|Liam McLeod (35) was instrumental in the Spruce Kings win|
Friday night and picked up his first win in the BCHL
(photo courtesy LG Photography)
Even by Latrell Charleson's strict definition, the Prince George Spruce Kings are on a winning streak.
The Spruce Kings won their fifth straight game Friday night, downing the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs 6-3 at the Coliseum. Prior to the game Charleson, a Spruce Kings defencemen tweeted that four wins could be a fluke, but five is a streak.
The fifth straight win came thanks to what's become a staple of the 2012-13 Spruce Kings - offence from up and down the lineup and excellent goaltending. The six goals came from five different players on three different lines and with Kirk Thompson getting a well deserved night off between the pipes rookie Liam McLeod recorded his first BCHL win with a 34-save effort and was named Treasure Cove Casino first star.
The Spruce Kings scored within the first three minutes of each period and never trailed during the game.
Alberni Valley was actually taking the play to the Spruce Kings in the early going of the first period but Bryant Christian opened the scoring for Prince George at 2:34 - albeit against the run of play. He took a feed from FortisBC Energy Player of the Game Sean Landrey and bolted down the wing firing a shot over the glove of Bulldogs starter Brad Rebagliati. Brad Ryan also picked up an assist.
The lead was shortlived as just 50 seconds later Jared Wilson's long shot beat a screened McLeod to even the score at 1-1.
The Spruce Kings took the lead for good late in the first as Cameron Lawson tipped in Brad Ryan's point shot on the power play at 18:05. Lawson was a game time decision with a lower-body injury, but it didn't seem to slow him down as he was force all three periods and garnered second star honours.
The Spruce Kings added to their lead early in the second as Shayne Morrissey used his great hands to bang home a shot from a sharp angle at the side of the net at 2:23. Liam Board and Skylar Pacheco provided the assists.
The 3-1 lead held through two periods, but just 1:09 into the third Tyson Witala made it a three-goal lead with a controversial tally. After a shot by Lyndon Martell was stopped and juggled by Rebagliati, Witala crashed the crease, found the loose puck and deposited it past the goalie just as he was deposited on top of the goalie.
The goal was immediately ruled good by the official behind the net, but it took a lengthy discussion by the four men in stripped shirts to confirm it would stand. Martell and Coltyn Hansen got the helpers.
The Bulldogs rallied in the middle stages of the third, scoring twice in a three-minute period to get back within a goal. First the game's third star Ryan Lough beat McLeod with a power-play goal the Prince George netminder didn't have a chance on at 6:13. Then at 9:05, McLeod got a piece - but not a big enough piece - of Evan Tironese's shot as the puck trickled in.
The rookie netminder shut the door from there and got a pair of insurance markers from Hansen, the College Heights Dairy Queen player of the game.
Hansen made a nice individual effort at 12:33, cutting out from the corner, beating a defenceman and Rebagliati to restore the two-goal cushion. Rebagliati finished the night with 30 saves.
Hansen added another goal into an empty net at 19:09.
With the win the Spruce Kings improved to 10-4-1-1 and kept pace with Chilliwack for first place in the Mainland Division.
The Spruce Kings are back in action on Saturday night when the West Kelowna Warriors visit the Castle.