The Prince George Spruce Kings are getting set for playoff hockey for the first time in three years. March 2nd, the last time they have won a game in the post season, but you have to go back to the 07/08 season to find the last time they won one of the road. The organization and it's fans have had a rough couple of years since, but this season there is a lot of room for optimism. They are coming off one of their most exciting season in the history of the BCHL Spruce Kings. Paul De Jersey won the clubs first ever Brett Hull Trophy, Jujhar Khaira was rated as the leagues top player in the NHL Central rankings and they ended the Penticton Vees monumental streak at 42 games. They have great reason to thin they can go deep into the playoffs, but they also must know, there is still a lot of work needed to be done to make that happen.
Merritt is a great home team, grinding clubs down in their own barn. In three meetings this season at the Nicola Valley Arena won only 1 game, which was in overtime. This season, Merritt won 19 of their 30 home games, and only lost 5 in regulation. There is no doubt that the Centennials like to play in front of their hometown, and with home ice advantage in the series, it is imperative the Spruce Kings come away with at least a split this weekend. To add injury to insult, Merritt has won three straight contest over the Spruce Kings.
Prince George can take pride in knowing that they are 7-2 in their past 9 road games, but as mentioned, the slate is wiped clean now. It's a whole new season, and the Spruce Kings plan to rewrite their road record and home record going forward. If they want to knock off the surging Centennials this round, they'll need stellar goaltending, gritty answers and balanced scoring throughout. If the Centennials stick to their game, and play the grinding down style that they are known or, it could be a long series for our home town boys. Coach Dupas most certainly has a plan in place, now we get the chance to see how the teams react. The message to all should be, you never know when you'll be back, so act and play like you won't be!
Who would of thought at the start of the season, that these two teams would be showcased in a first round playoff series. A time in Prince George who missed the post season last year, versus a team who didn't even win a post season game last year. This is poised to be one of the best series of the first round, and luckily for you, we will have all 7 games broadcast on CFIS. Join Ron Gallo for the road games, and myself Matt Anthony for the Home games. Click here to catch all the action.
It All Starts Now!