Prince George is getting set to host the Centennials yet again tonight. It is quickly becoming the Spruce Kings biggest in division rivalry, thanks in large part due to the fact that these two have already squared off six times this season. The two squads have each won three games, but tonight, one team will look to grab hold of the lead in the season series. The games have all been competitive and fast paced, and we really shouldn’t expect anything less tonight. So let’s preview the seventh game between the Merritt Centennials and your Prince George Spruce Kings:
The Break Down:
These two squads know each other quite well, having played multiple times this season. They started off their seasons against one another in a back to back weekend at the Coliseum. The Spruce Kings won both of those games, but only were able to take one out of the next four match ups. The most recent time fans have been able to see these two play, was the BCHL celebration weekend, where the Centennials beat PG at home, then took them out in Overtime in their own home barn. It was a couple of games that showcased the physical dislike these two teams have for one another. IN the new BCHL, with the new playoff format, every night and every point becomes that much more important. Only four teams will play more than 60 games, and right now only Merritt would make it if the season ended today. Divisional games have never been more important than they are this year, and with the series tied at three games a piece, you can bet that both coaches have prepped their boys for an all out war tonight.
Although Prince George hasn’t faired as well against Merritt as they did at start of the season, they do have one big thing on their side tonight, their fans! The Spruce Kings are tied for the second most home wins in the BCHL. Home ice advantage is always nice, and the boys have definitely benefited from having the Prince George faithfully chant their names this season. On the other side Merritt has battled this season on the road, and they come into the Castle sporting a 6-6 -2-1 record. Though it should be added again, the last time these two battled in Prince George, Merritt was able to skate away with the “W”.
The Spruce Kings top line of Jujhar Khaira, Paul De Jersey and Michael Colantone continues to impress and put up points. Shutting these three down becomes essential for any team that plays Prince George. The Spruce Kings two newest players come into tonight’s contest having impressed last weekend. Michael Betz scored his first as a King, and had a stellar night on the ice. Ty Swabb also recorded his first win as a Spruce Kings last Sunday, and will likely look to carry that momentum into tonight.
Also earlier this week a couple of Centennials and Spruce King players made the NHL draft watch list. Prince George forward Jujhar Khaira and Merritt defenseman Reece Wilcox made the list along with six other BCHLers. A big congrats goes to all the boys as they look to be drafted this season
Tonight’s match up will have the usual start time of 7pm at the Coliseum. It’s also the “Drop your gloves and sock it to em” night at the Castle. Bring some new gloves, socks, toques etc in a bag, and when the Spruce kings score their first goal, toss the bags onto the ice. Hope to see you at the rink, go Spruce Kings