|photo courtesy Garrett James from BCHL Showcase|
The last time these two teams met in the Castle the Merritt Centennials abruptly ended the Spruce Kings season. Only six players were on that Prince George squad while the Merritt Centennials bring back eight players hoping to relive that moment in time.
Both teams are riding a bit of a high to start the season. The Spruce Kings have picked up seven of a possible eight points in their first four games. The Centennials have won two of their first three games after losing their season opener to Prince George.
That first game for both teams was played on September 8th at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. The Spruce Kings opened the scoring when Coltyn Hansen drove hard to the net getting underneath the defenceman before sailing through the top of the crease and outwaiting the goaltender.
The Centennials answered that goal back with a powerplay tally in the second period. The third belonged to the Spruce Kings who scored three times en route to a 4-1 final. The Centennials successfully shelved that loss to be revisited at another time and that time has come tonight. They will be looking to even the season series with their former Interior Division rivals.
Although the Spruce Kings are playing out of the Mainland Division of the Coastal Conference, their opponents have been from the Interior Division as if to be a way of transitioning from the known to the unknown. Tonight marks the second of three meetings between these two teams in the month of September with the final meeting taking place in one week’s time in Merritt.
The Spruce Kings have been preparing all week for this lone matchup of the weekend which should bode well for the home team after being able to work through some early season systems. The same could be said for the Merritt Centennials who have only played one game since the Showcase and that was a 6-2 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters on home ice.
The Spruce Kings still have three players on the shelf with Tanner Fjellstrom and Sean Landrey now considered day to day while the prognosis is not so kind for David London who is out for a few more weeks still. The Centennials have a few bumps and bruises as well with the noteable player being the goaltender, Tyler Steel.
Both teams will dress an AP (affiliate player tonight) with Justin Rai (rye) finding some time on the Spruce Kings “buzz line” with Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley. Rai has been a factor in both of his previous games and is excited to be with the Spruce Kings looking to make a lasting impression with the team.
It won’t be a surprise to see some excitement come in to play in this game with the history these two teams share. Ron St. Clair will have the complete call of the game available for free on 93.1 CFIS-FM and online at www.cfisfm.com. Out of town fans also have a chance to watch the game on pay-per-view through fasthockey.com.
Enjoy the game tonight and look for a post game recap here afterwards.