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de Jong scores first BCHL goal, Spruce Kings Down Eagles 11-2

It was a mystery match coming in.

The Surrey Eagles were behind Prince George Spruce Kings in the standings, yet had just defeated the Wenatchee Wild 6-1 on Thursday, a team the Spruce Kings have had fits again for the past two seasons.

After a first period of what looked like what would be a tight game, the Spruce Kings broke out, and bested the Eagles in the two teams first meeting for an 11-2 win on home ice.

The scoring got off to a quick start, as Brett Mennear scored just 33 seconds in. Tanner Campbell sent a wrister from the slot wide right, but after the puck banked off the back wall, Mennear was able to snap a shot home on the first shot of the night for PG. Surrey would tie things up just before the halfway mark of the frame as Jacob Dupont floated to middle of the blue line, and sent a lot wrister off the left post, and in past Tavin Grant tying the game at one with 11:42 to go. After scoring their early goal, Prince George would add a late marker with Kyle Johnson breaking a five game scoring drought. Ethan de Jong made a great play at the blue line to hold the puck in, and moved the puck forward down the left wall for Jarod Hovde. The Alberta forward sent a pass to the slot for Johnson, and with plenty of time, sent a shot into the top right corner for the 2-1 lead heading to the break.

Period two would start the same as the first with Prince George once again striking within the first minute. Pinching in to keep the play alive, Adam Burnett shovelled the puck out front for Ethan de Jong to dig at. The former BWC forward couldn’t beat Daniel Davidson, but Hovde came in to chip the puck over the Eagles netminder. Three minutes later things started to get out of hand as Prince George scored three goals in a span of 1:30. It began with a nice passing play started by Jamie Huber in the right corner to Tanner Campbell in the slot, and then over to the left side for Mennear to bang in his second of the game. Hunter Luhmann joined the scoring as he came down the left wing after a nice feed from Ben Poisson, and snapped in a shot ending Davidson’s night allowing five goals on eleven shots. In came Michael Botiz who didn’t get off to a hot start allowing a goal on the first shot he faced. There wasn’t much as he could do though as Kyle Johnson drove the puck out from the right corner, and outwaited Botiz before sending a backhand shot into the gaping cage to make it 6-1. Surrey would get a chance on the power play to get back into it, but the league’s best unit was unable to break through.

Things did not get any better for Surrey in the third. Two and a half minutes in Sam De Melo used the lively back board to his advantage as he dumped a puck in, and the streaking Hunter Luhmann had the puck jump off his foot and into the net for a 7-1 lead. Just as a penalty to Ryan Markovic expired, the Spruce Kings struck as Tyler Anderson took a point shot, and got a tip in front from Campbell for goal number eight to tie a season high. In his 23rd BCHL game, it was Ethan de Jong finding the twine himself. With 12 career assists, the forward got the puck from Kyle Johnson, and was able to beat Botiz for his first in the league. 33 seconds later Parker Colley was hauled down on a breakaway, and went to centre ice for his second penalty shot of the season. He was denied against the Wenatchee Wild, but made no mistake this time around going under the blocker of Botiz for the 10-1 lead.

Surrey would earn a late power play, and this time they were able to take advantage with Jeff Stewart receiving a pass from Paul McAvoy, and making a move to his backhand before roofing a shot. Prince George would close out their night on a high note though as Chong Lee sent a in a shot from his knees for his third of the season to cap the scoring at 11-2.

Despite outscoring the Eagles 11-2, Prince George lost the special teams battle with allowing one power play goal on three chances, and were unsuccessful on four opportunities including some time five-on-three.

A few goal scoring droughts were watered on Saturday, as de Jong scored his first goal in his 23rd game, Chong Lee had gone ten games without a goal, and Kyle Johnson had waited five games himself. Meanwhile Brett Mennear with the pair now has four goals in his last four games, Campbell has four in his past six, and Luhmann doubled his goal production on the season with four tallies now.

The last time Prince George scored 11 goals was January 23rd 2010 when the Spruce Kings beat the Merritt Centennials 11-3