Friday, December 14, 2012

Game Preview: at Victoria Grizzlies

Spruce Kings will be in the Bear Den tonight

The Prince George Spruce Kings start their final weekend before the Christmas break tonight versus the Victoria Grizzlies in the Bear Mountain Arena. Earlier today the team took a little while to take in the Provincial Capital and do a little sight seeing.

Despite being this far away from the Prince George and all that snow with the green grass and fall like temperatures, the boys are ready for their winter sport and looking to hit the ice tonight. The month of December has been kind to the Spruce Kings so far with the team going 3 and 0 last weekend and now looking to duplicate that effort starting tonight.

Picking up a win against the Victoria Grizzlies will not be an easy task as the team knows all so well from their first meeting in Prince George on November 10th. At the time there was a lot of excitement to see the Fitzgerald triplets back in the Coliseum. In that game Myles, Leo and Gerry did not become as big a factor in the game as many had expected.

Other Grizzlies did step up and impacted that game as Victoria skated away with a 7-3 win handing Prince George their first regulation time loss on home ice. It was a bit of a shock at the time, but now it has to serve as motivation with the Spruce Kings now having a chance at redemption.

On paper these two teams are very close to each other with the Grizzlies having four more points than the Spruce Kings (40-36). The strength of those numbers comes from three more overtime wins than Prince George has been able to muster up. The Spruce Kings have played in 9 overtime games picking up 12 points with 3 wins, 1 tie and 5 losses. The Grizzlies have won 5 overtime games giving them 10 points (5-0-2) in seven overtime games.

Interestingly the players involved in the summer blockbuster trade all sit in the top three of scoring on their respective teams. The Fitzgerald triplets sit 1-2-3 with Myles leading the way with 29 points followed by Gerry with 26 points and Leo with 25 points. Coltyn Hansen and Cameron Lawson sit in second and third respectfully with 24 and 20 points and both with college commitments.

The Spruce Kings leading scorer continues to be the now 18 year old defenceman, Mitch Eden with a total of 26 points. Tyson Witala is the goal scoring leader notching his 13th of the season last weekend followed by Lawson and his 12 goals. Shayne Morrissey has been steadily climbing the ladder and his 11 goals has him sitting in the team's top five point getters.

Other notable Spruce Kings include Bryant Christian, Chad Staley and Skylar Pacheco who all have 16 points. All three will have family and friends in the Spruce Kings entourage this weekend. It is always an interesting aspect of the road games to see alumni, family, friends and fans come out in force showing their support for the road team.

The Spruce Kings will need to stay focused on the task at hand especially tonight with the Victoria Grizzlies climbing back up the national rankings. Last week the Grizzlies climbed four spots to be ranked 11th in the nation and the second highest BCHL team. The Grizzlies were ranked as high as 8th early in the season and have been on the list for all except for one week of the season.

After the Fitzgerald triplets, DJ Jones is the fourth most productive player on the Victoria roster contributing 4 goals and 18 assists from the blue line. Myles Powell rounds out the top five with twenty points (13G, 7A) followed by a pair of players with 14 points (Mark McLellan and Blake Thompson). Nolan DeJong has 13 points while both Chase Kaiser and David Mazurek with identical tallies (3G, 8A) and 11 points.

Between the pipes, the Spruce Kings are expected to start the youngster tonight giving Liam McLeod his seventh BCHL start. Kirk Thompson, who hit the 100 games played mark this past weekend, will sit and watch and provide a level of mentorship for the young protege. At the other end, it shouldn't be a surprise to see Brady Rouleau in net as he did pick up the win against the Spruce Kings in their first meeting of the season.

Game time is 7:15pm from the Bear Mountain Arena and will be broadcast live on 93.1 CFIS-FM as well as a free online audio only broadcast of the game on the Spruce Kings MIXLR channel and the pay per view feed on Ron Gallo will provide the call of the game beginning with the pregame show at 6:45pm.

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