The Spruce Kings have come out of the Christmas break flying, including getting their first win of 2012. The game tonight played out at the Coliseum against a feisty Westside Warriors side, one that was in desperate need of a win. Prince George though, needed a win for a different reason, and that reason was to stay in a playoff spot. They did just that, disposing of the Warriors, posting a 4-1 victory in front of the PG faithful.
It didn't start very well for the Spruce Kings though, as they found themselves badly out played in the first 10 minutes of the hockey game. The Warriors struck first as Reid Simmonds walked in and fired a beautiful wrister past Kirk Thompson. The play was opened up after Charleson laid out a big open ice hit, but unfortunately it left the Warriors on an odd man rush, and they capitalized. At this point, Westside was out shooting the Spruce Kings 9-1. It only took 5 minutes though for the Spruce Kings to get out of their funk, as Michael Colantone put home a one timer on the power play. The Warriors powered through the rest of the period, and headed into the intermission up on the shot clock 14-8.
|Sean Landrey (18) provided the spark that extinguished both|
Dustin Cave (22) and the Westside Warriors on this night.
Photo courtesy Les Gagnon.
The second period was a complete 180 for the Spruce Kings, as they fired chance after chance at Dwayne Rodrigue. This period also saw our one and only tilt on the night as Sean Landrey and Dustin Cave dropped the mits 3 minutes in. The fight started out with both men landing a shot, but Landrey soon got Cave's jersey over his head and landed a couple clean upper cuts that rocked the Warrior defenceman. The two men went crashing to the ice, and that's when it was notice that Landrey did indeed land a few shots on the button, because Cave's nose was broken and bent to the side. After the ice was briefly cleaned, play resumed and we saw the Spruce Kings press the action for most of the second before finally taking their first lead of the game, another power play goal, and another one form Michael Colantone. The goal came with just 10 seconds left in period, and would prove to be a huge momentum grabber going forward.
Three minutes into the third period, Ben Matthews put the icing on the cake with a shot form the point that made it's way by a screened Rodrigue. This game could have been drastically different though had it not been for Kirk Thompson, who was very good between the pipes for Prince George. Our game changing play came at the hands of Thompson, who stoned Max French of a breakaway with about 5 minutes remaining in the game. A goal would have pulled the Warriors within 1 goal, giving them considerable momentum. But the Prince George goaltender was up to the task, and eventually finished with 26 fine saves and a “W”. Colantone would eventually add a fourth goal, and finish off his second hat trick in eight days. The Spruce Kings happily skated away tonight with a 4-1 win over a division rival.
A couple of big points to add about tonight's effort, and both of them involve special teams. The Spruce Kings power play had not been good throughout the first half of the season, as they had the 16th ranked power play coming into tonight. But there is a good chance that after tonight, they will finally be out of the basement as they went 2-4 on the PP. Their penalty kill was just as good, as they killed off all 3 of their penalties tonight. In today's game, Special Teams is often the difference maker, and with all the fire power Prince George has 5 on 5, imagine what kind of team they can be if their power play becomes an effective machine. It should also be noted that Paul De Jersey got an assist tonight, meaning he now has a 17 game point streak going.
The Three Stars:
3) (PG) Chase Golightly – 1 Assist
2) (PG) Kirk Thompson – 26 Saves in the Win
1) (PG) Michael Colantone – 3 Goals 1 Assist
These two teams will do it all over again tomorrow night at the Castle. Puck will drop once again at 7pm, but as always if you can't make the trip, you can always listen to the FREE audio broadcast here