Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spruce Kings Shake Off Warriors

Jeremiah Luedtke (14) was the Spruce Kings
Honourary Captain for their Breast Cancer Awareness Game

The Coliseum was shaking twice on Saturday night, first from the earthquake and again after Tyson Witala's overtime winner for the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Witala buried a rebound off a Mitch Eden shot at 2:06 of the extra session to give the Spruce Kings a 4-3 win over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors and extend their season-high winning streak to six.

The Spruce Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit then built a 3-2 lead only to see the game go to extra time. In the end the two points gives Prince George sole possession of first place in the Mainland Division as the second month of the regular season draws to a close.

The Warriors got on the board first, with Prince George product Seb Lloyd lifting the puck over Spruce Kings goaltender Kirk Thompson at 16:30 of the opening period. Lloyd, who had a vocal cheering section, was named the game's third star.

West Kelowna opened up a two-goal advantage early in the second when Brent Lashuk beat Thompson with a high shot at 3:50. The Warriors also had a big advantage on the shot counter at that point and appeared poised to hand the Spruce Kings their first regulation loss on home ice this season.

The Prince George power play had something to say about that. In their one and only chance with the man advantage, the Spruce Kings wasted little time with Treasure Trove Casino first star of the game Liam Board taking a feed from second star Shayne Morrissey and beating Warriors starter Garrett Rockafellow at 5:06.

Shortly after that the building shook as Prince George felt some effects of a West Coast earthquake. The game didn't stop during the slight shake, although the lights at the top of the Coliseum were swaying noticeably.

Moments later the Spruce Kings drew even as Morrissey won an offensive-zone face-off back to captain Trevor Esau, who blasted a shot through Rockafellow's five-hole. The tying goal came at 9:26 of the middle stanza.

Perhaps the prettiest goal of the night came at 12 minutes of the third period as the home side took their first lead of the game. College Heights Dairy Queen player of the game Chad Staley drove to the net, but the puck was knocked off his stick, but it went right to Jeremiah Luedtke. Standing just to the left of Rockafellow, nobody would have blamed Luedtke for trying his luck with a shot, but the Spruce Kings honorary captain was patient and spotted the trailing Justin Rai. The pass was perfect and Rai blasted home the go-ahead goal.

The Warriors didn't go away easily with Brennan Clark beating Thompson at 15:41 to tie the game 3-3 and force extra time.

In the extra session it was Eden, the Fortis Energy player of the game, who set up Witala's heroics. The Spruce Kings defenceman has never been afraid to join the rush and with the extra space in the 4-on-4 situation, used his speed to drive to the net.

Although his backhand was stopped, Witala sent the crowd home happy. Thompson finished with 24 saves, while Rockafellow had 19.

The Spruce Kings are on the road next weekend, heading back to the Lower Mainland for games in Langley and Surrey. The next home game is Nov. 10 when the Fitzgerald triplets and the Victoria Grizzlies visit the Castle.

No comments: