|Skylar Pacheo scores on this shot for Team White|
The Prince George Spruce Kings opened their training camp today at the Coliseum with a total of 38 players (4 goaltenders, 12 defenceman and 22 forwards) in attendance. The numbers this year are a little lower than in past years but that has allowed for the camp to be broke into two teams immediately and pit the teams against each other in three intra-squad game.
After a first look at the players in team specific practices, the two teams reconvened at the Prince George Coliseum for the first of those intra-squad games. Early on Team Blue imposed their way keeping Team White pinned in their own end. Shots on goal prior to the first goal were 7-1 for Team Blue. Kirk Thompson got the start for Team White showing good positioning with the opposition getting some good shots.
Alex Bartel was the first to solve Thompson getting Team Blue on the board at 11:12 of the first period after he found the rebound off a Mitch Eden point shot. Team Blue would go up 2-0 five minutes later when Bryant Christian (yes the younger brother of Spruce Kings alumni Jordy Christian) converted on a play set up by Lydon Martell and Jake LeBrun. That's how the first period would end with Team Blue leading 2-0 on the scoreboard and 17-6 on the shot clock.
Already with three penalties in the first period including one that spilled over into the second, Team White found themselves down in that stat category as well but did a perfect job on the penalty kill. That perfect job went one step farther when Team White found themselves short handed again. Skylar Pacheco was given a gift tip into the neutral zone and wasted no time turning it into a break away. Looking once into the middle for some help and finding none, Pacheco took the shot beating Liam McLeod with the unassisted short handed goal at 5:24.
Before the midway mark of the second period Cameron Lawson made his presence noticed in the game turning on the jets a couple of times. At 9:50 Lawson broke in untouched and snapped a quick wrister that fooled Thompson sneaking in under the goaltenders arm. It was a sour note to end on, but that goal marked the goalie change bringing in Jeremy Matte for Team White and Adam Griffith for Team Blue.
As if the dirty little wrister wasn't enough, Lawson danced around a couple of defenders deep inside the zone and dangled out in front of the net. A quick pull of the puck slid just into the toe of Matte and no further. Matte looked good for his time behind the pipes and was beaten only once by arguably the best line on the ice especially for Team Blue.
Karan Toor got the play started with a point shot from the left side that ended up on the stick of Bryant Christian. Christian was stopped but a juicy rebound in the slot with Lyndon Martell cruising through quickly found the back of the net making it a 4-1 lead for Team Blue.
The third period seemed to be a little more intense with a few big hits and some extended gatherings around the net, but not much on the scoreclock. Chad Staley was the only one to register a goal in the final frame but perhaps it was too little too late as Team White just couldn't seem to fully recover offensively. Staley's goal (assists to David London and Liam Board) would come with 1:38 remaining in the third period and that's how the game would end with Team Blue winning 4-2.
Final shots on goal were 39-30 for Team Blue. Kirk Thompson made 20 saves and Jeremy Matte stopped 15 shots in the loss, Liam McLeod had 11 and Adam Griffith turned aside 17 of 18 shots. Team White was penalized four times while Team Blue received two minor infractions. Neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage but Team White did have that short handed marker.
The officials went with the four man system, Brendon Creyke and Bill Hudyma wore the red stripes while Nick Albinati and Ritchie Rodgers worked the lines. The officials introduced the full set of BCHL rules into the intra-squad game including the no change icing and no change for clearing the puck out of play from the defensive zone.
Tomorrow morning the players will report back to the Coliseum for team practices where they will go over some of the things the coaching and scouting staff picked up in the first game. After the practices, the teams will head over to the Factory Hockey Training facility for some off-ice fitness testing. After the dinner break, the teams will drop the puck for their second intra-squad game beginning at 8pm in the Prince George Coliseum.