VS Nanaimo Clippers
The Spruce Kings headed into the final three games before the Christmas break on a three game losing streak. Looking to end that, they first faced off against the Nanaimo Clippers who had just beat two weeks ago 5-2.
It started with a power play goal, and ended with a power play goal. Both were for Nanaimo, and of the eight other goals scored in between, seven belonged to the Clippers.
Entering the game Nanaimo had the second best overall power play, and best by far on home ice at just over a 30% success rate. The Spruce Kings decided to test it early, and paid dearly. The team had a pair of strong shifts to start the game, but then a two on two led by Sheldon Rempal resulted in a power play for the Clippers as Hovde went to the box 29 seconds in. 12 seconds later and the puck was behind Sam Tanguay on a beautiful passing play from Rempal, to Rielly, and finished off on back door by Matthew Hoover to take the league lead in power play markers.
Turning Point: The next penalty would go towards the Clippers though, and PG had a chance to even the score. Nanaimo had other ideas, as Nolan Aibel went one on one with a Spruce King defender, and managed to get a shot away that evaded the leg of Tanguy doubling the score to 2-0 while shorthanded.
With LeBrun, Epp, Fritz, and Stoley all out, the Spruce Kings were missing a number of bodies, and needed their remaining veteran players to step up. Adam Brubacher, the leading point scorer added leading goal scorer to his list, as he picked up his own rebound off a shot, and while diving to his knees managed to swat the puck under Evan Johnson and in.
Prince George has been bad at giving up late goals this season, and allowed another back breaker as Spencer Hewson scored with just over a minute and a half remaining in the frame.
After allowing three goals on seven shots, Sam Tanguay started the second on the bench with Liam McCloskey taking over the netminding duties. Sheldon Rempal scored the lone goal for Nanaimo in the period, and the Spruce Kings did a relatively good job of limiting the Clippers, despite conceding 12 shots.
The third is where things got out of hand.
Nanaimo scored three goals in the first six and half minutes, which led to second goalie change with Sam Tanguay heading back into the net. The Clippers didn’t hold off already up 7-1, and Matt Creamer scored his third goal of the game after entering the game with two goals in 26 games. With four minutes left, and already up 8-1 Nanaimo just kept stepping down, and were icing their top power play units, with the Captain Devin Brosseau scoring on a one timer to ice the game at 9-1.
The Spruce Kings allowed nine goals on 32 shots — After being called up from the Richmond Sockeyes, Arjun Badh and Noah Wozney played a large chunk of time in the game alongside Jordan Funk after putting a number of strong shifts together — Prince George has now allowed hat-tricks in each of the last four games —Nanaimo plays Victoria tomorrow who is coming off a 7-0 win over Alberni Valley on Thursday evening. Prince George will play Cowichan Valley on Saturday night, and then Langley on Sunday afternoon — Matthew Hoover had seven points in two games against the Spruce Kings this season (five goals/two assists)
VS Cowichan Valley Capitals
For two teams that don’t see each other often, the Spruce Kings had a very chippy game against the Cowichan Valley Capitals the next night. Heading into the game on a four game losing streak, and coming off a 9-1 loss the night before Prince George had their hands full against the Capitals who sat 2nd in the Island Division.
Turning Point: After two goals in the last two games, the Spruce Kings needed some offence, and they got that 47 seconds in courtesy of Jarod Hovde. On a two on one alongside Nick Guerra, Hovde came down the left side, and fired a puck over the glove of Lane Michasiw to take the early lead.
The Spruce Kings would earn a five minute power play in the frame, but were unable to capitalize, and it got cut down to a total of three minutes after Tilsley took a penalty himself.
In the second it was Owings coming down, and ringing one off the cross bar for the Capitals which would prove to be costly as Bryan Basilico came down on a two on one minutes later, and like Hovde elected to shot, also beating Michasiw. Adam Osczevski broke down on a breakaway seconds after the game, but it was Tanguay coming up with another big save.
The third had a number of defensive highlights from the Spruce Kings. The Capitals would have had a three on one, but Basilico dove out while against the boards to break the play up. Three minutes later he almost made the score 3-0 as he went down on a shorthanded breakaway, but couldn’t beat Michasiw for the second time of the night. Brubacher was firing bombs from the point all night long, and finally broke through as Nic Ponak tipped a shot in front to make it 3-0 Spruce Kings with five minutes remaining.
Things continued getting chippier, as Kade Kehoe took a two minute penalty after a play, but wouldn’t go to the box so he was tossed out of the game. With their leading scorer out of the lineup, the Capitals were unable to break through, and Tanguay collected 29 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory.
The Spruce Kings snapped a four game losing streak with the win — The shutout was the team’s first of the season — Of the five goals scored this season against Cowichan, Basilico was involved in three (2G/1A) — Jarod Hovde’s goal was his first GWG in the BCHL — Prince George has now been shutout five games in a row on the power play — PG’s first win against Cowichan in two years
VS Langley Rivermen
Prince George once again started the scoring, but couldn’t keep the tide rolling back in the Mainland.
A night after taking down the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-0, the Spruce Kings again scored the first goal of the game, but allowed Langley to score the next five to take a 5-1 win on home ice.
It took just about fifteen minutes for either team to break the scoreless draw, and that was courtesy of Corey Hoffman. Taking a pass from Burnaby Winter Club callup Ethan De Jong, Hoffman walked to the bottom of the left faceoff circle, and sniped the puck into the top left corner over the shoulder of Nickolas Trenciansky.
After a 29 save shutout the night before, Sam Tanguay had a busy first period, and just about made it out unscathed, until Matty Saharchuk was able to bat a rebound out of mid-air, and past Tanguay.
Turning Point: Instead of heading to the first intermission with the lead, the Spruce Kings allowed a goal with 1:17 left in the first giving Langley life.
The second period didn’t feature any goals, until the Rivermen were able to strike twice in the final five minutes with the home team also scoring with 24 seconds left to take a 3-1 lead into the third.
The final frame would prove to be no better for the Spruce Kings, as Langley scored twice more to take the final by a score of 5-1.
In the first and second, PG had two power plays each, and were also shutout on their lone chance in the third. The Spruce Kings are now 0 for their last 23 power play attempts stretching back the final two power plays against the Coquitlam Express on December 3rd.
Prince George will be back on the road to start 2016, as they have their first five games back all in the Mainland. The Spruce Kings will start off January 2nd in Coquitlam, and then play in Chilliwack the next night.