Venue: George Preston Arena, Langley
Game Time: Friday February 3rd 2017 @ 7:15pm
Coming off a 9-0 win last night, the Prince George Spruce Kings (21-21-4-2) have some confidence as they roll in against the Langley Rivermen (25-15-5-2). Prince George leads the season series this year, but in four games have outscored the opposition just 16-13. Three of the four have gone to overtime, and PG has won the lone two goal game 5-3 which was the first meeting.
After playing in the Langley Events Centre the past few seasons, the Rivermen how now moved to George Preston. The arena is much smaller, but likely a better fit. It will be the first time Prince George plays there this season, with Ben Brar being the only player familiar with it having played there earlier this season with Penticton. A number of players from Prince George grew up in the mainland though, and the arena should be familiar there as well.
A 9-0 victory last night against Surrey was nice for the Spruce Kings, but the Rivermen are a much different team. Surrey has struggled in 2017 while Langley is currently on a eight game winning streak. After a weekend that saw the top line of Mennear, Brar, and Lee do most of the weekend in the Interior, the team distributed the goals last nine with nine different players scoring (half the team) and 14 players had points.
An eight game win streak for the Langley Rivermen is even more impressive when you look closer. They’ve scored at least five goals in every game, and have averaged 5.75 games per game, and have averaged 1.88 goals against. In the last three games they’ve outscored teams 18-3, and in their streak have taken down top opponents such as the Chilliwack Chiefs, Powell River Kings, and Wenatchee Wild.
WATCH on HockeyTV
LISTEN on Mixlr
If Prince George has any hope of catching Langley, beating them at home in the final three head to head match ups would help. The Spruce Kings are nine points behind the Rivermen for third in the division, and have played one extra game.
The Rivermen are 14 points behind Chilliwack for 2nd, and sitting in 5th are the Surrey Eagles 13 points behind Prince George. From the looks of it, it’s a fight for 1st and 2nd between Wenatchee and Chilliwack, while Prince George is looking safe in their playoff spot, and have to move up if they have a hot February.
WHO TO WATCH:
Kyle Johnson – FWD: He missed the first two games of the season series against Langley away on duty with Team Canada West for the World Junior A Challenge, and didn’t receive a warm welcome after Christmas. Johnson took a hit in the neutral zone, and was out of action for a three weeks with an upper body injury. In the past eleven games, Johnson has two points (both goals) and the team would like to see more offense from the second year forward. He scored last night on a sharp angled shot in Langley, so we will see if that kick starts more consistent time on the scoresheet.
Drew Lennon – DEF: The power play specialist has continued to do his most damage when PG is up a man. The rookie has 18 points in 36 games, with ten of those coming after Christmas in 14 games. Eight of those points have come on the PP.
McKay Flanagan – DEF: From the Rivermen, Flanagan is the lone point per game player this season against the Spruce Kings. He has three goals, and one assist in the four games. He had a two goal performance in the second meeting, and then had a goal and helper after Christmas. With 25 points in 47 games the Spruce Kings will need to shut him down from the point.
Nicolas Ponak – FWD: It took until the fourth game against his old team, but “Pony” saved his best performance for last. In the 7-6 overtime loss, the power forward had one goal and two assists. The next four games he went without a point, but has been on a nice streak lately with a six game point streak scoring seven points in that span. Surprising in that time are his assists. Of his first 26 points, he had 18 goals and eight assists. In his recent streak though, he has an assist in every game with just one goal.
Spruce Kings @ Chilliwack Chiefs – Saturday February 4th, 7pm – Prospera Centre
Spruce Kings @ Surrey Eagles – Saturday February 11th, 6:30pm – South Surrey Arena
Spruce Kings @ Surrey Eagles – Sunday February 12th, 4:00pm – South Surrey Arena