Venue: George Preston Arena, Langley
Game Time: Saturday February 25th @ 6:00pm
Travel wear won’t give the Prince George Spruce Kings (25-25-4-2) any excuse tonight, as the Langley Rivermen (29-20-6-2) have been equally busy. The Spruce Kings are playing their second game of the weekend, and it will be their fourth game in eight days. For Langley, the last two nights they hosted the Wenatchee Wild, and are playing their sixth game in nine nights tonight.
Against the Coquitlam Express last night, Prince George dominated the first period, but emerged tied 1-1 on the scoreboard, and 12-12 on the shot counter. The next two periods the Spruce Kings added three shots, and smothered the Express outshooting them 35-9 in the final 40 minutes. Jarod Hovde was the star of the night for Prince George with two goals and one assist. He finished the season with seven goals and six assists against the Express in six games. Ben Poisson scored his 12th goal of the season, and Bryan Allbee scored his second of the season ending a 14 game point drought. Making his first start since February 2nd, Tavin Grant returning from injury looked sharp stopping 20 of 21 shots for his 15th win of the season.
Langley lost both games to Wenatchee this past week, falling 4-2 on Thursday, and 5-1 last night. Tonight will be the final regular season game of the season for the Rivermen before they take on the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first round of the Mainland semi-finals.
Prince George still has one more game this weekend after tonight as they play the Chilliwack Chiefs tomorrow night at 5pm. Jordan Kawaguchi from Chilliwack has been shutout the last two games, and is four points away from tying, and five from breaking Doug Ast’s franchise record for points.
Brett Mennear is still in search of career assist #100 tonight, as he sits stuck at 99 right now. The captain is pointless in the last two games, and is riding a season high seven game goal drought. He has 10 points in six games this year against Langley,but was shutout on Monday against them. If Prince George wants to come out with a win tonight, it’s likely they’ll need some help from their leader.
Already playing two forwards short last night, the Spruce Kings lost Kyle Johnson midway during the game, and finished the game with nine forwards. Coach Chad van Diemen will need to find a way this weekend to keep his lines as fresh as possible. Rolling the lines was easier said against the Express who sit last in the BCHL, but against tougher opponents in Langley and Chilliwack all the forwards will need to step up.
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WHO TO WATCH:
Ethan O’Rourke – FWD: He ended a seven game point drought last night, and tonight the birthday boy will be looking for a goal! The last time he scored was on February 2nd against the Surrey Eagles. With the Spruce Kings down to nine forwards last night, the PG Cougars prospect earned a lot more playing time. His chemistry looked good with Hovde on their goal as the pair had a give and go to give Prince George their fourth goal of the night.
Bryan Allbee – DEF: He started his Spruce Kings career with a point in each of his first two games, but in the following 14 games went without a point. To be fair, Allbee was also dealing with a flu for some of those games which surely took some energy away from him. He looks to be in better condition now though, and scored last night in Coquitlam on a slap shot off a faceoff. With the team missing Connor Russell, Allbee will have his roll expanded, and last night was a good indicator that he can handle that pressure.
Braeden Fleming – G: He came in early February for relief agaisnt the Spruce Kings after they piled on a quick three goals against Bo Didur. He allowed two goals on 16 shots then, but in his first started shut the door. On Monday Fleming was hands down the top player on the ice stopping all 35 shots for his first BCHL shutout. He made a number of key saves stopping Parker Colley, Brett Mennear, and Ethan O’Rourke in the third period as the Spruce Kings tried to come back. Expect him to get the start tonight
Max Kaufman – FWD: It was an empty net goal, but you can bet Kaufman wasn’t complaining. He has been one of the most dangerous Langley players this season, but in the first five games against Prince George was held pointless. He locked the game in on Monday picking up a loose puck late in the game, and was able to send it into the empty net with Prince George pushing for the late goal down 3-0. He’s on a three game goal streak with one goal in each of those games.
Spruce Kings @ Chilliwack Chiefs – Sunday February 26th, 5pm – Prospera Centre
Game 1: Saturday March 4th @ 7:05pm – Town Toyota Center, Wenatchee
Game 2: Sunday March 5th @ 5:05pm – Town Toyota Center, Wenatchee
Game 3: Tuesday March 7th @ 7pm – Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, Prince George
Game 4: Wednesday March 8th @ 7pm – Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, Prince George