The Spruce Kings have a big three game road trip ahead of them, and it all starts tonight in Chilliwack. The Kings have won their last four games, with one of the “W's” coming against the Chiefs. That meeting was on December 28th as Prince George skated to a 4-2 victory. These two squads have been very evenly matched all season, with their first three games being decided by just 1 goal.
January will be a busy month between these two teams, as they will play twice more after tonight, both being in Prince George. As it sits right now, the Spruce Kings are 3 points up on Chilliwack in the standings, although the Chiefs do have 2 games in hand. With the new playoff format set to be broken out this season, wins over division opponents are crucial. Vernon, who sits in 5th and is on the outside looking in, are 3 points back of Chilliwack and 6 back of Prince George for those final playoff spots. With Penticton running away with 1st place, the battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th will likely be decided in the final week of the season, so teams are going to want to have an advantage in the season series going forward.
The battle between the goaltenders is one of the key match ups tonight. For the Spruce Kings, both goalies have seen action against the Chiefs this season, but only Ty Swabb owns a victory. Look for Kirk Thompson to still get the start tonight as he is coming off of a two win performance last weekend against Westside.
Bryton Udy and Mitch Gillam have split starts against the Spruce Kings, both winning one and losing one. The Chiefs come in having lost their last five games, with both Udy and Gillam receiving work. It's not known who the Chiefs will send to battle tonight in hopes of stopping the slide, but with Udy taking the last loss, I’d guess we'll see Gillam get the start at Prospera tonight.
The Spruce Kings top line continues to tear it up in the BCHL. Paul De Jersey is riding a 20 game point scoring streak. Michael Colantone has 7 goals in his past four games, including two sets of hat tricks. Not to be outdone, Jujhar Khaira was just ranked as the 80th best North American in the mid season Central Scouting Rankings. You can read all about the rankings here.
The Spruce Kings picked up two new forwards at the trade deadline in hopes of going on a run in to the post season after missing out in the two previous tries.
The puck drops at the Prospera Centre tonight at 7pm. You can get the web cast or the FREE audio of the game here. The Spruce Kings will then travel to Penticton tomorrow and Vernon on Sunday.
Go Spruce Kings