The Spruce Kings woke up to some gorgeous sunshine in Penticton and the prospect of a new day in the BCHL against the number one ranked team in the country. This evening at 5pm the Spruce Kings will finish their three games in three days Interior Division road trip in the South Okanagan Events Centre - the home of the Penticton Vees.
This is a game that the Spruce Kings have been looking forward to playing all week. It comes a day after a bitter loss to the Merritt Centennials where penalties got the best of the Spruce Kings giving up three powerplay goals on seven opportunities to the League's best special teams squad.
"There's no time to mourn this loss," said Spruce Kings head coach Dave Dupas after the team suffered their first regulation time defeat of the season. Dupas has been a model of moderation both in defeat and in victory as was the case some two weeks ago when the Spruce Kings beat the Penticton Vees 4-2 in Prince George.
It is that sense of calmness that the Spruce Kings will have to take with them to the game this evening as they face a squad playing their second game of their home opening weekend. Last night the Vees had the other BCHL royalty in town, disposing the Powell River Kings with a 4-0 shutout win.
The Vees, who were ranked last week as the number one Junior 'A' team in the nation, have only one blemish on their seven game record - the 4-2 loss to Prince George. Certainly they don't want to end the weekend with a second loss and will be ready for the Spruce Kings this time.
That 4-2 win from two weeks ago will go a long way to providing motivation for the Spruce Kings as well. I know for one, I was a little surprised to see an undefeated team that had knocked off the defending champions and had no less than three players in the top twenty among league scoring left off the rankings sheet. There is a sense that another win over the same team would justify inclusion in the rankings, but I suggest to you the notion of being ranked is a lower priority than showing resiliency and bouncing back with a solid effort against a very good team in the BCHL.
Last night the line of Sean Landrey, Jake LeBrun and Bryant Christian were arguably the best line in the smaller confines of the Centennials arena scoring both of Prince George's goals. Friday night the Spruce Kings defense shone and allowed the faster wheeling forwards opportunities to open the game up. Playing in a larger arena - the South Okanagan Events Centre - should allow for more of the same as we saw on Friday night.
The game tonight is 5pm faceoff with the game being broadcast on 93.1 CFIS-FM community radio and their website - cfisfm.com. The pay-per-view video broadcast will be available on fasthockey.com with Ron Gallo's call via the "away" link for the game.
Following the game, the team will head back home for a day of rest on Monday, a short week of practice with ice times on Tuesday and Wednesday before boarding the bus for another three game Mainland Division road trip next weekend. Enjoy the game tonight and Go Spruce Kings Go!