Tonight the Spruce Kings had a task in front of them that they had failed to accomplish two weekends in a row. Against Chilliwack and Vernon the two previous weekends, they would win the first game, but then lose the next night at the Castle. Heading into tonight, it's a thought that was on many people's minds, could they topple Salmon Arm again? The difference between the other two squads and this one? It's a team they had beaten 5 times already this season. It's a team that they had outscored 20-9 through those 5 games. And it's a team, that would help them get over the hump tonight.
The first period was an explosion of offence for the Spruce Kings as they scored goals fast and furiously. Myles Fitzgerald started things off 2 minutes in as he and his brothers moved in on a three on one. Latrell Charleson would add the only assist on the opening goal. Just over 2 minutes later Jarryd Ten Vaanholt would convert on a beautiful passing play started off by Ben Matthews and Ben Woodley. It was a highlight reel goal that got the Castle rocking and Salmon Arm scratching their heads for an answer. Unfortunately for them, while they were looking for a way out of this mess, Paul De Jersey was going to work, adding his league leading 39th goal of the season. His line mates Jujhar Khaira and Michael Colantone would each get a point on the play, and that would take us into our first break.
The second period saw the Silverbacks come out with a purpose as they caught the Spruce Kings sleeping. Garrett Hendrickson would get the first Salmon Arm tally 2 minutes in, after some nice work from Mike Berry and Jeff Kennedy. It seemed that the Silverbacks were primed and ready for a comeback, but then the Spruce Kings would provide what we named in the broadcast booth, the crowning moment of the game. Zack Rassell stepped out of the box after serving a 5 minute major for fighting and raced into the Silverbacks zone. He would then steal the puck and find a streaking Jarryd Ten Vaanholt who would put home his 2nd of the night. It was the hard work and hustle of Rassell that made the play, and although it didn't go down as the game winner, it did halt the Silverbacks early momentum. Brendan Kennedy and Jujhar Khaira would trade goals for each side before the end of the period.
The third started out in favour of the Spruce Kings this time, as Myles Fitzgerald would score his 2nd of the hockey game. Morgan Zulinick would add two power play markers to make things a little interesting towards the end, but there was no mistaking which team was the better on the ice tonight. With the win, the Spruce Kings move their season series record versus the Silver backs to 6-0. They have out scored the Silverbacks in those 6 games 26-13.
When it was all said and done, we saw a lot of the same from the Spruce Kings that we've seen throughout the season. When they are on, they can put up points and goals like mad men. They can paint a master piece on the ice when all the cylinders are firing. But, they did have a few different alert signals pop back up. They seemed to take their foot off of the gas pedal for a bit in the second period, which didn't hurt them tonight, but it is something that you cannot do against the Penticton's of the league. Also, Kirk Thompson made some fine saves tonight, but a few of the goals he most certainly wants back. But at the end of the day, a win is a win and lessons can be taken to move forward with. They have 13 games left in the regular season, and as Todd and myself said during the broadcast, they control their own destiny at this point.
To read the official box score of tonight's game, click here
The Spruce Kings will now get ready for three in a row on the road next weekend against Trail and Salmon Arm. It should also be noted that the Chilliwack Chiefs lost to Trail tonight, so the Spruce Kings now have a 3 point lead for third place in the division. Chilliwack has a game in hand, but that game will be played against the high flying Vees. Enjoy the week, we'll be back with you Friday to get yo set for the divisional weekend.