Saturday, October 8, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?!

Michael Colantone scores the game winning goal
at the 69:59.8 mark of the game

That was the line of the night as the Prince George Spruce Kings beat the Penticton Vees in one the best games you'll see all year. It took two periods worth of overtime to settle the score, and even then it came down to the last second, literally. Those in attendance tonight witness a few different lead changes, some brilliant saves and lots of back and forth action throughout the game. Let's recap this amazing game between the Spruce Kings and the Vees.

The first period saw the Spruce Kings jump out on top as Ben Woodley potted his first of the season. Leo Fitzgerald and Chase Golightly chipped in on the first goal as Prince George was out to show that this game was going to be different. Both teams traded chances before Mike Reily of the Vees put a wrap around of off Ben Matthews stick and in. It took just over two minutes for the Vees to snatch back the lead as Fogarty, Depourcq and Benik had a nice little give in go, with Fogarty finishing the job. The period ended with the Vees on top, but the Spruce Kings once again were showing that they didn't come to lay down.

The second period started of great for the home team as Dylan Tappe put home his first of the season just 27 seconds in. Sean Landrey and Ben Woodley got the assists on the play. Then, almost as if Prince George said, anything that you can do we can do better, they scored their third goal just over a minute later. The Spruce Kings top line of Jujhar Khaira, Paul De Jersey and Michael Colantone combined on the play that took the lead for the time being. But the lead wouldn't last for long as the newly committed Notra Dame product Mario Lucia scored to tie things up at three on the power play. The period ended that way as the Vees went into the intermission out shooting Prince George 22-16.

The third period showed us more of the same as both teams traded scoring chances and hits. As talked about before the game, winning the special teams battle was key to victory, and Penticton showed once again that if you take an undisciplined penalty, they will make you pay. Mario Lucia scored his second of the game on the power play from Travis St. Dennis and Connor Reilly. Once again, both teams showed off their offensive brilliance as Beesley and Katunar made some stellar saves to keep their team in it. The Spruce Kings were then blessed with a power play chance late in the third period, and they made no mistake with it, tying the game up with 56 seconds left. It was Paul De Jersey, leading scorer for the Spruce Kings, who had the puck bounce in front of him and put it past Katunar to force overtime.

Obviously with the BCHL overtime rules there is tons of open ice for these skilled players to do their business. The 4 on 4 action was entertaining, but it almost became deadly for Prince George as Esau took a tripping penalty late in the 1st overtime. Beesley played outstanding during this penalty kill as he made many fantastic saves as his team played with just three men. After the penalty the teams went to 3 on 3 for the remainder of the second overtime. The ice was huge, and it seemed to favour the Vees as they used their speed to create multiple chances, but Marcus Beesley was up to the test. Then, we got to see something you rarely get to see as a hockey fan, a penalty shot in overtime. Paul De Jersey was taken down while moving in alone, and because of that, he had the game on his stick at centre ice.

The tension and excitement was building, but De Jersey ended up losing the puck as he deaked to his back hand and it trickled into the corner. It was an anti climactic way for one of the most exciting plays in hockey to end. But, the Prince George fans would not go home disappointed. With 12.6 seconds left, the face off was deep in the Spruce Kings zone, and it seemed the best that they could hope for at that moment was a tie. The Vees won the initial draw, but Jujhar Khaira fought Stecher for the puck at the blue line and ended up pushing it forward. The Spruce Kings Chase Golightly moved up ice on a 2 on 1 with Michael Colantone. They hit centre ice with 3 seconds remaining, and it seemed everyone was thinking the same thing, “Chase, shoot!” Luckily for us, we were wrong as Golightly made the pass to Colantone and he put home the game winner with just .2 seconds remaining in the second overtime. It was an amazing ending to an incredible game.

They were many players who had outstanding games, but the two players who won't get as much credit as they should are the goaltenders. Chad Katunar and Marcus Beesley both made some fine saves in this effort, and both made some key saves in overtime. On the last goal, it's hard to blame Katunar as it was a shot and a moment that 9 times out of 10, won't come to be. Mario Lucia was a definite star for the Vees tonight as was the entire top line. The Vees will win a lot of games this season just based on those three fine players. The top line of the Spruce Kings had a stellar game as well, as did newer Spruce Kings defenceman Chase Golightly. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Special teams battle was once again won by the Vees as they scored 2 power play goals. The Spruce Kings did take advantage of one of their opportunities, their 4th goal was on the power play. As you'll hear coach Dave Dupas say, they'll need to tone down the undisciplined penalties and eliminate the turnovers, as most times, it will cost them the game.

Your Three Stars

3) (Pen) Mario Lucia
2) (PG) Paul De Jersey
1) (PG) Michael Colantone

To catch a full recap and box score of tonight's game, click here

After the game I caught up with tonight’s game winning hero Michael Colantone. We chatted about his reaction to the goal and how he likes his new squad.

download audio file

I also had the chance to talk with coach Dave Dupas about what this win means for his squad and what we can expect moving forward.

download audio file

The Spruce Kings next game will be on Wednesday in Salmon arm and then they will host the Trail Smoke Eaters at the Coliseum next Friday and Saturday night. All three games will start at 7pm. Be sure to keep checking the Spruce Kings Facebook and Twitter for updates

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