MERRITT BC – A tough start for the Prince George Spruce Kings was costly as PG fell to the Merritt Centennials 4-2 on a Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Centre in Merritt.
In the opening frame, Prince George had some great shifts in the opening minutes, out shooting the Centennials 6-0 in the opening seven minutes. The Spruce Kings went to the power-play a few minutes later in the period. Off a Centennials clearing attempt, goaltender Jett Alexander coughed up the puck behind his own goal which allowed Centennial forward Payton Matsui to tuck the puck in on the glove side shorthanded to give Merritt an early lead. It was then at the 17:39 mark where forward Hunor Torzsok redirected a Thomas Manty point shot that got by Alexander to give Merritt a 2-0 lead after the opening twenty minutes.
In the second period, the Centennials connected again. Leading scorer Josh Kagan fired home his 17th goal of the year to make it a 3-0 Centennials lead. Not even two minutes later, a shot from Matt Osadick from just above the circle somehow made its way through the legs of Alexander, upping the Centennial lead to 4-0. That marked the end of Alexander’s night, coughing up four goals on 16 shots. In came Carter Woodside, making his Spruce King debut. Woodside was able to steer aside the six shots he faced in the remainder of the second, keeping the lead at 4-0 Merritt after two periods. Prince George had some glorious chances but were unable to solve Marshall. Kolton Cousins and Carter Cochrane both got robbed by Marshall on a 2 on 1 where the goaltender made a sprawling save. Marshall also made a big save on a Jaxon Steele breakaway to keep the game at 4-0.
In the third, PG poured it on, but it just seemed too little too late. Corey Cunningham netted home his 10th of the season on a wrap around. Jaxon Steele was credited with the lone assist. Just over three minutes later, a Mason Waite point shot went off the body of a Centennial and into the back of the net with 38 seconds to go. Woodside was perfect in third , making 12 saves altogether. Despite Prince George firing 42 shots the Centennials way, the Spruce Kings fell 4-2.
Next up for the Spruce Kings are the Wenatchee Wild on Monday night at the Town Toyota Centre in Wenatchee. You can catch all of the action on Hockey TV or on Mixlr. Pre-game will be at 6:45 with play by play at 7:00.
- Tanner Marshall (40 Saves) (MER)
- Matt Osadick (1 Goal) (MER)
- Payton Matsui (1 Goal) (MER)
FORTIS ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Talon Zakall (1 Assist) (MER)