History: The last meeting between these two teams in the Frank Crane Arena was on January 27th. In that game the Spruce Kings held onto a brief lead before the Clippers were able to force overtime. The game ended with Myles Fitzgerald setting up the game winner 36 seconds into the second overtime period. A week later the two teams met in Prince George and saw the Spruce Kings control the game from start to finish to win it 5-2. In eleven games played over the previous six seasons, the Spruce Kings have come away with almost a .500 record with 4 wins, 5 losses, 1 tie and 1 overtime loss.
The Spruce Kings are coming off a bit of a stinging loss to the Cowichan Valley Capital that will see the team running with a short bench as a result of two suspensions and two more injuries. Out of the lineup for the Spruce Kings will be Luke Hannas (injury) who stayed in Prince George to shake off the affects of a check from behind into to the glass in a game against the Surrey Eagles.
Joining Hannas on the IR list is Bennett Hambrook and Stephen Ryan as a result of separate plays in the game against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. In a multiple fight situation from the same game, the Spruce Kings will be without the services of Brendon Fornwald and Jeff Datoff.
For Datoff, this is untimely as he was looking forward to playing in front of family and friends in his home town. As for Fornwald, the suspension came just moments after he had his first BCHL goal disallowed. With the two suspensions and three injuries heading into tonight's game, the Spruce Kings will be down to 15 skaters missing two forwards and a defenceman.
These are just more challenges that the Spruce Kings will have to overcome if they are to find success on their Island roadtrip that will now pick up steam with three games in three nights. First up is the Nanaimo Clippers who have seen their fair share of difficulties getting out of the gate this season.
The Clippers have played the fewest amount of games to-date in the BCHL. In eight games the boatmen have five points with a 1-4-1-2 record. They have scored 22 times and allowed 33 goals against. In comparison the Spruce Kings have played a dozen games with a record of 2-8-0-2 scoring 35 times while allowing 56 goals against. That equates to a slightly better goals for average of 2.90 but slightly higher goals against with an average of 4.70 to the Clippers 4.10.
The Clippers roster features the Fitzgerald triplets who have some experience in the BCHL from playing as APs last season. So far this year Myles, Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald have combined for 13 points but it's the rookie defenceman Samuel Labrecque that leads team scoring with five goals and a pair of assists. Other noteables on the Clippers roster include the twenty year old veteran Mike Domsodi (3g 4a) and Andrew Gladiuk (3g 3a).
There is a French connection between the pipes with Charles-Andre Pelletier and Charles-Alexy Premont both coming from the province of Quebec. Pelletier has played in five games and has a 90.04 save percentage to show for his efforts to go along with his 3.51 goals against average.
With Nanaimo's lone win coming in the season opener, it should be no surprise to learn that the team scouted their opposition on Wednesday night and will be coming at the Spruce Kings hard to see if they can knock them off their game and set the tempo of the game early. The Spruce Kings will have to be prepared for that and will more than likely be looking to play the "perfect road game" and keep things toned down and use some of their own offensive weapons up front.
Game time is 7:11 (wonder who the game sponsor is tonight?) with the game being broadcast back home on CFIS-FM 93.1 and also online from the Spruce Kings website ... just click the CFIS-FM Listen Live link. The broadcast will be an audio only broadcast with video of the game available from the BCHL Pay-Per-View website.