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Calling In Reinforcements

A pair of APs will draw into the lineup for games three and four.

With this BCHL Mainland Division Semi-final now shifting to Coquitlam where the Express have home ice advantage, the Prince George Spruce Kings have called up two players from their reserve roster to help bolster a depleted lineup.

The best of seven series has actually become a best of five now after the teams split a pair of 3-2 decisions earlier in the week in Prince George. The Spruce Kings opened the series with a 3-2 win on Tuesday night on the strength of a pair of goals from Mitch Eden. On Wednesday night Eden added two assists but it wasn’t enough as the Express took the 3-2 win riding the red hot goaltender Gordie Defiel who made 39 saves in all.

The Prince George Spruce Kings were the favoured team on paper prior to the first puck drop due in large part to their 7-1-1-0 handling of the Express in the regular season, but that may not be the case anymore. The Spruce Kings took to the road yesterday minus a few key players from their roster due to injuries.

The team is still without Cooper Rush who waits for doctor’s clearance to return to action after suffering a knee injury in a game played on January 5th. Brent Lashuk missed the start of the playoffs with a knee injury of his own suffered in the final game of the regular season and is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

During game one’s win, Bryant Christian took a puck high that took him out of the game late in the first period and Karan Toor left game two late in the second period with an undisclosed lower body injury. Both players remained in Prince George on Thursday as the bus pulled away from the Coliseum.

Best case scenario is Christian and Toor will be able to suit up for Monday’s game five back in PG. In the meantime, the team has called up two players to help fill the vacancies and add some depth to a depleted roster.

Austin Gray is a sixteen year old defenceman that can play forward and will be taking on that role tonight. Gray has already shown that he has a nose for the net and was rewarded with his first BCHL goal in his first BCHL game on February 27th.

Roshen Jaswal is an eighteen year old defenceman that will be getting his first taste of the BCHL playoffs. Jaswal is a 6’3″ 200 lbs lefthanded defenceman from Burnaby, BC who was playing for the Grandview Steelers this past season finishing fifth in team scoring. Jaswal is described as a playmaking defenceman that can create scoring chances with good passing.

The Spruce Kings will have to continue what has worked for them so far and build on chances that they create. One of their strengths has been the ability to corrale the highly offensive and potent Coquitlam Express that finished the regular season as the highest scoring team in the League.

Prince George will also want to see their top line start connecting on their chances. Justin Rai is the only one with a goal althought the line has created numerous chances and been a handful for the Express defence. Without question, the play of Defiel between the pipes is a big reason this series is tied at a game a-piece heading back to Coquitlam.

Tonight’s game has a 7pm scheduled puck drop and will be broadcast live on 99.3 the Drive with Ron Gallo and Thomas Bohmer providing the play-by-play and in-game analysis beginning with the pregame show at 6:45pm. The game will also be available as pay-per-view broadcast on Fasthockey.com and a free audio only webcast on the Spruce Kings Mixlr Channel.

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