Venue: Island Savings Centre
Game Time: Saturday December 17th @ 7pm
A solid win last night needs to be followed up today against the Cowichan Valley Capitals for the Prince George Spruce Kings. 7-3 winners over the Coquitlam Express, the Spruce Kings have some confidence coming into the game, but will be having a long travel day while Cowichan should be rested not having played since Wednesday where they shut out the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 2-0.
There were six different goal scorers for Prince George as Brett Mennear found the back of the net on two occasions. Adding singles were Jarod Hovde, Ben Brar, Ethan de Jong, Drew Lennon, and Chong Min Lee. The Spruce Kings will be without Min Lee tonight as he plays for his regular team the Port Moody Panthers.
Special teams were key for Prince George as they were three for three on the penalty, and were able to score once on the power play. Two penalty kills were especially important as they were late in periods, and both could have allowed Coquitlam to claw back into the game. Instead it was de Jong scoring shorthanded late in the second for the 4-0 lead, and that wound up being the game winning goal.
Last time the Spruce Kings met the Capitals was back in late September. That weekend was a turning point for the team, as it began a wild run at home that saw them lose just twice in the next two months at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. Former Capital Connor Russell scored the game winner with two minutes left in the third, and Brett Mennear flung a puck into the empty cage for the 5-3 final. Last season these two teams exchanged wins with each winning in the other team’s arena. Prince George managed to shut out the Capitals right before the Christmas break last season and will aim for a repeat tonight. Tavin Grant is expected to get the start in net which will mark his 12th consecutive game played since Stefan Wornig went down with an injury in early November.
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A win last night leapfrogged the Spruce Kings over the Langley Rivermen for third in the Mainland Division. It was a game the team expected to win against the Coquitlam Express who sit last in the BCHL.Prince George now has a one point lead on Langley, and two games in hand. The games will only get tougher this weekend as they take on the Victoria Grizzlies tomorrow who lead the Island division.
Cowichan Valley has a healthy lead on fourth in the Islands as they sit third place eight points ahead of the Nanaimo Clippers. Four of five teams make it to playoffs, and Alberni Valley who has been heating up is eleven back. Powell River is three points ahead of the Capitals, and have played one extra game. Powell River has a tough matchup tonight taking on the Wenatchee Wild.
WHO TO WATCH:
Connor Rusell – DEF: In the last game Russell played against his old team, he wound up scoring the game winning goal with two minutes left in the game. Named the first star of the game, expect Russell to have some more motivation in his barn for last season. In five games agaisnt Island teams, Russell has four goals and three assists.
Ethan de Jong – FWD: He had one goal last night, but the rookie forward after the game knew he could’ve had more. Since coming back from trying out for the World Junior A Challenge de Jong has looked good playing on Mennear’s wing. The pair also make a dangerous short handed duo as they showed last night with de Jong’s tally. In the first meeting with the Capitals, de Jong had two assists for his first multi-point game in the BCHL.
Mitch Newton – FWD: Newton has slowed offensively of late with just one point (a goal) in his last three outings. With 38 points on the season he is just two points away from matching the total he set last season. He had two assists in his first game against Prince George this season, and last year was held pointless.
Chris Harpur – DEF: He didn’t hit the scoresheet in the first game besides a penalty he took for slashing. The Captain is committed to Niagra University, and with 27 points in 36 games, has taken a big step from last season where he had 20 in a full 58 games. He leads defensemen on his team in points, and is seven points ahead of Josh Owings.
Spruce Kings @ Victoria Grizzlies – Friday December 18th, 7pm – The Q Centre
NEXT HOME GAME: Spruce Kings vs Langley Rivermen – Thursday December 29th, 7pm – Rolling Mix Concrete Arena
Spruce Kings vs Langley Rivermen- Friday December 30th, 7pm – Rolling Mix Concrete Arena