Another weekend set of games, and once again the Castle will be on display as the Spruce Kings will host the Trail Smoke Eaters today and tomorrow. The Spruce Kings are coming into tonight's match up on a high note, having won their last two against Penticton and most recently beating the Silverbacks in Salmon Arm. The Smoke Eaters have had a tough start to the season going 1-5-1 through 7 games, and are currently in a 3 game losing streak. It's another big weekend set between division rivals, and a couple of games that can either shift your season in the right direction, or stall the momentum needed to make a run up the ladder. So, let's preview this weekend's match up between the Smoke Eaters, and your Prince George Spruce Kings.
The Break Down:
The Trail Smoke Eaters have had the Spruce Kings number over these past few years, especially last year. The Smoke Eaters swept Prince George in the season series last year and has won 9 of the past 10 match ups. You have to go back to the 07/08 season to find the last time the Spruce Kings beat the Smokies on home ice. They are hoping to change that this weekend and fans should feel good about their chances. The Spruce Kings are off to a good start to the season, putting together a 3-3-0-1 record through the first 7 games. Aside from a bad game against Penticton, the Spruce Kings have been competitive in every contest and have shown that they can put the puck in the back of the net at any moment. The Smokies only win this season did come away from their own barn, beating the Centennials in Merritt, bringing their road record to
1-2. The Spruce Kings are 2-2 at the Castle this season, and each time they have hosted a team for a back to back series, they have split the games.
News and Notes:
It looks like Paul De Jersey has found his fit in the BCHL as he currently leads the league in goals scored and points. De Jersey has 11 goals this season, which matches his goal total from his first three seasons. Clayton Chessa leads the Smoke Eaters in scoring with 6 goals and 1 assist. Marcus Beesley has started the last 2 games for the Spruce Kings, winning both. It's not known who will start tonight, but with another back to back set, expect both Beesley and Thompson to start, but the days unknown. Matt Larose has started 6 of the Smokies 7 games going 1-5. While rookie tender Reed Vogt has started 1 game, playing relief in another. It's not known who will get the start tonight, but look for each guy to get a start this weekend. This game will also see a few players square off against their old teams. Ben Matthews and Dylan Tappe played last season with the Smoke Eaters and although most of their old teammates are no longer with the team, it will still be the first time they take on their old squad. For the Smoke Eaters, Clayton McEwan is the only player to ave a link to the Prince George, having played 27 games for the Spruce Kings during the 08/09 and the 09/10 seasons.
Bumps and Bruises:
The Spruce Kings will be without a few players tonight as Jared Crossan (Hand) and Jeff Earnest (Jaw) are still rehabbing injuries. Tyson Witala has sat on the sidelines the past 2 games due to taking a puck off the foot, it's not known if he will lace up the skates tonight or not. Kyle Horseman (Wrist) is the only Smoke Eater who is listed on the BCHL website with an injury at the moment.
The first of this back to back home series in Prince George will start tonight with the puck dropping at 7pm. There are a few different ways for you to catch the game tonight. The best way to check out the game tonight would be to head down to the Prince George Coliseum. If you aren't in Prince George you can watch the webcast on the BCHL website here, or you can listen to the free audio broadcast here. Be sure to check the Facebook page and our twitter for more updates and analysis after tonight's game. Hope to see you at the rink