Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Game 49 - at Nanaimo Clippers

Pregame ...

The Prince George Spruce Kings start their second Coastal Conference road trip of the season with a game against the Nanaimo Clippers tonight at 7:00pm. It has been over a year since these two teams last met back on December 19, 2008 in Nanaimo. The game was played in the Frank Crane Arena and required the maximum amount of time for each team to be awarded a single point in a 2-2 tie. The Spruce Kings historically have not had much luck finding points in the Frank Crane Arena, but the meetings have all been memorable with both teams playing some of their best and most emotional games against each other.

Going back five years to the 2004-05 season, the game was one of the most one-sided as far as shots goes with the Nanaimo Clippers firing 78 shots on Brandon Highton while limited the Spruce Kings to just 11 shots. The final score was not that one-sided though with Prince George trailing 2-1 after the first and 3-1 after the second before finally losing the game 5-1. A year later saw the Clippers out-shoot the Spruce Kings 69-22, but again could only muster a four goal victory. In the Spruce Kings RBC year the shots were a lot closer at 39-28 and so was the game with an empty netter finally providing the win for the Nanaimo Clippers.

In 2007-08 it was the BCHL Rookie of the Year, Jordie Christian that provided the spark earning third star honours in a game that remained close but ultimately went the way of the Nanaimo Clippers who had period leads of 2-1, 3-1 and a 4-1 final. Last season saw the Spruce Kings take their first point away from the Clippers in their house with that 2-2 tie. Adam Baldassarre and Joe Morgan scored for Prince George while Kevin Genoe turned away 31 of 33 shots through 70 minutes and Zach Davies earned first star honours for his role in shutting down the Clippers.

Joe Morgan and RJay Berra are the only current Spruce Kings with points against the Nanaimo Clippers from the past two seasons, from games played in Nanaimo, and both will be looking to extend their streaks against the Coastal Conference rival. Morgan has scored once in both of the past two seasons against the Clippers while Berra picked up one of the helpers on Morgan's goal last season. Sam Muchalla does have a goal against Nanaimo. that came on February 22, 2008 when the Clippers were in Prince George. The last time the Spruce Kings beat Nanaimo was during the RBC year back on February 23, 2007 in a game played at the CN Centre that went to overtime and included a penalty shot in the extra time for Nanaimo.

Tonight's game should be another interesting one as it features two teams that have been playing better than their records indicate and are looking to make a move in the late stages of the regular season. The Nanaimo Clippers have a ten game record of 0-9-0-1 with their last win a 5-1 victory of Surrey on December 29. In their previous ten games five have been one goal losses, three losses were by two goals and only one was a blowout - an 11-3 loss to Powell River on January 16.

The Spruce Kings ten game record is a little bit brighter at 2-7-0-1. Two of those losses were by a goal, three by a pair, another by three goals and two losses by a five goal or larger margin. This past weekend saw the Spruce Kings playing some of their best hockey in that string of ten games and featured the big 11-3 victory over the Merritt Centennials. In that game, the Merritt broadcaster was overheard comparing the Spruce Kings to the Vernon Vipers. Ten different players registered a goal with only Sam Muchalla scoring a pair; a total of fifteen players had at least a point in the game with seven picking up multiple points.

One of the best players for the Spruce Kings since the trade deadline has been Brad Bourke who has seen his ice time pick up substantially with the departure of Wes McLeod and Josh Pineiro from the blue line. Missing one game due to a suspension from a mulitple fight situation, Brad Bourke has scored twice and added five helpers in three games. In each of those three games he has been or been considered for a three star selection. In the 11-3 win over his former team, Bourke was named the first star and was second star in the 6-4 victory over Quesnel; in the loss to Penticton, Bourke was named the Player's Bench Player of the Game.

Other players having success since the trade deadline include Zac Rasmussen with 3 goals and 3 assists in 4 games, Lyndon Martell has a goal in each of the previous 3 games, Luke Hannas also has a two game goal streak going and has 5 points in 4 games. Sam Muchalla has 2 goals and 6 assists since the trade deadline while both Nick DeSousa and Justin Fillion have 6 points. RJay Berra and Jeff Earnest have been quietly adding to their season totals with 4 points in 4 games. The APs that have been called up have also been contributing with Jordie Cool scoring the game winner against Quesnel on January 15 and Reid Blinkhorn scoring a highlight reel goal against Merritt. As a team, the Spruce Kings have been averaging 15 points a game since Janaury 10th.

History has shown the Spruce Kings that they can't be taking the Nanaimo Clippers lightly, especially in their rink and as if that wasn't enough, the Spruce Kings have yet to get a point away from any Coastal Conference team this season. Without any players in the league's top twenty for points, the Nanaimo Clippers have more of a threat with their depth. Nine of the Clippers top ten scorers are forwards with a combined total of 288 points, the lone defenceman in the top ten is rookie Victor Newell with 32 points. In his first season in the BCHL, Newell has already impressed the scouts of Yale and earned a NCAA Div I scholarship to start the 2011-12 season with that Ivy League school.

