preview on what could be on display in March.
“We’re sending a message to the host team in the RBC and that’s just huge as getting those extra points above second place gives us home ice advantage in the playoffs,” says Ethan de Jong, Spruce Kings Forward.
Prince George carried a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period thanks to an early tip-in goal from Dustin Manz.
The game got out of hand in the second when Ben Brar was escorted out of the game following a hit from behind penalty, leading to a game misconduct.
A pair of scrums broke out within a three minute span where Chays Ruddy and Nolan Welsh along with Jared Turcotte and Powell Connor of the Chiefs also received penalties after a hit was made by Chilliwack forward Anthony Vincent who escaped punishment.
Ruddy was at it again – this time against Reagan Kimens who was on the receiving end of some punches after spearing the 20-year-old blueliner.
The Spruce Kings rose to the occasion in third after trailing 2-1 at the intermission when Blake Hayward potted two goals to bring Prince George to 3-3 at the end of regulation.
“To be honest, our coach just told us to stay out of the physical stuff and it kind of jacked us up, when everything is going against you we kind of see ourselves as an underdog team – we’re a gritty team and we battle and we will keep fighting,” added Hayward.
“We have a pre-scout on him (Caron) he’s got a weak blocker side so we tried to stay away from his glove hand and I was just driving hard and pounded it in.”
Prince George improves to 27-15-4-4 on the season and have opened up a seven point lead on the Surrey Eagles for the Mainland Division lead.
The Spruce Kings play again Friday and Saturday against the Coquitlam Express at 7 PM from the RMCA.