It's a new year, and it's time for the Spruce Kings to take control of their own destiny. With a 2 point lead over Vernon in the standings, and 1 point back of the Chilliwack Chiefs, beating division rivals has never become more important. Prince George has missed the playoffs the past two years, and with the new playoff format, this year isn't going to be any easier for them. But if they up their game, even just a pinch, they can make a splash going forward and maybe, just maybe they can bring themselves and their fans back into the post season. They can start that up hill climb to the promise land with two huge wins tonight and tomorrow as they will host the Westside Warriors. Westside skates into January after a rough last couple of months, having only nabbed 3 wins in the month of December.
One of those wins though, came at the hands of the Spruce Kings, as they marched into the Castle and stole a “W” away. The very next night Prince George was able to settle the score before the teams played to a draw in Westside the next weekend. Including the game between these two in October, Westside actually leads the season series with a record of 2-1-1. They will play 3 more times this season, with two of those games being played at the Castle this weekend.
As mentioned above, the Spruce Kings control their own destiny from here on out, as they currently sit in a playoff spot. So with that in mind, they need not worry about what other teams are doing, they just need to win. Watching the scoreboard for Chilliwack and Vernon scores isn't going to help their cause, but winning will. This two game home stand against Westside will be a big tell for how the rest of the season could play out for Prince George. Taking nothing away from Westside, but these are two games the Spruce Kings need and should win. When you host a team, you usually become the favourite to win, but when you host a team that is below you in the standings, you are expected to win. Now that is not meant to take anything away from the Warriors as they are a very talented team who could turn it on at any given moment, and most likely will before the end of this season. Every team and player is in this league for a reason, and can win on any given night. But if you are the Spruce Kings, and are looking to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, you need to win the games you are “suppose” to, and that starts with tonight.
The Spruce Kings top line continues to score big goals, and score them often. Colantone and Khaira have moved into the top ten in scoring as De Jersey continues to lead all scorers. But it's Jujhar Khaira who is getting the most praise at the moment as he was honoured with the “player of the week” this past week. Colantone also received an honourable mention as he had a hat trick in last week's game versus Chilliwack. Not to be out done though, the BCHL's leading scorer Paul De Jersey is currently riding a 16 game point streak.
For the Westside Warriors, Connor Dempsey is leading the charge, having notched 35 points so far this season. Dempsey had the tying goal in the Warriors last game, as his team eventually won it in overtime over the Centennials.
Kirk Thompson will get the start tonight, as both teams will be playing for the first time in 2012. The puck drops at 7pm at The Coliseum, with tomorrow night’s game happening at the same time and place. If you can't make it to the Castle tonight, you can listen to the game for FREE here. If you would like to watch the web cast, you can do so here. We hope to see you there, as the Spruce Kings march towards a return to the playoffs begins tonight