|Always lots of action in front of the net last night,|
but defense won this one with seven players out.
photo courtesy John Hebert
Call in some reinforcements for today's early game in Salmon Arm, the Prince George Spruce Kings are coming off an improbable 4-3 win over the West Kelowna Warriors after being hit hard by the flu bug just prior and during the game. With Justin Rai out of the lineup, we learned just before departure time to the rink that Trevor Esau, Brad Ryan and Tyson Witala would not be able to go suffering from upset stomachs.
Okay, just go out there and play a strong defensive game and battle hard for every loose puck etc. etc. Well that's what they did even after they lost their starting goaltender Liam McLeod, Shayne Morrissey and Coltyn Hansen to the same bug that took out their team mates. The Spruce Kings somehow found a way to prevent a good team from ever taking the lead and scored timely goals on almost every one of their chances.
This is the type of story they make movies about and inspirational posters but today it is back to business for a depleted Spruce Kings squad looking to carry that momentum into their third game of the weekend. Today it will be against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, a squad the Spruce Kings haven't had a chance to see yet this season and a squad that is now much better than their record indicates.
To start the season the Silverbacks were a team that other teams took pleasure in kicking around. In their first four games of the season, the Silverbacks managed only two goals and in their first month managed only one win. Things did turn a little in the beginning of October but there was still lots of work to be done. Troy Mick stepped away from the bench to work solely as the General Manager and brought Scott Robinson back to the BCHL to be the head coach.
In the first two weeks of November, Salmon Arm was involved in four of the seven trade transactions in the League. First picking up Mitch Ferguson and Evan Anderson from the Penticton Vees for Brock Balson and then moving twenty year old goalie Colin Dzijacky out east and twenty year old Jason Trott to the AJHL. Not done there, the biggest move was made on Wednesday of this past week when Troy Mick moved Sean Flannagan, a twenty year old defenceman, for Alex Jewell and Steven Iacobellis from the Penticton Vees.
Last night Iacobellis was the game's second star with a goal and two helpers in a Salmon Arm Silverbacks 6-4 win over the Merritt Centennials.
The Silverbacks might be a little wore down for this matinee game having played the Penticton Vees Friday night, Merritt last night and now having to go up against the Spruce Kings squad that is pretty confident of their ability to play through adversity. You would think the edge still rests with the Silverbacks who have been home for the entire weekend while the Spruce Kings are road weary traveling to Trail, Kelowna and now Salmon Arm.
One thing is for sure and it was proven last night, this game is played on a sheet of ice, not a sheet of paper. So throw out all those odds and theories and get ready for another exciting game of hockey in the BCHL. The Spruce Kings and the Silverbacks in the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm at 3pm. The game will be broadcast live but please note the link for the free online audio feed will be through MIXLR.com as there is no available holes in the Sunday programming on CFIS. The game will also be available as always on pay-per-view via FASTHOCKEY.com.