Luc Oliver Blain is Nanaimo's leading scorer averaging a point a game with 24 goals and 25 assists. This balanced approach with points makes Blain a dangerous player on the ice with the ability to score or setup a team mate for a double barrelled attack. Cody Bremner has similar numbers with 22 goals and 24 assists while the only other point a game player on the Clippers roster, Teal Burns has 17 goals and 27 assists to lead the team in helpers. Joe Perry (7-19) and Carson Schell (5-25) are two of only three twenty year olds (Blain is the other) and they both figure in the top ten scoring with three rookies and an eighteen year old rounding out the top ten scorers.

Other comparsions between the two teams show that the Spruce Kings have improved their goals for and are averaging 3.60 goals a game while the Nanaimo Clippers are at 3.10. Defensively over the course of the season, the Clippers have allowed fewer goals against and a full goal less on average per game than Prince George. The Clippers have been scored on 170 times or an average of 3.50 while the Spruce Kings have allowed 218, an average of 4.50 per game. In order for the Spruce Kings to get their first win ever out of the Frank Crane Arena, they will have to be sharp defensively and that will have to start with the goaltender stopping the first shot and the defence pairings cleaning up the garbage.

Kyle Nielsen is expected to get his second consecutive start after posting the victory on Saturday night and being arguably the best player in his team's first game back following the Christmas break. Nielsen has been improving his game and his numbers for awhile and, with the expected start tonight, will also be given that much needed shot of confidence. The team will rally around their goaltender and with the recent strength shown on the blue line, will look to stifle any kind of offensive threat that Nanaimo will be looking to bring to the game. It has been a common approach to the games of late and don't expect it to be any different tonight, the Spruce Kings will look to strike first and stike quickly.

Game time tonight is 7:00 with the game broadcast live on 93.1 CFIS-FM and also online from the Spruce Kings website and the BCHL Fanzone. Ron Gallo will start the pre-game show at 6:40pm with player and coach's interviews followed by complete play-by-play from the Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo. Following the game will be the Predator Paintball Post Game Show featuring a wrap up of the game and a look ahead for the Spruce Kings. Updates will also be posted on Twitter time permitting. If you have a question or a comment about the broadcast, just click on the "comment" link below and an email will be send to Ron Gallo.

Rosters ...

Nanaimo Clippers

3 Tyler Mah (D 6'03" 210 6/01/90 Burnaby, BC, CAN) (GP 38 G 4 A 6 Pts 10 65 PIMs)
4 Nick Bell (D 6'00" 200 3/27/91 Nanoose Bay, BC, CAN) (GP 34 G 0 A 6 Pts 6 55 PIMs)
5 Nicholas McIntyre (D 6'00" 195 3/25/90 Dollard Des Ormeaux, PQ, CAN) (GP 46 G 6 A 11 Pts 17 26 PIMs)
7 Keifer McNaughton (D 6'03" 205 8/25/93 North Vancouver, BC, CAN) (GP 15 G 3 A 1 Pts 4 33 PIMs)
8 Victor Newell (D 5'10" 170 2/23/93 Burnaby, BC, CAN) (GP 43 G 7 A 25 Pts 32 43 PIMs)
9 Andrew Gladiuk (F 6'01" 180 3/07/91 Surrey, BC, CAN) (GP 49 G 13 A 22 Pts 35 16 PIMs)
11 Colton Cyr (F 5'11" 175 9/13/91 Nanaimo, BC, CAN) (GP 49 G 11 A 8 Pts 19 47 PIMs)
14 Kyle Yamasaki (F 6'00" 200 7/13/91 Nanaimo, BC, CAN) (GP 5 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 00 PIMs)
15 Kyle Weber (D 6'00" 185 7/13/90 Fraser Lake, BC, CAN) (GP 43 G 1 A 6 Pts 7 56 PIMs)
16 Carson Schell (F 5'11" 192 1/01/89 Saskatoon, SK, CAN) (GP 49 G 5 A 25 Pts 30 101 PIMs)
17 Joe Perry (F 6'02" 200 8/29/89 Nanaimo, BC, CAN) (GP 34 G 7 A 19 Pts 26 42 PIMs)
18 Luc Olivier Blain (F 6'03" 195 11/16/89 Longueuil, PQ, CAN) (GP 47 G 24 A 25 Pts 49 60 PIMs)
19 Cody Bremner (F 6'01" 181 6/05/90 Victoria, BC, CAN) (GP 44 G 22 A 24 Pts 46 40 PIMs)
20 Todd Gebert (D 6'03" 220 5/24/90 Surrey, BC, CAN) (GP 25 G 0 A 5 Pts 5 62 PIMs)
21 Ty Morton (D 6'00" 188 2/20/91 Port Hardy, BC, CAN) (GP 33 G 0 A 3 Pts 3 16 PIMs)
22 Kyle Kramer (F 5'11" 170 4/15/92 Qualicum Beach, BC, CAN) (GP 46 G 9 A 8 Pts 17 65 PIMs)
23 Brayden Jaw (F 6'01" 188 4/24/92 Vancouver, BC, CAN) (GP 47 G 7 A 15 Pts 22 39 PIMs)
24 Tristan Lowenberger (F 6'00" 175 5/15/92 Coquitlam, BC, CAN) (GP 42 G 2 A 11 Pts 13 44 PIMs)
25 Mike Puddifant (D 6'00" 192 6/27/91 Salmon Arm, BC, CAN) (GP 35 G 1 A 3 Pts 4 74 PIMs)
27 Mike Domsodi (F 6'03" 215 5/09/90 Kirkland, ON, CAN) (GP 46 G 4 A 12 Pts 16 21 PIMs)
30 Loic Boivin (G 6'00" 190 6/10/90 McMasterville, PQ, CAN) (GP 35 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 06 PIMs)
41 Rhys Hadfield (G 6'00" 175 7/21/91 Edmonton, AB, CAN) (GP 9 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 00 PIMs)
61 Teal Burns (F 5'11" 190 10/10/92 Victoria, BC, CAN) (GP 44 G 17 A 27 Pts 44 72 PIMs)

Prince George Spruce Kings

4 Reid Blinkhorn (D 5'11" 170 12/23/91 Winfield, BC, CAN) (GP 2 G 1 A 0 Pts 1 02 PIMs)
5 Justin Fillion (D 5'11" 175 4/23/90 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 48 G 6 A 32 Pts 38 68 PIMs)
7 Jesse Scrimbit (D 6'01" 180 12/19/90 Sicamous, BC, CAN) (GP 43 G 0 A 5 Pts 5 33 PIMs)
8 Jonathan Gibson (D 6'01" 205 2/01/90 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 44 G 5 A 5 Pts 10 45 PIMs)
9 Nick DeSousa (F 6'00" 180 11/13/90 Fraser Lake, BC, CAN) (GP 44 G 20 A 14 Pts 34 27 PIMs)
10 Brad Bourke (D 6'01" 175 4/21/89 Onoway, AB, CAN) (GP 44 G 7 A 22 Pts 29 49 PIMs)
11 Kyle Manlow (F 5'10" 165 6/28/91 Murrieta, CA, USA) (GP 46 G 5 A 3 Pts 8 19 PIMs)
14 Lyndon Martell (F 6'01" 190 1/13/93 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 32 G 12 A 13 Pts 25 10 PIMs)
15 Luke Hannas (F 6'02" 185 9/09/91 Williams Lake, BC, CAN) (GP 42 G 2 A 6 Pts 8 105 PIMs)
16 Jeff Earnest (F 5'10" 175 2/08/91 Anchorage, AK, USA) (GP 40 G 9 A 11 Pts 20 58 PIMs)
18 Riley Spraggs (F 5'09" 175 11/23/91 Coldstream, BC, CAN) (GP 0 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 00 PIMs)
19 Joe Morgan (F 5'08" 180 4/07/89 Kitimat, BC, CAN) (GP 36 G 10 A 22 Pts 32 24 PIMs)
20 Jeff Datoff (D 5'10" 160 5/26/92 Nanaimo, BC, CAN) (GP 33 G 0 A 3 Pts 3 13 PIMs)
21 Stewart Lambert (F 6'00" 175 4/05/90 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 26 G 2 A 1 Pts 3 09 PIMs)
22 Jeremy Wiebe (F 6'00" 180 7/20/91 Vernon, BC, CAN) (GP 41 G 1 A 1 Pts 2 94 PIMs)
23 RJay Berra (F 6'00" 180 7/26/90 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 48 G 11 A 13 Pts 24 13 PIMs)
24 Jordan Bledsoe (F 5'09" 165 11/20/91 Costa Mesa, CA, USA) (GP 0 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 00 PIMs)
25 Zac Rasmussen (F 5'09" 178 5/08/89 Kamloops, BC, CAN) (GP 44 G 16 A 23 Pts 39 94 PIMs)
26 Sam Muchalla (F 5'08" 150 8/14/90 Prince George, BC, CAN) (GP 46 G 25 A 38 Pts 63 54 PIMs)
30 Andrew Walsh (G 6'02" 185 12/15/90 Dawson Creek, BC, CAN) (GP 32 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 24 PIMs)
35 Kyle Nielsen (G 5'10" 170 7/21/90 New Westminster, BC, CAN) (GP 19 G 0 A 0 Pts 0 00 PIMs)

No comments: